Fiat Finch FGA.Mk.1 - 257 Squadron - 1960

Started by Knightflyer, July 09, 2018, 02:29:24 AM

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As the NATO-organised NBMR-1 competition (which sought a light fighter-bomber "Light Weight Strike Fighter" to be adopted as standard equipment across the air forces of the various NATO nations) came to it's conclusion in 1958, the UK Government, which had initially appeared sceptical of any result performed an about-face and in the spirit of NATO solidarity decided to commit to purchasing examples of the eventual winner.

This would mean that in a shift from it's original position regarding the outcome, the UK would now operate the winning air-frame alongside the Hunter FGA.Mk.9 to give a two-tiered approach to the fighter-bomber provision for the RAF

Following the meeting of NATO Defence Ministers which was held in April 1958 at which it was agreed that the G.91 would be the first NATO lightweight strike fighter, the UK Government made an initial order to provide enough aircraft for two squadrons, with the initial deliveries coming straight from the Fiat factory in Turin,and initially Fiat would be totally responsible for bringing the aircraft to 'fly-away' condition including painting and markings.

This lead to surprise when the first RAF pilots arrived in Italy for the first delivery flights, as the Italians had decided to celebrate the winning of the potentially prestigious order from the RAF with a beyond normal paint-scheme for the initial RAF Fiat G.91s, as seen in the photos below the scheme for the first aircraft for 257 Squadron was a combination of the standard RAF camouflage and a bold yellow tail-fin harking back to the non-camouflaged Meteor F.Mk.8s operated by the squadron back in the early 1950s. Surprising, and possible because they recognised the public friendly publicity value of the markings, the paint scheme survived (at least on a few examples) it's encounter with the RAF upper echelons of command.

Initially the aircraft was to be the Fiat Falco, anglicised to Falcon, but almost from first sight of the relatively diminutive aircraft in it's new markings and before any official naming ceremony the name 'Finch' attached itself through popular usage to the aircraft. There was some initial objection, with the desire for a more warlike name, but seeing how Folland were promoting it's aircraft with the Midge / Gnat name this quickly faded away. There was also a brief attempt to modify the name to Firefinch, but that was a non-runner almost from the start.

As for the model - I bought two of the old Airfix models back in 2014 (I think there may have been a discussion about possible RAF usage on this website) and they've languished in my stash until recently. I think Spinners Bristol Bullfinch supplied at least a subconscious nudge (I remember looking at, and liking at the time, but not proceeding) and it wasn't until I needed a quick-fix model during a 'down' period last month that the Finch took flight. The next one (probably in natural metal finish) will probably be started (and hopefully finished) as part of the RAF Group Build

Oh to be whiffing again :-(


Very nice - and colorful, too!  :thumbsup:

Reminds me that I must tackle my plan for an Argentinian Gina some day...


Looks great!  And, gives me idea for my Ginas, too ...  :)   :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Thistle dew, Pig - thistle dew!

Where am I going?  And why am I in a handbasket?

It's dark in the dark when it's dark. Ancient Ogre Proverb

"All right, boyz - the plan iz 'Win.'  And if ya lose, it's yer own fault 'coz ya didn't follow the plan."


That has come out well  :thumbsup: Certainly suits the colour scheme
Decals my @r$e!


Will die without understanding this world.


"We thank you, but this diversion is not true. Things never happened thus."

"Oh, but it IS true. Things need not have happened to be true. Tales and dreams are
the shadow-truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes, and forgot."

- Sandman: A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Neil Gaiman

Glenn Gilbertson