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Dragon 1/35 Sherman Firefly Ic: now with added Cromwell


Mozzy19
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On 29/01/2021 at 21:28, Mozzy19 said:

The Firefly was primed the other day and was then given a spray of Tamiya TS-5 Olive drab tonight. Next will be detail painting, gloss coat, decals then I can have some fun weathering it.

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Sean

Hey Sean

 

I like your build and the paint-very well done!


In the photo the surface without decals looks satin, did you use gloss paint for the decals before and after?

On my AVRE the decals are next and I want to avoid silvering.
Which decal medium do you use?

 

Thank you and stay save!
MD

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Gloss varnish any surface that you are going to apply water slide decals to, otherwise you could end up with silvering. If you use rub down decals, such as Archer, they should go onto a matt surface. Then if you are using enamel washes next, seal them in with a gloss coat, not matt. If you apply enamel washes to a matt surface, it absorbs it and spreads, usually where you don't want it to go.

 

John.

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8 hours ago, THEscaleSHOW said:

Hey Sean

 

I like your build and the paint-very well done!


In the photo the surface without decals looks satin, did you use gloss paint for the decals before and after?

On my AVRE the decals are next and I want to avoid silvering.
Which decal medium do you use?

 

Thank you and stay save!
MD

Thanks MD. The initial paint job did have a satin finish to it, but as John said wet transfer decals need a glossy surface to avoid silvering. So the whole thing was given a coat of gloss and left to dry for a day before decals were applied. I also brushed some gloss over each decal as the Star decals carrier film have a very flat finish to them. I used a bit of Mr Mark Softener Neo to persuade some of the decals around some of the curves.

 

Sean

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RFM tracks arrived yesterday, started last night and one run completed this morning. So much more user friendly than the Bronco ones even if the detail is a little softer around the track pins. But that doesn’t matter to me too much, they’re just gonna get muddy anyway :D

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Now for the other side...

 

Sean

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38 minutes ago, Bullbasket said:

No duckbills?

 

John.

Not for this one. I am aware that this tank did have them fitted but my sanity couldn’t take adding that number of tiny pieces unfortunately.

 

Sean

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So both track runs have been built, painted and fitted. My plan for this is to have it in a little village street diorama so I’ve weathered the track pads to represent the cobble stones wearing the chevrons back to fresh steel. I’m not entirely sure I’ve got the look just right yet so any advice would be appreciated.

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The pictures have shown me I still have some work to do on that folded camo net :hmmm:

 

Sean

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On 1/18/2021 at 7:09 PM, Das Abteilung said:

Surprisingly, Firefly applique armour was variable.  I might have expected all Fireflies to have the full set added during conversion if they didn't have the thick-cheek turret, but it was not so.  The only requirements for Firefly conversion were the wider M34A1 gun mount and the Oilgear power traverse.  And no M4A1 or A2s.  You see different combinations of hull front, hull side and turret patches.  The patch was a factory fit for a few months in 43 before the thick cheek came in for a few more months until the end of 75mm production.  Otherwise it was a field fit.

 

One thing Dragon don't do well are the pronounced welds where the radio box joins the turret.  Does the kit give the correct WS19 antenna bases? 

Actually there were M4A1 cast hull variants.  The Canadians used them as well. I have only seen one Brit.  I built my Tamiya 1/16 RC conversion based off the M4A1 photographed in Holland.

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1 hour ago, Capt Keith said:

Actually there were M4A1 cast hull variants.

You're not thinking of hybrids/composites are you?

Nice work Sean. One small detail that you can add if you want. Run a pencil lead around the rims of the road wheels. These used to rub against the teeth of the tracks.

 

John.

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On 1/18/2021 at 7:09 PM, Das Abteilung said:

Surprisingly, Firefly applique armour was variable.  I might have expected all Fireflies to have the full set added during conversion if they didn't have the thick-cheek turret, but it was not so.  The only requirements for Firefly conversion were the wider M34A1 gun mount and the Oilgear power traverse.  And no M4A1 or A2s.  You see different combinations of hull front, hull side and turret patches.  The patch was a factory fit for a few months in 43 before the thick cheek came in for a few more months until the end of 75mm production.  Otherwise it was a field fit.

 

One thing Dragon don't do well are the pronounced welds where the radio box joins the turret.  Does the kit give the correct WS19 antenna bases? 

Actually there were M4A1 cast hull variants.  The Canadians used them as well. I have only seen one Brit.  I built my Tamiya 1/16 RC conversion based off the M4A1 photographed in Holland.

 

No. I found a static display M4A1 Cast hull Candian Grizzly. The M4A1 variant was taken on 18 Sept 44 by my Grandfather who was with the 504 PIR during the Market-Garden operation. 
I loaned the original to Squadron for a publication use.  They require the original photograph to be submitted. It was lost by them being I actually took it to Squadron in Carrollton. TX. and put it in their hand. It was slated to be used in a Steve Zaloga book on Sherman variants.  

I'll post the completed completely converted Tamiya  1/16 105 to M4A1 Cast hull.  I spent over a year on this build.

 

P.S. Nice build. My apologies for hijacking your thread.

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There were NO - I say again NO - Sherman IICs.  The cast hull shape prevented adequate ammunition stowage.  There were no Sherman IIICs because the rear firewall intrusion into the fighting compartment likewise got in the way.  The cast hull situation was not an issue as the UK regarded the Sherman I and II as interchangeable because of their common mechanical parts.  Units equipped with Sherman IIIs generally got VC Fireflies.

 

What you have seen is undoubtedly a Sherman IC Hybrid.  These were last production M4s with a cast glacis mated to an otherwise-fabricated hull.  The glacis casting was almost identical to a large hatch M4A1 and the two are often mis-identified in front views. There were only 100 large-hatch 75mm M4A1s built anyway and as many as 90 of those were converted to DDs.  The larger large-hatch cast front on the Hybrid allowed the front ammunition rack in the hull gunner's position to be installed while the fabricated rear allowed adequate sponson ammmunition stowage.  These were not considered possible on the fully-cast hull.

 

Because these M4 Hybrids (UK name) or Composites (US name) were almost the final production of 75mm M4s into 1944 very many of them were selected for Firefly conversion as they arrived in the UK brand new in the immediate run-up to D Day.  In fact the majority of IC Fireflies were Hybrid rather than all-welded.  A few were provided to US forces very late in the war but probably never deployed.

 

Potentially if you're talking Polish then you may be confusing the Sherman IIA: an M4A1(76).  76mm Shermans were relatively unusual in Commonwealth and Free forces.  About 1,100 were received and they were used mostly in Italy but also in limited numbers by Polish forces in NWE.  They are sometimes mis-identified as Fireflies, which they were not, because of the long gun.

 

These are Sherman IC Hybrid Fireflies.  Note the weld join between the cast glacis and fabricated hull.

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These 2 do look like fully-cast hulls under all the track links and gear but both are Hybrids.  You can see the sharp upper hull edge on the left of the left photo and the squared-off profile where the casting meets the fabrication under the guy's leg in the right photo.

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There are 2 clear frontal identifiers between Composite/Hybrid and cast hulls.  First is a small protrusion just above the bolt strip, only found on the Composite/Hybrid.  But very often hidden - as it is in all these photos.  Second is the "shoulder" profile at the top corners.  The fully cast hull has very rounded shoulders but the Composite/Hybrid has square shoulders where the casting is altered to meet the square-edged rear fabrication, as in the right hand photo above.

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9 hours ago, Bullbasket said:

You're not thinking of hybrids/composites are you?

Nice work Sean. One small detail that you can add if you want. Run a pencil lead around the rims of the road wheels. These used to rub against the teeth of the tracks.

 

John.

Thanks John, I was wondering where else I could turn the pencil to next.

 

Sean

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As for the Grizzly Firefly mentioned, a single example of a complete Firefly turret was provided to each of Canada and the USA as patterns for the potential production of Fireflies in either country.  Drawings were also provided and at one point the US was going to adopt and build the 17pdr gun.  But did not: the 76mm M1 prevailed.  Bad choice.

 

These turrets were mounted on available hulls, a Grizzly in the case of Canada and an M4A2 in the US case.  The US one still exists at Fort Benning, a direct vision ALCO-built M4A2 3065484 now marked as a Canadian vehicle.  But it does not qualify as Firefly as it is not a full conversion, just a Firefly turret on an M4A2 hull for display. It was not operated as a complete vehicle and the turret was previously tested on a stand.

 

The Canadian one also still exists and is a little different.  Grizzly hull no 65 was used and for a long time it was believed that this was another simple turret mounting.  But recent investigation of the preserved vehicle shows that Canada actually managed to carry out a full Firefly conversion.  By how much the ammunition stowage was compromised does not seem to be known.  As Canada was only intending to produce the M4A1 I guess it was logical for them to make the attempt.  But with Grizzly production curtailed at 188 vehicles it became irrelevant. No Grizzlies left Canada during WW2, with the exception of a single Skink sent over to the UK. 

 

Many Grizzlies were sold to Portugal post-war and subsequently sold on the open market.  Many of these are now preserved and often appear in films: one of the M4A1s in "Fury" is a Grizzly.  Some have been cosmetically converted to Firefly facsimiles as film props, e.g. A Bridge Too Far.

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29 minutes ago, Das Abteilung said:

The Canadian one also still exists and is a little different.  Grizzly hull no 65 was used and for a long time it was believed that this was another simple turret mounting.  But recent investigation of the preserved vehicle shows that Canada actually managed to carry out a full Firefly conversion.  By how much the ammunition stowage was compromised does not seem to be known.  As Canada was only intending to produce the M4A1 I guess it was logical for them to make the attempt.  But with Grizzly production curtailed at 188 vehicles it became irrelevant. No Grizzlies left Canada during WW2, with the exception of a single Skink sent over to the UK. 

 

 The Camp Borden Grizzly Firefly has a lot to answer for, there is a thread on the MLU forum regarding it which seems to suggest that 3 Firefly turrets were sent to Canada in 1945, fitted to Grizzly hulls and used for gunnery training?

 

 I've been hunting info on the Camp Borden Grizzly for a few days because I'm thinking about putting a Firefly turret on a Grizzly hull that I'm working on.

 

 Matt 

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So some AK Interactive Faded Green pigments arrived today (among other things...), I’m still waiting for the Mig Productions pigments to show up. So without having any prior experience with pigments I set to work having a bash with them this evening and I’m quite pleased so far if I do say so myself.

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And a final one with my other Sherman.

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The picture doesn’t show many differences between the two in their colours, but the Firefly is much more refined.

 

Sean

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Everything I've seen says 1 turret, but that was for production planning not for training. Grizzly production ended before Firefly conversion began, but they were available for conversion..  Most if not all Canadian units assigned to D Day did their Sherman conversion from Ram in the UK. 

 

But I can see the advantage of being able to train subsequent Firefly crews in Canada alongside the 75mm Grizzlies.  However, training in Canada would have involved tactical manoeuvre training as well as range time.  How to handle the Firefly in tactical situations as part of a troop.  But 3 turrets wouldn't even be enough for a single Squadron: a Regiment would need what, 12?  3 doesn't sound like enough even for school gunnery.  Live fire manoeuvre training, even fully realistic crew training on the range, would need functional Fireflies, meaning ammunition stowage.  So does this circle us back to the Borden tank?  But that hull seems to match up to the known host for the single confirmed turret.  In any case no Grizzly of any sort was used operationally.

 

BTW Canada received a handful of Shermans as direct lend-lease across the 38th parallel in 1942, all very early DV M4A1s IIRC

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Job well done!

 As for the Sherman: I am well versed in hull variants. The composite hull is easily identified with the sharp lines aft of welds at the transition to the slab-welded hull sides.  How or why it existed is the real question. 

Tragically, I am less the photographic evidence at this juncture. A hard lesson learned.  My intention wasn't to start a feud over what you read over the internet or the opinion of someone writing books.

As a former military officer, I can assure you what should be and what was regulation wasn't in combat.  No unit markings were viewable in the photograph, which may have even helped solve the mystery.

 

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21 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

Everything I've seen says 1 turret

 

 Same here, I agree yes, and to my mind 1 turret makes sense, and accounts for the Camp Borden Grizzly Firefly, but 3 as a number seems odd as it's not really enough to do any meaningful training, and the Camp Borden Grizzly Firefly was never intended to see any actual combat as the hull has not been plugged properly, seems to just have a metal plate fitted from the inside and then badly welded in place, someone needs to go back inside that Camp Borden Grizzly with a camera and take some pictures ;)

 

 Matt

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So I’m calling the Firefly done and now I’ve started on the base. I’ve started off with a larger base than I normally would as I have a cunning plan to add a Cromwell to the scene when Airfix release their new one. The plan at the moment is to create a generic farm outbuilding on the outskirts of a village with a bit of mud and maybe some cobblestones.

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Sean

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So I’ve finished the construction of the barn/farm shed. I’ve also cut up some of the foam and glued it to the base which will hopefully provide a decent start for some cobbles.

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Sean

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  • Mozzy19 changed the title to Dragon 1/35 Sherman Firefly Ic: now with added Cromwell

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