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M24 Chaffee - Early Production, US Army

Bronco, 1/35 scale

by Steve Zaloga


The new Bronco 1/35th M24 Chaffee (Early Production US Army) is the first of two versions of the new kit being offered by Bronco. The other version depicts a British tank and differs from the US Army release with a different crew figure and different decals.

If you are serious about wanting an accurate Chaffee, throw out the old Italeri kit and get this one! I built one of the Italeri kits some years ago, and there is just too much work to get it to anywhere near contemporary standards.

The Bronco kit is extremely well detailed, down to a lot of very fine casting marks on minor parts. It offers some of the best molding I've ever seen, so things like the fender reinforcing ribs are much thinner and closer to scale thickness. All of the various air intakes, etc. are separate parts so they have undercut (not found on the old Italeri kit). The turret comes with most of the major components, but not the floor.


There is a fret of photo etch that includes the predictable items such as the headlight brushguards, deck screening, plus a lot of really teeny bits. One of the nice features on the PE fret are straps for the tools. There is a large supply of extra ammo boxes, musette bags etc. on separate sprues. This particular kit includes the old Dragon US crew set.


The kit includes open hatches, etc but what is nice is that some effort is made to include interior detail of the hatches where desirable. Other nice features include the drive sprocket and idler which have the lightening holds molded in via multi-part molds. There are many nice touches, such as the commander's cupola which has the center portion separate so that it can be rotated in different directions. There are also some toy-like options such as a "recoiling" gun and working torsion bars.


The kit is extremely complex and not a "Tamiya shake-and-bake". The instructions are extensive and take a great deal of care to follow. Some of the instructions are not well planned, such as completing major subassemblies with all the small detail bits before putting together the whole hull. The kit expects a very high level of modeling skills. The kit provides tiny PE numbers to do the some of the transmission housing casting numbers. This is not exactly the sort of thing you expect in a main-line kit, and it's strong evidence of the change in the hobby over the past few years away from mass-market and towards "craftsmen kits"

The most difficult assembly is the suspension. The kit comes with torsion bar arms, separate external suspension arms, and multiple-part wheels with very small axles. As a result, everything wobbles around, and there is no solid fit of the wheels to the axles. The hull construction is extremely complex with lots of little separate panels. Generally, everything fits quite well, but I had to dry-fit a lot and do some filing and sanding to ensure proper fit.



The M24 has plenty of empty fender space, so I added a lot of resin stowage from various Blast Model sets. The figure here is from the ever-dependable Alpine line. Overall, a superior, top-notch "craftsman" kit, but one that is likely to frustrate impatient or week-end modelers.


Model, Images and Text by Steven J. Zaloga
Page Created 10 February, 2012
Page Last Updated 10 February, 2012