M4A2 Firefly Turret
Tank Workshop Set #TWS0013
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
This update set from Tank Workshop contains parts for the typical Firefly turret and consists of 30 parts cast in a light grey resin.

The parts are cleanly cast with just the usual casting blocks to be removed and as the resin is quite ‘soft’ the cleanup is very quick and easy, this softish resin though does not affect the crispness of the details which is very good.

Resin parts
Tank Workshop

The main part is of course the turret which is cast hollow with a separate turret ring and features nice cast texture on the turret surfaces as well as nice weld seams where needed around the loader’s hatch bullet splash guard. All the hatches including the left side pistol port are separate parts for good definition as well as allowing them to be shown open if you wish.

The Commander’s hatch has nice hinge detail and also inner rim details included with the separate hatches having details on both sides as well as separate handles and inner latch detail.

At the front the inner gun mounting is included with the turret and has small casting numbers included on the right side and the outer mantlet is a separate part to which is fitted the resin barrel.

The barrel has a separate muzzle brake which will need to be drilled out as all the gas holes and bore are filled with resin, this will need care to make sure the two round gas holes are drilled cleanly.

The turret with the casting blocks attached
Tank Workshop
Views of the turret and with the rear opening cleaned up (right)
Tank WorkshopTank Workshop

A notable feature of the turret is the rear plate has the cut-out for the separate armoured radio box which is cast with the radio face included so when you fit the two together the radio can be seen at the back when looking through the turret hatches.

Separate rear turret radio box and view fitted to turret
Tank WorkshopTank Workshop
View inside showing radio face
Tank Workshop

Other details for the turret include the outer and inside pericope parts as well as empty periscope mountings if you wish to show the periscopes removed. The roof periscope in front of the loader’s hatch is cast in the closed position but it’s easy to cut this off if you want to replace it with one of the open periscopes provided while the periscope in front of the Commander’s hatch is provided separate. Strangely you only get one periscope guard and you will need to source the other elsewhere or make from thin wire.

Detail view of inner mantlet and two views of the Commander's hatch ring before and after cleanup
Tank WorkshopTank WorkshopTank Workshop

The corners of the distinctive “firefly” loader’s hatch are too ‘square’ but it is very easy to round these a little with light sanding and there is also an issue with the Commander’s hatch which is the correct size according to available plans buy overhangs the side of the turret by about 1mm. This would indicate that the turret contours around this area are a little out but the diameter of the lower turret matches the plans.

Another minor issue is due to the thin turret walls where there is a little warping of the lower turret walls which means it is quite a job to get the separate turret ring to fit into the turret, the ring while a little warped itself is nice and round so it is best not to trim this to fit the turret but use warm water to alter the lower turret shape to match the ring.

Updated December 17, 2006:
Thanks to Peter Brown, I have the exact Ordnance drawing dimensions and measurments of the actual 17pdr barrel barrel which are, the tapered section as it comes out of the mantlet is 11 inches (27.94cm) along the tapered edge and the barrel from the front of the tapered section to the back of the muzzle brake is 110.625 inches (280.1cm). This equals in 1:35 scale 7.98mm and 80.02mm respectively and the Lionmarc Model Designs barrel (now included with this set) shows the two measurements to be 8.0mm and 82.5mm respectively give a take a fraction of a millimetre making it 2.5mm too long in overall length.
This also indicates the Hunnicutt plans are correct and the others slightly out as far as the barrel length goes.

There was an issue with the barrel in my set where there was a huge air bubble right in the middle of the barrel tube which broke apart the first time I handled the barrel and I had to fill this with thick cyanoacrylate and then sand the join once the glue had cured but it was very difficult the get the barrel back straight.

Also included is an inner block to attach to the back of the barrel securing it to the turret front but the resin barrel is designed to simply butt fit into the mantlet which is then glued to the turret gun mounting as there is no additional length on the resin barrel, so the inner block is not needed but will come in handy if you replace the resin barrel with another.

Updated August 10, 2006:
With the release of the Lionmarc Model Designs 17Pdr Firefly barrel (set #LM10008) future Tank Workshop Firefly Turret sets will include the Lionmarc barrel to overcome the problems with the resin barrel in the initial sets.

To fit the metal barrel all you need do is open up the front of the gun mounting and drill a 4mm hole in the inside mounting block to take the small locating neck on the back of the barrel, all very easy really.

Turret with resin 17pdr gun fitted
Tank Workshop
Turret with Lionmarc metal 17pdr gun fitted
Tank Workshop

Also included in the set is the armoured plug that covers the hull machine gun opening as well as the storage box often fitted to the rear hull?

There were no instructions included in my set but anyone familiar with the Sherman will be able to work out where things go and I would assume those buying this update will know this?

A nicely cast and detailed firefly turret with very nice cast texture on the turret and the radio detail at the back is an interesting feature as well as having a barrel/muzzle brake size matching the Hayward plans better than some other aftermarket and kit barrels.

There were a few minor issues with the Commander’s hatch/turret fit being the trickiest to deal with but overall this is a nice firefly turret that will come in handy if you have any of the Dragon Firelfy kits.


Sherman Firefly
Mark Hayward
Ground Power Magazine
#117 - 2/2004

Sherman VC M4A4 Firefly
Military Ordnance Special No.19
R.P.Hunnicutt. Presidio Books
ISBN 0-89141-080-5
Modeler's Guide to the Sherman
MMIR Special.
Ampersand Publishing Company, Inc

Thanks to Jay from Tank Workshop for the review set.

to help the reviews continue, thank you

Page created May 7, 2006
Updated August 10, 2006

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