UPDATE: I uploaded a new installer to both sites last night, it fixes an animation problem with the right wheel on all models, and the gyro compass in the F1. You should be able to just re-download the installer. The new manual has an amendment list on the second page.
So after some final last minute adjustments the Firefly is ready for download. It’s currently available at:
Or click the button below to go direct to the Payloadz checkout.
The Fairey Firefly was designed to fill a 1939 specification for a two seat, single engine, front gun fighter for the Fleet Air Arm, to replace the Fulmar which was about to enter service as a rush measure.
Due to other demands on the first Firefly F1s weren’t delivered until March 1943, with 1770 forming as the first operational squadron in July 1944 and soon in action taking part in the pre-D-Day attacks on the Tirpitz. Subsequent operations would see 1770, 1771, and 1772 operating in the Indian and Pacific Oceans with Fireflies being the first British built combat aircraft to fly over the Japanese islands.
Towards the end of the war the radar equipped FR.1 and NF.1 were introduced, the former for armed reconnaissance, the later for night interception. Both arrived in the Pacific too late to take part in combat but were busy throughout the region up to the outbreak of the Korean War when 827 squadron took part in the first air strike of the war with its F.1 and FR.1 aircraft.
- 10 authentic liveries covering the Fleet Air Arm, Dutch Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Thai Navy, and Ethiopian Air Force
- Multiple stores options including extended range tanks and 60lb rockets
- Youngman Flaps with a low drag cruising position and a high drag landing setting
- Functioning Reflector (F1) and Gyro Gunsight (FR1 & NF1)
- Flight model based on original pilots notes and assorted historical publications from the archives
- PDF manual covering handling, engine, and systems operation
- AN/APS-6 radar display
- Paint kit
- F1 1770 NAS, HMS Indefatigable, Jan 1945
- F1 1772 NAS, HMS Indefatigable, July 1945
- F1 1770 NAS, HMS Implacable, 1944
- F1 860 NAS, Royal Netherlands Navy, 1946
- FR1 814 NAS, HMS Venerable, 1946
- FR1 826 NAS, Royal Canadian Navy, 1947
- FR1 827 NAS, HMS Triumph, 1950
- FR1, Ethiopian Air Force, 1951
- FR1, Thai Navy, 1951
- NF1, 812 NAS ‘Black Flight’, HMS Ocean, 1949
A couple of pictures I found in 827 Naval Air Squadrons diary when I was at the National Archives. This were both taken in 1948-49 while they were in the Mediterranean and show that the post war colour scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky took a while to be applied. There’s another less clear photo of all their aircraft lined up at Hal Far in Malta and no two seem to have the same scheme!
Finally finished typing the manual up, the first draft is here if anyone fancies a preview Firefly Manual. Just the finishing touches with the installer and setting up accounts to distribute it.
Couple of shots of the Canadian textures, this example was from 826 NAS during it’s spell as an RCN unit. They used different shades of grey to the RN, although this took some time to sort out with the manufacturers due to the use of similar names!
The manual is 80% done so looking good for a release this weekend if I can remember how to make an installer!
A few shots of some new colour schemes. 814 NAS who were slightly unique in having a lightning flash on the nose, a Thai Navy example from before they were made to give them to the Air Force, an Ethiopian Air Force example, and an early Royal Netherlands Navy F1.
Planning on adding an RCN aircraft as well for the final release along with the paint kit.
Just a few shots from the latest developments.
The first two are an NF1 of 812 NAS ‘Black Flight’ which was the Night Fighter detachment on HMS OCEAN in the late 40s. You can also make out the latter style rocket launchers which I hurriedly made after I realised they were more appropriate for the post-war aircraft!
The next three shots are inside and outside of an F1 of 1772 NAS while in European waters in 1944. I’m still trying to confirm if this aircraft would have been involved in the Tirpitz raids or if it would have been an earlier Z registration model with the lower pilot’s canopy.
Only a couple of things left to tick off before I start on the manual and installers now.
A few shots testing the radar, the new options in P3D make it much easier creating a basic radar, and the AN/APS-4 was fairly basic. One tricky feature was the B-scope display which displays returns in a rectangular coordinate system, imagine a sheet of graph paper, the x-axis represents bearings and the y-axis represents range. In the picture below the B-scope is at the bottom left, compared to the contemporary Plan Position Indicator (PPI) display on the right hand side returns closer to the aircraft are spread out horizontally. Consequently although the spit of land forms a straight line on the PPI display as it’s not pointing directly at the aircraft it bends to the right at the bottom of the display. You can also just make out an inlet at the bottom right of the PPI display which is pointing broadly towards the aircraft, on the B-scope this forms a more or less vertical line down the screen. More on the display formats here.
You can also track ships as shown in the next image, I’m not sure what the maximum detection range is yet as I’ve mostly been flying around coastal waters where I know I’ll find some!
The controller is modelled on the actual unit used in the aircraft, the National Air and Space Museum has a clear photo of one here. As far as I have been able to tell on the Firefly the controller was only in the Observer’s cockpit, certainly the Pilot’s Notes don’t show a position for it in the front, consequently I’ve added it as 2-D pop-up. Due to the limitations of P3D the only functions that actually work are the Run/Off switch, Range selector, and the Tilt knob which shows the depression of the radar but isn’t controllable.
The next thing to work on is the User Manual, hunt for any remaining oversights, and finalise the paint schemes.
Some shots from the last few days playing with the external textures. This is really just to check the best way to get a hint of metal showing through in the worn areas and that the scaling is okay to include some nose art. So although it’s the NF1 model the paint scheme is actually for F1 DV124, the only real difference is the flame guards over the exhausts and the RADALT antenna under the tailplane.
DV124 originally appears to have been with 1770 on HMS Indefatigable, then at the start of July 1945 1770 and 1772 swapped manpower to give the former squadron’s crews a break. Consequently when the below photo was taken it was with Sub-Lts MacLaren and Pritchard from the latter unit.
WITH HMS INDEFATIGABLE OFF THE JAPANESE COAST. JULY 1945, ON BOARD THE CARRIER OPERATING WITH THE BRITISH PACIFIC FLEET JUST BEFORE THE JAPANESE SURRENDER. © IWM (A 30304)
As can be seen the aircraft has been heavily damaged, and in fact the box art for Special Hobby’s 1/48 scale model kit includes this damage. What they seem to have missed though is the nose art that was on the left hand side and was removed from the aircraft before it was dumped over the side, and which is now on display in the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
Incidentally the pilot, Temporary Acting Sub-Lieutenant (A) Christopher MacLaren RNVR was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, quite possibly for getting the aircraft back on deck!