"Korea - Firefly"

1/48 AZ Model FR.1 Fairey Firefly

Gallery Article by Mark L. Rossmann on Jan 31 2018



The Fairey Firefly was a British Second World War-era carrier-borne fighter and anti-submarine aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), designed by H.E. Chaplin at Fairey Aviation in 1940. It was superior in performance and firepower to its predecessor, the Fulmar, but entered operational service only towards the end of the war. Designed to the contemporary FAA concept of a two-seat fleet reconnaissance/fighter, the pilot and navigator/weapons officer were housed in separate stations. The design proved to be sturdy, long-ranging and docile in carrier operations, although the limitations of a single engine in a heavy airframe reduced its performance. 

The Fairey Firefly served in the Second World War as a fleet fighter but in postwar service, although it was superseded by more modern jet aircraft, the Firefly was adapted for other roles, including strike operations and anti-submarine warfare, remaining a mainstay of the FAA until the mid-1950s. UK and Australian Fireflies flew ground attack operations off various aircraft carriers in the Korean War. In foreign service, the type was in operation with the naval air arms of Australia, Canada, India and the Netherlands whose Fireflies carried out a few attack sorties as late as 1962 in Dutch New Guinea.

This FR.1 from 827 Naval squadron was part of the 13th Carrier Group, on the HMS Triumph in early 1949. Later in "49" while on-shore at Sembawang as part of the "Malayan Emergency", it flew strikes with Seafire FR 47's. The carrier started a tour to Australia when the Korean war broke out, HMS Triumph sailed to Okinawa joining up with the U.S. Seventh fleet and the carrier USS Valley Forge. Initial strikes, with Seafire's and Fireflies, were on July 3rd against Haeju airfield. 

Triumph took part in more combat missions over the next 3 months, with the Fireflies used for anti-submarine patrols and armed reconnaissance. Triumph was also part of the massive naval armada covering the landings at Inchon, in September. By this time few Seafire's were operational and the FR.1's was showing its age. 

HMS Theseus relieved Triumph, bringing with it the Firefly FR.5 replacement and Sea Fury's. Triumph returned to Britain in November, which saw the last Firefly FR.1 unit, 827 NAS, disbanded and the last operational FR.47 Seafire unit, No. 800, turning in its aircraft for Supermarine Attackers.

Click on images below to see larger images

This is an AZ Models model, it is pretty well done. There are no pins to line up the fuselage or wings. Kit does contain resin parts for the wheel wells, cockpit, tires, rear compartment, exhausts and radio. Detail is good, just need to clear off excess flash and take time to fit and glue. Several PE parts are available for the seat belts and intake filters. Armament came from the bomb racks of a Sea Fury kit and the 20MM cannon are brass from Air Master (AM-48-096).

Kit decals provide options for a BPF aircraft from summer 1945, also Thailand and Ethiopia.

I chose Berna Decals "Fairey Firefly FR.1 (BD 48-29), which depicts aircraft MB687, 827 NAS, HMS Triumph; Korean War 1950. 

Paint was in the form of rattle cans Testor's Gunship Grey and Tamiya AS-29 Grey/Green IJN.

The "D-day" type stripes were done by masking a 1 and inch width area on the wings. Used Testor's rattle can flat white for the base color. When thoroughly dried applied "All Scales" Parallel Stripes inch Wide Black decals(PS-2-1/4). The same was done on the fuselage, with the white width at inch.

The FR.47 is the Airfix kit.


Thanks to Steve for his site.

Mark L. Rossmann

Photos and text by Mark L. Rossmann