47 Miles of Scratchbuilding – Part 2

Part 2: From Miles Magister to Supersonic M52

by Raúl Hrubisko


Back to 47 Miles of Scratchbuilding – Part 1: Modelling the History of the Miles Aircraft Company

Enter the Magister

Another very important sub-series in this collection was the Miles M14 Magister with eight models. The Magister was another of the Miles eternal designs. It came up from the 1936 specification for a two-seat elementary trainer. The M14 was initially known as Hawk Trainer, but soon received the RAF name Magister. Initial production Magisters had the narrow undercarriage fairings and early rudder shape which was inherited from the original Hawk Trainer.

The eight Miles M14 Magisters

I made eight M14 using only kits from Novo but introducing the necessary modifications in tails and undercarriages. The first ones were painted in yellow and silver colours. The L5916 was painted in a distinctive colour scheme as part of a proposed formation display team of the Central Flying School in 1937. One of them, the L8326, shows a particular design with the experimental towing-wing in an attempt to increase the range of aircraft in a pre-drop tank era.

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For modellers, the Miles Magister offers a variety of interesting paint schemes.

The experimental Magister with an addition of a scratchbuilt towing wing.


The M15 Trainer came up from the T.1/37 specification. I had to stretch a Magister kit in all directions to produce this model as it was never kitted.

The M16 Mentor and M17 Monarch were built entirely from scratch using 3-view drawings.

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Scratchbuilding again: Miles M15, M16 Mentor and M17 Monarch

In order to obtain better handling characteristic of the Magister, Walter Capley designed the M18 with a new wing of constant chord. I made one of them (U8 second prototype) using a resin Kit from Dujin. I also cloned that kit to make the second model (HM545).

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Two models of the Miles M18 built from the Dujin kit.

Radial-engined Masters and the Target-towing Martinet

I made two M19 Master Mk. IIs using different pieces from Magna and Pavla kits. The aircraft DL852/G was tested in rockets trials at AA&AE. The AZ104 could carry light bombs in case of a German invasion.

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The two slightly odd prototypes were the rocket- and bomb-carrying Miles M19 Masters.

The M20 was another non-strategic emergency fighter from Miles from the Battle of Britain period. Despite its fixed undercarriage, the prototype performed even better than the Hurricane, but it eventually never needed to be put into series production. The model is a vac-form from Maintrack.

Miles M20 Fighter Prototype

By using Pavla’s kit I built the M25 Martinet but not before cloning the kit in two additional copies. Another M25 Martinet and the M50 Queen Martinet were made from those copies. The M50 was the first aircraft which was exclusively designed as a target tow.

A vic of Miles Martinets groups on a mirror

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The two M25 Martinet and M50 Queen Martinet

The final development of the Master series was the M27 Master Mk. III. I built this model using a Novo kit but I had to enlarge the wings.

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Miles M27 Master Mk. III

The M28 Mercury had beautiful lines. It was a single engine light aircraft with a retractable undercarriage. I made the first prototype, scratchbuilt with occasional pieces cloned from Pavla’s M38 kit.

Miles M28 Mercury

The X-files of the Miles Company

In an attempt to find innovative solutions F. G. Miles became interested in heavy long-range transport aircraft. The “X” designs, which were ahead of their time, were based on a fuselage with an aerofoil lifting profile, and wings which were heavily contoured so as to merge into the fuselage. The X7 heavy bomber version which would carry 550 troops was an alternative of these innovative designs.

To test the aerodynamic theory underlying the “X” design Miles built a small twin engine test vehicle know as the M30 X Minor. It was a real challenge to make this model. I used the wings and the engines from a Lancaster kit in 1/144 scale. I made the fuselage with balsa wood and epoxy resin.

M30 Minor

I could obtain the M33 Monitor vacuum-formed Contrail kit from second hand. It proved a difficult build I’m very proud of it because it looks as good as if it was built from a common plastic kit.

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Miles M33 Monitor

The M35 (JK resin), M39A (scratch) and the M39B(Arba resin) were canard designs. The Miles M39 was an intended to be a jet engine naval fighter, but failed to gain official support. To prove the concept, Miles constructed a 5/8 flying model designated M39B. The M39A was intended as a jet-driven bomber of the similar configuration. It never left the drawing table.

All Miles canards were purely experimental designs

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Miles M35, M39B Libellula and the M39A which never left the drawing table

The Elegant Messenger

As a result of the very good performance showed by the M28 the company decided to design a multi role aircraft, called M38 Messenger. This aircraft became famous because it was used by the Field Marshall Montgomery who had 3 Messengers for liaison purposes. I made the RG333.

M 38 Messenger

The other M38 that I made is the UO223 called the Messenger Mariner. It was designed to be used on merchant ship for anti-submarine patrols. The idea was to launch it with a catapult. It then had to make a short landing with arrested wire system or into a net located in the aft part of the ship. Finally the system was not adopted by the Royal Navy.

A modified Messenger, named M48 had a 150 Cirrus Major engine and electrically operated retractable flaps in place of the standard flaps of the normal Messenger. The plane was printed in overall PRU Blue colour scheme.

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M38 Messenger Mariner and the M48

Going Supersonic

The last and the most daring undertaking by Miles Aircraft was the design of the M52 supersonic aircraft. This aircraft was supposed to achieve 1.000 mph in a dive. A complete mock up was built but in February 1946 the project was suddenly cancelled. As the research data from the M52 was transferred to the United States, it is believed that the M52 design directly influenced the design of the American Bell X-1 which eventually became the first to exceed the speed of sound. The success of the X-1 showed that the Miles concept was fundamentally right and perhaps the British authorities should not have cancelled the project.

I made the model from A+V resin kit.

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The projected supersonic M52 and the M3 Gilette Falcon with the M52 wing

The biconvex wing of the M52 was flight-tested in the Miles M3 Gillette Falcon, which added another prototype to my collection.

Final words

This sub collection is an attempt to show a bit of the Miles brothers’ work regarding aircraft construction. Their design was clearly innovative and advanced for their time. Unfortunately, by reasons not easy to comprehend, their designs never get enough support from the British air authorities support to enable the company to develop beyond its traditional role as supplier of light aircraft.


This article was originally published in IPMS Stockholms Magazine in January 2007