M24 Chaffee (Early)
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII


Italeri's first Chaffee, released in the mid-1980s, was more suited for the Korean War than WWII, mainly because of the tracks and a few fittings on the hull and turret. This version, however, is essentially the same kit with the necessary adjustments for WWII modelers. Italeri has changed the tracks to the metal T72E1 wartime type, compared to the rubber block track more common in Korea. The lower hull has also been changed and the pads on the transmission cover have been removed and are now included as separate parts. To accompany the new track, there's a small sprue with new sprockets, new spare links, and some rather plastic looking tarpaulins.

Construction of the kit is quite good. It's a typical Italeri offering: details are quite nice but a bit soft in places. Fit is generally good with the exception of the rear plate requiring more work than the rest of the parts.

Nevertheless there's room for improvement. Starting with the lower hull, you might want to replace the kit wheels. As noted in Steve Zaloga's article in a1998 issue of Military Modelling, the wheels are too small. You could replace them with either the parts from Tamiya's M41 kit, as Zaloga did, or even better, use the AFV Club M41 suspension set.

I'd recommend replacing the tracks with a set from Friulmodel, as the Friulmodel set comes with two new sprockets and two idlers. These parts have the correct lightening holes, as opposed to Italeri's bits.

On the hull, there's a lot of work you could do, depending of how adventurous you feel. You could use Eduard's photoetch set to replace the fender supports, tool tie downs, light guards etc. Some thinning with files and scalpel can be done on the light guards as an alternative. I actually did no additional detailing, due to the fact I didn't want to spend too much money and the Friulmodel tracks were rather pricey compared to the price of the kit.

The turret also could use a bit of work to bring it up to scratch. The cupola needs a periscope if you leave it open, the loaders hatch needs a torsion bar, and so on. There's a load of details you could fit. But again, you decide the amount of work and money you pour in here.

Marking include: U.S. Army "ALLY OOP III" in Germany in early 1945; U.S. Army F Troop, 81st Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron in 1st Armored Division in Italy, 1945; U.S. Army "EAGLE CLAW," 3rd Reconnaissance Company of 3rd Infantry Division in Korea, May 1951; British Army 1st Battalion Royal Tank Regiment in Germany in May 1945; French Army 1ere Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval, "METZ," Indochina, 1953.

Overall this is a really nice kit. The subject is good. Considering the vehicle entered service during the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944, the options for painting, including winter camoflauge, are nice. The base is sound and there's certainly room for more detailing.

-Martin Dogger


Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter