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Firefly IC Welded Hull

DML 1/35 Firefly IC Welded Hull - Smart Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review June 2012 Manufacturer DML
Subject Firefly IC Welded Hull - Smart Kit Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6568 Primary Media 675 parts (554 in grey styrene, 73 etched brass, 45 clear styrene, 2 DS Plastic track runs, 1 twisted steel wire)
Pros First offering of this specific variant by DML; new turret and clear styrene specially done for this kit Cons T48 tracks probably not the most common on this vehicle
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $52.95

First Look

The Sherman Firefly was one of the few marriages of a useful gun with a useful chassis that worked, and worked well. The high-performance British 17-pdr antitank gun had a short recoil and short breech end which lent itself to fitting in the relatively roomy turret of the M4 series tanks, and so the conversions were made. By the end of the war over 2,100 Sherman Firefly tanks were converted.

But three different models of the chassis were used: the M4 welded hull with 56 degree glacis (British Sherman I); the M4 composite hull with cast glacis and welded hull (British Sherman I Hybrid); and the M4A4 with Chrysler A57 engine (British Sherman V). All of these tanks were given the “C” suffix to indicate the 17-pdr along with the project name Firefly added to the Sherman name.

From what I can glean from Mark Hayward’s excellent book on the Sherman Firefly series, out of the conversions two out of three were either Sherman IC or Sherman IC Hybrid tanks. As no differentiation was made by the British on numbers – the turrets being identical – it is pretty much nigh impossible to sort out how many of the tanks were “regulars” and how many were hybrids.

Nevertheless, while most models up to this point concentrated on the Sherman VC Firefly variant, as can be seen the IC and IC Hybrid bore the lion’s share of the work.  However, the VC models got the lion’s share of the publicity!

The bulk of IC photos extant show primarily the IC Hybrids, so any information on specific IC tanks will have to come from photos.

Given all that, DML has provided all the bits needed to make an accurate model of the Sherman IC Firefly from this kit. Using “mix and match” combined with two new sprues and a new sprue of clear parts, they have the basics for making a good likeness of the IC.

According to Hayward’s plans, the Sherman IC Firefly has the modified turret with loader’s hatch, full US applique armor, a blocked-off bow machine gun port, a new travel cradle on the left rear of the engine deck, flat return roller mounts, five-spoke wheels with six-spoke idlers, “machined” or “fancy” drive toothed rings, side skirts, radio box with circular access panels, and a choice of T48, T51 or T62 steel chevron tracks. The only thing missing here are the skirts, albeit etched brass skirt mounts are present.

The kit provides a plethora of options, such as any variation on the road wheels, idlers or drivers. It only provides the T48 tracks, which while not incorrect, are less common than the T62 type steel chevron ones on these tanks.

The modeler has a choice of air cleaners, either round (assembly E) or square (assembly F1/2). Attention must also be paid to opening up holes in the hull to mount all of the external bits. There are also two commander’s cupolas, the stock M4 one and a British low-profile vision cupola; a .50 caliber is provided for the former but will not fit on the latter.

Technical assistance was provided by Pawel Krupowicz.

Only one finishing option is provided: Census Number T263113, 2nd (Polish) Armoured Regiment, 1st Armoured Division, Normandy 1944. Considering the famous “Rycerz-I” (T270012) from the 2nd Polish Armoured Brigade, 2nd (Polish) Armored Division, in Italy in 1945 was a Sherman IC Firefly it is curious DML included those markings with their Sherman VC Firefly kit and not this one! A small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided for the model.

Overall this is a nicely done kit and one that “completes the set” of Fireflies from DML.

Thanks to DML for the review sample.

Sprue Layout:

  • A 94 M4A2/A3 hull details
  • B 49 M4 Sherman - turret details, base
  • C 30 M4 DV - rear hull plates, air cleaners, covers
  • C 22 Clear styrene
  • D 16x2 M4 - five-spoked welded wheels, “upswept” bogies
  • E 11 M4 Normandy - applique armor plate, mantlet with “ears”
  • F 11 M4 DV - engine air intake plate and cover, grouser bin vents
  • G 25 M4 Normandy - view mounts and guards
  • H 7 M4 DV- internal mantlet, viewer covers
  • H 1 M4 56 degree welded hull
  • J 12 M2HB .50 caliber machine gun and mount
  • K 29 Firefly IC turret, 17-pdr, hull details
  • L 12 Firefly IC - air cleaners, towing bracket
  • R 30  M4 PTO - final drive covers, transmission cover, details
  • S 1 Twisted steel wire
  • V 105x2 VVSS Bogie - “solid welded” wheels, straight return roller arm
  • X 1 Lower hull
  • Y 2 DS Plastic track - T48 style
  • W 15 Clear styrene (Firefly IC)
  • MA 73 Etched brass