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Frog 1/16 Firefly Dinghy


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First of all, many thanks to fellow CBK-er Frogman, for providing this rare kit. It's missing a few pieces, but nothing that can't be made up. It's a very detailed kit, with LOTS of small parts. Overall, it's a very nice kit. The hull was cracked in a couple of places, which Sean tells me is common with these. I've welded it back together and done lots of filling and sanding:

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It's painted in Vallejo Beige with a touch of "English Uniform" to get a base for the woodgrain. The Firefly was made by laying strips of flexible ply across a mould, Mosquito style. There's a great video on the British Pathe News site that show it being built. I thought of using decals, but in the end I decided on a simpler technique using Vallejo woodgrain effect paint. As it happens, Tamiya 6mm tape is the right width for the strips in 1/16th scale, so... I though that if I masked one set of planks, and grained the alternating ones, and then swapped it around, I'd get the distinctive "hard" angled wood effect, with grain.

I used a strip of tape to space each stripe:

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About ten minutes later, this is where I was:

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One thing that doing this makes clear is that the hull form is pretty accurate. The tape strips lie flat and parallel as they curve over it, as the real ply laminates did.

Then I painted the first set of "planks" with graining - mixture of the the yellow and red woodgrain effect. The red alone would be too much like mahogany.

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Finally, I carefully peeled off each stripe and moved it one width toward the bow - there's only so much 6mm tape in my box!

I grained the parallel planks with a different mix of graining (I just mixed another batch without trying to match it), and when the tape came off, it looked like this:

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Finally, I "varnished" it with an airbrushed coat of Klear, tinted slightly orange with food colouring:

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It does look reasonably like the real thing, though I say it myself!

This is the deck, showing the full on "mahogany" effect:

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And here's the crew:

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Some more detail painting and highlights to do yet, but they're getting there. I've decided it's Grandad with his ex-Navy oilskins, and grandson in some more "modern" 1960s era waterproofs, wearing his life-vest underneath. My godmother has sailed all her life, and she reckons the early 60s was when they replaced their surplus WRENS issue heavy black oilskins with something brighter and lighter...

Lots more to do, but at least I've solved the wood-effect problem to my satisfaction!

bestest,

M.

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That is looking spectacular! The hull form is very similar to a 1957 National 12 that I renovated and sailed some years back which was planked rather than skinned and your mahogany looks so right! Great stuff! MODeller

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Looks great - love the wood effects...

Even though I remember FROG when still in business - I've never seen this kit. Great to see some out of the norm modelling as well.

Iain

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I grained the parallel planks with a different mix of graining (I just mixed another batch without trying to match it), and when the tape came off, it looked like this:

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Finally, I "varnished" it with an airbrushed coat of Klear, tinted slightly orange with food colouring:

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It does look reasonably like the real thing, though I say it myself!

bestest,

M.

Hi Matt

This side looks just like the one in my garage! You've done an excellent job with the strip mahogany reproduction on this side. The other side should be a mirror image of this though. The hulls were built in two halves and joined along the keel, just like the mosquito (and in fact treated in autoclaves previously used for builting mosquitos). When viewed from the bottom the strips meet at the keel in a V pointing to the stern. The hull is 3 ply, so if you want a varnished wood effect inside too, the strips shoud match those on the outside for direction. I've always fancied doing htis kit, but on the few occasions I've seen one, they've been asking silly money.

Dave.

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Nice work, Matt, the wood effect is very realistic.

Is it just me, or does Grandad look a bit grumpy? Grandson probably still has a lot to learn...

Obi-Jiff :fish:

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Thanks very much for your kinds, words, all. The deck and transom aren't yet fixed in place, but I wanted to see how it would look together. Thanks for the tip on the planking, Dave... stripping it or sanding back and doing it again would be ideal, but I don't have time with SMW looming and a whole lot more to do before then!

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This is what I'm aiming for:

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The yellow may be a bit virulent, but it looks the part, I reckon...

Now I just have to figure out HOW the little guys sit in the boat, and what they should be doing. I guess one has the tiller, and the other is holding or hauling on a sheet, but it's a bit of a mystery at the moment...

bestest,

M.

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The guy at the back should have the tiller, and main sheet, and the crew should have the jib sheet.

i love this kit, Showed my dad this thread and he started sailing in a firefly before going to GP14s. Ive still got a GP14, and a laser. revell has done a Laser in 1/18 and I have a couple of kits, and very nice they are. Id love one of these kits, and hope that a GP14 could be made by one of the companies (hey Airfix, its a classic British design.....)

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Slow and steady, boys, slow and steady...

Now we're getting to the bit I'm not so confident about -- rigging. It's a right cat's cradle in there:

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The deck needs holding down pretty firmly, but the fit's not at all bad, except at the rear, where the "arms" can flex as they please:

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The transom (back end) was the most difficult part to fit, but tape and time should see it sorted.

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I don't think this where they'll sit eventually, but it's time for the crew to check her out...

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Sails and then lots of ropes now...

bestest,

M

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The mast is now fitted and rigged. I made all the decals, since the originals are completely shot. I'm just struggling to recover from a "ping" moment... one half of the triangular pulley block that raises the jib has gone AWOL, so I'll be making a new one tomorrow...

Anyway, here she is... the sail numbers are those of Mr Dave Swindells who has sent me some very useful reference pics and rigging advice!

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bestest,

M.

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  • 1 year later...

Im a newbie, and havn't made an airfix model for 30years or more, though its a pleasure I wish my children could learn to enjoy. It has a quality that transcends anything I've observed on facebook :angrysoapbox.sml:

Sorry to be a "gravedigger" here but I found this wonderful thread on the Firefly dinghy model and as I sail one I couldn't resist putting in what I know.

Interestingly, in the original version, the Firefly could actually be bpought as a full scale kit!! :D

n845040485_5657871_1782FireflyKit.jpg

Having a full size version already however, I have been looking to get one of these Frog kits for a while. There was a moment about 3 years ago when, like buses, 3 appeared on ebay from separate sellers, but that seems to have been a one off event of astronomical significance.

You have really done this model proud, although as noted, the orientation of your grain on the Port side would ultimately have to change if you want a truly authentic look.

The interior is painted not varnished and so the grain here is not a problem, but if you were to attempt a “varnish” look on the inside, it would be laid at right angles to the outer veneer.

IF however you were to go along the authenticity route and make this model AS INTENDED on the box illustration there would be another difference…

Here a picture of the original Kit Box.

BQb1oqgBWkKGrHgoH-EMEjlLlt44QBJ445Cjuw_1.jpg

This shows the model boat is based on F3007, Named “Tip Top Too” of Itchenor Sailing Club (I.S.C.) and owned by Ms Roberta (Mimie) Curry.

Frog asked Fairey Marine for a number that would not present a copywright problem on the illustration and either expediency or vanity led Charles Curry, at the time a director of the Fairey Marine company in Hamble to give the number of his daughter's boat.

Mimie was one of the first female helms to be National champion in this class (and for that matter one of only a few woman to be class champion in any ) sailing class. It was in the blood: Her father Charles was the Olympic Finn sailor,for Great Britain in 1952 winning Silver. Given a chance he might well have won a Gold in 1948 when the Firefly was the Single hander at the London Olympics (Held in Weymouth) but was disallowed because as an employee of the Fairey Boatbuilding company he was deemed to be a “professional” at a time when the Olympics was fiercely, (actually snobbishly,) amatuer. The Establishment selected thier own man, Gp Capt MacDonald, a (fully professional) military man, who did not shine.

As far as your authentic look is concerned, as F1984, the external veneers would have been as you have them on the Starboard, (Right hand) side but as noted already, the port side should be a mirror of this. HOWEVER, if you did want to make her like F3007, this was one of the first Fireflies to be constructed with horizontally laid veneers on the outer skin. It was felt to look more attractive, more like a "real" planked boat, and also had a rather lighter "honey" coulor to it, and some claimed faster, as it could be sanded to a flatter finish, but as the firefly was a strict one design, the Class assotiation quickly squashed this rumour!

F3007 continues to be sailed at a competitive level, currently in Sevenoaks in Kent I think.

Here is a picture of the original kit, perhaps this might help you identify some of the parts.

BUNZDw2kKGrHgoH-DoEjlLluCsSBKMWHhIWw_1.jpg

Rest of the album here... http://s225.photobucket.com/albums/dd313/m...irefly%20Model/

Alternatively why not look at the Firefly websight.

http://www.fireflysailing.org.uk/

The authentic rig and sail plan especially for the forestay is rather complicated but if you really want to get it right, and if you are on my Photobucket album, you can look at the "Reynolds mast" album here.

http://s225.photobucket.com/albums/dd313/m...eynolds%20Mast/

Oh and finally,....tiny details;

The crew and helm would be sitting very close together, with thier weight up towards the bow end to get the best trim on the boat.

You need to manufacture some air bags (yellow) to but either side in the stern, as bouyancy. There would also have been one in the bow,

...and then dont forget a small bucket for bailing/calls of nature(!), and a jib stick (a pole about 4' long to hold the jib in place downwind.)

Perhaps this is all a bit too late. This thread is resurected from 2009! :rolleyes:

_________________

Michael Brigg

Edited by Firefly Sailor
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The guy holding the tiller also controls the mainsheet, the other one has control of the jib sail. MODeller

Ha ha, not im my boat, 29er. The helm has the tiller and the jib, sometimes, while the crew has the main upwind. Downwind, helm has tiller and mainsheet, and the crew the spinnaker.

But none the less really nice model....Why haven’t companies haven’t twigged on the boat scene..... It got us quite a few medals in the Olympic..... or is this my biased veiw :P

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Interestingly, in the original version, the Firefly could actually be bpought as a full scale kit!! :D

n845040485_5657871_1782FireflyKit.jpg

That's an interesting photo Michael, I'd wondered what the kit looked like. Can't spot the rudder - the Firefly sails quite nicely without one, but I would have thought it would have come in the kit!

The interior is painted not varnished and so the grain here is not a problem, but if you were to attempt a “varnish” look on the inside, it would be laid at right angles to the outer veneer.

Not so, at least for all the diagonal one's I've seen, including mine. The layup is three ply diagonal laid at 90 degrees, therefore the inner and outer plies are in the same direction.

Thanks also for posting the story behind the kit sail number, an interesting bit of trivia.

Dave

F1984 (Kumali)

Currently laid up in the garage needing a bit of TLC to the side benches

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