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Armor/AFV: Canadian Armor
Discuss all types of Canadian Armor of all eras.
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Canadian Shermans
Folgore
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Canada
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Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002 - 08:06 AM UTC
I want to make a diorama of a scene from the Battle of Ortona, which includes a Canadian Sherman tank. I've already got the accompanying infantry and even the decals for the tank (representing the Three Rivers Regiment), but I'm not sure what to get as far as the Sherman goes. I know Tamiya has a new release out, but I'm wondering if I would just be paying more for the American figures that come with the tank that I wouldn't be using. Is the actual Sherman in that kit all new tooling? If it wouldn't be the greatest deal, who else makes a decent Sherman I could use?

Thanks,
Nic
210cav
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Virginia, United States
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Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002 - 09:01 AM UTC
Nic--look at the DML series. Some fine kits.
DJ
Folgore
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Canada
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Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002 - 01:10 PM UTC
Do you know where I could find some info on DML's Shermans? I tried their website, but didn't have much luck.

Nic
TUGA
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Setubal, Portugal
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Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002 - 03:26 PM UTC
Hi,

TAMIYA is a M4A3.

Here CAMO & MARKINGS you have a profile of a Sherman V from Three Rivers Regiment at Ortona.

Sherman V in British designation means a M4A4 in US designation.

You need:
DML #6035 - M4A4
or
DML #6041 - M4A4 w/ rockets (same kit as the other but with an additional sprue for the rockets used by a Guards unit in NW Europe.

perhaps you can find them at one of the e-stores or at eBay.

Hope it helps.
ukgeoff
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England - North East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002 - 03:30 PM UTC
The new Shermans from Tamiya are both M4A3 variants, which I belive were retained exclusively for U.S. service. You could look out for Italeri's M4A1, Dragon's M4A4 or Tamiya's early M4.
Greg
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Oregon, United States
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Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002 - 11:58 PM UTC
You're in luck. I happen to have in my possession Mark Zuehlke's book on the battle, titled "Ortona". There are several pictures of Three Rivers Shermans in the book, and all that are shown are M4A4 variants. To that end, this is what you'll need:

1. DML M4A4 kit, with or without rockets. You won't be using those. Look up Mike Canaday's web site or find him on Missing Links. He has several dimensional corrections for these kits, mostly involving slicing a chunk out of the bottom hul and rear hull sides to move the idler forward. Sounds harder than it is, believe me--I've done two of them now.
Mike also lists needed mods to the turret, which are more work. You might want to get a resin low-bustle with M34A1 mantles from CMD or TTW instead.
2. Early suspension with horizontal return roller brackets. These can come from any Academy kit you wish to cannibalize, or you could order the Ft. Duquesne set which is supposed to be very good. VLS carries this and it is only about $10.
3. Treat yourself to a metal barrel from the likes of Jordi Rubio. They are beautiful.
4. I have an aversion to LTL track, and so I bought resin length track from Accurate Armour in the British Steel Chevron Pattern.
5. Last but not least, also get from Accurate Armour the Sherman V/Vc resin update set. Grreat stuff, including the rear stowage bin, first aid box, tarps, camo net for the turret side, cupola and hatches, new rear hull plate and exhaust panel. Well worth the money IMO. Have fun....

Greg
Folgore
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 12:23 AM UTC
Thanks for all the help guys. I'll try to find one of the Dragon sets. I might not be able to afford everything you suggest, Greg, but I'll try to get as much of it as possible. I have seen the book you refer to in the library and it does look very good. The author also appeared in a documentary on Ortona just a while back.

Nic
Greg
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 12:38 AM UTC
Well, Nic, if the goodies are out of the price range that's OK--but they are nice to have!

At any rate, the major flaws that need correcting are:
1. Lower hull length and idler placement. No new parts needed here; just some skill with a razor saw, styrene bracing, and putty.
2. Turret dimensional errors to bustle length (should be shorter) and placement of the whole gun mantlet assembly (should be lower on the turret front face.

Mike Canaday has fixes for all of this. The turret is the most work IMO, which is why I suggest a replacement.

Also, the backs of the pressed-steel road wheels and idlers are hollow. I've left my road wheels alone; they aren't easy to see anyway and I just might make up some Celluclay mud to garnish the whole suspension with. That will cover it for sure. The idlers can be fixed, and they ARE visible. Here's what I did:
Mixed 2-part A+B epoxy putty and filled in the hollow area ALMOST to the wheel rim. Then, using a moistened little finger I smoothed out the putty and compacted it, making a concave surface--made it look dished-in. Then while the putty was still soft, I used small lengths of .040 styrene rod to replicate te spokes. Just press them lightly into the putty and leave them to dry; make sure that they match up with the spokes on the front face of the wheel.

The Accurate Armour set has new metal idlers that are beautiful, and they also make road wheels that are detailed on both sides. My metal idlers are reserved for my Firefly Vc, which is why I did this putty treatment to my regular M4A4. Couldn't afford two sets of update kits at the time.
Greg
Ribble
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New Brunswick, Canada
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 01:01 AM UTC
Nic,
Try www.militaryhobbies.com for your DML shermans. They are Canadian and you won't have to pay through the nose in US dollars or deal with Customs "Handling" fee.

JC Hayes
Folgore
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 01:23 AM UTC
Greg--I found Tank Workshop's mantlet on the internet, which comes with an aluminum barrel and it's just $10 CDN. I was unable to find the VLS suspension, unless it's their HVSS one which is almost $50! I also can't seem to find a Canadian store selling Accurate Armour. At MilitaryHobbies.com, which JC suggested, I found DML6035 M4A4 with hedgerow cutter, would that be the Sherman to get? Lastly, could you direct me to Mike Canaday's web site, please?

Thanks a lot,
Nic
Greg
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 01:38 AM UTC
Nic--
I am too inept to be able to find Mike's site and post a link. Go out to the Missing Links site, Allied AFV discussion group. Use the Googol search to look for threads on the M4A4 or Firefly. Those will come up with Mike Canaday's site; I know I've seen it appear in several threads.

The TTW mantlet and barrel sounds like a great deal, congratulations! Since you'll be doing surgery to install those anyway, moving the whole mantlet down in the DML turret by the required .050 inches shouldn't be a big deal.

The early suspension isn't done by VLS per se, it is a resin set by Ft. Duquesne. VLS is the distributor, and you should be albe to find everything listed on their new web site modelmecca.com. They can't take online orders, though; you have to call. The stuff you found for $50 is probably the ancient Verlinden HVSS set. Avoid this.

And for Accurate Armour, their website is accuratearmour.com. They are in Port Glasgow, Scotland. I've placed two orders in recent weeks direct from them, and each time everything I ordered came in ten days via air mail. Superb service. Their web site even allows for you to do an online currency translation so you know how much everything costs with shipping included.
Greg
Greg
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 01:41 AM UTC
And I forgot the essential starting point: YES, the DML 6035 is a perfect kit. Just toss the hedgerow cutter in the spares box, as I did--Canadians didn't use anything like that in Italy, although from reading Zuehlke's book it is apparent that such a device would have been most useful in the olive groves and vinyards near Ortona.

Greg
TUGA
#034
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Setubal, Portugal
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 01:42 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Greg--I found Tank Workshop's mantlet on the internet, which comes with an aluminum barrel and it's just $10 CDN. I was unable to find the VLS suspension, unless it's their HVSS one which is almost $50! I also can't seem to find a Canadian store selling Accurate Armour. At MilitaryHobbies.com, which JC suggested, I found DML6035 M4A4 with hedgerow cutter, would that be the Sherman to get? Lastly, could you direct me to Mike Canaday's web site, please?

Thanks a lot,
Nic



Hi Nic,

For ACCURATE ARMOUR you can check their site.

Relating to DML yes it's #6035 just don't use the "hedgerow cutter" that are the two H beams on the transmission cover, because as far as I know they haven't been used in Italy.

You can find Mike Canaday page here.

I don't know if you are aware that the Sherman V is the M4A4 with 75 mm gun and that Sherman Vc is the M4A4 with the british 17 pdr gun, so you must check what is the version you intend to build.

Greg
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 01:58 AM UTC
Jose is right, check for Fireflies. By TO&E the Three Rivers Tanks could have had one Vc Firefly for each troop (platoon). The pictures in the Zuehlke book happen to be standard 75mm Sherman Vs, and the text doesn't specifically mention Fireflies. Come to think of it Ortona may have been a little early for the 17pdr tanks to be in service. Certainly they had lots of short-gun Shermans. Let's not get started on accurizing the Firefly; that's another huge can of worms to open....
Greg
Folgore
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 07:59 AM UTC
Pictures I've seen do not show Fireflies, but rather the short-barrelled variant. I didn't want to build the Firefly, which was also available at MilitaryHobbies.com. Thanks for the links Jose.

Nic
Greg
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 10:05 PM UTC
Keep me pposted on the project, Nic. My M4A4 is nearly finished but it is done with the kit markings of the 1st Chinese-American Provisional tank group. My Canadian armor projects are all Fireflies: A DML Vc, a Tamiya Ic (rebuilt, with bolted trans cover and supplemental armor), and eventually a Ic Hybrid hull. When in victoria a few weeks ago I scored a bunch of the Ultracast decal sest for Canadian Shermans--well worth a look.

Greg
herberta
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 10:34 PM UTC
Note

The Firefly kit (DML 6121, the retooled version) has the correct suspension. It comes with two full suspensions, and aside from shortening the hull all you'd need is the short 75mm gun. I bet you could scrounge one off someone here, or get a metal one.

Andy
Folgore
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Posted: Monday, June 24, 2002 - 11:49 PM UTC

Quoted Text

When in victoria a few weeks ago I scored a bunch of the Ultracast decal sest for Canadian Shermans--well worth a look.



I found the Ultracast decals for the Three Rivers Regiment when I was in Calgary last weekend. I also picked up two of their Canadian infantrymen. I'll be going to Victoria later this summer. Where do you go when you're there? I always go to BC Shaver and Hobbies, which I find to be quite good.


Quoted Text

The Firefly kit (DML 6121, the retooled version) has the correct suspension. It comes with two full suspensions, and aside from shortening the hull all you'd need is the short 75mm gun. I bet you could scrounge one off someone here, or get a metal one.



Andy--That's an idea. Would Tank Workshop's mantlet w/barrel (TW044) be adequate to change the Firefly into a Sherman V? Also, would the Accurate Armour update set fix the problem with the other Sherman?

Nic
Greg
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Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 12:47 AM UTC
Nic--Yeah, BC Shaver and Hobbies. I dropped $130CDN when we were up there recently.

And as the suspension goes, here's the issue: ALL M4A4s had the middle series suspension with the horizontal return roller arms. This set is supplied in the 6121 Firefly kit. It is not supplied in the 6035 M4A4 kit, which has the incorrect late-style upswept arms. If you get both kits, one of them will have an incorrect suspension unless you do something else. The Accurate Armour kit does not include suspension bogies, but rather hull and turret parts as well as nice metal idlers detailed on both sides. To get another proper suspension, you must raid an Acadmy kit (M10, M12, Achilles) and cross-kit. Not a big deal, but it does increase inventory. Each Academy kit comes with enough parts to make EIGHT bogies. This gives you two extras--buying three kits gets you an extra suspension. The other option is the Ft. Duquesne set I mentioned above.

You asked Andy about the turret...answer is no, not without more surgery. The standard turret did not have a loader's hatch; the Firefly got one added as part of the modification. So, you would have to fill the hole and scrape off the raised detail surrounding the hatch on the Firefly turret. Better to use the regular one from the 6035 kit.

Greg
Folgore
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Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 01:08 AM UTC
Greg--I don't much like any of the options here and I especially don't want to buy three kits I don't need, I'm just a poor university student. Frankly, I'd rather try to fill in the loader's hatch on top of the turret (I've seen what it looks like on Mike Canaday's site). If I do that, will the Tank Workshop addition work?

Nic
Folgore
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Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 01:10 AM UTC
Oh yeah, I also found out that the Firefly is $10 cheaper than the M4A4 w/ hedgerow cutter.

Nic
Greg
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Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 03:23 AM UTC
Yeah, that little resin pice cost a bunch, doesn't it?

Cost aside, in terms of work it's up to you. The Firefly kit has the right suspension, but the turret is wrong and needs the loader's hatch removed. The short gun you have already acquired, so that's fine there. There are also some differences between the two variants in terms of stowage, in part because of the different guns. Oh, if you use a Firefly kit as a donor for a regular M4A4, don't forget to leave the gun travel lock OFF. The short-gun tanks didn't use one as a rule, certainly not one on the rear hull deck like the Firefly. Either kit, 6035 or 6121, requires the fix to the lower hull length so you're in for that no matter what. The purists will also tell you that the driver's vision hoods are too wide; I haven't bothered to try thinning them down. They look OK. Also, there is a little supplemental armor piece right at the rear of the turret splash rail that is molded fluch with the raised rail. On my M4A4 I have left it alone; on my Firefly I might grind it off and replace it. There should be a gap between it and the splash rail, with the two pieces attached to each other only by the weld at the top. Fixing this should be easy, just some .040 styrene and epoxy putty to get the weld seam texture back.

Greg
ukgeoff
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Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 03:59 AM UTC
Greg:

You also forgot that the turrets on the Fireflys had an enlarged bustle added to accommodate the radio. I have no first hand knowledge of the Dragon/DML kits, so i don't know if that would be a seperate part. Also, would the Firefly kit include the hull M/G which was not used in this version?
Folgore
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Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 04:00 AM UTC
Once again, thanks for all the help, Greg. I've never built a Sherman before and have no detailed references on it, so your advice is definitely appreciated. Just one last question (hopefully) regerding the diorama. From pictures I have seen and since my Sherman will be under fire in the town, I should have the hatches closed and not worry about any crew figures, right?

Nic
Greg
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Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 04:14 AM UTC
Geoff mentioned the Firefly radio bustle...that is a separate assembly, so no worries there about leaving it off. Indeed to build a regular 75mm gun tank the mounting slots for it on the back of the turret need to be filled. Sort of.

When you look at the part, you see these slots. But the turret bustle is .060 inches too long; needs to be ground down. So.. take a suitable slab of .040 styrent to fill the hole, and use a caliper set to depth measure to push it in the .060 inches and let it dry. Then grind the back of the turret off until you are flush with the new plugs.

The hull MG parts are included on one of the regular sprues. The Firefly-specific sprues come with a cover plate to attach in its place.

And for a tank in the middle of Ortona, Nic, a closed tank would be fine. But if it were me I might consider having the commander's hatch open and a figure slouched low to avoid gunfire. Battle accounts support that, and it gave them a means to communicate with the infantry they supported. These tanks didn't have infantry phones on the rear plate, and radio nets were separate. Yelling and gesturing were the usual means. So, with a single figure barely peeking out you will fill the hatch opening sufficiently to avoid modeling any interior--you won't see past him.

Greg