11 November 2023

Matchbox M24 Chaffee & Matador Models NM116 Conversion Set Review

Jumping to the next random topic - today I want to take a look at the Matchbox M24 Chaffee and the Matador Models NM116 Conversion Set.

I managed to get a hold of 2 of the Matador Models NM116 conversion sets 3 or 4 years ago, but only snagged a couple of Matchbox M24 Chaffee a couple of years back - so of course it wasn't until this year that I was able to have a crack at these.  Then once I started I was so put off by the whole thing that it probably took me all year to finish the two kits.

First off I love the NM116.  It's the epitome of a teeny weeny tank trying to take on the Soviet war machine - my kind of against all odds weapon system.  Here's a few pics of what it's meant to look like:

Here's a lovely side shot.  Some great stowage ideas as well that I will be stealing!

This is a more widely seen photo of the NM116.  A good view of the muzzle brake.

Not really an "in action" - more of a static display shot - but it does show in some detail the interesting Norwegian hard-edge cam pattern used on their vehicles.  Something I'm looking forward (ha!) to replicating. 

Now onto the models.  These are obviously not painted, and not even a "finished" build.  However I thought this was a good point to stop to show the original Matchbox Chaffee, the Matador Models conversion bits, and my dodgy add-ons.  Here's a couple of photos:

So looking at the 2 photos above, obviously the grey and green tanks are all Matchbox.  The 90mm new main gun barrel, raised engine decks, smoke dischargers and spades (which you can't see) are Matador Models. The white plastic card on the track guards cover the hole created when I cut of the large boxes that come with the Chaffee kit.  I also had to remove the sand guards (?) from these as I've not seen an NM116 photo showing a tank with these.  I added a couple of boxes from my PSC bits box on each side of the track guard - as also seen in lots of photos.

Significantly I also had to add, from plastic card, rod etc, the Simrad LV3 laser rangefinder and what I believe is the passive night vision sight for the gunner.  Before I can call it finished - in terms of converting - I also need to add a small rod in front of the commander's hatch which was an additional attachment for the turret roof mounted .50 cal.

This shot shows the Matador Models engine deck a little better:

You need to clean off any detail on the models engine deck before you can fit these.  I also need to severely trim one of them to get the turret to fit correctly.

This next photo was an attempt to get a closer shot of detail on the turret & main gun:

So I'm happy with the smoke dischargers - which are really pretty basic, but the main gun barrel is a little disappointing and I think the muzzle brake is completely wrong.  They were also very annoying to try and bend the resin barrel back into straight lines and I feel I was only partly successful.  Also I felt a bit let down that I had to make the laser range finder - something I consider to be fairly fundamental in changing the tank from the Chaffee to the NM116.

You do get a bunch of other bits and pieces - mainly WW2 stowage - from Matador Models, but these are really just to spice up the M24 Chaffee - they're not really for the NM116 - and I didn't use them at all.  I did use a big bit of stowage I made on the grey tanks glacis plate.

Final thing to say.  Even though I am a little disappointed overall with the conversion set, I am pretty happy with the overall look of the NM116.  Needless to say, I'll be liberally coving both tanks in cam netting and foliage so they'll end up more like the next photo anyway - so you won't be able to see much of the tank at all!

What tank?

So - that's it for now



  1. Coming along very nicely! Thanks for sharing your work, and I look forward to seeing them when done.

  2. Nifty conversion job kit bash..looks spot on.

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  4. Nice. I think once the prominent M2 mount (Do they have it fitted with an MG-42 in one pic you posted?) and the antennae are added they will come alive. Makes me want to get into my S-model Sheridans which I have to convert from 'Nam era to '80s. Looking at scratch building everything I need but if anyone can point me to a conversion kit like the Matador one for the M24 in the post please post!

  5. Matt at Elhiem is a legend but is there any way to make weapons look longer when cast on figures? I LOVE my Elhiem Cold War collection but was a little dissapointed that my US Army/USMC Cold War dudes had M16A2s that almost looked like M4s yet the individually casted A2s are longer : (