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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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,"
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.