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Trumpeter Firefly

I have waited a while for a 48 scale kit that suited my modeling skills, and still I wait! This kit is nicely molded, but the fit is quite “fiddly”. I will post more as I work through this, but I had to remove a lot of locating ribs to fit the forward and aft cockpits, and if you are building one place the forward radio cooler in one side of the fuselage before closing ( I didn’t catch it as quickly as I would have liked and missed a great opportunity to trim the piece prior to closing the fuselage). Also, the cockpit tubs need a lot of dry fitting to go together smoothly…I am sure I will like it when done though! More to follow.

1 additional image. Click to enlarge.

16 responses to Trumpeter Firefly

  1. There are some huuuge mistakes on this kit (so far as I can see from what I have seen, they’re all fixable if you know about them). I’m getting one this Friday, and here is what I will be watching for:

    1: horizontal stabilizers – the elevators are completely wrong, should be full-span. Will need some scribing at the tip to give the proper break line between stabilizer and elevator. Also: the elevators and the rudder are fabric-covered, not metal.

    2. Rockets are wrong. The Mk. I used a 4-rocket “rail” system on a blocky mount. What’s in the kit is a (incorrect) mish-mash of what was used on the Mk. IV/V. I will use the extra Mk. I rocket rails and mount from the Special Hobby Mk.V kit. The bomb racks are also bad, and the Mk.I carried either rockets or bombs, never both (explainable with the accurate rocket rails).

    3. Decals completely wrong. The BPF markings for the 1770 Squadron airplane are not the proper dimensions according to photos of the actual airplane. The other national markings are the wrong colors. Worst of all, because the Z Team at Trumpeter managed to convince themselves that the lower camouflage color is silver, they provide the underwing serials in white, rather than the correct black. I’ll be using decals from the Special Hobby Mk.I kit.

    4. The cockpits are delusional as regards accuracy. I’ll modify them with Evergreen plastic to correct them.

    5. the wheel wells are delusional. What should be there is a box inside, not the tubes the Z Team came up with.

    At present, looking at photos of the parts, I do like what they did with the radiator intakes and exits, and the flaps are correct. The clear parts look good and with some thinning from the interior on the trailing edge of the cockpit canopy, it may be posable opened up.

    Overall, it’s another of those Trumpeter kits that look wonderful and will be happily embraced by mainland Chinese modelers who have never seen the real thing and have no internet access for research (Trumpy’s core market).

    I am glad to see the fit isn’t horrible.

    I hope I haven’t wasted $50 trying to avoid doing another Special Hobby Firefly, since fit is one of that kits “issues.”

    FWIW, the WW2 camouflage with post-war national insignia and the Korean “invasion stripes” is correct for one of the replacement airplanes for 827 Squadron aboard HMS Triumph during the first 90 days of the Korean War.

    • If you could get the Barracuda Cast prop blades , nose cone, wheels, canopy and cannons …add some of the resin interior bits like the cockpit and gear wells from the Special hobby/Grand Phoenix kits you could have a proper build. With out the deep engraved lines of the after mentioned manufactures. Its a neat subject. Hyperscale reviewed the kit and it looks as if it is a spaghetti western…the good, the bad and the ugly.

      • Yeah, you got that right. I read the HS review the day after I clicked “purchase” at Sprue Bros. Hoping I am not going to have a “first” (sending it back for store credit). Looking at the Special Hobby kit, I am liking it more and more.

    • OK, I have the Trumpeter kit. After an afternoon spent comparing the plastic in this kit with the Special Hobby kit, and staring at photos of real Firefly Is and models of Firefly Is (Special Hobby and Grand Phoenix), I have come to some conclusions.

      1. The Trumpeter kit isn’t as bad as I thought it might be.

      2. Trumpeter used the Grand Phoenix kit as its basis for the CAD drawings. This is obvious because the Grand Phoenix kit has a continuous curve through the cockpit area viewed head-on, where Special Hobby’s Firefly has a more flattened section. Staring at photos, I think Special Hobby’s kit is more accurate in this shape issue, but
      it’s not enough to loose sleep over. Both kits are the same size dimensionally.

      3. Trumpeter screwed up the tail feathers, but not unfixably so. If you cut off the outer rear tip of the horizontal stabilizer along the “panel line” and then glue that to the elevator parts, you have the right shaped elevators. According to the Special Hobby kit, the elevators are metal covered, so they got that right. The rudder is fabric covered, not metal covered, they got that wrong. One can use tape over the “panel lines” in the rudder, or glue thin Evergreen strips over them and sand down to appropriate look.If you go with Tamiya tape, varnish over it and that will hold it on the plastic.

      4. The gear wells are wrong, but it’s an easy task to make the “boxes” from Evergreen sheet and put some ribs inside with Evergreen strip.

      5. The prop spinner is more “pointed(ish)” than bulbous, but you can get a better approximation of the blunter shape by filling the tip of the spinner with CA glue, then do some re-shaping at the tip. The propeller blades are too narrow. I can fix that with the Mk.IV/V blades in the SH kit; if you don’t have that option, live with them or scrounge some replacements.

      6. The rockets are right, if you do the Korean War 827 Squadron option – all Fireflies dropped the rocket rails after WW2, so far as I can see from photos. The bomb rack is a “dog’s breakfast” and best left off. If you do this option, source some more accurate national insignia.

      7. If you do the 1771 Squadron BPF airplane, the decals are right. The BPF national insignia seems to vary from squadron to squadron and at best “approximates” US national insignia it was supposed to be like. If you do this, leave the rockets off, or get the rocket rails, rockets and mounts from a SH kit.

      8. The cockpit interiors do leave a lot to be desired. Add more boxes and make a throttle quadrant from Evergreen stock. Also, there is a centerline brace in the rear cockpit canopy that Trumpeter didn’t do and you should scribe in. The cockpit glass is clear enough that if you close up the cockpits you will see what’s in there, but it may distract from the lack of “busy-ness” in the cockpit.

      Overall, the Trumpy kit is a B/B+, while the Special Hobby kit is also a B+ but for different reasons. It’s not one of their best, but it’s a lot better than the bloody Hornet kits, and if you follow the advice here, you’ll have a good model.


      • I am slowly working through the issues, and really like the way the model is looking getting ready for paint. If you are using the kit transparencies, you will need to trim the plastic at both ends to get them to fit. I think my original frustrations were due to my own skill (or lack of) during basic assembly.

  2. I definitely don’t have the same background as you, but am simply amazed at hoe basic the kit reall y is. My references aren’t that deep, but I sure thought more cockpit detail would have been nclud d.

    • Looking forward to you winning the battle, but right now I am prepared to look at the parts in the box without opening the bags and getting Gordon to let me return it for store credit. Looking at my Special Hobby kit, it’s looking less and less difficult since it leads to a good result (with “some modeling skill” applied).

  3. Jeff, thanks for the review, too bad they didn’t do a little more research and a little more care producing the kit. This is a simple standard airplane shape/design that shouldn’t be that tough for manufacturers to engineer perfectly. What makes it more disappointing is that most of us model guys would love a nice firefly on our shelves. “Are you reading this Tamiya, Eduard” !
    I hope your modeling skills allow you to battle through the issues and present us with a winner when your done. I look forward to the final product.

  4. Good luck on this one. I’ll stick with the Special Hobby kit. I’ve built two of them and they’re not that difficult and are alot more accurate.

  5. Glad u r trying to build this unique subject matter. Dont see these built up to often and its a neat airplane. Sorry you r having problems with it. Do not know much about being accurate b/c dont know much about the aircraft. I guess its hit or miss with Trumpeter. I have lucked out b/c have had some really good luck with Trumpeter but then again, not really a rivet counter. Good luck with continuing the build. Look forward to the finished product!

    • I have really enjoyed most of my Hobbyboss and Trumpeter kits, since they have introduced a lot of my favorites! My own skills are expanding as I have worked through some of the difficult portions of this kit, and I do like the look at this point. More pictures to follow!

  6. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out. 🙂

  7. Ok, paint is on and now it is starting to look a lot better…..

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  8. Ok, I’m done! In the end, I enjoyed this kit although it was a challenge. My granddaughter already announced that it is hers! The canopies required trimming of the contact points to fit, and the decals are extremely thin, causing me to go to a second kit to finish. They settle well and conformed with setting solution to all of the engraved detail. Onward and upward!

    4 attached images. Click to enlarge.

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