TASCA Sherman Firefly – in progress

  • 12 posts
  • Last reply 3 days, 16 hours ago
Viewing 1 - 12 of 12 posts
  • Colin Gomez said 11 months ago:

    I did quite a bit of work on this one already. A bit disappointing and labor intensive for a very expensive kit. It may be accurate but it is not that well designed as a model. I replaced the kit barrel with an aftermarket metal barrel. That was too heavy for the delicate mantlet mechanism so I had to build up a brace inside the turret to make sure the barrel wouldn’t sag. I then found the rubber band kit tracks unsatisfactory. The rubber was too soft so it allowed the sections to pull apart too much and left excessive gaps when wound around the front drive sprocket. I tried aftermarket multi-link workable track in plastic but the mechanism to join each link to the next was too complex for plastic. The poor precision offered by tiny plastic pieces glued together meant that the guide teeth ended up not lining up precisely, which looks very unrealistic of an M4. Finally, I bought and finished after market rubber tracks and these look good but I have set them aside for now.

    I plan to do stowage on the back that will include a folding paratrooper’s bicycle. This will be a first for me but I think it will add interest. I have seen photos of Canadian Shermans in Italy with such bicycles strapped on. It will be fiddly work to do the spokes but should be worth the effort.

    I will add pics as work progresses.

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Erik Gjørup said 11 months ago:

    Looking forward to the bike-build 🙂

  • Jim Altergott said 4 days, 14 hours ago:

    I have another Tasca Sherman kit, the El Alamein version. You mentioned that you found aftermarket rubber band tracks that are suitable. What brand?, I want to get some of those for myself. I will get more than one set because I have an RFM Firefly kit and I have NO intention of attempting to construct the plastic jigsaw puzzle that make up the tracks for that model. Nice work so far, the bicycle will be a nice touch!

  • Colin Gomez said 4 days, 13 hours ago:

    Thanks for your interest, Jim. Here is the exact name/serial of the AFV club track set and a pic.

    AFV Club 1/35 AF35104 T62 Track for WWII US M4 Sherman VVSS Long Chassis

    I studied a lot of pics to confirm that these were used. A variety of very slightly thicker chevrons on some tracks may be seen in pics of Fireflies in the European theater (as opposed to the look of some other more refined looking Firefly tracks) – not sure about the El Alamein early Sherman. I have included some pics below (no copyright infringement intended).

    I hope this helps. Also, thanks for the inspiration to revisit this build and finish it up. Not enough armor on this site. 🙂

    7 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • John Healy said 4 days, 13 hours ago:

    Hi Colin! This is another kit we have in common. I have the Tamiya rebox in the stash. I don’t do a lot of tanks but have always liked the Firefly.

  • Jim Altergott said 4 days, 12 hours ago:

    Thank you very much for your reply Colin. And thanks for the very detailed information, I admire your thorough research. I will definitely order those from someone, or maybe my local hobby shop has them on the shelf. Thank you again, Jim. Bring on the armour!, I have many finished kits I must photograph and post.

  • Colin Gomez said 4 days, 12 hours ago:

    That’s great, John – I hope you build it. I really like the Firefly. IMHO, it is the most aesthetically balanced Sherman ever built, even if they had to turn the gun sideways and cut out the turret to get it to fit! Since I am no German armor aficionado or fan of all things German, I am pleased to think of the way the Firefly evened out the odds on the battlefield. I prefer to think it was the Canadian Fireflies of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers who finally got “ace” Wittman in his Tiger. Do you know this doc? It is very thorough and has some new battlefield archaeology behind it. Also rather compassionate, all things considered.

    Just saw your reply, Jim. Glad you found the info valuable. Check out the video, You will find it interesting, I think.

  • Louis Gardner said 4 days, 11 hours ago:

    Colin, @coling
    I will watch the video you posted on Michael Whittman soon. I have seen several documents on TV, and remember one that stated a Hawker Typhoon hit his tank, but I don’t think that’s what happened. I would rather think it was the Canadian’s who got him.

    Besides being in the Infantry, my Dad was a Korean War combat veteran, who served in the later “Easy 8” Sherman’s, M-26’s, M-46’s in Korea. Later when he rotated back to the States, (and Germany on several occasions), he served in the newer M-47 and 48’s. He held two different MOS’s, which was common back then. He told me that he liked serving in the Infantry better, because “they didn’t shoot at you as much”…………to quote him exactly. I picked up where he left off, also joined the Army, and served most of my time in the M-60A1. I left the Army just as we were transitioning to the M1-A1’s.

    The main difference in the tracks on the tanks in the pictures is what they are made of. The tracks with the thicker chevrons were a rubber coated track block. These were used to help prevent damaging paved roads. The thinner ones you see in the pictures, like the Sherman with the number 52 on the transmission cover, and the restored Sherman in the museum are solid steel, without a rubber coating. These were sometimes referred to as “Battle tracks”, and were used because they were less susceptible to damage when operated in the field. Some think the steel track also offered better traction in dirt / mud.

    The two were interchangeable, so the tank could operate with either style of track.

    Hope this helps………….. 🙂

  • Colin Gomez said 4 days, 11 hours ago:

    Thanks, Louis, I appreciate your input and your are quite right about the road vs battle tracks. For what its worth, I think there might have been some manufacturing differences besides the the rubber coating (not all pics shown here and the AFV club tracks chevrons are not so padded-looking). Anyway the aftermarket tracks work well for a tank in battle conditions , I think.

    I hope you watch the video. Norm Christie is a bit of a hero of mine, given that he came to military history later in life after a more conventional career in business as a metallurgical engineer. He has written 17 books of military history. He is following his passions into these Breakthrough Productions investigative docs and does a masterful job reconstructing events in the most rigorous manner.

    The Typhoon attack theory is discussed in the doc as well as the Staffordshire Yeomanry theory. Both are cast in doubt by the detailed evidence. The Canadians were the best positioned by far and were still around to bear witness in compelling detail.

  • Colin Gomez said 4 days, 5 hours ago:

    I went at this track chevron issue the wrong way, in that I uploaded the wrong photos for what concerned me most. Here is a photo which compares three versions of the firefly track.

    The first is the aftermarket single link set, the second is TASCA’s over flimsy rubber band set, and the last is the AFV Club track. The main thing that I noticed is that AFV Club has thicker chevrons but more importantly they are also more squared-off at the base. I thought this might be a mistake until I studied photos. The first photo shows the thin rounded – or even pointed – “V” of the chevron on many Fireflies.

    The next photos show the more squared off version on other Fireflies of both IC and Vc types.

    Finally, there are photos of Fireflies that have BOTH types of tracks on different sides of the same vehicle.

    So, what I am getting at is that the AFV Club is fine, even if it is not quite average. Track wear also clearly causes the width of the chevron to vary as it wears down to the bare metal. Louis is right about the rubber road track, which shows up in the photos I previously posted. However, these new photos show the different focus I had on manufactured metal types. I hope this is of interest but, anyway, the AFV Club track is good and I will be using it. It is stiffer and better conforming to the drive wheel without distorting than the kit track. 🙂 Happy Modeling!

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 3 days, 20 hours ago:

    Loved reading about those track chevrons, @coling!

  • John Healy said 3 days, 16 hours ago:

    Excellent video, Colin. I never knew much about Wittman or who killed him.

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