Hi all , as this is my 1st Sherman Firefly I want it to be as accurate as possible as I am not an expert on on the in's and out's of Shermans.
I would have plowed on had not Frank Berger kindly raised his concern regarding the all open spoke wheels I had on my model. After looking through 50 Google web pages of searches , flicking through the books I have as reference and not being able to find anything to support the all open spoke wheel VC Firefly I came to the conclusion that now was the time to do something about it rather than lament later.
With that in mind I had a number of options at hand -
#1 - use the ribbed inserts from the Hobby Boss kits to fit in the Tamiya set
#2 - use the complete ribbed wheels from the Hobby Boss kit
#3 - find two set of the Tamiya ribbed wheels and cut them down the center and glue together,
As is I chose Option #1 as it was the handiest for me ( I did not want the skinny ribs of the HB kits on the outside , I also had not got enough wheels from the Tamiya to do the half and glue option - this option will be my preferred route in the future - get some spare wheels and make a resin set from a master
The following pix show the work done replacing the already installed open spoked wheels.
1st pix is of the Tamiya part stuck onto a piece of wood with some Blu-Tac. The wheel was pressed firmly into the Blu-Tac so as to make sure the part did not fly off while using the drill on it. The inner part of the wheel has to be removed- I did this with my drill set at a medium speed. I held the piece with my thumb and forefinger while bringing the drill to the plastic stub - I allowed some of the material to be removed , stopped and cleaned it with the chisel blade and continued with the drill. By mounting the wheel on the wood with some blu-tac it allows you to rotate the wheel easily when working from different sides to remove the plastic.
This pix shows the tools & progress from left to right. Un-touched parts , stub material partly removed , completely removed , insert dry fitted.
Next was the removal of the spoked wheels. I had intended to use some spare bogies to mount the wheels. When I looked at the installed wheels I just knew I would end up breaking them and possibly damaging the other hull details. So instead of breaking them off I cut the wheels along the shafts with a razor saw blade fitted in my craft knife. I then cut some 2 mm rod to size and inserted it into the new wheels. After cleaning up the cut parts on the bogies with file and sandpaper I used Tamiya Thin glue to fix them in place.
I left a spoked wheel either side of the Sherman just to add a bit of visual difference as I know that Fireflys did have mixed wheels due to wear 'n' tear or damage.
This pix shows the type of track I will be fitting - Fighting 48th's Type T62 (curved cleat, 3 rivets).
Next up is to do some more PE stuff - fit the front light guards , see about doing the lights , smoke box emitters at rear and one or two other things.
After that its the tracks i think - have to clear my mind for that
Ohhh look time for a cuppa