convincing surface texture; dimensions conform to published
drawings; minimal parts preparation; almost flawless fit;
appropriate use of multi-media (resin and brass); comprehensive
Option of additional
tools would be nice.
FirstLook - A
I am probably a much larger fan of British Shermans as opposed to
American ones, and therefore the Sherman V or “Firefly” is one of my
all time favourite tanks, if not my favourite outright. Having
recently been treated to perfection on the form of a Firefly in 35th
from Tasca (which just may be the nicest model kit ever made in my
opinion) we now have a conversion set produced in 48th to make this
ubiquitous example of American production and British ingenuity.
Fighting 48th were a completely new
name to me when I heard of this conversion and rightfully so as this
is their first release.
Served up in a sturdy white box
that looks more than capable of withstanding the rigours of air-mail
passage to any of the globes destinations, with a full colour label
adorning its top, this release instantly speaks of a professional
Inside the box, securely packed are the upper and lower hulls,
accompanied by a sheet of photo-etched parts that are more extensive
than some 35th scale releases, and a grip seal bag with the
extensions for the tracks, some ammunition and the rest of the parts
that will be necessary to turn any one of the currently available
Tamiya 48th scale Shermans into an M4A4.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:
Having been designed using the
latest CAD technology the dimensional accuracy of the parts is very
sound, and the detail is fantastic. The only comment I can make at
this point is that to my eye some of the rivets seem a bit large,
but this is a personal observation and should not be taken as the
gospel truth. It could be that once they are painted they may seem
perfect. Only time will tell on that one.
The resin is of the highest
quality, as is the casting, and under close scrutiny I only came
across one air bubble on the stowage bin which is pretty darned good
in my opinion.
All Singing, All Dancing
The photo-etched parts make up a
lot of details, which in 48th scale in particular, need to be much
finer than injection moulded plastic can produce. The etched fret
provides periscope guards for all of the tanks hatches, Rifle and
Blade sights, Spare track link brackets, engine grill, grouser box
grill covers, and my personal favourite, track skids for the bogies.
In fact with every detail down to the mud guards, and their mounting
strips, this set eliminates the need for any other aftermarket
etched set, and I would rate it as a £9.00 value at the minimum. The
only detail that was left off was the British type fire extinguisher
which need to be sourced from the donor kit, but fortunately I have
some Hauler ones which will go quite nicely on this kit.
The instructions are an all colour
affair, and are very clear and easy to understand and follow. There
is plenty of text which simply describes what needs to be done to
assemble the kit, along with a few computer graphics to illustrate
more complex assemblies in further detail. As some of the parts are
very complex assemblies, particularly in a scale like 48th, the
depth of the instructions is very welcome. In fact a lot of the
description also describes the real life usage of the parts, which
makes this to be a somewhat educational model.
Looking to the future as well…
There are some very interesting
releases for the future from Fighting 48th, and all will be
concentrating on the under serviced (to this point at least) British
armour modeller. I am sure that I am not the only modeller out there
who will be eagerly awaiting a Sherman Crab Mk.V!
This conversion kit is not for the
faint of heart when it comes to the wallet as at £25.00 plus post
and packing, it isn’t the cheapest box of resin and etched you will
buy this year. However, it is a complete detail and conversion set,
with etched parts that cover the entire kit, along with the donor
kit, and if you are into super-detailing models, then this is right
up your alley.
This very complete conversion set may be purchased with Credit cards
or Pay Pal directly from Fighting 48th via their website: