Special Hobby 1/72 Firefly I






Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Multimedia with resin and etched parts



The Fairey Firefly was initially designed under specifications N.8/39 and N.9/39, but the prototype later updated to also fit under specification N.5/40. Designed as a two-seat Fleet reconnaissance fighter based on the Fairey Fulmar,  the prototype first flew on 22 December 1941. The design was deliberately conventional, to bring it into service quickly, and with the trailing edge provided with patented Youngman flaps for use at low speeds and in cruise. Thanks to its 2,250hp Rolls Royce Griffin 74 engine, it had adequate performance, unlike the underpowered Fulmar. The early Fireflies, such as the Mk I had a large 'chin' radiator. Later variants had these embedded in the leading edge of the wing for better aerodynamics. Initial production began on 26 August 1942 and the first production aircraft was delivered from Fairey’s Great Western Aerodrome (now London Heathrow International Airport) to RNAS Yeovilton on 4 March, 1943. The first operational squadron, 1770, was formed in October, 1943, with others forming quickly after that. Over 50 squadrons eventually flew the Firefly as did many foreign countries in the post-war period. A total of 1623 Fireflies of all variants were built.




This is one of MPM's newer generation kits, and it shows. The molds are well done and the clear bits are quite transparent. Though the panel lines are crisply molded, some of the other detailing is a mite 'soft', as shown by the straps around the fuel tanks and radar pod. There is the usual etched fret as well as a considerable amount of resin included in this kit. In fact, the majority of parts are done in this latter medium. You get a full resin interior and wheel wells as well as main wheels, gun barrels (both enclosed and open). Also in resin are the various radiators, landing gear retraction struts and the mount for the radar pod.

Photoetch is basically limited to instrument panel and a few minor bits like the oleo links. Instructions are the usual excellent products of MPM's artists, providing clear construction sequences with a few detail images to help with parts placement. Markings themselves are well thought out with three options provided. One is the box art  aircraft from 1771 Sq aboard the HMS Implacable during the Tirpitz attack of October 1944. The other two are also 1771 Sq planes, but with SEAC roundels from mid 1945. All three planes are in Extra Dark Sea Grey/Dark Slate Grey over Sky. Decals are superbly printed and very crisply done. I'm sure they are also paper thin and quite opaque. One thing about MPM decals is that they are first rate. I should also take this opportunity to state that the radar pod is more of a post war addition so you don't need to feel any shame in not including it with the model.

Though you might think that there would be some similarity to the Octopus Firefly, a look at the sprues, shows this not to be the case. Though a bit more expensive than the MPM kit, the Octopus kit provides the ability to do several different variants.



Here is yet another kit to put those Frog Firefly Is firmly on the sale table or the hands of youngsters. I can see no real reason to keep those old ones around unless it for nostalgia as this and the Octopus kit obviate the need for the older kit.

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