Tasca 1/35 Sherman Vc 'Firefly'
|KIT:||Tasca 1/35 Sherman Vc 'Firefly'|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Sherman Firefly was a World War II British variation of the American Sherman tank, fitted with the powerful British 17 pounder (17-pdr) anti-tank gun as its main weapon. Originally conceived as a stop gap tank until future British tank designs with the 17 Pounder came into service, the Sherman Firefly in fact became the most common British tank fielded during World War II armed with the 17 Pounder as its main armament, with a production run of some 2,100 Fireflies being built or converted.
Three different variants of Sherman Firefly served during the second world war, each based on different variants of the M4 Sherman. The Firefly conversion was carried out on Sherman I (M4), Sherman I Hybrid (M4 Composite) and Sherman V (M4A4) tanks. Some sources state that several Sherman IIs (M4A1) were converted and used in action but photos allegedly showing these conversions are in fact views of the front half of Sherman I Hybrid Fireflies. To complicate matters, a very small number of Canadian license-built Sherman IIs (M4A1) known as Grizzlies were converted to Fireflys in Canada and were used for training, but none saw action. The majority of Shermans converted were the Sherman V/M4A4 model of which the British received about 7,200. The Sherman VC and IC variants can be easily distinguished by their lower hulls; the VC having a cylinder like lower hull while the IC has a more angled and welded lower hull. The Hybrid can be distinguished by its cast hull which gives it a distinctive curved look to its hull in comparison to the more rigid hull of a typical Sherman.
Tasca has earned a reputation in the short time they have been around of being pretty much the epitome of quality and accuracy when it comes to tank models. For sure, every armor fan I have talked to about these kits has unhesitatingly provided adulations regarding the fidelity, fit and sheer quality of the kit. Even the most jaded armor builder has agreed that once you spend the money on a Tasca tank kit, you need keep your wallet in your pocket as the kit provides everything you need. High praise indeed.
Looking at the parts on the sprues, I get a good sense of what these folks are referring to. Molding deserves to be called flawless as I found no sink areas, no nasty ejector pin markings and even the mold seams were miniscule. Packaging is such that no more than two sprues are in each poly bag, and in most cases those sprues are identical.
One is provided with a selection of road wheels and sprockets to match the various markings options or to provide the builder with just the parts he needs to model his particular tank. Suspension pieces are properly complex and the tank has complete interior walls and bulkheads. There is not a full interior, but all is there in preparation for whatever aftermarket a modeler may wish to use to fill the space. Moving back to the outside, there are various pieces of scabbed armor plate to add. The main gun is notcomplete past where it enters into the turret itself, but the effect is quite good. Guess you could call this kit a curbside, to use automotive jargon.
Still, that does not stop Tasca from providing full hatch interior detail in case you wish to include figures. Just to show you the level of detail, Tasca has each of the transmission attachment plates molded as two separate pieces so you can have a seam just as it would be on the actual tank. Tracks are two pieces on each side and appear to be of the newer flexible polystyrene. They appear to be the metal 'v' tread as was common in later war tanks. A very nicely done photo-etch fret is included that is the right balance between adding detail and not being overdone and fiddly.
The instructions are all written in Japanese with small English notes. They don't give a lot of information, but enough to build the kit without too much trouble. Paint references appear to be Tamiya and Gunze. There is an addendum sheet included that is specific to this boxing. This sheet provides all the various differences between the four tanks you can build and should be carefully studied prior to starting the kit. This additional sheet offers alternate construction steps where needed. A nicely printed decal sheet is also included. On this sheet are the four markings options. One is 13th/18th Hussars 27th Armored Brigade, July 1944. Next is A Squadron 4th County of London Yeomanry, 22nd Armored Regiment, 7th Armored Division, June 1944. Option 3 is C Squadron, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 11th Armored Division, October 1944, Netherlands. Finally 114th RAC, 33rd Armored Brigade, July 1944. All are painted Olive Drab. I should mention as well that there is a figure included of a tank commander leaning out of the cupola and painting instructions are also provided for this figure.
I have to say that it is a most impressive kit of a tank that did the British quite well for a makeshift design. From what I can see, it is a superlative kit that is well worth it.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit. Get yours today at your local shop or have them order it for you.
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