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In-Box Review
172
Firefly Vc

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction
Whilst other companies are recyclying or reissuing other company's moulds - with variable results, DML's philosophy in 1/72nd scale, has been to bring out a series of models which use essentially the same components (in the case of the suspension) and 'build-up' with different hulls and turrets, an increasingly wide range of variants. This was done with the T34 series from the same manufacturer, now DML have brought out one of the most modelled of the Shermans - the British Firefly Vc.


The Model
DRA7303 - Firefly Vc is the latest release in Dragon Models' 1/72nd Scale 'ArnorPro' series of kits. The kit is moulded in a light-grey plastic and comes on four sprues with the hull tub and upper deck seperate. Also included is a sheet of PE (Photo-etch), a small sheet of decals and two 'Dragon-Styrene' lengths of 'rubber-band' type track.


About the review
As usual, with this type of review, i'll be looking at the component areas, in this review the areas covered will be:

Suspension
Turret
Hull
Tracks
Decals


In Depth
1) - Suspension
The suspension is exactly the same as that present in the M4a3 kit which reproduces Mid production VVSS suspension with the straight return roller arms. The road wheels are the 'welded' type with the correct number of (miniscule) bolts. Moulding is impeccable with no mould-lines present. The only slight irritation is that as each suspension unit is moulded in only four parts, the two road wheels are moulded onto the (back) triangular arm which has meant that there are two attachment points to the sprue and two mould 'plugs' to be removed. This will mean some care in removal so as not to damage the tire surface. The sprockets are the correct type also.

2) - Turret
The turret is beautifully done with some truly nice touches. The additional 'cheek' armor comes as a seperate moulding giving a far more convincing form. Also produced as a seperate component is the pistol port which could be built open. The mantlet is correct also. Worth noting is that the 'texture' of the turret casting is also present - no mean feat in a 1/72nd scale model... The barrel/muzzle brake is a one-piece plastic moulding which will doubtless indicate a future (metal) replacement from one of the AM companies. All hatch halves are seperately moulded as are the periscopes. The distinctive large storage box on the turret is present also in a six-part sub-assembly.

3) - Hull
The upper hull is quite a complex construction. All the lights (and guards), hatches and engine grille (PE option) are seperately moulded. In many cases, a chioce exists to use either plastic parts or some (VERY) small photo-etch. Particularly notable are the headlight guards, the grille over the rear lights or the engine deck grille. The tools also have an option to use the tiny PE clamps. All essential details are present with the exception of stowage which the modeller will have to source from the spares box or AM. The transmission cover is the (common) three-piece bolted construction and is, again, very convincingly done.

4) - Tracks
Curiously enough, in the case of Sherman tracks, I am very much against seperate links. In common with other releases, the tracks provided are the 'rubber-band' type moulded in sand-yellow colored 'Dragon-Styrene' this material, which has received much criticism, is, in my opinion, a perfect medium for two things - heads in 1/35th scale and tracks for 1/72nd scale AFVs. In this case the British steel Chevron tracks are convincingly and immaculately reproduced. Detail is fine and as close to scale as one could wish for.

5) - The Decals.
The kit provides four decal options, these are:
27th Candian Armour Regiment, 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, France 1944
"Velikye Luki" from 3 Troop A Squadron Northamptonshire Yeomanry, France 1944
Unidentified unit, Germany 1945
Unidentified unit, Germany 1944
The last of these two vehicles are captured 'BeutePanzers' . Now, much as I like captured vehicle subjects and bearing in mind the huge number of units equipped with the Vc, I do tend to find the decal choices a touch on the 'eccentric' side. In this case I would certainly advovcate looking at some of the decal options available from companies like Bison. The decals are excellent quality, however, only two Allied subjects is a touch 'unusual' ?


Conclusions
Bearing in mind that this is a 1/72nd scale kit, the level of sophistication in both design and the engineering is equal to many 1/35th models out there. It's complex (with the addition of the PE) and less so using the plastic alternatives. Sadly, only a few companies are giving 'Braille-Scalers' the kind of sophisticated products that they deserve, fortunately, models like this are now becoming the 'Norm' rather than the 'Exception' . Or at least from DML.



My thanks to Dragon Models Limited for the review sample.

SUMMARY
This is the second of DML's (continuing) M4 series I have been able to review and in my opinion, this is precisely what the Sherman enthusiast in this scale has been denied for far too many years. I was very impressed with the other model in this M4 series I reviewed, the M4a3, this is even better...
  SUBJECT:95%
  MOULDING:95%
  ATTENTION TO DETAIL:95%
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 7303
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Oct 04, 2006
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.06%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.23%

Our Thanks to Dragon Models!
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Photos
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About Jim Rae (jimbrae)
FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2017 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

I'll do comparative shots tomorrow - just to avoid any arguments..Jim
OCT 05, 2006 - 10:54 AM
Picture below shows early test shots thus so much flash. Parts in the kit look the same minus flash. Pawel
OCT 05, 2006 - 08:57 PM
Picture below shows early test shots thus so much flash. Parts in the kit look the same minus flash. Pawel[/quote] Just out of interest, can you tell how they should be? I have DX06 version which is same so all info is needed Niko
OCT 06, 2006 - 06:48 AM
Jim, can you show how instructions show usage of extra armour parts? DX06 version shows them as unused. Br, Niko
OCT 06, 2006 - 06:52 AM
DX Euro version includes corrected parts as well, like these shown on my photo. The only differences between standard and DX Euro releases are: box, instructions, decals and the upper turret part (pistol port was eliminated from DX Euro release, as CAROLE tank didn't have it). All other parts are identical. Pawel
OCT 06, 2006 - 06:59 AM
DX Euro version includes corrected parts as well, like these shown on my photo. The only differences between standard and DX Euro releases are: box, instructions, decals and the upper turret part (pistol port was eliminated from DX Euro release, as CAROLE tank didn't have it). All other parts are identical. Pawel[/quote] Pawel, thanks for info Niko
OCT 06, 2006 - 08:58 AM
And one more about the pistol port. Can it be applied to Carole version turret or is turret mold actually different? I have absolutely zero knowledge of Shermans so that's why I ask so much Thanks, Niko
OCT 06, 2006 - 06:37 PM
Picture below shows early test shots thus so much flash. Parts in the kit look the same minus flash. Pawel[/quote] Okay. That looks better. The angle of Jim's review pic made it look like the arms still hung down too much. What also affects the look of the bogies is the lack of bolts on the bottom of the bogie bracket (see black arrow), The bolts would further hide the bottom of the arms. I'm looking forward to getting a couple of these kits. Chris "toadman" Hughes Toadman's Tank Pictures
OCT 06, 2006 - 07:17 PM
It can't be applied - turret mold is different. Pawel
OCT 06, 2006 - 07:19 PM
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Photos
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  • tracks
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