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Operation Tractable

The fire extinguishers were detailed with brackets made form styrene strip and the Voyager PE parts per my references.

I replaced the kit stowage box (part F29) with the Voyager box and mounts. The Voyager box, by the way, fit the kit attachment points molded onto part E15. The Voyager locking pins and keeper chains even fit perfectly once I drilled some #80 holes in the upper mounting points. This was very convenient as it allowed me to remove the box and keep it safe until final assembly.

I only added the bogie assemblies and final drive covers (parts A10) during Step 18, holding the drivers and idlers separate for final finishing.

As mentioned earlier, I omitted the House Boat fittings on my model. Frankly, I couldn’t discern a predictable pattern in which vehicles had them and which didn't. Clearly, based on Firefly development vehicle photos, the House Boat fittings were added to the very earliest production vehicles. Fireflies appeared to be issued incrementally to units as they were produced, and it also appeared that British units received priority for the first Fireflies produced. So, while it seemed reasonable that some Canadian units received some of the earliest production Fireflies, those early vehicles with the House Boat fittings appeared to be the exceptions in Canadian units. My best guess was that the majority of Canadian Fireflies were without the House Boat fittings: I skipped Step 19. (Of course, I could be all wrong here….)

In Step 20, I elected to leave off the appliqué armor. Here my research suggested that the "block" of Sherman Mk V's selected for the initial conversion to Fireflies (in the majority at least) did not receive the up-dating / re-building changes which included this armor. Again, clearly, the second or third "blocks" of converted Mk V's were brought up to the later standard in the US (training M4A4's remanufactured at the Chrysler plant) before being shipped to the UK. These up-dated changes appear more common also on the Sherman I's possibly because those tanks were "refurbished" as normal gun tanks before being selected for Firefly conversion. But I digress… and again, I could be all wrong here. My references just didn't allow clarity on these points.

To add the sand-shield brackets along the sides of the model (kit PE parts PE1, 2, 5, 6, and 20), I started at the rear after adding kits parts PE4. That is, I started with the rearmost shield brackets (PE 5 and 6) because the critical fitting point is the juncture at the rear corners with parts PE4. Again, I used epoxy glue for strength and working time adding the pieces from the rear towards the front. Once the epoxy glue had set, I added stitch welds along the tops of the brackets using two-part epoxy putty.

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