by: Tom Cromwell [ ]
IntroductionThe M24 Chaffee light tank appeared in the final months of the Second World War as a replacement for the M5 light tank of pre-War origins. It was a radical departure, with its torsion-bar suspension and dual drivers’ controls, and signalled a new wave of US tank design that saw tanks like the Pershing and Patton series take centre-stage for the post-War period. Its successor, the M41 Walker Bulldog, followed similar lines.
For the past couple of decades modellers in 1:35 scale had the adequate Italeri kit, and recently Bronco Models came out with a state-of-the-art replacement that is currently getting snapped up by US tank fans (like your humble author). The time was right for a new reference work, and Tankograd has delivered the goods once again with its Tech Manual series.
The BookAt 48 A4-size pages, this is not actually a print of the real TM, but rather a stunning collection of photos and illustrations that are packed mostly two or three to a page from cover to cover. Well, almost cover to cover – there are three pages of English-language text explaining the development of the vehicle before the picture cavalcade begins!
The images include posed shots of prototypes, crisp photos from tech manuals, and in-service shots from WWII and Korea to form the first half of the book. All are lavishly captioned, again in English only. Then there are all those shots of automotive and interior details from the TMs forming the second half that will be vital to anyone tempted to add a full interior to their kit. All are well-balanced and sharp enough to provide a wealth of detail, and have extensive captions. Perhaps the most intriguing is an unfortunate incident in Germany where a Chaffee has fallen off its wagon in a rail yard, surrounded by troops no doubt calculating who will get the blame for it!
ConclusionIf you plan to build a Chaffee, you need this book! And if you’re just a fan of the M24 you’ll still want this on your bookshelf. Heartily recommended.