Home > Reviews > 1/48 Scale > Fighting 48th 1/48 scale Sherman V / M4A4 Conversion Set

Sherman V / M4A4 Conversion Set

Fighting 48th, 1/48 scale

 

 

Catalogue Number and Description: Fighting 48th Sherman V / M4A4 Conversion Set
Contents and Media: 29 parts in grey resin; one photo-etched fret; four pages of instructions.
Scale: 1/48
Price: GBP26.70 for UK customers
Eur 40.00 for European Union customers
USD$52.00 for North America, Australasia, Japan and rest of the world.
Available online from Fighting 48th website
Review Type: FirstLook and Construction Preview
Advantages: Excellent casting; convincing surface texture; dimensions conform to published drawings; minimal parts preparation; almost flawless fit; appropriate use of multi-media (resin and brass); comprehensive instructions
Disadvantages: Option of additional tools would be nice.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


 

FirstLook

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.


Construction Preview

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:

  1. I could not find any photos of Firefly VCs with open-spoke road wheels, so I took the solid (pressed) wheels from the Tamiya M4A1 for this project.

  2. The supplementary resin track sections fit well and look great. I started assembly of the tracks with the four individual links on the drive sprocket, and worked backwards onto the lower run, then up and around the idler wheel, finishing off with the long top track run. I had to cut off the small locating pin on top of the forward drivers-side (port-side) return roller, but fit was otherwise trouble-free.

  3. I used toothpicks to force the top track run against the return rollers while the glue was drying. There is nothing worse than "floating tracks"!

 

 

  1. If you want to install the smoke emitters and the tow bar, you will have to mount the smoke emitter assembly lower than indicated in the instructions.

 

 

  1. Install the front mudguards on the upper hull before joining the upper and lower hulls, but wait until the hull is assembled before adding the reinforcing strips.

  2. Make sure that the rear mudguard mounting strips do not interfere with the fit of the lower hull.

  3. I recommend joining the two hull pieces and dealing with any gap at the forward upper hull / transmission cover join before adding any of the detail to the upper hull. I thinned and beveled the inside edge of the upper hull at this join before gluing the parts together. This left a very small gap that was eliminated with a swipe of Mr Surfacer.

  4. I used the tools from Tamiya's M4A1, plus Hauler's very nice British fire extinguishers. The only additional items are scrap plastic, lead foil for some straps, fuse wire for tail light electrical cables and fine copper wire representing the tiny handles on the sides of the turret.

 

 

  1. Cast texture was applied to the turret using Tamiya Liquid Surface Primer, brushed on then stippled, shaped and toned-down as required with Tamiya Extra Thin Liquid Cement.

  2. The massive, messy weld beads underneath the extra glacis armour plates and between the sections of the turret cheek armour are Milliput, shaped and textured with a toothpick and a hobby knife.

 

 

I will post a detailed article on the construction and painting when the model is finished.


Conclusion

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!

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Fighting 48th for the review sample

Text and Images by Brett Green
Page Created 07 January, 2007
Page Last Updated 07 January, 2007