by: Kevin Brant [ ]
Based on the British experience with the M3 Stuart(Honey) it showed that the light tank was not suited for the role, mostly due to its small gun and light armor. On that information the US Ordnance Corp and Cadillac began work on a new light tank, the T24. The first prototype was delivered in October 1943, which proved successful and an immediate order was placed. The new M24 Light Tank started to arrive at the front line in November 1944. A small number of the new tanks were provided to the British Army for testing, giving the tank its name of "Chaffee". A limited number of the tank did make it to Germany for the end of the war, mostly serving with units post war.
AFV Club has now released their take on this light tank with a British variant of the M24 in 1/35 scale.
10 Sprues of plastic parts
1 Sprue of clear plastic
2 Frets of Photo-etched Parts
1 Metal Barrel
8 Brass tube pieces
1 Length of String
3 Resin Parts(Antenna Bases/Spare Road Wheel)
1 Resin Figure(3 pieces)
2 Lengths of Poly Tracks
Opening the kit I was presented with multiple bags of dark green plastic and bags with some other interesting looking bits. A look at the plastic parts showed me the quality of moldings expected from AFV Club. The molding are clean and crisp with great looking details on both the surface and small parts. The rear grill really stood out with very fine molding of the slats, I was extremely impressed.
Most of the parts, I can only presume as I have not seen the other kits, come from the previously released variants of the M24 by AFV Club. There are a couple sprues that look to contain only what look to be parts the British would add to a tank. There are also 3 resin parts, 2 being antenna bases for the side of the turret and a spare road wheel.
There are also some other nice looking parts to add to the detail, including clear plastic for the view ports, photo-etched parts for grill screens, fender supports, length of string for tow cable, and more. Also included in the kit from AFV Club is a nice metal barrel, which will do away with the need to source it elsewhere. The kit does include poly rubber track, that while they look good, may not appeal to everyone.
There are some curious bits in the box as well, including 8 short lengths of brass tube. Scanning through the instructions, these bits are for what looks to be creating working suspension pistons. While the assembly of the running gear includes plastic parts spanning the width of the chassis to act as torsion bars, the suspension pistons are made of the brass tubes, plastic parts, and very small pins to attach to the chassis and swing arm. To me, this looks like it could lead to a not so stable and weak running gear, so some thought may want to be put into actually gluing the entire assembly.
There was also a spring in the box, which according to the instructions is to allow the barrel to recoil like a toy after assembled. While is does not look to effect the overall model, I am not sure why AFV Club included it in the kit. But the kit does seem to include a full breech assembly for the main gun.
As for the rest of the exterior detail, it does look pretty good. I did notice the details on some of the .30 and .50 cal weapon bodies did not look the best, but the .30 cals will all be coax or bow mounted, thus the visibility of the bodies will not be seen. The roof mounted .50 cal has part of the mount molded on and is the part referred to in the instructions, but the kit includes a sprue of a .50 cal and parts, which would make the roof mount look a lot better. Again, a bit of a head scratcher.
The kit does also include a resin figure, with the stereotypical pose drinking a tea. The figure is cast very well, wearing what looks to be a long coat and beret. The figure is more than likely from AFV Club's Hobby Fan line, which does the resin castings.
The instructions look to be pretty well laid out with 29 steps over 13 pages. Most steps look straight forward, while a few look a little busy. The instructions should allow the builder to produces a nice model.
The paint and marking scheme show four vehicle, two I would presume delivered to England for testing, listed as England, 1944, and then one for C Sqn, Recon Reg. 5th Inf. Div., Germany 1946 and one for 1st Royal Tank Reg, 22 Armoured Bde, 7th Armoured Div. 1945. The color listed is Dark Green for all four, but again I am presuming the color is wrong and should be a US Olive Drab color. The decals do look to be very well printed, and all with in register.
Overall this looks to be another great kit from AFV Club with great looking moldings and nice details all around. This kit does have a few down sides for me, the worst looks to be flimsy running gear when built, toy mounting for the barrel, and poly rubber tracks. With a little work though, this kit looks like it will build into a very nice M24 and I would recommend the kit for those looking for a British Chaffee.
Note, that in the near future I will be starting a build log, and building this nice looking kit.