Special Hobby 1/72 Firefly IV/V






Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Short run with resin and etched bits


Let me paraphrase from the kit instructions for a historical background:

"Following the success of the earlier variants, the Mk IV was developed using the Griffon 74 engine with a two stage supercharger. This new engine really enhanced the performance of the aircraft and let to some visual changes in the airframe from the initial models. The radiators were moved from under the cowling to the leading edges of the wings as on the Mosquito, the wings clipped and the rudder/fin area was increased. Twin wing nacelles (removeable) were added for a sea search radar and fuel.

293 Mk IV Fireflies were ordered, with the first FR.4 flying in May of 1946. You'll notice that the Roman numerals went away after the war. Of those ordered 133 were cancelled as they were no longer needed. The first to get the new FR.4 were the Canadian Navy in August of 1947. FAA planes entered 810 Sq in October of that year.

The FR.5 was basically an improved FR.4 with most of the modifications being internal. One nice feature was hydraulically operated folding wings. The first FR.5 was flown in late 1947 and the subvariant built in separate Fighter-Recce, Night Fighter, and ASW versions. The Firefly FR.5 saw action during the Korean War and in Malaya, being finally retired in 1956. The type also saw service with Canada, Australia, Denmark, Ethiopia, India, the Netherlands, Sweden and Thailand in various roles. Several are still extant in museums, though I don't think any are currently flying.



Another nice kit from the MPM family. This one offers an injected canopy instead of the usual vacuformed version and I'm glad that they have.  Now all they have to do is extend this feature to all of their new releases. There is also a small etched fret for instrument panels, underwing reinforcement plates, rear view mirrors, cat hooks, oleo scissors and antennas. I haven't a clue what the gear door looking things are as I couldn't find those in the instructions. A large bag of resin parts in part of the suite. Just looking in the bag, I see a number of broken bits, so it won't be fun fixing them. These are for the majority of the interior, exhausts, gear struts, wheels, rocket rails, gun fairings/stubs and wheel wells. Again the prop has separate blades, but at least they are attached to an injected plastic hub.

Optional bits are determined by which version you are building. There are two different observer radio sections as well as your choice of wing nacelles if you are doing a night fighter or ASW version. Apparently the Dutch FR.4 didn't carry wing cannon so there are stubs for that aircraft.

Instructions are super as usual with paints given as Humbrol colors.  Apparently there is some mixing to do for the post war Sky color. While there are FS numbers given for some colors there is no chart that equates a Humbrol number to the color. Guess there wasn't room on the sheets for it this time. Once more, the decals are excellent and probably by Propagteam. Three aircraft are provided, all in Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky. First is the box art plane of the Dutch Navy from  1959. Next is a Korean War British plane from 821 Sq aboard the HMS Glory. You'll have to paint the black and white stripes on this one. A nice touch is that the underwing serial is in sections so you can properly place them on the gear doors. Finally, an 880 Sq plane from the Royal Canadian Navy. I won't go into the discussion of the 'proper' colors of Canadian planes as this one may well have been in a grey underside vice sky.



This is another case of taking an older kit (this time by Airfix) and putting it in the sale bin. Special Hobby has produced what is probably the definitive kit (so far) in 1/72 of the type. Look for the earlier versions to be out soon.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has 200,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page