For me personally the most awaited of the Sherman vehicles, well any of the 17pdr versions would do and I am glad to say it was worth the wait. Unfortunately when I got it home I found a problem with one of the sprues and although Dragon have said that they would send a replacement part, I am still waiting, then again to be fair it has been Christmas so the post always takes longer, but without the replacements I can't finish the vehicle.
The kit uses the M4A4 hull which is longer than the standard M4 hull and it is nicely replicated with the exception of the moulded on tools ( with the exception of the spade, which is the wrong type for a firefly) The other oddity is the sand shield attachment points have lugs instead of holes, I find it hard to confirm whether this is correct or not and I suspect that it isn't. There is enough PE refinement in the kit to make this into a super model although you will need very good eyesight for some of the pieces, I am sure that Dragon are trying to find out how small they can go !Also included but not used are two .50 cal Browning's although there are only firing handles for one.
The kit consists of a new lengthened lower hull
A new lengthened upper hull
A side view showing the sand shield attachment points
The turret with the square loaders hatch, it should be noted that some Canadian firefly's had the oval hatch as found on the M4A3 75mm turrets, the sprue also has the extra armour for the RHS of the turret but this was not fitted to all firefly's.
The sprue for the bolted transmission housing and rear exhausts, added hull armour and large stowage bin, you can see how my example has been short shot in the injection process rendering certain parts useless.
This is mainly a sprue of spares with only the light brackets ( if you don't wish to use the PE ones) lights and some of the lifting eyes being used.
The break down of the suspension is the same as the other Sherman kits
The correct steel cleat type tracks are included in the usual DS styrene.
An extensive PE fret is included with the light brackets and periscope brackets, plus the manual sighting equipment for the turret as well as hatch latches and handles and the intake grill behind the turret.
Decals are provided for 4 vehicles, 1 British, 1 Canadian, 1 or 2 captured German vehicles ? as one set is for an unidentified vehicle.
With the exception of the moulded on tools and the DS tracks this is probably the ultimate firefly in this scale and plastic so far, with the inclusion of the PE it makes for a highly detailed model. I recommend this kit for all firefly fan and Sherman fans for that matter.
M4 Sherman Vol II Militaria
The Universal Tank, British Armour in the Second World War part 2 by David Fletcher