by: Bob Kerr [ ]
IntroductionBack in the 1980s, when Italeri first released its injection-molded 1/35th scale M24 “Chaffee” light tank model kit, references were pretty limited. There were very few books on the subject but, if you were lucky, you might find Hunnicutt’s “Stuart” in your local library or Squadron/Signal’s “M24 Chaffee in Action” at the local hobby shop. TMs were hard to find and sometimes of limited use. The model magazines put together a few articles but your best bet was often a buddy with photos of a preserved or restored vehicle in a museum or private collection who was willing to send prints or slides through the mail.
Fast forward 20 years and we still have buddies who send us pics but now through e-mail. And we have guys like Chris “Toadman” Hughes, who shares his extensive collection of detail photos through his company, Toadman’s Tank Pictures. His 19th collection of vehicle photos on compact disc is “Toadman’s Light Tank M24 Photo Detail CD.”
The M24 “Chaffee” light tank entered U.S. service in 1944 to replace the under-gunned and under-armored M3 and M5 “Stuart” light tanks serving in Europe. Doctrine called for light tanks to be used in reconnaissance and infantry support roles and when the M24 entered combat during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, it soon proved to be equal or better than the M5 in every respect, even defeating Panther and Tiger tanks using its speed, maneuverability and improved firepower. The M24 soldiered through the end of World War II and continued in U.S. combat service well into the 1950s. There are many photos of M24s fighting on the Pusan Perimeter and other battlefields in Korea.
The CDThe CD comes in a slim jewel case with a warning for Macintosh users that the auto-run feature will not work on Mac computers. It gives instructions on how to overcome the problem and get to the goodies.
I have a PC in my model room, so the auto-run worked just fine. It opens in your default browser, in my case it’s Mozilla Firefox, and navigates just like a web page with links to Toadman‘s website and to other pages on the CD for comparisons. The reason there are comparisons is because Chris has photos of several vehicles, some restored to World War II configuration, and some preserved post-war vehicles. There are early- and late-production differences, as well as things added by subsequent users.
The photos on this CD were taken at different locations between 2006 and 2007 and represent vehicles in good condition and representing different versions of the M24:
Jacques Littlefield’s Military Vehicle Technology Foundation at Portola Valley, Ca.
The World War II U.S. Military Vehicle Museum at San Rafael, Ca.
The 1st Cavalry Division Museum at Fort Hood, Texas
The 4th Infantry Division Museums at Fort DeRussey, Hawaii, during 2006 and 2007. They are all good and varied versions of the M24.
The Table of Contents lists the following links:
Introduction and acknowledgements
Light Tank M24 profiles
Light Tank M24 turret exterior
Light Tank M24 hull exterior
Light Tank M24 engine compartment
Light Tank M24 suspension
Light Tank M24 turret interior
Light Tank M24 hull interior
As you may guess, this is not just a walk-around. It is a walk-around, a crawl-around, a crawl-under, a crawl-over and a crawl-into. The CD includes the outside, the inside, and the underneath, a part that is not often seen in references. The CD contains 286 photos and there are also captions with each photo. Chris does a good job of explaining what is seen in each photo and what particularly impressed me were his explanations of the differences between early and late/post-war versions. For instance, the smoke mortar hole in the turret later was modified to be a location for a second antenna mount.
Conclusion A thorough photo reference on the M24 inside and out with details for multiple variants that will be invaluable to anyone modeling the M24.