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.