Monday, March 13, 2017

Sometimes, you just have to take it easy.

Fairey Firefly FR.5, WB351/202/K, HMAS Sydney, RAN, Korea, 1951-52

This was a "free to me" kit found on the spare parts table at a recent club meeting.

The Subject

The Royal Australian Navy had a few Firefly FR.5 aircraft just prior to the Korean war but these were in a modification program to upgrade them to FR.6 standard. So the Royal Navy loaned a few to outfit the RAN carrier HMAS Sydney. WB351/202/K represents just one of these Fireflys.

RAN aircraft support strikes against North Korean supply lines; I suspect this subject is supposed to represent 1 of the 3 Firefly's that supported the longest helicopter flight at the time. This was the flight of a USN UP-28 Dragonfly on a rescue mission over North Korea; the Firefly's providing escort to "Uncle Peter" which was rescuing a downed crew from a RAN Firefly and returning at their extreme fuel range.

The Model

This is an old kit. Very old...not as old as myself, but it was released in 1966 by Airfix as part of their "red stripe" series. That's about the same time I started modeling. Lots of rivets had to be removed and because the cockpit was sparse and missing some bits (hey, it WAS on the free/parts bin table) I decided to not only close it up but not put anything inside and just put it on the stick with a clouded interior.

I took 3 weekends of 2 hours each weekend to pull this one together. I did ensure alignment, cleaned up the seams and generally focused on fit/finish. I tried 2 new things for this kit: Hataka acrylics and "spinning prop" by simply filling the spinner. For that latter bit I wanted to see how it looked. I kinda like the look...

I had purchased a Hataka set of FAA paints consisting of Interior Grey-Green, Sky Type S, Extra Dark Sea Grey, Dark Slate Grey, Sky Grey and Insignia White. The verdict is still out from on these paints. I frankly like the colors and want them to work. I found these to be too thin to brush paint and too thick to airbrush. The package said they could do both well (first red flag) and the bottles indicate they are airbrush-ready. I had to crank the pressure up to 30 psi and add a drop of thinner to the cup to get it to spray through my Iwata airbrush. I plan to add some self-leveling thinner and experiment a bit before I give up. They covered well and were easily masked.

The kit decals were yellowed and out of register. So I found some roundels in my stash and masked off the stripes. Instead of printing a new set of WB351/202/K black on decal film I decided to try experiment #3...add a thin film of Microscale Decal Film to salvage the original decals. It worked quite well, however even with Microscale's decal set/sol they didn't settle down, so I hit them with a drop of Daco soft and they settled right down. As seen in the photos, they still cracked in a couple of places, but they don't look bad. The yellowing nearly disappeared against the Sky paint, however the camera seems to catch the yellow better than my eye did.


I had fun with this one. I have another kit in the stash, but overall it looks small compared to say a Spitfire. I would have expected a late war 2 seater to be noticeably bigger. The cowling looks like it could barely fit a Merlin, much less the Griffon they used.

Thanks for looking...


  1. Fine bit of work. Looks very like it should to me; The work you did on the stand is some of the finest I've seen, why it looks just like the ones we used to get with models back in the old days ;-)

  2. Thanks!

    I was able to buy a bag of stands a few years ago while on an assignment in England. Small - Medium - Large. Just for builds like this.

  3. agree with SR - the 'clouded' interior and the spinner work well too! Very neat..