Dragon 1/72 Firefly Vc 'Douglas Kay'
|PRICE:||$ Out of Production and unable to find one using a search.|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes a photo etch fret|
The Sherman Firefly was a tank used by the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth and Allied armoured formations in the Second World War. It was based on the US M4 Sherman, but fitted with the powerful 3-inch (76.2 mm) calibre 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 mounting the 17-pounder in the war.
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 fortunate, as both the Challenger and Cromwell tank designs experienced difficulties and delays.
After the difficult problem of getting the gun to fit in the Sherman's turret was solved by W.G.K. Kilbourn, a Vickers engineer, the Firefly was put into production in early 1944, in time to equip Field Marshal Montgomery's 21st Army Group for the Normandy landings. It soon became highly valued as its gun could almost always penetrate the armour of the Panther and Tiger tanks it faced in Normandy. In recognition of this, German tank and anti-tank gun crews were instructed to attack Fireflies first. Between 2,100 and 2,200 were manufactured before production wound down in 1945.
The Sherman Firefly is a real favorite with armor fans, particularly as it is this variant that was the demise of German panzer ace Michael Wittman. The gunner in the victorious tank was Corporal Douglas Kay which is why he is the subject of this famous tank.
It is your basic Sherman M4A and as most Firefly conversions were on the M4A4 I will assume this is one of those. As usual with Dragon, the kit is very nicely done and provided more parts than you will need for this kit. The biggest difference in this and other Shermans is the rather large bustle in the back of the turret to take care of the recoil and the much longer barrel typical of the 17 pndr.
There is a photo etch fret that allows for some smaller bits to be more scale and while quite fiddly, they do made a difference in the overall look of the finished model. This kit uses Dragon's DS tracks which are easy to paint, but are quite susceptible to too much cement. I have also heard they deteriorate over time, but have not experienced this first-hand.
As model tanks go, the Sherman is one of the less fiddly, especially when compared to their German counterparts. I should mention that the tracks are the 'v' shaped ones and not the block tracks one sees from time to time.
Instructions are a single folded sheet with instructions on the inside and a chewy color parts layout and painting guide on the other. There are only decals for this one tank, though there are aftermarket if you want to do another.
I don't build a lot of armor kits. I did do an earlier Dragon Sherman and found it a bit fiddly, but worth it in the end. I would expect this one to be no different and worth the time and effort you might put into it.
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