login   |    register
Dragon Models [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEB SITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

In-Box Review
135
Sherman Hybrid Firefly
Sherman Mk.Ic Firefly Hybrid ~ Smart Kit
  • move

by: Pat McGrath [ EXER ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The Sherman Firefly was produced in 3 variants- The VC on the M4A4 hull, The Ic on the M4 Hukll and the Hybrid Ic base on the composite cast/welded hull. The composite hull has always been a favourite of mine because of the mixture of contours and angles in its manufacture so I was pleased to see Dragon produce this kit. The Hybrid Ic Firefly served in Polish, Czech, New Zealand, Canadian and British Armor Units in Europe. Dragon announced a number of years ago that they would be revisiting this kit, and they have certainly taken their time with it despite the urgent calls of modelers on different forums. Is it worth the wait? Let's see.

Kit contents

•A six page instruction leaflet
•12 grey plastic part sprues
•A photo etch fret with fenders
•A metal tow cable
•A set of T48 tracks in Dragon Styrene
•A clear plastic sprue with lights and periscopes
•A set of cartograf decals for 3 vehicles

Many of the sprues will be familiar to serial Sherman builders having come from other DML Sherman kits, however there are two sprues that are particular to this kit:

•Sprue K - low bustle turret with 17 pdr gun.
•Sprue L - air cleaners, tow bar, details

review

The Instructions:
The instructions come in an 6 page leaflet of line drawings. The first page shows the box art again in black and white and the layout of the sprues with the parts not to be used highlighted in blue. Pawel Krupowicz is credited for technical assistance.

The assembly is shown in typical exploded view diagrams in only seven steps starting with the suspension followed by the lower hull, the upper hull and turret. The assembly seems fairly straightforward enough but there are a lot of optional parts offered in the kit with two different types of air cleaners, plastic or PE light guards, fenders etc, so choices will have to be made and while there only seven steps they are very crowded with lots of sub assemblies to be prepared. I can't make out any missing steps or misleading directions, though of course some mistakes only become obvious when the kit is being built.

The instructions finish with the painting and markings section showing two Polish vehicles in Italy 1945 and one Coldstream Guards Tank in Germany 1945.

Suspension:
Two types of suspension are provided, though the instructions call for the one with the raised return rollers to be used. You also get two types of wheels with full sets of the open 5 spoked version and the pressed six spoke version. From memory the suspension units are easy enough to build - each being made up of 11 parts. The bogies lack the four bolt holes on the opposite side to the return rollers as well as the bolts for the return roller skids.

Upper Hull: This piece shows the contrast between the cast glacis and welded rear hull very well. I don't have any empirical evidence for this, but the cast section has a slightly pinched look that I'm not convinced by, as well as the curves to the rear of the driver and co drivers hatches being slightly too pronounced. As I say it just looks slightly off to me, but I am open to correction.

The raised welds are good and not overdone and the cast front also has some well done casting symbols. The location points for the tools are marked on the inside so they have to be drilled through, I like this as it offers modelers the option of leaving off some of the tools and not having those annoying holes to fill. The periscopes to the front of the front hatches are now separate so they can be modeled opened or closed. Of course there was no co-driver on a Firefly, so that periscope would never be used and the cover should remain closed. The three pieces of Applique armor for the upper hull come with a good representation of the weld beads.

Lower Hull:
The lower hull has all the correct drain holes and hatches. Two triangular pieces must be cut off the sponson covers to conform to the shape of the Hybrid upper hull.
The tow bar and round air cleaners on the new sprue L are sharply cast. There is a choice of air cleaners as the box type is provided as well. The transmission cover is the correct sharp nosed version and the cast texture is not overdone- no orange peel effect here.

Tracks:
The tracks are the T 48 rubber chevron type in DS plastic. There were no kinks or bent teeth in my review kit. It would be nice to see a set of separate links included with duckbill end connectors included as many Fireflys are seen sporting these in the winter of 44-45.

Turret:
The majority of hybrid Ic Fireflys were made with the low bustle turret without the pistol port and with the added rectangular loader's hatch. Some came with the late high bustle turret with the pistol port and loader's hatch. The turret provided with the kit is the low bustle one, and a very nice one at that. For a few months during 1943 the decision was taken to get rid of the pistol port on Sherman turrets, it was reintroduced later but all the Ic Hybrid Fireflies with the low bustle turret seem to lack the pistol port, at least according to the photographic evidence. I say "seem to lack" because it's hard to be definitive about Shermans and I don't want to tempt fate by saying they "never" had them.

The turret details and texture are nicely done. The gun tube comes in one piece with half of the muzzle brake cast in place, the other half will have to be added carefully and the tube should also be carefully removed from its four attachment points on the sprue. The radio box comes in four separate pieces, and the turret stowage box comes in two pieces with a separate PE attachment strip. Although most Fireflys didn't mount the turret .50 cal, one is provided. This is very well cast and comes with two types of ammo boxes.

PE Fret:
The PE fret holds the sand shield attachment strips, turret tie downs and straps, engine grill, grouser cover grills, front fenders, headlight guards and some very small parts I have yet to figure out.

The Decals and Painting Guide:
Three options are provided in the Cartograf decals:

•ZADLO of the 3rd Squadron, 6th Armoured Regt, Dzieci Lwowskich, Italy 1945

•ZEMSTA II of the 3rd Squadron, 1st Krechowiecki Lancers Regt, Italy 1945

•A Squadron, Coldstream Guards, Germany 1945.

The big yellow Polish name decals should look great, but I would like to have seen more choice- perhaps a Canadian vehicle.

Conclusion

Dragon casting quality and attention to detail has really advanced in recent years and this is an excellent kit despite my slight misgivings about the cast front. Although this is billed as a Smart Kit there will be plenty of bits left over for the Sherman spares box.
SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent low bustle turret,great level of casting.
Lows: Not a great selection of decals and I'm not convinced by the contours of the front cast section.
Verdict: Good kit and worth waiting for.
Percentage Rating
87%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 6228
  Suggested Retail: $47.50 (MSRP)
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 06, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 90.05%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
View Vendor Homepage  More Reviews  

About Pat McGrath (exer)
FROM: DUBLIN, IRELAND

I served three years in the Irish Army. Then I studied fine art for five years. Acted professionally since leaving college (Look me up on IMDB- Pat McGrathIII) Interested in Allied Armour 1942-45 and German SPGs. Other interests are figures and Sci Fi models

Copyright ©2017 text by Pat McGrath [ EXER ]. 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.


Reader Reviews
Do you own this item and want to review it? You can add your review of the item here. Please read the reader review instructions before posting.


Comments

Hi Pat, Thanks for the review. I gave up waiting for this one and bought their 9037 re-issue when it can out, at £15.00 I'll make the fixes and give this one a miss. The re-issue has the two indi track set links and duckbill connectors which I like anyway. Pity they still haven't got the correct barrel length! The barrel in the 9037 kit is even bigger!! Thanks Al
JUL 06, 2010 - 05:04 PM
Thanks for the review although I wish to clarify a statement in the review: "The majority of hybrid Ic Fireflys were made with the low bustle turret without the pistol port and with the added oval loader's hatch." This is incorrect as the original turrets had no loaders hatch when the pistol port was removed (as were most of the British M4 Composites (75mm). The oval loaders hatch was introduced along with he pistol port briefly before production switched to High Bustle turrets although these are incredibly rare and hard to find pictures of (I've only seen them on Soviet M4A2 and an M4A1). The HB turrets all had the oval loades and the Pistol port The LB turret without pistiol port had the standard Firefly Loaders hatch added and not the oval one as is depicted in the kit. This turret is a big improvement over the original DML Firefly turret but I'm not a fan of the lower/upper split. The original followed the cast join of te real thing which was easy to deal with. CHeers Al
JUL 06, 2010 - 08:20 PM
My mistake Al -it should read "rectangular" loader's hatch which was added during the tank's conversion to a Firefly, I might ask James to edit that. If ABM are still going they do a very good High Bustle Firefly Turret
JUL 06, 2010 - 08:44 PM
Pat, Formations have a great high bustle that they have just released also : High Bustle Turret from Formations I've just ordered it - looks GREAT ! I'll be using it with this kit for one slightly different Polish Version
JUL 06, 2010 - 09:05 PM
Hi Pat, Added the 'corrections' (hopefully I did them correctly) and the image that you posted of the barrel...hope this is ok. Great review, thanks!
JUL 07, 2010 - 12:29 AM
@James thanks for that @Paul That looks great- Rob Ervin's stuff is excellent.
JUL 07, 2010 - 04:32 AM
Pat, Thanks for the barrel info! Do you think the unwanted 9mm can be safely "lost" from just behind the muzzle brake? I'm thinking in terms of being able to suggest useful fixes in the review... Regards, Tom
JUL 07, 2010 - 06:55 AM
You could do that, the barrel is tapered but the increase in thickness is minimal in those9mm.
JUL 07, 2010 - 10:30 AM
pat could your please tell me if co-axial machine gun is a flush fit or perturding thanks david
NOV 25, 2011 - 09:26 AM
Tip: Just hit enter to submit your reply!
   
What's Your Opinion?


Photos
Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move