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Having built nothing new for about five months (partly to do with loss of enthusiasm), I had a root through the cupboards where I keep my stash, trying to come up with something that would fire me up (you’d think that with 50 odd AFVs and trucks, it wouldn’t be too difficult). Several years ago, I built a Firefly 1c using a Tamiya M4 upper hull and a Dragon lower hull, but I made some school boy errors, and ditched it. It’s now sitting on a shelf, in pieces waiting to be recycled into other builds.

Right, the current project. There is now a 1/35th scale model of the Sherman 1c with a welded hull from Dragon, but I still have a lot of spare parts to use up. Gathering the relevant parts together, I found that I was short of an upper hull, but an email to somebody I know on TL has got me a Tamiya M4 upper hull. There are some modifications to be made to it such as the radio pot (wrong shape) and a few weld lines on the glacis that need eliminating and some that need enhancing. The lower hull is also Tamiya and has been used in many different kits, but unfortunately has a (minor) problem; the moulded on base plates for the VVSS are 1mm higher on one side than the other which does make the completed model lean to one side. But it isn’t major and a sharp chisel blade and some sanding will remove them ready for new ones to be fitted.

I have a Firefly turret left over from the original build which is in reasonable condition, but if I’m not happy with it, I have a new one (Dragon). Whichever way that I choose, I’ve also got a 17pdr courtesy of RB Models. The rest will come from my spares box such as the suspension, bins, stowage etc. The one thing that I’m not sure about at the moment are the tracks. If I don’t have the appropriate ones, then I will order a set from Panda Plastics. Also, not sure about the finish. Once I’ve had a look through my decals, then I’ll decide.

So there you have it. I won’t be starting this off with any photos of sprues, box art etc as it’s not relevant, but my next post will be straight into the build, modifying the lower hull. See you then.

 

John.

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Aye up John.

 

Sounds like an interesting project. Always enjoy your works in progress so look forward to this one starting.

 

Regards

 

Steve

 

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Thanks a lot Steve, and I'm glad to have you watching.

 

John.

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I'll tag along if I may, I could do to learn some more about Shermany things, :)

Steve.

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2 hours ago, stevehnz said:

I'll tag along if I may, I could do to learn some more about Shermany things, :)

Steve.

Hi Steve. You are very welcome to tag along and you WILL learn a lot of Shermany thing, most of them, not true.:o But if you have any questions, please ask.

 

John.

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OK, it's up and running.

The strangely positioned base plates. These seem to be OK.....

70679682-d985-42d1-ab78-90a65df52936.JPG

 

....but these are 1mm too high.

4cc1b070-caf9-4cc6-bd5c-cee84191c028.JPG

 

The first job was to remove the front transmission extensions as they have unfortunate gaps in them that would require filling and sanding. Next was to remove the base plates on the RHS. I did this using a rotary grinder I my mini drill until most of the detail was gone. I then sanded it with a coarse sanding pad, and finished it off with some medium wet and dry. The whole side was coated with Tipex to fill all of the sanding marks, and once dry, rubbed down with fine wet and dry.

52b11840-094b-4d7b-ba47-69f12a849d4a.JPG

 

I took the dimensions from the base plates on the LHS, and cut them from 10thou card. Once they were glued in place, I attached the 10 bolt heads on each one. These were a mixture of punched out heads and the ones that I’d shaved off of the original plates.

6e4874d7-e477-4f36-8882-f4e36617e2c2.JPG

 

While I had the punch and die set out, I punched out the 16 bolts missing from the leading edges of the lower hull and fixed them in place. Most kits miss these off. It’s only the latest Tasca/Asuka kits that include them.

a12ea40b-9eca-41ff-bfce-c2f7ab133c6f.JPG

 

I’m not sure whether it applied to all of the 1c’s, but the ones depicted on the Tamiya sheet all appear to have the pointed transmission cover. A search in my various spares boxes produced one from Dragon which was assembled and glued in place. Some pieces of card were glued on the inside to give some strength, although in this photo, the two parts are just butted up together.

1af6c9ca-5e88-4b4d-8526-7e2b2422e4d4.JPG

 

One stumbling block solved is which tank I would model. Looking at the painting instructions for Tamiya’s 1c, there is an illustration for a tank of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry and fortunately, I’ve got most of the markings in the spares box. It also solved the track problem, T48’s, which I’ve got a set of from Dragon.

c71ac1a1-0192-41f8-b424-b58ea9580539.JPG

 

When the temperature cools a bit in my hobby room (it's 28 at the moment), I'll get on with the running gear.

 

John.

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Nice start John, I shall be watching with interest as I’ve got a cast IC in the stash.

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24 minutes ago, Ozzy said:

Nice start John, I shall be watching with interest as I’ve got a cast IC in the stash.

Thanks Ozzy. I've also got the 1c Hybrid in the cupboard and I've had to resist the temptation to nick parts from it.

 

John.

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Aye up John.

 

Great start and a good tip in regards to using Tipex to fill (idea now stolen for future use) I'm currently knocking together the Tamiya 48th Stug B as a 'palette cleanser' after my 2 GB entries and then another Sherman will be next on the build list.... gotta a love a Sherman! :wub:

 

Keep it coming.

 

Regards,

 

Steve

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M4s (i.e. radial welded 75mm VVSS) were very varied in configuration, with 5,000-odd being built by 4 companies: ALCO, Baldwin, Pressed Steel and Pullman Standard.  Only the A2 was built by more companies.  So you have a fair degree of latitude with your parts stash. 

 

However, the Tamiya M4 hull incorrectly has an M4A4 glacis with the Chrysler driver's hood and antenna base shapes unique to the A4.  So you ideally need a new glacis or hull front forward of the turret splash ring from somewhere.   There's a Sherman I build on Hyperscale which used a resin upper hull (TMD?  £££).  You might be better off with one of the A2 upper hulls as a start point (but not from the Dragon Sicily or Tarawa A2s: more unique features).  ALCO and Pullman both built M4 and A2 concurrently for a time, so some features were common.  Some IC and VC were built on DV hulls, so you would have that option (with applique).  Baldwin M4s were all DV.

 

Does your Firefly turret have the UK-fitted rectangular loader's hatch or the factory oval one, what sort of pistol port does it have and is it low or high bustle?  Also which nose and bogie type(s) do you have?  These elements will date production and assist with other age-appropriate features.

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14 hours ago, fatfingers said:

gotta a love a Sherman

Agreed. Thanks Steve. I'll keep an eye out for your Stug.

 

John.

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6 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

M4s (i.e. radial welded 75mm VVSS) were very varied in configuration, with 5,000-odd being built by 4 companies: ALCO, Baldwin, Pressed Steel and Pullman Standard.  Only the A2 was built by more companies.  So you have a fair degree of latitude with your parts stash. 

 

However, the Tamiya M4 hull incorrectly has an M4A4 glacis with the Chrysler driver's hood and antenna base shapes unique to the A4.  So you ideally need a new glacis or hull front forward of the turret splash ring from somewhere.   There's a Sherman I build on Hyperscale which used a resin upper hull (TMD?  £££).  You might be better off with one of the A2 upper hulls as a start point (but not from the Dragon Sicily or Tarawa A2s: more unique features).  ALCO and Pullman both built M4 and A2 concurrently for a time, so some features were common.  Some IC and VC were built on DV hulls, so you would have that option (with applique).  Baldwin M4s were all DV.

 

Does your Firefly turret have the UK-fitted rectangular loader's hatch or the factory oval one, what sort of pistol port does it have and is it low or high bustle?  Also which nose and bogie type(s) do you have?  These elements will date production and assist with other age-appropriate features.

'Morning Peter. Yes, I know about the Tamiya M4 glacis. That was the school boy error that I mentioned in my original 1c build. I'm thinking about swapping the glacis for one from the Dragon M50 which I've been led to believe is more akin to an M4's. The Tamiya one could then go onto the M50. A lot of work but that's modelling.

The turret was taken from a Dragon Vc and is the low bustle with a pistol port. With regards to the suspension, I'm probably going to take the ones from  the Tasca Sherman lll which has the horizontal return roller arms as I intend to build that kit with the roller on top (early N.Africa).

 

John.

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Good to see another one of your Sherman builds on the go John. Will follow along with interest.

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1 hour ago, bigfoot said:

Good to see another one of your Sherman builds on the go John. Will follow along with interest.

Yes, I'm running out of display space for all the Shermans. Good to have you following.

 

John.

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Hi John,

Will be watching and learning, wonder what happened to the mold to be out 1mm :hmmm: great start on changing it.

 

Regards

Richard

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1 minute ago, Ripaman said:

Will be watching and learning, wonder what happened to the mold to be out 1mm :hmmm: great start on changing it.

'Morning Richard and thanks. I wonder how many people over the last thirty years or so, have looked at their completed M4 and wondered why it was leaning to one side.

 

John.

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You never know could be lots, I have one of these to build one day will be looking to see if all ok thanks John

 

6KT8y0.jpg

 

Regards

Richard

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I've built that kit, but not as a Firefly. I converted it into a RMASG Sherman V, hence the spare Firefly turret. It's a good kit.

 

John.

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2 hours ago, Ripaman said:

 

6KT8y0.jpg

Thats the one i've just completed in the D-Day group build. As John says its a good kit and goes together quite well. Lots of spares left too which is always a good thing :winkgrin:

 

Regards,

 

Steve

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Dragon have at least 2 A4 upper hull mouldings over time which appear in different boxings.  I've just looked into the 3 M50s and a Cyber Hobby A4 in my stash, which have the same upper hull moulding.  I hadn't noticed before but the glacis isn't fully correct for an A4 so I have something of a job on.  But the applique covers up some of the hood flaws.

 

IIRC (I don't have one) that Dragon kit has the UK-fitted rectangular loader's hatch with the raised surround.  A turret with no factory loader's hatch and a working pistol port (i.e. not welded up) is the first production pattern, which dates it to some time between April 42 and about March 43.  So horizontal return rollers without the later raising block are appropriate with welded open spoke, welded plugged spoke or pressed spoked roadwheels.  Any sprocket rings apart from the Chrysler or Ford "fancy" types.

 

Because all Baldwin M4s were DV and because ALCO didn't start M4 production until Feb 43 (and so probably did not use that earliest turret type) it looks as if you're stuck with a PSC M4.  Which helps with identifying the variable features.  For example, PSC M4s all had a vertical hull rear plate, not angled, and there were unique differences in the splash guards in the area behind the turret.  PSC M4s of that period would have had 3-piece bolted noses and would not have had the exhaust deflector.

 

The Dragon M50/A4 glacis is sadly no better a match for PSC than the Tamiya kit one as both have the "wide" hoods used only by Ford and Chrysler.  The non-DV hoods used by PSC were the cast "narrow" pattern with a plate section welded between them.  PSC M4s until Dec 42 were DV, so you do have that more difficult option.  The outer ends of the glacis were welded-on and the lower glacis below the hoods was a welded-in single piece with an integral cast-in ball mount.  The antenna bracket was circular and welded-in, rather than welded-on: so a much-reduced lip.

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Posted (edited)

The CLY tank shown on the decal sheet looks potentially most like an ALCO tank, assuming that the drawing depicts the majority of correct features for that actual vehicle.  But I think that whoever drew it has confused the features somewhat.  

 

Although ALCO started building M4s at about the time that the redesigned turret was being introduced, I have found photos of identified April '43 ALCO M4s which have the earliest pattern turret.  So it seems they did actually build at least some like this, contrary to what I suggested earlier.  But the bolted nose was being used then, and photos suggest that a cast nose ALCO M4 with the thin-cheek pistol-port turret (as drawn) is an unlikely combination, although the cast nose was earlier used on their M4A2s.  It could have been replaced in the field, of course.

 

So you could get away with sorting the glacis to represent that tank as drawn, correctly or not.  Easier than making a PSC version.  A bolted nose might be more representative though, noting that you've already fitted a cast one.

Edited by Das Abteilung
Correction

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An April '43 ALCO M4 as described above.  This matches the CLY decals apart from the bolted nose.  The front MG mount on the turret roof and the commander's vision cupola are later additions: cupola conversion kits were issued from late '44.  Note the "padded" type of lifting rings front and back.

 

hd7rVa9.jpg  cAq7Bq3.jpg

 

This (below) shows the ALCO glacis make-up.  Note that this is a later production M4A2 with a cast nose, but the glacis had the same construction after the switch to M4s.  The apparent backward step from cast to bolted noses is interesting (noting that M4A4 had the bolted type throughout) and is possibly indicative of the known shortage of foundry capacity for larger castings.  The flush-welded-in cast antenna base is shown better above.

A8i4fzk.jpg

 

This is a July 43 ALCO M4 (below), still evidently with the thin-spot turret and presumably therefore the pistol port.  Which suggests that this original turret configuration was in use for some months longer than sources suggest.  Still bolted nose.  The T48 rubber chevron tracks on these tanks are not original.  One of the steel types (most likely T49 or T54) would have been factory-fit at this time because of the continuing rubber shortage following the loss of Malaya (a Sherman track set needed almost a US ton of it).  Both tanks have the riser blocks fitted to the return roller axles.

qCu6wpq.jpg

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Interesting subject John mind if I sit quietly at the back and watch another of your masterpieces take shape?

 

  Roger

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28 minutes ago, Hamden said:

 

Interesting subject John mind if I sit quietly at the back and watch another of your masterpieces take shape?

 

  Roger

'Afternoon Roger. Thank you for the kind remarks and I would consider it an honour to have you along. It's going a little slowly at the moment due to the fact that I'm waiting on the upper hull arriving in the post. I've gone about as far as I can with the lower hull and will post an update on that, maybe later today or tomorrow.

 

John.

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A little disclaimer before I proceed. I try to make my models reasonably accurate, but there will be things that I’ve put on it that are not necessarily correct, or I will have missed things off. The way that I look at it, to get it 100% spot on would require so much research that I wouldn’t get any modelling done, and besides, life’s too short.

While I was waiting for the upper hull to arrive in the post, I cracked on with some of detail jobs on the lower hull. At the rear I glued the engine access doors in place after removing the moulded on grab handle and replacing it with brass wire. As these doors came from a Tamiya M4A3, I also removed the moulded brackets for the exhaust deflector and filled the two subsequent holes. There are a couple of slots at the bottom which I filled as these wouldn’t be used (for the towing bracket).

I’d salvaged some parts from my original 1c build, namely the air filters, because they had etched securing rods on them, and the British leaf spring tow bracket. I also added a couple of towing shackles (not seen in this photo).

d0ca255a-904a-48ce-bb17-bf423147f152.JPG

 

I had a spare set of VVSS units that I could have used, but decided to save those for the future. Instead, I took the set from a Tasca kit of a Sherman lll which I intend to build at some date, but with the early VVSS units with the top roller.

As I made a start on these, it became clear that these units are head and shoulders above most others. They can be built as working units by inserting foam into the casing, or glued to make them rigid, which is the way that I went. One plus point is the four retaining bolts on the ends of the track skids (well, three actually. I had to add the fourth), and Tasca have bevelled the leading edge to make it appear thin, and on the five spoke wheels, they have moulded grease nipples. Each unit is made up of 13 parts, and if assembled carefully, can still be made to compress slightly. I drilled the four holes in the front faces of the units and added four bolt heads to the rear which hold the return roller arms.

07d508df-f1b7-4612-8b84-2ce09aa49c5f.JPG

 

b1fc130f-c207-4265-ba6d-19bb0e3f1d0c.JPG

 

daf43001-b4b2-4e8f-8c97-c0b0999d71d8.JPG

 

One last, small job at the front, was the addition of two steps, glued to the towing brackets. I cut these from thin card and bent them to shape.

4886f3ef-ef68-4e2e-91ea-936b413614f5.JPG

 

I'm still waiting on the upper hull turning up, so I might make a start on the turret, or pick up one of my (many) shelf queens.

See you all soon.

 

John.

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