Dragon 1:35 Sherman Firefly Kit No 6031

July 13 2004

Our local IPMS club was asked to produce some models that were involved in D-Day for the 60th anniversary display at our local city hall. I have not done much armour or figures and wanted to do this Sherman. The deadline allowed me to quickly finish this project.

There were several things I wanted to test on this model. The individual track links, painting figures, weathering.

This is Dragons earlier kit of the Firefly and is inaccurate. The hull is about 0.25 inches to long. I do have the newer kit but since this would be a quick out of the box model I decided to use the inaccurate version. I also had the Aber photo etched items but again due to time constraints and the inaccurate nature of the model I decided not to use them. There are aftermarket track links for this kit but again due to deadlines I did not use them.

The figures are UltraCast which I found very good. The figures are the actual reason I get interested in this tank. I purchased the figures because they were a Canadian subject. The tank model came later.

Unfortunately due to the quick nature of this build I did not get any photos of the construction process.

Here is the overall finished model with the 3 figures added. The barrel is an aftermarket Eduard barrel that easily slipped into the kit part.

Base

 

The base is from a model car case. I wanted something with a top that I can cover for transport and prevent dust bunnies. On top is a piece of Styrofoam that was hotwired cut. A slight slope was given to the Styrofoam. The surface was too smooth so to give it a texture I put some plaster of paris on top.

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Decals - I was so concerned about the weathering that I forgot about the decals. There is one decal you see here on the back of the turret. This one was no problem. On the sides there was a decal that I had to play with the mud weathering to get them on. There were also a couple of small ones on the front and rear lower hull but I have so much mud on the tank that they would have been covered any ways.

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Side View - A bit hard to see the decal but it is there. The mode l doesn't sit properly on the base but that is due to the rush job.

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Close up - Here are 2 photos of the figures close up. The faces were painted with Vallejo acrylics. This is the first time I have tried these paints so I have no idea what I was doing or what the proper steps were. I am still trying to get feedback on the figures to get an idea where I can improve. The commander took a bit of filing on the left hand to get it to sit on the hatch properly. I had to make a shelf inside the turret for the figure to sit on. The other figure peeking out of the hatch I gave him a sort of looking up pose, like he is seeing the sunlight and looking into the sky.

 

The Ultracast kit came with several heads for choices. I painted al of them and chose the best ones for the second figure and the driver figure. The driver figure I made sure he had on a radio set.

 

As I said before the figures are nicely sculpted.

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Close-up of driver figure

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Rear of tank - I did see one photo of a Sherman that was just covered in mud similar to what I have shown. In hindsight I think I over did the mud. I have since been informed that in combat situations the tank can get this dirty. I was trying to think how mud would be thrown up onto the tank in a running situation. I was told the side of the tank would be a more gradual dirty appearance from the front to the rear.

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Here is the other side of the rear of the tank. All tools were painted and weathered before being installed on the model. All paints were Tamiya acrylics except some Model Master Metalizer paints and some Rustoleum.

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10 Tracks

 

Now I must say these tracks were a pain in the butt. The kit has individual track links and there were not designed to be assembled easily. It took a bit of playing to get the tracks to bend around the wheels properly. I had to glue the wheel bogies in a specific location t make the track installation easier.

 

I pained the tracks with steel Alclad paints. Then I weathered them with mud. Mud is made from talcum powder and Tamiya buff paint. This produced a goopy mess that I stippled on with the end of a stiff paintbrush. I tried to apply it with a Q-Tip but it just looked like it was smeared on.

 

The bogies are completely covered in the mud and I didn't really need to bother painting the parts olive green as the entire thing was covered anyways.

 

I made sure the wheel surfaces and the mating inside of the tank treads were kept relatively clean. Again when asking for comments people were fairly positive. However my next armour piece I will be a bit more light on the mud.

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Front sprocket - I did suffer from a bit of reverse sag to the tracks. To bring the tracks down to a more realistic position I id drill holes in the side of the hull and inserted brass rods to hold the treads down.. These rods are hidden by the upper hull so they are not easy to see.

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The part of the tread that meet the surface was kept relatively clean and shows the base coat of Alclad paint. I also put mud on the front of the tank. At first I went up too high on the front and had to take some off.

The leading edges of the fenders were thinned for scale thickness

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Another view of the driver figure. Insides of hatches were not finished due to the deadline. The machine gun port was just airbrushed a flat black to simulate fire residue.

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Another view of the commander and second figure. It is a bit hard to see but paint chip marks were made with a small brush and painted on. I did not want to use something too bright like aluminum so I used steel. It is hard to pick out the individual marks but it does add to the weathering effect.

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Well this is a nice view of the commander and shows nicely the weather and dry brushing on the commanders uniform.

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Overall View

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Side view here you can see the decal that I had to add after I started the weathering

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Top view - I liked adding the figures as it does give you an idea of the size of the actual tank. The top portion of the tank was lightly dusted with Tamiya buff paint to give it a slight weathered look

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Another front view

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Conclusion

Well I did learn quite a bit on this model. The individual track links in this kit was a major pain in the butt. I think they could have designed it better for ease of assembly.

 

The decals were ok but were a bit yellowed. My weathering helped hide this. I did get aftermarket markings but after my mistake of starting the weathering to early I decided not to use them. The aftermarket barrel was nice and meant I did not have to worry about putting the kit part together and eliminating the seam.

 

The kit was not completely accurate but the never one will be better. This kit dos not have the side handles as provided in the Aber photo etch set. The handles are even seen on the box art.

 

The mud was a learning experience and he next one should be better.

 

The figures were also a learning experience and I like how they look on the model.

 

There were no other fit problems with the assembly. The PE light guards took a bit of tinkering to get the right shape.