RCN Warrior: 1/48th Grand Phoenix FireFly Mk.1
Although this 1/48th Grand Phoenix FireFly Mk.1 kit is not an easy build (as it is a multi-media, short-run production) it builds up into a great looking aircraft to display. Released in 2001 it was the first non-vacuform model kit of the Firefly.
Notable Kit Features:
Excellent resin cockpits with Phot-Etch (PE) details including seatbelts
Well detailed resin radiator and exhausts
Finely scribed panel lines and surface details
Nicely detailed main gear wheel wells
Additional PE details such as vents and rear view mirror
Crystal clear, plastic injection glass canopies
A total of 64 Fairey Fireflies served with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), between 1946 and 1952. Based at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, they were flown from the aircraft carriers HMCS Warrior and HMCS Magnificent by No. 825 and 826 Squadrons. The later Mk. V anti submarine version was ordered in 1949 to meet a NATO role for the RCN in anti submarine warfare. Firefly Mk. Vs operated in this role until late 1950, when they were replaced with Grumman Avengers.
The plastic parts have no locator pins nor tabs
Gates and ejector pins must be cleaned up prior to assembly
All control surfaces are molded in neutral position
Resin wheel wells require thinning and shaping to fit within wings (Remember to wear a good mask and clean-up afterwards as resin dust is hazardous to your health)
I needed to file down some radio equipment in order to fit the rear canopy, so watch your clearances here
Kit Additions / Modifications:
I deviated from the assembly instructions after I calculated that I could place the cockpits and radiator into the assembled fuselage halves. This would allow me to get a better join on the fuselage halves as well as not have to deal with all the internals at once (especially with no locator pins).
Unlike their Royal Navy brothers (which used the green-gray Sky lower surfaces) the Canadian Fireflys were finished in gray lower camouflage. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) colouring was FS 36099 Dark Gray over FS 16314 Light Gray. I lightly weathered the surfaces as the reference photos I had, did not show heavy wear. The kit decals were excellent quality and covered well.
The After-Build Report:
This 1/48th Grand Phoenix FireFly Mk.1 kit was also reboxed by AZ Models in 2007. Special Hobby produced their Firefly series starting in 2013. Then Trumpeter introduced their more mainstream kit (without resin or much PE) in 2018. I can't compare these kits as I have only built this one however I would only recommend the Grand Phoenix kit to experienced model builders due to its multi-media construction. It does build up into an excellent reproduction but you are going to have to work a bit to get there. The more recent Trumpeter kit should be the easiest build and appears to be nicely detailed, so next time around maybe that route.
Completed build #257 - March 2023 using the 1/48th scale Grand Phoenix #KT002 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers