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Fairey Firefly FR.1 / NF.1
with ASH Radar

AZ Model, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: AZ Model AZ 4815 - Fairey Firefly FR.1 / NF.1 with ASH Radar
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 48 parts in tan coloured plastic; 26 resin parts; 4 parts in clear; a photo-etched fret; instruments printed on a clear acetate sheet; canopy masks and markings for three aircraft.
Price: From 34.03 available online from Hannants
AUD$80.00 available online from NKR Models
and specialist hobby retailers worldwide.
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Good quality injection plastic; beautifully detailed resin parts for cockpits and wheel wells; nice thin and clear transparencies; photo-etched detail parts; interesting marking options; includes canopy masks.
Disadvantages:  
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Brett Green


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FirstLook

 

The Fairey Firefly was designed to meet a 1940 Fleet Air Arm requirement for a fighter / reconnaissance aircraft. The first Firefly unit, 1770 Squadron, entered service in February 1944. The first operational use of the Firefly was against the Tirpitz in July 1944.

The Firefly Mk.I was somewhat underpowered as a fighter, but had considerable success in the strike role.

The Firefly continued in service until the end of the Pacific War. Later marks even labored on until the Korean War with the British and Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arms.

There have been three 1/48 scale Firefly Mk.I kits issues to date. The first was Flightpath's impressive multimedia kit from the 1990s. This featured main components in vacform plastic, supplemented with metal and photo-etched detail parts. Soon after, Flightpath offered basically the same kit with the vacform airframe replaced by resin parts. The most recent offering was the Grand Phoenix Firefly Mk.I released around 2002. This was a very nice kit. Injection moulded plastic parts were supplemented with beautifully detailed resin plus a small photo-etched fret.

AZ Model's first Firefly release, "Fairey Firefly FR.1 / NF.1 with ASH Radar", is effectively a newly moulded re-release of the Grand Phoenix kit with a couple of enhancements.

The new kit comprises just 48 parts in tan coloured plastic; 26 resin parts; 4 parts in clear; a photo-etched fret; instruments printed on a clear acetate sheet; canopy masks and markings for three aircraft.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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The plastic parts are produced to a high standard. The plastic is satin in texture, with recessed panel lines. Fabric texture on the rudder is fairly subtle. Sprue attachment points are fine. There are no moulding imperfections that will be visible on the finished model, but some raised ejector pins on the inside of parts (notably the wings) will have to be sliced off before assembly to avoid interfering with fit. There are no locating pins, so extra care will be needed when aligning the larger plastic parts. I would also suggest reinforcing the butt-join on the horizontal tailplanes with brass wire or a steel pin.

The plastic of the original Grand Phoenix kit was noticeably gritty to the touch, but this new tan coloured AZ moulding is much smoother.

The plastic is supplemented with 26 resin parts. These cover the front and rear cockpits, the wheel wells, radiator and exhausts.

 

 

The resin parts are beautifully detailed and perfectly cast. The cockpit is a real joy to behold, with a jumble of detail on the sidewalls, crisply rendered radios and electronics boxes, and structural detail cast onto bulkheads.

The wheel wells are realistically deep, featuring structural detail and wiring in each one-piece casting.

The exhausts are exquisite too, with the subtle twin stacks each accurately cast with hollow ends. A resin mounting rack for the ASH Radar is also included. The pod itself is attached to the plastic sprues.

The only word of caution, in common with any limited run kit, is that the resin will need careful preparation. I know from talking to several modellers who built the Grand Phoenix Firefly that the casting blocks on top of the wheel wells will need to be completely removed before they will fit between the wing halves. In fact, it might be advisable to thin the inside of the upper wing halves too.

Test fitting of the cockpit components - especially the sidewalls and the bulkheads - will also be essential.

 

 

An Eduard photo etched fret is provided. This contains a nicely detailed instrument panel (the instruments are provided on an accompanying printed acetate sheet), harnesses, plus other small details.

The clear parts are another highlight. They positively sparkle and are free of any distortion, with crisply defined canopy frames.

AZ Models also provide canopy masks for these clear parts.

 

 

Markings are provided for three night fighters in different schemes. The decals are thin, nicely in register and the colours look good.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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Conclusion

 

It is very pleasing to see that AZ Model has breathed new life into the Grand Phoenix Firefly, which has been unavailable for some years now.

The moulding quality seems to be an improvement over the original kit, and the inclusion of canopy masks and new marking options are welcome.

AZ Model's 1/48 scale Firelfy Mk.I will best suit modellers who already have a few limited run kits under their belts. If you have built a recent kit from Classic Airframes or Special Hobby, you will know what to expect with AZ Models' Firefly Mk.I. The relatively small parts count belies the challenge. The key to a successful build will be thorough preparation, constant test-fitting, careful alignment of parts and, above all, patience. However, if you treat this kit with due respect - especially the resin cockpit and wheel wells - it should deliver a very impressive result.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Legato  / AZ Models for the sample


Review Text Copyright 2007 by Brett Green
Page Created 17 December, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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