|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Sherman Firefly was a World War II British variant of the American Sherman tank, fitted with the powerful British 17 pounder anti-tank gun as its main weapon. Originally conceived as a stopgap until future British tank designs came into service, the Sherman Firefly became the most common vehicle with the 17 pounder in World War II.
Though the British expected to have their own new tank models developed soon, British Major George Brighty championed the already-rejected idea of mounting the 17 pounder in the existing Sherman. With the help of Lieutenant Colonel Witheridge and despite official disapproval, he managed to get the concept accepted. This proved fortuitous, as both the Challenger and Cromwell tank designs experienced difficulties and delays.
After the problem of getting the gun to fit in the Sherman's turret was solved, the Firefly was put into production in early 1944, in time to equip Field Marshal Montgomery's forces for the Normandy landings. It soon became highly valued as the only British tank capable of defeating the Panther and Tiger tanks it faced in Normandy at standard combat ranges. In recognition of this, German tank and anti-tank gun crews were instructed to attack Fireflies first. Between 2100 and 2200 were manufactured before production wound down in 1945.
Dragon's Sherman tanks are always well received by armor fans. Several reasons for this are the wide variety of modifications done to the main tank and the other is the relative ease of assembly in comparison to some of the other armor kits Dragon produces. With a total parts number under 400, these can be built in a relatively short time. One thing that helps are Dragon's superb DS tracks. While individual track links are desired by some builders, others are not that fond of them and the DS tracks are the answer.
This one is basically a standard welded hull Sherman with the additional pieces to make the Firefly. This includes the large gun and a modified turret that can accept two different types of commander's hatch. One is a plain flat hatch with a .50 cal machine gun, and the other is more raised with a number of vision ports. The instructions do not state which goes with the markings option, but a look at the box art shows the earlier one. The kit includes a nicely done photo etch fret that includes various hull fixtures plus screens for the engine intakes. The forward fenders are also made of this material, which makes it easy for those who wish to show these bumped and dented. The rest of the features are listed below:
- Newly tooled turret roof w/clear parts
- Brand new Firefly 1c w/authentic detail
- New designed engine deck ventilator covers
- 2-directional slide molds enable one-piece upper hull w/weld seam
- Turret roof w/bomb-thrower port can be optionally assembled
- Slide-molded gun shield and rotor shield w/maximum detail
- Slide-molded anti-aircraft MG w/hollow end
- Anti-aircraft w/pedestal mount on turret roof as bonus
- Two types of air-filter on the rear hull made by slide mold
- Tow-bar w/hock realistically presented
- Engine rear doors can be assembled open/closed
- Appliqué armor plates on both of upper hull sides
- Detailed engine deck splash guard
- Loader's hatch w/interior detail
- One-piece chassis w/bolt details
- Fire extinguishers on the hull rear
- Radio bracket w/realistic weld seams
- Commander's hatch w/periscope assembly
- Slide-molded rear stowage boxes
- Armored plate welded over MG port
- Sprocket molded w/great detail
- Layout of the OVM accurately displayed
- Gun lock can be modeled in travel or combat modes
- DS T48 tracks w/fine detail
Dragon's instructions are nicely drawn with smaller detail sections to show an area that may be a bit confusing otherwise. Dragon instructions are pretty full of drawings so one does need to pay attention during construction. It has the usual Gunze and Model Master paint references. Markings are for a single tank as shown on the box art with the 2nd Armored Regiment, 1st Polish Armored Division in Normandy during 1944. The small decal sheet is well done and I am sure there are plenty of aftermarket sheets for this one.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the preview kit. You can get this one today at your local retailer or have them order it for you.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page