M24 Chaffee US WWII Light tank tracks

Kit #: pe 7217 Preview by Marc Mercier - mercier(dot)marc(dot)2(at)gmail(dot)com
Edited by Al Magnus

The only M24 Chaffee kit available in 1/72 is manufactured by Hasegawa. It's an older kit, but fairly decent nonetheless. It has good detail, even by today's standards, and with a bit of TLC can be modified into a beautiful model. The major drawbacks however are the older style one-piece vinyl tracks, a feature that is difficult to correct.

ARMORY comes to the rescue with a set of PE replacements tracks, specially designed for this kit. It gives you the following :

  • Four lengths of PE tracks (two per side)
  • Six single PE links
  • PE parts to detail the drive sprockets and idler wheels.

The PE tracks are beautiful executed with very fine detail on them. Once finished you get a representation of the earlier track type used on the M24, the T72 single pin all steel model (16 inch wide). Post WW II build vehicles generally used the 14inch double pin T85E1 who had rubber track shoes with chevrons. However, some nations continued to use the T72 tracks well after WW II, so check your references.

This set however is not for the inexperienced or faint hearted modellers. The tracks are extremely fine and need to be folded with a steady hand and a decent hold and fold workstation. Luckily, Armory has decided not to produce them as the usual one single length per side, but did split them up in two (shorter) lengths per side. This makes it easier to fold them. The assembly instructions included in the set gives you a clear view how it needs to be done. Once finished, they look the part (especially the outside detail) and are a big improvement over the kit vinyl tracks.

The parts to detail the drive sprockets and idlers are much easier to use, being designed to be glued on and around the kits parts.

On the downside, Armory had to take a shortcut when it comes to the number of links per side. In reality, the Chaffee had 75 on each side. This set, once assembled, gives you on each side only 54 links. The reason for this lies in the fact that Hasegawa provided the kit's idler with only 12 teeth, where an idler on the real tank had 13. Since the links need to fit between the teeth of the idler, they have to be longer (and thus not to scale). While some purists may find this a problem, I think, keeping the scale in mind, that this results from an understandable compromise between reality and technical feasibility.

Review sample purchased by the author.

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Article Last Updated: 14 August 2012