Years ago when I got back into plastic modeling in a serious sort of way, I saw the 1/72 Airfix kit of the Fairey Firefly on a hobby store shelf and was taken by the box art of this big bird. Of course I bought it. I confess after all these years, it’s still on my shelf but with the arrival of this book authored by Paul Bradley, I’ve been inspired to put it on my short list. Along with the other two kits of the aircraft I have.
Teaming up with artist Srecko Bradic, Paul’s put together a 96-page tome covering all the details, variants, and history one could hope for on any one aircraft. Sharp photos---most in color---plus 34 color profiles from Bradic populate the pages. The author also provides a modeler’s section covering three 1/72 Firefly builds, one 1/48 scale one, plus two pages of “Kitography” listing all the available kits as well as aftermarket decal sheets.
The book’s narratives include chapters on the development of the Firefly and its service with the Fleet Air Arm, as well as with other countries flying the export versions. Particularly interesting to me was the chapter on the Firefly in combat---I wasn’t aware that the aircraft was such a formidable foe for the Japanese Ki-43 and Ki-44 fighters in the later days of WW2. The Firefly’s prominent Youngman flaps provided maneuverability somewhat out of character for a big aircraft and enabled it to claim several air-to-air victories over its smaller and more nimble opponents.
A full-color photo-Walkaround chapter of the Fireflies on display in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, and The Canadian Warplane Heritage gives excellent coverage and from what I can see, covers most of the details a modeler might ever want.
An excellent, complete, well-done reference source, and if you’re a fan of British aircraft like me, this is one to add to your library. Most highly recommended---thank you, SAM Publications Ltd., and thanks to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this fine effort. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also give a personal shout-out thank-you to Paul Bradley for a great piece of work.