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Ryan FR-1 Fireball


Czech Model, 1/48 scale


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: CM4815 - Ryan FR-1 Fireball
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 53 parts in injected grey styrene; 37 parts in cream-coloured resin; 2 clear parts; markings for two aircraft.
Price: USD$35.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Fascinating but until now neglected subject; high-quality plastic; good detail; recessed panel lines; excellent decals; effective use of multi-media; includes 50 page mini "in action" book
Disadvantages: Some preparation required.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended to modellers who have built some limited run kits


Reviewed by Brett Green

Czech Model's 1/48 scale Ryan FR-1 Fireball is available online from Squadron.com




The US Navy recognised the importance of jet fighters during the course of the Second World War, but early jet engines were insufficiently responsive to take of unassisted from carrier decks. The reliability of jet engines was also of concern to the Navy, considering its pilots spent long hours over water.

The Ryan FR-1 Fireball was devised as the response to both of these challenges. A 1350hp Wright Cyclone engine powered this hybrid fighter on take off and landing, while a General Electric J-31 turbojet took over when the aircraft was underway.

This compromise design was shortlived, however. The Fireball did enter fleet service in 1945 but did not see combat against the Japanese in its intended role of Kamikaze interceptor. 66 Fireballs were delivered before the balance of the order was cancelled on VJ-Day. The FR-1 was withdrawn from US Navy service by July, 1947.





Czech Models' 1/48 scale Ryan FR-1 Fireball comprises 53 parts in injection moulded plastic, two canopies in clear vacform plastic, 37 resin parts and markings for two aircraft. A mini "In Action" book is also included in the package.

The plastic parts are up to the same high standard seen in Czech Models' recent releases. The parts are crisply moulded with very little flash, panel lines are sharply engraved. There are some raised ejector pins on the inner surfaces, but these will be quickly be removed with a hobby knife or sprue cutter.

Trailing edges are quite thin.

The 37 resin parts are in the familiar style of True Details, with good detail, high quality casting and a simple parts breakdown. These resin parts will mostly be destined for the cockpit and the and the Wright Cyclone engine. The lovely resin crankcase is complimented by finely detailed individual cylinders. Flap actuators, ordnance sway braces and an optional nose wheel are also supplied in resin.

The canopy is supplied as a single piece on a vacform sheet. A spare is provided in case of slip-ups.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Engineering is typical of limited run kits. There are few locating positions or tabs, so extra care and time will be required to ensure correct alignment and a secure bond. Interestingly though, this time the horizontal tail surfaces do feature locating tabs. Also, the full-span lower wing will help firmly fix this important join.

Two marking options are included:

  • FR-1 Fireball, VF-66, 1945

  • FR-1 Fireball, VF-1E, 1946

The "FR-1 in action" book is small in size - half-letter size and 50 pages - but big in inspiration. Although less than 70 Fireballs were produced, this publication provides plenty of historical photos, operational anecdotes and a pleasing selection of colour profiles as a centrefold. In addition to his profiles, Don Greer's artwork also adorns the front and rear cover of the book.

The book also covers the sleek Darkshark. I wonder if we will see this attractive variant from Czech Models in the future?





Czech Models' 1/48 scale FR-1 Fireball is a well detailed model of a fascinating subject. The inclusion of the "In Action" book is a genuinely useful bonus, as reference material on this uncommon aircraft is equally rare. I do like the concept of the one-stop kit and reference package.

The relatively small number of parts and sensible engineering makes this kit a candidate for a modeller who wants to try their hand at their first limited run model. Despite the unusual nature of the Fireball's propulsion, the configuration of the airframe is very conventional. This means that there should be no real complications with construction.

With suitable preparation and care in alignment and assembly, Czech Models' 1/48 scale Ryan FR-1 Fireball will deliver an attractive replica of this unique aircraft.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Squadron for the review sample.

Review Text and Images Copyright 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 26 May, 2005
Last updated 27 May, 2005

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