Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale
Sherman VC Firefly Dragon
Kit #7303
Article by Dave Showell; last updated 11 January 2009
The Vehicle

The Sherman VC was one of the Sherman family of tanks produced in the United States and provided to allies during the Second World War. A modification of the Sherman V (M4A4), it used a Chrysler A57 multibank engine (five automobile engines surrounding a common drive shaft) in a hull lengthened by 5 inches. The Sherman VC carried a OQF 17 pound gun and was used by British, Commonwealth and Polish forces during the later half of the Second World War. I chose to represent Allakeefek, a Sherman VC of the 4th County of London Yeomanry (the Sharpshooters), which was captured during the fighting around Villers Bocage on June 13, 1944.

The Kit

This is the recently released Dragon Firefly VC (kit #7303). It is a nicely moulded kit in plastic, with soft plastic glueable T-54E1 tracks. The turret has the shell ejection port moulded in place.

  • Allakeefek was well photographed following the disaster of Villers Bocage. It was captured at Point 213, just outside of the town, where A Squadron was trapped after Michael Wittman's Tiger I entered the town. There is no obvious battle damage to the tank, so it may have broken down and been abandoned in the road.
  • 4th County of London Yeomanry had served in North Africa and carried some of their traditions and habits to North West Europe. For example, the name "Allakeefek" is an Arab slang term meaning "Can't be bothered". Another hold-over from their desert days is the sand shields and the baggage rail welded to the sides of the tank.


  • As mentioned above, the Dragon Firefly has a shell ejection port moulded in place. Allakeefek's turret did not have a port. I therefore began by blanking off the port and filling it with putty.

  • The Dragon kit does not offer sand shields, so I adapted a set which comes with the Italieri/ESCI M4A1. These were far too thick so I spent a couple of evenings sanding them down to a more correct thickness. The end pieces were scratched out of sheet styrene.

  • Since the tank I was modeling included a stowage rack on the glacis, I scratched suitable representation out of stock styrene. The cable comes with the US versions of the Dragon Sherman and I borrowed one from a kit not yet started.

  • The webbing on the side of the turret was created using thin strips of masking tape.

  • Since the Regiment had not been in France for very long, there wasn't a lot of stowage. You can see in the photo above that one box has been welded to the rear deck. It is not clear exactly what the box originally held, but it looks like an ammo container of some kind. It seems to be too small for a 3.7 inch antiaircraft shell box, which is what I originally thought it was. I represented it with a generic box that seemed the right size.
  • Dragon provides a nice sheet of photo etch for things like handles and headlight brush guards, so I used them.

  • Details were added to the interior of the hatches (periscope, handles and padding).

  • The decals are from Bison Decals set No. 72006 "Firefly Vc & British M4 Variants" and are very nice, thin and in register. The only problem I found was that the name "Allakeefek" which goes on the radio box at the rear of the turret is a tad too big. On the plus side the warning about the antifreeze on each side is actually legible if you look closely.

  • I wanted to portray the tanks after it had been captured and as it is shown in the photos available. As a result, I needed figures to represent the SS troopers who are doing the "tourist thing" - checking out the Sherman VC (which would be new to them). I used Preiser figures, painted in a mix of black panzer uniforms and camo, which seems to be common in the photos. I also added two infantry figures (a machinegun crew) moving up toward the fighting, also by Preiser.
  • The base is home made, from an old plaque with acrylic paste for built up areas, Portland cement for the road, and railway flocking for the grass. I also used dust from the Portland cement to weather the tank - this works really effectively, almost like pigments. You sprinkle it on and remove what you don't want with a brush.


The kit was painted over-all in a Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab with Tamiya Medium Blue used to reduce the browness and lightened with Tamiya Buff XF-57. I added several thin washes of Humbrol Green 117 because the Tamiya still seemed a bit too brown. The Olive mix was changed over the course of several coats of various shades to add depth and variety to the base coat. A wash of heavily thinned black enamel was used to highlight detail. The model was clear-coated in gloss prior to the decals being. Model Master Clear Flat, mixed with a lot of thinner and a bit of Tamiya Buff was used to seal the decals. The track was painted in Humbrol 67 Matt Panzer Dark Gray, with a lighter dry brushing of Humbrol 64 Matt Light Gray.

Source Documents

Taylor, Daniel, Villers Bocage Through the Lens, Battle of Britain International Limited, London, U.K.: 1999.

Hayward, Mark, Sherman Firefly, Barbarossa Books, Tiptree, Essex, U.K.: 2001

Fortin, Ludovic, British Tanks in Normandy, Histoire & Collections, Paris, France: 2005

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Modeling the Sherman Tank in 1/72nd Scale