The M4A4 Sherman was fitted with the Chrysler Multibank Engine which was actually 5 engines bolted together. As this engine was quite a bit bigger than other Sherman engines the M4A4 had a lengthened rear hull to accommodate it. This kit replicates the inside of the engine bay of the M4A4 and is designed to fit the Tasca Sherman Firefly
As is usual with Resicast products the kit arrived in a stout cardboard box with plenty of bubble wrap and tape. The kit consists of 28 resin parts and 3 etched panels contained in ziplock bags. Also included is an eight page instruction booklet.
The instruction booklet has a black and white photo of the left hand side (If you are standing behind and facing the rear of the tank) of the engine bay on the cover. Page 2 gives a list of parts and a B/W photo of the inside of the rear panel. Page three shows the alterations that need to be made to the Tasca hull parts. Pages four five and six have photos of the kit assembly showing where each part goes but not in what order so dry fitting is in order. Page six also shows a B/w photo of the right hand side of the engine bay, Page seven has what appear to a wiring diagram and two illustrations from an M4A4 technical manual showing the technical name of each part of the engine bay. The last page has a voucher to use in case replacement parts are needed. As instructions for resin kits go these are quite good and if you pay close attention to the photos of the real engine bay during assembly there should be very few problems.
The parts are very crisply cast. There is a little bit of flash which is easily removed.
The resin parts are cast in a clever way to a small resin rod attached to the main resin plug which makes cutting away the resin plug very easy. Having said that care should still be taken as some of the cast resin tubing is very delicate. For cutting purposes I used a razor saw and a scalpel blade. I used fine wet and dry paper to clean up the pieces. When Iím cutting resin I keep a small jar of water beside me and periodically dip the razor saw in and when sanding I dip the resin piece itself in. The dust clumps together on the blade and falls away on the next dip.
The three etched panels were a bit springy so I annealed them by putting them on the electric hob (While my wife was out) until they changed colour. After annealing donít forget to quench the parts in water or allow to cool down before handling.
Although designed specifically for the Tasca Firefly this engine bay will work for Dragonís Firefly hulls and for Resicastís own M4A4 hulls with a little bit of tweaking.
I used the Tasca kit as I had one on hand and this was a good excuse to take it out of the stash. To start, a little bit of surgery is required on the Tasca parts that make up the hull tub. Some of the raised placement lines need to be shaved away to allow the Resicast replacement bulkhead and rear panel to fit. And a section of each of the sidewalls needs to be cut away to fit the petrol tanks. For this task I again used a scalpel and a razor saw although if you have a micro chisel it would be easier to remove the raised lines with that.
The first Resicast parts to be added are the etched brass panels and the resin bulkhead between the crew compartment and the engine bay. After removing the bulkhead from its resin plug it was a drop fit into the Tasca Hull parts.
After annealing the brass panels werenít entirely flat and rather than try to flatten them I glued one end in place with Loctite super glue and the worked more super glue in behind the panels with a brush and held the panel down until the glue set.
The rear edge of the floor panel needs to be bent slightly to allow the rear bulkhead to fit but this isnít obvious from the instructions (Or at least it wasnít to me). Thankfully I hadnít applied superglue there and I was able to bend it when I got around to fitting the rear panel.
The instructions show the Bulkhead and rear panel added before adding any of the interior parts but as I have fingers that resemble super size bratwursts I left the rear panel off to give me some chance of success at adding tiny resin parts to the engine bay. I did test fit the rear panel and needed to sand it down slightly until it fit perfectly
Next I added the two air pipes (P) to the bulk head and the petrol tanks to the sponsons. A word of warning here- after removing the resin plugs from the petrol tanks itís a good idea to test fit the hull top with the petrol tanks in place. I didnít and the hull top wouldnít fit over the left-hand petrol tank and rather than pry it off and maybe shatter the sponson I ended up carving pieces off to make the hull top fit. That part of the petrol tank wonít be visible when the model is finished so Iím not too worried about my mistake.
Parts M and N the Shaft plate and clutch are added to the bulkhead next and I think they would have been easier to add to it before it was glued in place. The same is true, I feel, of the extinguisher supports (F) and the extinguishers (G) but then I do have the aforementioned Bratwurst fingers. I actually lost all of the extinguisher supports, which I replaced with styrene card, and one of the extinguishers which I replaced by carving one out of a piece of sprue.
Various bits and pieces of tubing and conduit next have to be added to the sides of the engine bay, pay particular attention to the instructions here as it is easy to go wrong. I snapped one piece of tubing (L) and rather than try to piece it together I replaced it with fuse wire.
The fuse wire replacement worked so well I used it on the right hand panel as well. I left the wire ends too long on purpose and drilled out the narrow end of the extinguishers for the rear panel I slid these on to the fuse wire and glued them in place before cutting the excess wire off. I was then able to twist them into the correct position with a small needle nosed pliers and only needed to apply super glue to them when fixing the rear panel on.
The other bits and pieces such as the side and rear engine supports fit snugly into place and then it was only a matter of gluing the rear panel in place.
To finish I rinsed the whole piece in soapy water and after drying sprayed it with matt white and then gave it a coat of very dilute black Indian ink.
The engine bay will have the Resicast Chrysler Multibank engine (Which will be the subject of a future review) installed eventually and at that stage I will add more grime and dirt.
This is a very interesting kit and expands the diorama possibilities for the Tasca Firefly. If you pay close attention to the instructions, look carefully at the Photos and dry fit as you go then it should go together quite easily. Any problems I had Ėbroken and lost parts, were due to my own clumsiness.
Highs: Originality, As far as I know there is no other M4A4 engine bay available.High quality of moulding- very crisp.Lows: Some of the resin pipes are very narrow and quite easy to break unless you are ultra careful.Verdict: I like this kit a lot. It definitely enhances the Tasca Firefly and almost demands a diorama. I look forward to building and installing the Resicast engine. Watch this space!
I served three years in the Irish Army.
Then I studied fine art for five years.
Acted professionally since leaving college (Look me up on IMDB- Pat McGrathIII)
Interested in Allied Armour 1942-45 and German SPGs.
Other interests are figures and Sci Fi models