The Bovington vehicle:
“The Sherman Firefly was a World War II British variant of the American Sherman tank, fitted with the powerful British 17 pounder [76.2 mm] anti-tank gun as its main weapon.“
“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.“
Ominously for their crews, German orders called for Fireflies to be the priority targets. This would explain attempts to camouflage the longer barrel. So, I would guess not a terribly comforting feeling – the known problems of the Sherman catching fire coupled with being in something which, if seen, will attract more attention than most. Honestly, we could have saved ourselves a deal of trouble and lives by licensing the home manufacture of the T34!
As I was doing this I had got the FAQ 2 book by Mig Jiménez, so I thought this an opportunity to try some of the techniques in that book new to me. Of course, I was aware that I wouldn’t necessarily perfect them, or even like all of them, but you have to practice new things.
The instructions were mostly in Japanese, which made things rather more open to doubt than normal! Luckily, the fitting of pieces was brilliant – perhaps the best I have seen.
The were three types of sprocket in the box, although all possible vehicle builds use only one type. Similarly, there are two types of idler and road wheels – I went for the solid spoke versions. The suspension has mostly moving parts which made for a slightly perilous assembly. But once together they were very nice indeed.
The various hull sections went together very nicely too.
I must say that I had less than fun with some of the hull photoetch – the headlight guards in particular. It was not so much a problem of bending of them into the correct shape – a nifty tool is provided for this – but the gluing of them. Perhaps I have not mastered this yet, but I had a fair bit of excess super glue to remove afterwards.
The turret and metal barrel went well.
I used the Tamiya Fine Surface Primer, with good results.
The base colour was a mixture of Tamiya acrylics (5 parts XF61, 2 parts XF62, 2 parts XF3) in Tamiya lacquer thinner (ratio 2/3 paint to 1/3 thinner). This has been suggested as a good approximation of British Olive Drab (SCC 15).
All remaining details were brushed painted next.
Selective paint chipping was done using Vallejo Model Color 70822.
Several general dilute washes of Raw Umber oil paint in odourless thinners were applied. This was allowed to collect particularly in recessed parts.
Next I applied Rust Effects (AK013) on selective points of chipping on vertical or inclined surfaces. This was then streaked with odourless thinners. This technique is described better on page 122 of the FAQ2 book. I think that these would be more apparent on a vehicle with a lighter base colour!
After that I applied Dust and Earth Effects predominately on horizontal surfaces as detailed here.
Finally I applied Fuel Stains (AK025) around the fuel fillers.
The Friulmodel tracks were quite intricate. They came in two parts which needed joining before they could linked together.
The tracks were weathered with Blacken-It, followed by successive washes with a mixture of Winsor and Newton Raw Umber and Burnt Umber in white spirit. This was followed by selective dusting with Mig Pigments Dry Mud (P232) and sealing with airbrushing of Mig pigment fixer. I then rubbed sand paper over the exposed parts of the track. These tracks were a little more effort than normal for Friulmodel, but I would always use them if they were available for the subject in hand – they just look and work like miniature tracks.
I like to add items of stowage. So a certain amount were got from the spares box and primed. I followed to some extent the examples on pages 206, 211 and 213 of the FAQ2 book. The headlight lenses were fixed with white PVA glue.
Sherman Firefly, David Fletcher, New Vanguard 141, Osprey Publishing, 2008 (ISBN 9781846032776)