Sherman V / M4A4 Conversion Set
Fighting 48th, 1/48 scale
Fighting 48th is a brand new after-market company from the United Kingdom. Their debut offering is a 1/48 scale Sherman V / M4A4 Conversion Set.
This set may be used to create a 1/48 scale 75mm equipped British Sherman V or an M4A4; or a stretched-hull Sherman Mk.VC Firefly fitted with the potent 17 pdr gun. If you are building a standard (75mm) Sherman V or M4A4 you should ideally use Tamiya's M4A1 Sherman. In the case of a Firefly VC, you will need the Tamiya Sherman Firefly IC as the base kit.
Fighting 48th's Sherman V / M4A4 Conversion comprises 29 parts in grey resin plus a large photo-etched fret.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:
The resin parts are beautifully cast. I only found two pinholes in the entire set, and these were on smaller parts that were easily repaired. The focus of the conversion is the replacement upper and lower hull parts. These are cast as one piece each, and feature superior detail and engineering compared to the Tamiya hull parts.
The upper hull is cast with sponson floors in place. Surface texture is subtle and convincing, supplemented with weld beads where appropriate. The engine deck is very impressive, with all the features of the M4A4 in place and even including tiny hollowed out lifting handles cast in place.
The one-piece lower hull is cast with the transmission cover and the rear hull detail. The bottom of the hull replicates the detail of the M4A4/Sherman V. The rear bulkhead for the fighting compartment has also been cast in place.
Both hull parts are supplied almost ready to use. There is only a small pour stub on the top of the fighting compartment firewall, and a tiny amount of resin waste to trim and sand.
Smaller resin parts include extra track lengths to extend the track run of the long hull Sherman V / M4A4, plus exhausts, periscopes. hull lifting eyes, tow bar and fittings, angled towing eyes for the rear hull, a large rear hull bin and 17 pdr rounds.
The photo-etched fret provides a wealth of extra detail including mudguard mounting strips, grouser box grilles, light brush guards, smoke emitter boxes, periscope guards, a big lid for the rear hull bin, rear engine grille, spare track link brackets, turret sights and more. Photo-etched replacements for the kit bogie track skids are even included.
Instructions comprise detailed text and construction diagrams over four pages. These are generally very good. I recommend thoroughly reading the text before starting construction. The only area of the instructions that could be better covered is the location and final shapes of the "various turret sights, mounts etc".
If you are building a Sherman Firefly VC using the Tamiya Firefly IC kit (which I suspect most modellers will), you will need to source some additional tools to replace those moulded onto the Tamiya kit hull. Fighting 48th suggests that you use tools from Tamiya's M4A1 (which has a separate On Vehicle Equipment sprue), but Hauler also offers a British tool set if you do not wish to cannibalize another Sherman kit. Check your references for the style of roadwheel used too.
The Firefly VC is one of my favorite vehicles, so I could not resist starting it straight away.
The fit is generally excellent, and if you follow the instructions you should have no problems. Here are some construction notes / suggestions based on my build to date:
I will post a detailed article on the construction and painting when the model is finished.
Fighting 48th's Sherman V / M4A4 Conversion Set is an impressive debut offering.
Casting is first-rate, detail is excellent and fit is trouble free. The comprehensive photo-etched fret adds even more valuable detail. It is fast to build too. Construction as detailed in this review took place over a period of only two days.
Allied armour fans are indeed fortunate to see excellent Sherman Firefly options available in recent months from Dragon (in 1/72), Tasca (in 1/35) and now Fighting 48th's conversion of Tamiya's kit in 1/48 scale.
This conversion will be warmly welcomed by Allied armour modellers who want to build a Firefly VC or a stretched-hull Sherman.
I look forward to seeing what this new company has in the production pipeline!
Thanks to Fighting 48th for the review sample
Text and Images by Brett Green