Aeronavale Firefly FR.1

Gallery Article by Dave Bailey, aka The Rat on Jan 9 2019

Silly Week 2020



When in the market for a naval patrol and anti-submarine aircraft during the post-war period, France was presented with the options of either the Grumman TBF Avenger or the Fairey Firefly. The Firefly was chosen, and a number of FR.1 aircraft were transferred from the Royal Navy. They were fitted with a wing mounted radar pod, and flew from both carriers and ground stations. They participated in Operation Musketeer, often being used to aid in attacks by the F4U-7 Corsair. They were retired in the early 1960s when they were supplanted by the Breguet Alize.

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Why do I keep doing this to myself? Buy a cheap kit that I know is probably crap, open the box and discover I was correct, and build it. Oh well, It's done.

This is apparently the old Frog kit, later Novo, and now Modelcraft. Crude by today's standards, and possibly even by the original standards. The worst part is the transparencies, which may not be the correct term for what it comes with. There were no instructions or decals with this one, but the only part I was unsure of was the orientation of the aerial; did it slope forward or back? Bah, this is the whiff world, so it can go either way. The parts are totally stock except for the radar pod, which came from a 1/72nd Corsair, and the tailwheel which was purloined from an old Frog Tempest, and glued in place just a few minutes before I found the kit one. Aerial wire is stretched sprue.

Sharkmouth decals came from the MPC boxing of the North American T-6, originally an Airfix mold I believe. Numbers are from the Revell Corsair, roundels from a sheet produced by Carpena. Tail stripes were hand painted.

In keeping with the toy aspect of the times, both the propeller and the wheels turn. Because they should.

Dave Bailey

Photos and text by Dave Bailey