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Hi All

Started this while letting the Comet varnish harden, very impressive good mouldings no flash, Just one small part missing rear towing lug.

 

did not take too long to get this far which surprised me, when assembling suspension don’t follow the instructions fully, after the first part you have to then prise the bottom open to get the wheels in, I struggle with CA on the Pe parts get it everywhere!, bit of work needed to get the bogies to fit to hull it’s very tight. 
 

Sherman Firefly VC

 

Sherman Firefly VC

 

 

Sherman Firefly VC

 

Sherman Firefly VC

missing lug on right, I made a handle for the rear doors as I broke it, and the lump with the pe was not very clear how it mounted. 
 

 

cheers

Mark

 

getting the bug big time lol 😂 

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I'm doing on of these in my Odd Fireflies thread.  I didn't like RFM's hull construction at all. Lower hull parts far too flimsy and not enough joining area.  No bracing.  I found that getting the upper hull on after the FDA was in place and getting everything to line up and fit was troublesome.  Next time around (I have another to do) I will brace the lower hull and proably leave the FDA until the upper and lower hull are joined.

 

The FDA bolt flanges are a bit too regular.  In real life they rarely mated exactly so you find different shapes on each part and usually a visible join line between.  Asuka cracked this by making each flange of 2 pieces.  I left the mould line in place and did a bit of filing and scraping to un-even them up a bit.  Like other brands there is still that awkward join line around the FDA bulges, which was in reality a single-piece casting.

 

Most VC Fireflies were on mid-late production A4s as the M34A1 mount and Oilgear turret traverse were mandated for conversion.  RFM cover this.  But they give 3 sprocket options, of which only 1 is correct for any Chrysler M4.  As with other manufacturers RFM have missed the fact that Chrysler never used studs and nuts along the bottom of their bogie castings. Uniquely they used round-head slotted cap screws with no visible thread.  Easy enough to snip and file off the protruding threads and file the visible angles off the nuts.

 

The idler is wierd.  The construction method gives the edge flange missed by every other manufacturer to date, but leaves a large join around the running surface - which was of course a smooth single piece.  An etched ring for the outer rim each side would have been a better idea.

 

They don't give any applique armour, which is fine: not all Fireflies had it.  However, for the last 4 months of A4 production Chrysler were factory-fitting the whole hull set and for the last 2 months were fitting the turret patch.  Most of the 1600-odd ex-US A4s remanufactured and supplied during 1944 would have had the full applique set fitted. So a Firefly with no applique would be unusual.  RFM have copied the Bovington museum tank, reputed to have been a school tank - even to the point of including its markings.

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Wow cheers for all that info, I know zero about Shermans and Fireflies, did help rebuild a Multibank engine thats at Duxford, but as regards all your info, some  of it has lost me, I have just got a copy of Armoured Thunder, but any other reading you could recommend would be most helpful 

 

cheers muchly

 

Mark

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How did you get on with building the bogies? I built mine today and found that a lot of swearing was necessary. And a whole heap of seam scraping. 

 

As with Asuka's daft foam rubber I dispensed with the springs and filled the space with plastic so the bogies are solid. Strangely, the arms still had a lot of play in them. There are a lot of awkward sharp mould lines on what were smooth, soft-edged cast parts. In their quest for perfection, RFM have overlooked real imperfections. M4 bogies from different foundries have real mould lines in different places. The ones used by Chrysler on all their VVSS tanks had a prominent mould line across the face of the main bogie casting, between the ribs. Dragon and Asuka got this right. RFM missed it.

 

I found the road wheel rear face inserts to be hard to fit, needing a firm shove to seat fully, even allowing for lining up the index ridge. Several popped out again while I was reaching for the Tamiya Extra Thin. Make sure you get the wheels the right way round on their swing arms. The outer face is the one moulded to the rim and has the grease nipples in the 2 little indents. My kit had a little separate sprue with extra swing arms. Some on the main sprues had the axles moulded too short.

 

BTW you've used the Ford style forged sprockets, not used on A4s except perhaps as field replacements. You need the other open type provided,  without the little slopes at the tips of the openings. 

 

The sprocket construction itself is truly daft. You make a rotating hub (why?) and then attempt to attach the sprocket to it. I say attempt because the hub has a ring of little studs which are supposed to fit into small holes inside the sprocket. No way on this planet that you can see to line these up, and if you don't the sprocket will sit too far out. So trim off the little studs first. Also, be careful where you put your glue. DO NOT put any on the rim where you removed the studs. It will just ooze through the gap when you push the parts together and bugger the whole sprocket centre. Learn from my mistake. Much awkward cleaning up.......

 

Why they just didn't copy everyone else and mould the hub centre as part of the sprocket outer face I really don't know.

 

The Sherman Minutia website has pretty much everything you need to know.

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Cheers mate

more super info, will swap sprockets to correct ones, I found the bogies fiddly but found that if you fully compressed the springs with a thumb while supporting the bogie you could drop the other arm on and then the rear casing, then while holding together apply glue, after a minute or so carefully pry open the bottom to fit wheels, and while concentrating on this I have a couple the wrong way round, very fiddly but overall I’m pleased, not knowing much at all about this vehicle and where cast lines should and shouldn’t be is going to be hit and miss. 
 

Road wheels were a bit of a pain, getting lined up and a lot of pressure to push in. 
 

one thing I have added is the large L shaped brackets on the front mudguards, but they are not shown fitted on the box art, or any of the few photos I have found, so my try to remove them or cut them off. 
 

thanks for more pointers much appreciated 

 

cheers

Mark

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Latest update photos, ruined a couple of the periscope guards so used a couple of the plastic ones but managed to get some on, PE is a learning curve, added lots of random scratches to the rear deck, hoping when painted will look well used 

 

RFM Sherman Firefly Vc more etched parts added

 

RFM Sherman Firefly Vc more etched parts added

 

RFM Sherman Firefly Vc more etched parts added

 

L brackets on front mudguards may get removed, none of the hatches or turret have been fixed in place as yet yet to decide how I will display it, may add it to a diorama with my Comet possibly with a Churchill AVRE too all tight together, decisions decisions 

 

cheers

 

Mark

Edited by mbthejester
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Thanks Roger 

big learning curve, even down to right CA glue, VMS do different types, but are they all the same really just thick and thin ? might get some slower setting to allow positioning time 

 

cheers

Mark 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm not sure I was entirely clear about the sprockets to use, and 2 of the types provided are hard to tell apart in model photos.  This is the type you need. Factory fit on all Chrysler built Shermans of all types, inc HVSS.

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Don't know how I missed this but good to catch up as I am waiting for my RFM Firefly to arrive. Looking forward to that build very much. Thanks to @Das Abteilung for the pointer to The Sherman Minutia site http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/index.html. Very useful. 

 

Looking at Mark's build and top turret view, I wondered how you could practically operate the 50 cal.? Not like a "normal" Sherman where someone can jump on the back deck and freely operate because of that radio bustle and stowage box sticking out the back. I now see they were often/usually removed on the Firefly.

 

I'll also have to brush up on techniques to apply applique armour - fully expect it will be necessary depending on the subject that I finally settle on. Shame RFM did not include this. 

 

Hope Mark posts some more soon.

 

Ray

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Applique is an interesting question. After market sets are available, such as Tank Workshop, but it is simple plastic card work on a fabricated hull.

 

Not all Fireflies carried it. And those which did have it did not always have the full set.  The plates for the drivers' hoods were considered the highest priority, followed by the turret patch.  The hull ammo stowage was partly solved by the altered and better protected stowage arrangements, which of course the Firefly couldn't use.  RFM have copied the Bovington tank, reputed to have been a school tank, which does not have it and still has the little-seen Sunshade brackets on the hull sides.  Chrysler began factory-fitting applique from about Sept 43: the last 3 months of production, so very much a minority of the 7,700 or so A4s built.

 

Applique sets became available for depot and field fitting at about the same time, so some earlier production tanks still in depots might have had it fitted there.  Depots processed deliveries quickly and there would be perhaps 2 - 4 weeks' production held there at any one time.  Field fitting was patchy (pardon the pun!) depending on availability.

 

It is perhaps strange that the Firefly programme didn't require applique armour to be produced in the UK, which would have been simple. Especially as the Quick Fix revised protected ammo stowage didn't work for the 17pdr ammo.

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On 09/05/2020 at 06:30, Ray_W said:

Don't know how I missed this but good to catch up as I am waiting for my RFM Firefly to arrive. Looking forward to that build very much. Thanks to @Das Abteilung for the pointer to The Sherman Minutia site http://the.shadock.free.fr/sherman_minutia/index.html. Very useful. 

 

Looking at Mark's build and top turret view, I wondered how you could practically operate the 50 cal.? Not like a "normal" Sherman where someone can jump on the back deck and freely operate because of that radio bustle and stowage box sticking out the back. I now see they were often/usually removed on the Firefly.

 

I'll also have to brush up on techniques to apply applique armour - fully expect it will be necessary depending on the subject that I finally settle on. Shame RFM did not include this. 

 

Hope Mark posts some more soon.

 

Ray

Hi Ray,

Been a bit busy on duty last few weeks, but will be back on for a good few hours this week on this and the Comet, will post pics and update, thanks for your interest 🙂 

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On 08/05/2020 at 21:18, Das Abteilung said:

I'm not sure I was entirely clear about the sprockets to use, and 2 of the types provided are hard to tell apart in model photos.  This is the type you need. Factory fit on all Chrysler built Shermans of all types, inc HVSS.

spacer.png

That's perfect thanks, definitely no excuse to use wrong one now 🙂    would it be worth trying to get the applique set for mine ?  and one thing I cannot fathom, how were the extra track lengths fitted to hulls and turrets, welded is a given, but what contact points on tracks ? anyone have a photo please ?

 

Cheers

Mark

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Applique is really down to personal choice and reference photos.

 

At the risk of another bad pun its application was patchy (groan!).  The hull patches are easily made from 1mm plastic card.  File or sand the edges coarsely to represent the flame cutting, brushed over with liquid poly.  Factory fit hull side patches were welded all round whereas field fit were often not weded at the bottom because of the sand shield flanges.  Replacing the section of hull MG mount cover rail on the front applique patch is straightforward, but this wasn't always done in the field.  The cover was rarely used except for shipping, despite being an urgent modification.  The turret patch is more problematic.

 

On which subject, no A4s were fitted with the thickened-cheek turret.  Dragon and RFM got this right but the Asuka kit of the VC with the thickened-cheek turret is completely bogus - although their other A4/V kits are correct.

 

Many/most/all of the 1,600-odd early A4s retained by the US for training and subsequently remanufactured and shipped to the UK were fitted with the applique kits during remanufacture.  So somewhere between a third and half of A4s had factory-fit applique.  M34A1 gun mounts were also substituted, making early A4s suitable for Firefly conversion.  The Firefly in the Brussels museum is a remanufactured DV A4, for example.

 

As for track 'armour', M4 links were mounted with the guide horns against the hull and the horns were welded to the hull.  Whether every one was welded is an open question.  I suspect that on a run of connected track links only a few were done, and some would have been hard to get to.  As for other track types, I don't know,  Churchill tracks are seen on Shermans, especially Canadian, but these had a flat inside face with no horns.

Edited by Das Abteilung
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@Das Abteilung Great info! Looking at various Firefly images I can see it definitely is a case of build to your photo reference. I see what you mean about a armour application. I'll check out the other build and try not to clutter up Mark's build thread.

 

Ray

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More great info Thanks, and doh, I still went and used the wrong drive sprockets, no idea how but I did even with the reference photo above.

 

Done a bit more on it, was going to use the track guards etc, BUT looking through as many photos as I can find, they seem to be very very rarely fitted, so the PE fitments have been added, bit more PE fitted all round and the bogies attached, very tight getting them on properly had to scrape a fair bit of the location points on the hull away, also found that you need to fit the centre part of the drive sprocket before you fit to hull, so don't follow the instructions on that bit, pain to line the parts up otherwise.

Filled the gap around the defunct bow gunners housing so that looks much better, have also cut the brackets off that were over front mudguard again no photos of them on the Firefly in use except a prototype at the gunnery school

 

Sherman Firefly Vc more lower hull work done and bogies fitted

 

49893774008_40cc07a94e_b.jpgSherman Firefly Vc more lower hull work done and bogies fitted by Mark Bentley, on Flickr

 

49893774023_c2f6ddb8af_b.jpgSherman Firefly Vc more lower hull work done and bogies fitted by Mark Bentley, on Flickr

 

49893774033_b15a519596_b.jpgSherman Firefly Vc more lower hull work done and bogies fitted by Mark Bentley, on Flickr

 

Ignore the Comet turret, just put there for safety, although it does look pretty good

 

 

Cheers

Mark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers

Mark

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by mbthejester
issues uploading photo links
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@mbthejester

 

Hi Mark,

Check your pictures. Have the address but they're not linked. I can see them if I use the address but they're not in your post.

Ray

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Cheers Ray, I`m at work and using two different browsers to get the forum and flickr up, one works on one and not the other due to IT settings and issues.

 

Mark

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27 minutes ago, mbthejester said:

Cheers Ray, I`m at work and using two different browsers to get the forum and flickr up, one works on one and not the other due to IT settings and issues.

 

Mark

All good now.

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