Scale Trap-pings

RCN News - - Contents - By Jim Bates

The Fire­fly in RCN Ser­vice

The Fairey Fire­fly was the first anti-sub­ma­rine air­craft flown by the Royal Canadian Navy. The Fire­fly FR.1 was in­tro­duced into ser­vice with 825 and 826 Squadrons when they were still a part of the Fleet Air Arm. Th­ese squadrons were to be part of the Canadian par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Pa­cific af­ter V-E day. The war ended be­fore the squadrons left Eng­land, and in the end the RCN de­cided to op­er­ate only one squadron of Fire­flies. Twenty-one Fire­fly FR.1s were loaded aboard the HMCS War­rior for trans­port to Canada. In mid-1947, 825 Squadron re­turned to Eng­land to work up on the Fire­fly FR. IV. They used th­ese loan­ers un­til the RCN’s Fire­fly AS.5s were avail­able in 1949. The Fire­flies con­tin­ued to serve in the ASW role with the RCN un­til re­placed by the TBM Avengers in 1951.

Spe­cial Hobby 1/48 Fairey Fire­fly Mk. 4/5 “Korean War”

While the Fire­fly FR.1 has been is­sued in 1/48 scale in in­jec­tion molded plas­tic, first by Grand Phoenix and then reis­sued by AZ, it was only re­cently that a later model Fire­fly was re­leased. Spe­cial Hobby has cov­ered all the Fire­flies in 1/48, and I was able to ob­tain a copy of the Mk. 4/5 “Korean War” boxing. Un­der the stunning box art are seven grey sprues of plas­tic parts, one sprue of clear parts, a bag of resin parts, a small photo-etched fret, and the de­cal sheet. This is a short run kit and the plas­tic parts are not quite as cleanly molded as some of the main­stream man­u­fac­tur­ers, but the de­tail is still good. Oddly, the small sprues ap­pear to be much sharper in de­tail than the larger parts. The re­cessed panel lines on the fuse­lage and wings are very fine, maybe too much so. As this is a short run kit, there are no lo­ca­tor pins on the wings and fuse­lage but the hor­i­zon­tal sta­bi­liz­ers do have tabs that fit into slots in the fuse­lage. Clearly some of the sprues are shared with the Fire­fly FR. 1 kit, as there are ex­tra parts not used in the kit. Cock­pit de­tail is all in plas­tic, but should sat­isfy most model­ers. The clear parts are very clear, but there is no op­tion to open the canopies. The resin parts con­sist of the main gear bay and the en­gine ex­hausts. Un­der­wing stores in­clude drop tanks that are marked “not for use” and some nicely done rock­ets. (The rock­ets were not fit­ted to the RCN Fire­flies as they would have limited use in the anti-sub­ma­rine role.) Sadly, the main gear in my kit was bro­ken in the box, but metal re­place­ments are avail­able from Scale Air­craft Con­ver­sions. De­cals are pro­vided for four air­craft that served with the Fleet Air Arm in Korea. (It is my un­der­stand­ing that the orig­i­nal boxing of this kit in­cluded RCN mark­ings.) Belcher Bits has a RCN Seafires, Fire­flies and Sea Fu­ries de­cal sheet (BD-13) which in­cludes one Fire­fly AS.5 op­tion. Over­all this is a nice kit but be­ing a short run prod­uct will take some ex­tra work to as­sem­ble. Test fit­ting and sur­face prepa­ra­tion will both be nec­es­sary.

The Canadian War­plane Her­itage Fire­fly AS.6 heads out for a flight at Hamil­ton Air­port.

Still wear­ing its Fleet Air Arm scheme, a RCN Fire­fly comes

The kit's well done box art.

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