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WIP Dragon 1/35 Firefly VC

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  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
WIP Dragon 1/35 Firefly VC
Posted by GreySnake on Friday, June 21, 2019 8:15 AM
This is going to be my first WIP that I’ve done in forever. So forgive me if I’m rusty at it. 
Here's the box. The kit came out in 2003. Now i feel old as I remember when it first came out.
 First step was working on the six bogies which were twelve parts each. It took some cleanup and filling to be somewhat presentable.
 At this point Dragon did what they are known for errors in the instructions. They omitted adding the mounting plates to the hull! Doing test fitting it appears I’m going to have to make something to keep everything level once I’m ready to mount the bogies to the hull as there is a little play in the attachments.
For Dragon’s next trick the sprocket was a pain to assemble being made up four parts and just horrible to get everything lined up. Doing test fitting I’ll need to cut off some of the peg as it sticks out too far. Also I need to make sure everything will line up once the tracks are fitted.
Here is a question for Sherman experts. From my understanding the little raised rivets? Should be drilled out as that is where the sand skirts are supposed to attach correct? 
 
Next I started test fitting the transmission housing as reading other’s builds the Dragon Sherman kits fit isn’t the best. Here was another problem the kit fired my way. Where the transmission housing part attached to the sprue had broken and took two small chunks of plastic with it! I’ve reattached the two broken off pieces of plastic and just plan to do some light sanding and filling. It should turn out okay.
 
Now onto the turret and honestly I’m not surprised. I’ll let the picture speak for its self.
 
 
Looks like some filling and learning how to retexture is in my future.
 
When all is said and done this is probably one of the most difficult Dragon kits I’ve built and defiantly the most difficult armor kit. If it wasn’t for the Dragon kit being the easiest Firefly to acquire in 1/35 I’d put it back in its box. At this point I’m starting to wonder if the track links are going to be the easiest part of this kit.    
  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Friday, June 21, 2019 9:39 AM

To answer your question about the sand skirt attachment points, yes those should be holes for bolting them on. Unless, of course, the Brits and Canadians actually filled them back up with the bolts after removal. That part I'm not sure about. Maybe someone else out there knows for sure.

I have always attempted to drill them out. This last time I used a number 79 drill (.0145).

Don't know why Dragon would make the holes as raised bumps (rivets/bolts)!

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Friday, June 21, 2019 10:29 AM

M1GarandFan

To answer your question about the sand skirt attachment points, yes those should be holes for bolting them on. Unless, of course, the Brits and Canadians actually filled them back up with the bolts after removal. That part I'm not sure about. Maybe someone else out there knows for sure.

I have always attempted to drill them out. This last time I used a number 79 drill (.0145).

Don't know why Dragon would make the holes as raised bumps (rivets/bolts)!

 

 

Thank you sir!
 
I’m going to go ahead and drill them out. The Firefly’s in museums show the skirt attachment points without bolts. Plus it makes me life easier as the hull has a nasty seam where the bolts are and now I don’t have to worry about sanding around or replacing those.
 
As for why Dragon did it this way? The kit is just seems like a mess like it was thrown together. If I paid for this kit what Dragon kits cost at retail now at least in the US I’d feel ripped off.
  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Friday, June 21, 2019 10:45 AM

Well, I'd have to say my one experience with Dragon was not real good. The finished product turned out OK, but there were some very frustrating moments with it. At least my turret had better fit than yours seems to have. Good luck with your build. We'll be watching to see your progress.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Friday, June 21, 2019 11:23 AM

Always good to see another WiP so thanks! But OUCH! Rough kit, guess Asuka/Tasca Shermans have me spoiled now... Sad

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Friday, June 21, 2019 1:37 PM

G, I'm with you brother. I'm on my 2nd Asuka kit and they are the best so far. I still like Tamiya too.

You anywhere near Bedford, VA?

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Friday, June 21, 2019 2:28 PM
M1, Dragon kits always seem to be a gamble. There are kits by them that never gave me a problem. Such as the King Tigers by them and others just took a lot of work. The main problem with the Firefly is some of the parts are from other versions of the Sherman so there is a mix match of different tooling’s going on.
 
Gamera, I’d prefer to build the Asuka/Tasca Firefly. But the Asuka boxing seems a little hard to come by at the moment. Looks like it’s on backorder for now.  I’m not willing to pay for the markup on eBay.
  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Friday, June 21, 2019 7:29 PM

G & GS, I agree that there are a lot of spares from different kits in the Dragon box. Asuka seems to be the same, although I never mind having the extra parts. I think I have enough wheels and bogie parts for about 3 more Sherman's if not more.

I had to wait several months to get my Asuka Jumbo, as it was evidently just not available anywhere except on E-bay, where the price was exorbitant.

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Sunday, June 23, 2019 6:28 PM
The past couple of days have been busy so only a small amount of progress has been made.
The damaged front piece of the transmission housing has been fixed. It looks a lot better than it was.
I drilled out the holes for the mounting points on the side skirts and I’m not that happy with them. I spent two-three hours drilling and refilling trying to get all of them straight and just can’t seem to be able to. I’m going to refill the ones that are obviously off and drill again and hope for the best. Luckily the other side is much better. It’s just frustrating that after suffering some mild brain damage my hand eye coordination is a little off. 
 
Slowly been fixing the worst fitting turret I’ve come across. Just been building up layers of putty. After letting the putty dry it appears one more layer is needed. I’m actually going to forgo trying to put a cast texture on the filled parts. Looking at photos of Firefly’s in museums the texture is really subtle so there doesn’t seem to be much of a point trying to mimic it. 
 
Last thing I did was test fit the counter weight (if that’s not correct please let me know) to the turret. It actually fits better than expected. All it should need is the welds between the turret and counter weight.
 
That’s all I’ve gotten done for now. I’m hoping to get more work done tomorrow as it should be a slow day. Thanks for reading.
  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:52 AM

That looks good Greysnake! I wouldn't worry too much about the holes for the sand skirts, I'd cheat and throw a little mud up the the hull over the crooked ones Wink

And the turret looks really good, you did a great job getting everything to fit. The counter-weight I think is the radio/wireless box. The huge gun meant the radio had to be moved out of the back of the turret where it sits in a normal Sherman. Or so I think, someone correct me if I'm wrong here. 

 

And I know what you mean about the Asuka kits. Sometimes they're almost impossible to find. I searched for the Korean War version of the M4A3E8 for over a year on Ebay etc till I found one at a local show and picked it up. After the hunt I still haven't started on it yet though... Sad

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, June 24, 2019 8:59 AM

M1GarandFan

G, I'm with you brother. I'm on my 2nd Asuka kit and they are the best so far. I still like Tamiya too.

You anywhere near Bedford, VA?

 

About an hour away from Bedford. We have a model show at the D-Day Memorial in about three weeks, going to be fun! 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Monday, June 24, 2019 2:43 PM

Grey snake, I sure agree with Gamera on the skirt holes. They don't look that bad and some paint, mud and such will hide a lot of it. Also agree that the turret is looking good. Too bad it is causing you so much work, but you've got this! 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Monday, June 24, 2019 2:45 PM

I really want to get back to the Memorial again. It's been over 10 years since I was there. Beautiful country around there too.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Monday, June 24, 2019 3:12 PM

M1GarandFan

I really want to get back to the Memorial again. It's been over 10 years since I was there. Beautiful country around there too.

 

It is really nice. Only issue is we're outside and it's been hot enough to give Satan a heatstroke the last couple years. 

If you're ever in the area Danville has a really nice tank museum. The ower is a little... um odd... he rides around the place on a tricycle type bike with some serious heat strapped to his hip but his collection is amazing. 

https://www.aaftankmuseum.com/

 

And now I'll stop hijacking your thread Greysnake!!! 

 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 1:50 PM

Gamera, that sounds like a plan. I'd love to see the museum.

I apologize to Greysnake. I'll shut up now.

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Sunday, June 30, 2019 8:00 AM
M1 and Gemera. No worries about the thread being hijacked.
 
I wasn’t able to get as much done on the kit as I wanted to last week. A lot of home improvement to do and the misses had a birthday. Sorry I didn’t take a lot of photos as the thought slipped my mind.
 
After or seven-eight thin applications of putty the turret actually looks good finally. I believe I know what caused the issue as the bottom half of the turret is from Dragon’s older M4A4 kit and the upper half was made for this kit. I guess Dragon didn’t care to make sure they actually matched. Gamera you are right what I thought was the counter weight is where the radio equipment was stored. Due do the turret halves not fitting together the radio equipment box took a lot careful sanding to sit correctly on the back of the turret.  Sorry I don’t have pictures of any of the work at the moment I’ll post them next update.   
 
 
I’ve also started working on the lower hull which thankfully I was prepared for. As I’ve been studying how to build this model. The attachment for the transmission housing to the hull like the turret isn’t great.  Once again its parts from two different kits that nobody seemed to double check at Dragon.
 
After taking the photo did some sanding and then added some putty. I just need to get around to sanding it down.
Next I tested adding the side plates and well here is a picture.
 
The part is seated correctly time to break out the putty once again.
 
But I can say I think I’m almost over the more or less done with the difficult parts of the kit. Since all the fit issues are more or less solved I don’t see the kit throwing anymore curve balls at me. Before stopping last week here was one final picture I took.
It’s actually starting to look like a tank finally. Test fitting the upper and lower hull thankfully everything fits almost perfect.The 17 pounder gun is going to take some careful cleanup but otherwise I feel confident in finishing this model.
  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Sunday, June 30, 2019 3:35 PM

Looks good! I can't argue- Dragon does have a habit of swapping parts from different kits around, glad to see you've kept the putty and sanding paper ready. Hopefully; it will be clear sailing from here on out.

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Sunday, June 30, 2019 6:02 PM

Seems like a very challenging kit! Looks like you're going to make it behave though.

I love the Firefly variant, but haven't come across a Tasca or Asuka kit yet. I'm hoping Tamiya might hand us a new tool within the next few years lol. The new Easy Eight is a dang sweet kit, that's for sure.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Thursday, July 11, 2019 9:54 AM
Thanks guys.
 
No updates on the Firefly. I haven’t had a lot of bench time and when I do I’m usually exhausted. I hope to get some work done this weekend. I need to change the transmission fluid on my vehicle and I’m hoping it will be an easy job so I can finally relax this weekend.  
  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Friday, July 12, 2019 6:12 PM
I actually have some actual updates to give on the Firefly. My day freed up so I’ve been working on and off since 0800. Have a few pictures so let’s get started.
 
You’ll remember the transmission housing had some very noticeable gaps.
 
After two applications of putty and sanding here’s where I’m at.
 
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I’m not that worried about it being 100% perfect as I might mud the lower hull up.
 
I found some more gaps that I somehow missed to the rear of the tank. Filled and sanded down which was a challenge as I didn’t have much space to work with. Not to worry as it’s more or less hidden by the idler wheel and tracks.
 
Now here is one thing Dragon did which is mystery to me. The male peg that fits into the female peg for the sprocket is way too long. The one on the left has been cut down more or less to fit and the right one is straight out of the box.
 
 
I'll also take a moment to question why Dragon made the sprocket four separate pieces. It’s extremely fragile as you can see I’ve knocked of a piece on the sprocket I haven’t cut. I’m actually thankful that this kit has track links as I’m not sure if the sprockets would hold up to Dragon’s DS tracks after a time.  
 
Here’s another Dragon mystery the engine deck. Why there’s a small gap where the engine coverI have no idea. I used some stretched sprue to fill in the gap as you can see in the second picture.
 
 
I was finally able to glue the upper and lower hull together. It’s finally starting to come together.
 
 
Next I turned my attention towards the turret as the hull needed to dry after attachment. The box that houses the radio equipment should have some very noticeable welds and the one’s Dragon molded weren’t that great. Once again stretched sprue came to the rescue. After applying some Tamiya cement to soften the plastic and some work with a knife I’m happy with how it looks.
 
Most of the turret went together with zero issue apart from the usual Dragon instruction hiccups. One part I couldn’t get right was the PE antenna guard. I’m leaving it off for now and might come back to it in a couple days. I need to find something the exact width to bend it around.
 
Kept the commanders hatch open as I'll be placing a figure in there.
 
Moved my attention back to the hull and found another Dragon mystery. I’m not sure on the correct name of the part so feel free to chime in if you know. Why the hole for the peg is so large I have no idea. Guess I’m not done with the putty like I thought.
 
I just noticed the PE mesh guard on the part need’s some sanding down. 
 
And that’s where I’m at for now. I don’t have pictures but I started trying to bend out the P/E headlight guards and they seemed a little too big. I’m lucky that that I got Dragon’s El Alamein Sherman a couple days ago and it comes with both plastic and PE headlight guards. So I’m just stealing the plastic ones from the kit. I’m also stealing the rear headlight guards which the El Alamein Sherman doesn’t use anyway.
 
That’s it for now. Maybe by Sunday I’ll have the tank ready to prime.
  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Friday, July 12, 2019 10:20 PM

Wow. Considering all the problems that have emerged with this kit, you're making great progress. Your putty work and the stretched sprue repairs look really good. I especially like the weld bead added on the rear of the turret. I can't really help you with your 'Why did they do that?' questions. Must be an Asiatic mystery. I just received my Dragon M3A1 halftrack kit and looked through the instruction sheet. Jeez, it's like building the friggin' thing from the chassis up. Looks like a real test of my building patience.

Keep up the great work!

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Saturday, July 13, 2019 8:27 AM
I’m amazed myself with the progress I’ve made on the model. If I would’ve built this model less than a decade ago I most likely would have given up and put it back in the box.
 
Think the biggest thing that’s annoyed me with this build is the instructions. I really don’t mind the gaps that need filled and whatnot. But showing parts vaguely where they go or not at all is annoying.  I’ve only built five Sherman’s in twenty odd years so I really don’t know where a lot of parts go by memory. If this was a Panzer IV or Tiger I I could probably get by with the instructions with little to no issue.
 
I was planning to use the tank commander that came with the kit. But after looking at him and gluing some parts on think he’s going to the spares box. The details just look soft and the fit of the arms leaves a lot ot be desired. The head seems on the small side and the hands oversized.
 
I’m looking at picking up the Miniart British Tank crew in winter uniforms. The one in the leather jerkin will be the one I’ll use. I’m planning a trip to my LHS today who knows maybe they’ll have it or at least another British tank crew set.

  • Member since
    July, 2004
  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Saturday, July 13, 2019 9:46 AM

This is coming along nicely. Miniart tank crew figures are great. If you don’t care for those however, have a look at Ultracast. They make some excellent resin British tanker figures. I used one on my Firefly build years ago. 

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Sunday, July 14, 2019 12:32 AM

This is like watching myself build a kit. I love the way you're just making it work regardless of the errors.

I will emphatically recommend the Miniart figures. They paint up really well. Unless you just want one figure, then Alpine is exactly what you're looking for.

These are all Miniart figures. They are worth the investment.

That one is a current project. A mish-mash of Tamiya. Still working on his expression.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Sunday, July 14, 2019 9:12 PM

Great work on the tank and the figures!!!

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 9:52 AM
Thanks stikpusher. I looked into the Ultracast figures. I found one that would work. However with shipping the figure is $30US. Think I’ll have to pass on that one as it costs almost as much as what I paid for the Firefly. I did find some other figures by Ultracast that I’ll probably eventfully buy at least.
 
M. Brindos those figures look really good. You are a lot better than me at figure painting. I really like Alpine figures and couldn’t find one that strikes my fancy. So it looks like I’ll stick with the Miniart figure for now.  

Thanks, Gamera

Got a lot of work done on the Firefly the past couple days. I started off sacrificing a little PE screen to the carpet monster. Spent thirty minutes looking and couldn’t find it. So in the end some left over vinyl mesh from the parts box was used. Once it gets some paint it should like fine.
I ended up breaking down and using the PE headlight guards from the kit. The plastic ones from the other Dragon Sherman didn’t fit right. This was an exercise in patience. Had to anneal the pieces and they turned out okay. I’m still a novice at PE so this was a learning experience. 
 
 
With the PE out of the way the Firefly was more or less done. Nothing else gave me trouble other than the usual vague instructions. So here is the Firefly almost ready for primer. 

The bogie units are just stuck on at the moment and not glued so if they don’t look right don’t worry. I still need to glue on the 50.cal mount on the turret and see about the antenna guard. Other than that it’s about ready for primer and then paint.
 
I’ve been researching the best color to paint the model. As I’m used to Tamiya acrylics I came across a mix for four parts XF-58 Olive Green to three parts XF-62 Olive Drab.  
 
  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:31 AM

She's looking really good! Always nice to see something ready for paint! 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen

 

  • Member since
    July, 2014
  • From: Rifle, CO. USA
Posted by M1GarandFan on Tuesday, July 16, 2019 2:24 PM

GreySnake, The vinyl mesh looks perfect to me. (I hate that carpet monster!)

The PE headlight guards came out just fine. I always have a lot of trepidation about using those and they do try ones patience. 

She's really looking good! BTW, what are those cylindrical bottle looking things on the rear near the tail lights? I've got several of those in some of my other kits with no clue what they are. 

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: AZ,USA
Posted by GreySnake on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 6:25 AM
Thanks Gamera.
 
M1, I believe the parts in question are fire extinguishers. Seems they were common on Firefly’s and other variants of the British used Sherman’s.
 
Speaking of Firefly’s SprueBrothers has the Asuka Firefly Composite Hull back in stock. Now I know how someone feels after working on a scratch build for years and the second it is done five manufactures announce kits.    
  • Member since
    January, 2015
  • From: Tumwater, WA.
Posted by M. Brindos on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 9:10 AM

Happens almost every time. Spend some long months scratch building something we've been asking for, for years and the same week your about to wrap it up with all that hard work, and some manufacturer announces a new tool release.

That's how it works. Lol

I can't wait to see how you paint this up.

- Mike Brindos

Figure Painting Moderator -- Genessis-Models

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