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Operation Tractable

As discussed earlier, I replaced the kit main gun barrel and muzzle break with the Aber turned metal parts. These were direct replacements for the kit parts and didn’t offer any problems in Step 21. The Aber barrel is, however, heavier than the plastic kit parts, so I found that in final assembly, I had to glue the gun mount (part F7) to the poly caps using a big drops of CA to hold the gun's elevation. I added a locking bolt to the top of the muzzle break with a Grant Line casting, and I added two missing flush mount slotted screw heads on the top of the inner mantlet (part F31) using .6mm brass turned screws from Lion Marc. The Voyager perforated cooling jacket for the .30 cal co-ax MG was used along with the muzzle end of the kit's MG barrel. I used a piece of hypodermic needle for the actual MG barrel. The Voyager MG barrel jacket was easily formed after annealing by rolling it with a piece of stainless steel tubing over a couple of sheets of paper on a glass surface. The paper provided just enough "give" in the surface to allow the tubing to impart the needed roll.

In Step 22, I left the PE periscope guards off until final assembly. I elected to use the turret bustle box made of parts F34, 39, and 40 with the "square plate" cover (part F33). This seemed to be the most common arrangement from what I could tell. I didn't use the optional spot light (parts D13 and G15), and in Step 24, so I added the mount cover and keeper chain to the turret top for it.

Step 23 required some filling, texturing and weld beads before adding any details to the turret. I "welded" my shell ejection port (part C18) closed. This seemed to be one of those early modifications that were common on the Sherman Mk V's used for the initial Firefly conversions. The welds for this and the radio bustle box were made from two-part epoxy putty. Cast texture was added to the turret using thinned Squadron Green Putty as described in Step 9. The turret interior was airbrushed flat black. I added a pair of Bronco 25 pounder ammo boxes to the radio bustle, "securing" them with epoxy putty spot weld beads. I positioned these so that they would not interfere with the radio access openings on the top of the bustle.

In Step 24, I added the commander's cupola hatch latches on the outsides of where parts C8 and C9 join C14. I also added the cupola rotation lock knob on the inside (at about the 1 o'clock position with 12 o'clock being dead ahead). The cupola combing pads got recesses for their mounting screws drilled into them. The mount for the folding .50 cal MG barrel clamp was added to the rear (6 o'clock) of the cupola. This was made from styrene strip. I drilled sighting holes in the rear, vertical portion of the commander's sighting vane (part F22). I didn't add the cupola or the loader's hatch until later. Instead of using the kit's PE footman loops on the turret side (which held the issue camouflage net), I fabricated these loops using the same process described for the tools.

Final details, such as the PE periscope guards (PE16 and PE17) and the towing shackles (D8) were added at this time. The tools and their tie-down straps would be added later in the finishing stages.

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