78 - Sherman Firefly vs King Tiger

The Sherman VC “Firefly”

The only Allied tank on the western front that

could face the King Tiger head-on

Models and diorama by Bjørn Jacobsen

The German King Tiger was so strong that only one Allied tank (one!) in the entire Allied arsenal could even remotely stand a chance to face the King head-on; the Sherman Firefly.

American troops wished they had tanks as effective as the Tiger and Panther.

The Sherman had the advantage of speed, manoeuvring, and numbers, 88mm projectile of the King Tiger went through the frontal armour, through the fighting compartment, through the engine, and out the rear plate with no appreciable slowing.

The myth goes that It took five Shermans to kill one King Tiger, and even then, they usually lost three of the Shermans.

The short-barrelled pop-gun on the Sherman was completely useless in a frontal attack against Tigers and Panthers, even at close ranges.

The German Tiger heavy tank was a monster of a machine that dominated the battlefields of Europe.

The Tiger gained an aura of invincibility that was only shattered by the introduction of the Sherman Firefly during the summer of 1944. Designed by the British to combat the Tiger, the Sherman Firefly was based on the American M4A4 Sherman but was fitted with a powerful 17-pounder (76mm) gun which made it a deadly opponent.

The 17-pounder could penetrate about 175mm of armour so in theory, it could penetrate King Tigers' frontal 150mm armour, but the King Tigers front was slanted about 50° so at ranges the Firefly had serious trouble with penetrating.

However, the side turret armour and the side armour itself was easy for the Firefly to penetrate since it was 80mm thick and at a 20° slant.

The diorama shows a Sherman Firefly approaching a burning KingTiger Tank which had been hit in the mid-section by the 76mm Firefly canon.

Building the Sherman Firefly

The kit is the 1/35 from Tasca.

It’s a very nice kit to build with no issues at all.

Everything fits together nicely, and everything seems to be of high quality.

The only disappointment was the instruction which are all written in Japanese with some small English notes, but most places no English at all.

The instruction doesn’t give a lot of information (at least in English), but enough to build the kit without too much trouble.

The kit consists of 11 sprues of olive drab injection molded plastic parts, two sprues of clear plastic, four sections of injection molded, vinyl tracks and one photo etched brass parts.

The kit also includes one figure of a tank commander which could be placed in the turret.

The instruction says the painting of the Firefly should be in Dark Green, but I chose to use Olive Drab (acrylic) which I thought was more correct.

The weathering was done by dry- brushing dark colours (black and brown)

Building the King Tiger

I used the Tamiya 1:35 King Tiger.

The Kit was a real pleasure to build, and I did not use any aftermarket stuff, just what was in the box.

The tracks were not of high quality: It was in one piece of soft plastic (I would have wished for harder plastic), but it was easy to mount and easy to paint and, in the end, it looked better than expected.

The tank was made with some battle damaged: Some of the side fenders were bent or removed, and several grenade damages on the hull and turret were made.

The camouflage painting was yellow and light brown.

And here are the two adversaries:

The 68 tons massive Königstiger and the smaller 35 tons Sherman Firefly

The burning King Tiger

The King Tiger was hit on the right side by the Firefly and started burning.

The track was partly removed and laid out behind the tank.


A couple of the wheels were blown off, and there were damages to the burning engine department.

Part of the tank and the surroundings were painted black/grey/white to illustrate the burning.

The fire had to have some lights, and small 9V LED lamps were placed in the battle damaged openings in the tank,

The wires from the LED lamps went through the bottom of the tank and the base.

These small LED lamps do not emit heat and can used without any fright of overheating.

Some cellophane was used to create colours for the fire.

A strip of chicken wire was used to support the smoke from the burning tank.

The black smoke was made of airbrushed Kapok which could be stretched as thin as necessary to look like real smoke.

The Base

and Background

The base is a 37 x 57cm OSB Board, covered with a thin layer of Papier Mache, painted with acrylic colours and applied some grass and bushes.

The electrical wires from the LED lights go through the base, and the 9V battery and switch is underneath the base.

The background is painted foam board. The sky is painted with

airbrush while the forest is painted by hand

The Diorama

A British Sherman VC Firefly knocking out a German Köningstiger during the Ardennes Offensive (1944)

I hope you enjoyed this website


Thank you for visiting!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or comments




Bjørn Jacobsen

November 2018