Magpie (oz4410)


Magpie (oz4410) by HJ Nicholls from Mercury 1950 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Mercury Magpie. Towline glider. 24in span glider specially designed for the junior modeller.

Quote: "The ideal beginner's kit: 24 in model for hand launching. Simple construction, clear plan and very comprehensive building instructions, make this an easy first choice."

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Update 02/06/2020: Added instructions, thanks to David Holland.

Quote: "INTRODUCTION: These instructions, although intended to help you to build the Mercury MAGPIE, are of a general nature and can help you build almost any model with a tissue covered balsa framework. If they are followed carefully together with the plan, then Our MAGPIE will be a success and will certainly fly. These instructions are based on practical experience and the constructional hints and tips are there to help you. Don't attempt to start pn your model building until you have read them through and had a really good look at the plan at the same time.

BEFORE YOU START: There are one or two simple tools you must have before you start to build. Firstly you must have a flat wooden surface to work on. Most modellers have a building board of soft wood such as deal. But an old drawing board or even the top of the kitchen table will do just as well.

To hold your balsa strips and sheet down on to the board while working you need some modelling pins. The ones with the round glass heads are the best. Then you will need some drawing pins to hold down your plan and some transparent waxed paper to cover the plan so that cement and parts of the model framework will not stick to it.

Lastly your actual tools can consist of a stiff backed razor blade (or better still a real balsa cutting tool with several blades). some garnett paper, and a square block of wood about 3 x 2 x 1 in for wrapping the garnett paper round when sanding your model. Sharp scissors are best for cutting the tissue. These are all the tools you need for simple modelling and as you can see, with it bit of improvisation they need not cost more than a few pence. When you come to finish your model off with dope you will need a brush, but more of that later.

BUILDING THE FUSELAGE: It is usual to start with the fuselage. Cover the plan with waxed paper son the building board. Make sure you can see the fuselage sides through the waxed paper and that you can read the instructions on the plan. Start with one fuselage side by picking out two pieces of balsa of equal stiffness for the longerons. Hold the longerons in place over the plan with pins stuck in EITHER SIDE of the longeron but NOT through it (see fig. 1 on the plan).

Now cut TWO complete sets of up-rights for the fuselage side getting the size exactly right by holding the balsa strips over the longerons and make sure you cut the ends at exactly the correct angle by holding your razor blade upright and in line with the edge of the longeron. Lay one set of uprights down between the longerons and check that every one is a good fit. Now take them out and rub a spot of cement into the ends. This is called pre-cementing and it is absolutely essential if your model is to be strong. Also pre-cement the inner surface of the longerons at each place where an upright is to be joined.

When your pre-cementing is quite dry, add the uprights one at a time using just enough cement to make a good joint at each end. Each upright should be exactly over its correct position as drawn on the plan.

Now carefully remove the pins a few at a time starting at one end and cover the first fuselage side with another piece of waxed paper. Your second fuselage side is now built on top of the first using the spare set of uprights. Your two sides will be exactly the same size and shape.

Once the second side has set, remove all the pins and carefully lift your two sides from the waxed paper.

Cut two sets of cross braces Over the plan view of the fuselage again making sure the ends are accurately cut to the correct angle. Pre-cement all the ends. To add the cross spacers or braces start at the widest part of the fuselage and work from the centre outwards.

When adding the four centre spacers, pre-cement the longerons as you did with the uprights and keep the fuselage all square by holding a square piece of wood or match box or small book up against the side of the fuselage on the building board. Keep it square in this way until it has set. (See fig. 2 on plan).

Once the centre section of the fuselage is set- add all the other braces holding the nose And tail of the fuselage in with rubber bands (see fig. 3 on the plan). Now cut to shape all 1/8 sheet for filling in the nose of the machine where the ballast box is to be. Add this and the nose block.

Your basic fuselage framework is now compleie. One thing you must check before peoceeding further is that the platform on which the tailplane will rest is at the correct angle as shown on the plan and that the fuselage is not twisted in any way.

BUILDING THE WING: This should also be done on the Build-ing board. The two halves of the wing are built separately and only joined together with the dihedral braces when the two halves are quite complete and set..."

Update 02/06/2020: Added scan of wing and tail ribs printwood, thanks to David Holland.

Supplementary file notes



Did we get something wrong with these details about this plan (especially the datafile)? That happens sometimes. You can help us fix it.
Add a correction

Magpie (oz4410) by HJ Nicholls from Mercury 1950 - model pic

  • (oz4410)
    by HJ Nicholls
    from Mercury
    24in span
    Glider F/F Kit
    all formers complete :)
  • Submitted: 19/05/2013
    Filesize: 301KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: vintage1

Magpie (oz4410) by HJ Nicholls from Mercury 1950 - pic 003.jpg
Magpie (oz4410) by HJ Nicholls from Mercury 1950 - pic 004.jpg
Magpie (oz4410) by HJ Nicholls from Mercury 1950 - pic 005.jpg
Magpie (oz4410) by HJ Nicholls from Mercury 1950 - pic 006.jpg

Do you have a photo you'd like to submit for this page? Then email

User comments

Attached photo of Magpie, as promised [pic 006]
IanV - 22/09/2020
Hi Steve, Hi Mary, I did some slope soaring on the Burton Dassett Hills, Warwickshire in the early 80's. One of the guys who really knew what he was doing was Robin Andrew - see RA-200 (oz9271) with this location shown in the background. He arrived one day with a twice size Magpie (48ins span) which flew beautifully in the light lift. Definitely a design with 'stretch'.
Chris Pinn - 23/09/2020
Hello, in the attachment you find a picture of the Mercury Magpie I recently built [main pic]. It's converted from free-flight to single-channel RC. Feel free to use it on outerzone. Greetings,
Volker Lisiewicz - 15/02/2021
Add a comment



Download File(s):
  • Magpie (oz4410)
  • Plan File Filesize: 301KB Filename: Magpie_mercury_oz4410.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 1751KB Filename: Magpie_mercury_oz4410_instructions.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 78KB Filename: Magpie_mercury_oz4410_ribs.pdf
  • help with downloads


* Credit field

The Credit field in the Outerzone database is designed to recognise and credit the hard work done in scanning and digitally cleaning these vintage and old timer model aircraft plans to get them into a usable format. Currently, it is also used to credit people simply for uploading the plan to a forum on the internet. Which is not quite the same thing. This will change soon. Probably.


This model plan (like all plans on Outerzone) is supposedly scaled correctly and supposedly will print out nicely at the right size. But that doesn't always happen. If you are about to start building a model plane using this free plan, you are strongly advised to check the scaling very, very carefully before cutting any balsa wood.


Terms of Use

© Outerzone, 2011-2021.

All content is free to download for personal use.

For non-personal use and/or publication: plans, photos, excerpts, links etc may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Outerzone with appropriate and specific direction to the original content i.e. a direct hyperlink back to the Outerzone source page.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site's owner is strictly prohibited. If we discover that content is being stolen, we will consider filing a formal DMCA notice.