In British service it was given the service name Chaffee, after the United States Army General Adna R. Chaffee, Jr., who helped develop the use of tanks in the United States armed forces. On October 15, 1943 the first pilot vehicle was delivered and production began in 1944 under the designation Light Tank M24. It was produced at two sites; from April at Cadillac and from July at Massey-Harris. By the time production was stopped in August 1945, 4,731 M24s had left the assembly lines. Some of them were supplied to the British forces.
The M24 Chaffee was intended to replace the aging and obsolete Light Tank M5 (Stuart), which was used in supplementary roles. The first thirty-four M24s reached Europe in November 1944 and were issued to the U.S. 2nd Cavalry Group (Mechanized) in France. These were then issued to Troop F, 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron and Troop F, 42nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, which each received seventeen M24s. During the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, these units and their new tanks were rushed to the southern sector; two of the M24s were detached to serve with the 740th Tank Battalion of the U.S. First Army.
The M24 started to enter widespread issue in December 1944, but they were slow in reaching the front-line combat units. By the end of the war, many armored divisions were still mainly equipped with the M5. Some armored divisions did not receive their first M24s until the war was over.
Reports from the armored divisions that received them prior to the end of hostilities were generally positive. Crews liked the improved off-road performance and reliability, but were most appreciative of the 75mm main gun, which was a vast improvement over the 37 mm. The M24 was not up to the challenge of fighting German tanks, but the bigger gun at least gave its crews a chance to fight back when it was required. The M24’s light armor made it vulnerable to virtually all German tanks, anti-tank guns, and hand-held anti-tank weapons. The contribution of the M24 to winning the war in Europe was insignificant, as too few arrived too late to replace the worn-out M5s of the armoured divisions.
This PE set from ET Model is designed for the Bronco kit (35069). The kit contains:
575 parts in light beige plastic
168 individual track links in light beige plastic
64 parts in light grey plastic for the DML figures included in the kit
14 clear plastic parts
117 etched parts
1 length of string
2 decal sheets
28 page instruction booklet.
As you can tell, this kit from Bronco is already pretty well detailed and was well received by the modelling community upon its release in early 2012. There was only one flaw noted by reviewers, and that was that the slope on the turret roof started in the wrong place and there was also an extra weld seam on the roof.
The packaging is the usual ET Models style. The individual frets have a plastic film attached to them so you can cut items from the fret with a sharp knife without the danger of them flying off into the arms of the carpet monster. The 2 largest PE frets are taped to a piece of black card. The other 4 frets and the wire are in a small separate bag. The instructions are printed on 2 double sided pieces of letter sized paper. All the items are then placed inside another thicker plastic bag which is taped to the header card which displays the details of this PE set.
The most noticeable addition to the turret is the new stowage box at the rear of the turret. The handles on the lid are now made for PE rather than moulded as in the original and the hinges are made from 0.4mm diameter rod. The lid will open and close if you’re careful and if you pose it in the open position the new PE lid will be scale thickness. The kit latch is made from 1 piece of PE, plus a PE chain, and has moulded on detail. The ET Model replacement uses 5 more pieces and is fully made from PE so looks much nicer. If you’re going to pose the lid open then this area becomes a focus point and this replacement latch is a definite improvement.
A couple of other updated pieces on the turret are a replacement PE barrel for the coaxial MG, replacement aerial mounting bracket and replacement covers for the gunners vision block and the commander’s vision block in the cupola lid.
The .50 cal mounted on top of the turret receives a thorough upgrading. The tripod mount has its legs replaced by PE. The weapon has an additional 5 pieces of PE added to it, plus 4 pieces of small rod. The handle is replaced by PE, but you will have to source the wooden pieces you actually hold yourself; a good source would be the original plastic handle of the kit though, part F32. The ammunition box in the kit is made from 6 pieces of plastic and 4 pieces of PE. The ET Model replacement is made from 11 pieces of PE 4 pieces of small diameter rod of 3 different sizes. ET Model also included 2 PE ammunition belts so you can actually show the ammunition belt running up to the .50 cal, unlike in the original kit.
The track covers receive several upgrades. The most obvious are the side skirts that will conceal the top of the tracks. These are each made from 4 flat pieces of PE and each has 28 smaller pieces of PE attached to them to replicate attachments and brackets. On the top of the covers, the 10 brackets used to attach the covers to the hull are all replaced by PE. On top of the covers the 2 jerry cans have their mounting plates and straps replaced and there are also further upgrades to clamps and brackets on both covers. The mounting brackets for all the tools on the right hand side are all replaced by another 7 pieces of PE.
The first thing I noticed was 2 pieces of PE, one for each inside face where the transmission connects to the lower glacis plate; a tough location to describe! Anyway, these 2 pieces have engraving for raised text which stands out nicely. The driving lights have replacement guards; the 2 are different and are made from 2 and 4 pieces of PE respectively, with some careful folding. The bow machine gun has a new barrel made from rolled PE and the drivers external visor is completely replaced by PE. The covers for the driver’s and radio operators/bow gunner’s vision blocks are replaced.
The small basket at the very rear of the hull was replicated by PE in the Bronco kit and also as PE in the ET Model set. I can’t really see a difference between them other than the ET set has 2 PE handles attached.The air intake grills are again PE in the original kit, but are included in the ET Model set. In this case though I can definitely say the ET Model items are better. They will result in a more realistic 3D effect and the various latches and brackets are also included.
Overall this ET Model PE set increases the realism of the Chaffee by enhancing the kit in many areas. I highly recommend this set to anyone building this kit; the kit is very good, this PE set takes it to the next level. All you have to do is add the 2 Verlinden interior resin sets and you could make something out of this world!!
Thanks to ET Model for the review sample.
M24 Chaffee in detail Special Museum Line No.40 Wings & Wheels Publications
M24 Chaffee Light Tank 1943-1985 Osprey New Vanguard No 77 Steven J. Zaloga
M24 Chaffee Walk Around Squadron Signal Publications #5714 David Doyle.
M24 Chaffee in Action Squadron Signal Publications #2035 Jim Mesko.
Allied-Axis The Photo Journal of the Second World War No.15 Ampersand Publishing.
Toadman’s Light Tank M24 Photo Detail CD #19