M24 Chaffee

USA WW II Light Tank

Kit #: R72001M Preview by Kris Carlier - kriscarlier(at)telenet(dot)be
Edited by Marc Mercier

The tank

The M24 Chaffee was an American reconnaissance tank which fired its first rounds on the battlefield in 1944. It came as a replacement of the M3 and M5 series. Although these tanks were appreciated for their easy driving, you didn’t want to be in it, facing a full grown German tank! With its 37mm gun, the M3/M5 missed every punch to defend itself or to support an infantry group attacking a fortified position. Therefore, the American tank crews demanded for a better protected and better armed reconnaissance tank. This tank became the M24 Chaffee.

I won’t bore you with the entire history of the tank. If you feel interested, you will find all the information on Wikipedia. For us modellers, it is interesting to know that the tank served in the latest stages of the Second World War WWII, the Korean War, the Indochina War, the Vietnam War and some more local conflicts. Moreover, the tank was sold to 29 countries. This gives us plenty of opportunities for different settings, from the snow during the Battle of the Bulge to the deserts of Pakistan.

The manufacturer

Until now, you did not have much choice when you wanted to model the M24 Chaffee in 1/72. In fact, you only had an old kit from Hasegawa and a 1/76 from Revell, which is a release of a Matchbox kit. Both kits have been released in 1974 and clearly show their age. The Hasegawa kit – for example – has thick and stubborn vinyl tracks with hardly any detail on the inside. It is possible to overcome the biggest detailing problems, but this means you have to chase the market for the right detailing sets.

Now there is a new kit in town. Or should I say: a new kid? The manufacturer of this kit is the Bulgarian company OKB Grigorov. This company has released quite some resin kits in 1/72 and has also gained a good reputation for its aftermarket series. Amongst others, OKB Grigorov has released highly accurate resin tracks for numerous tanks and AFV’s. The M24 Chaffee however, is the first plastic production of this company. Bearing in mind the high quality of their resin and aftermarket productions, we were quite curious to see the quality of this first injection moulded kit.

The kit

The first thing you notice when see the new kit is the huge size of the box. It’s double the size of a standard Revell kit, although the tank itself measures only 7.7cm! The cardboard of the box is a bit too soft for its size, but no parts were damaged. The artwork of the kit shows the tank during the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. It is based on a well known picture of one of the first M24 Chaffees in action.

The kit comes in two versions : you have the regular edition, but you also have the Mammoth Edition. This edition contains all the aftermarket detail sets that OKB Grigorov has manufactured for its own kit.

Does this mean that the simple version is not detailed enough? Well, let’s have a closer look!

The kit consist of three sprues: one for the hull and two for the suspension system. Separate parts give you the opportunity to model an early or a later version.

The instructions give you the possibility to model a late WWII tank or a version during the war in Indochina in 1954.

The biggest part of the kit is the upper hull. Unlike the Hasegawa kit, all hatches can be modelled open. This is a highly appreciated feature, as this allows you to add a figure of the driver and the radio operator.

Also the access hatch to the transmission can be modelled open, but then you will have to add the transmission yourself. Details of the hull are very finely cast.

The turret has the same quality. You will find very fine detail and a crisp moulding.

The two hatches in the turret can also be modelled open. Bear in mind however that you will have to add two figures or add an interior yourself as the kit provides nothing on the inside.

Very nice is also the machine gun, which is probably one of the best on the market. Also the side skirts are perfectly done. The plastic is thin and packed with as much detail as possible.

You will also find a breathtaking level of detail in the suspension system. Drive sprockets, track tensioners and road wheels,… everything is perfectly done. You can position every wheel as you like, which gives you the possibility to position the tank in a diorama of ruined city, driving over uneven terrain. Not many kits offer this level of detail! Moreover, the instructions clearly show you how to position this suspension system.

No complaints about the tracks either. One of the specialities of OKB Grigorov are tracks. You can clearly see they also have used their knowhow in this kit. Both on the outside and the inside, all detail is keen and sharp. Impressive.

One drawback: don’t give this tank as a first kit to your son or daughter. This kit is a fine little gem, but one for more experienced modellers.

For those who want to push the level of detail even further, you can also buy the Mammoth Edition. This version contains a metal barrel, three (!) separate photo etch detail sets and resin idler wheels. The photo etch sets consist of a general detail set, an even thinner version of the side skirts and a new turret bin.

The price of this jewel is 17 euro for the regular kit (which will give an excellent model) or 32 euro for the Mammoth Edition, which is excellent value for money.

So then, is there no room for improvement, you may ask? The only improvement I could suggest are the painting instructions. The only painting instruction you have is a general ‘body colour: olive drab’. But what for the inside of the hatches, the lights, or the colour of the periscopes? Luckily, we have the internet to provide us with reference pictures.


Don’t look any further: this is the best model available of an M24 Chaffee tank in 1/72! When can we expect from OKB Grigorov an 1/72 injected moulded Sherman that has this level of detail?

Preview sample purchased by the author.

This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 17 June 2018