The Elefant Corporation set represents a standard internal removable type fuel tank as used on M113A1 and M113A2 and many variants of those vehicles. This type of tank replaced the original welded-in non-removable tank used on M113 and early M113A1 vehicles early during the Vietnam War and most vehicles which originally had the non-removable tanks were reequipped with the removable type, while newer production vehicles left the factory with the new style of tank already installed.
The set includes two separate parts and interestingly while both were originally CAD designed and 3D printed, the actual tank we receive is a cast resin copy of 3D printed part (possibly cleaned up somewhat before mold for casting was made), while a small additional detail part we get as a direct 3D printout.
If you look really closely in big magnification on parts you can see faint lines resulting from 3D printing, but they are so small and barely visible that they are not a problem at all.
The set I received is described as designed for AFV Club kits and the smal instruction sheet shows how to prepare kit hull parts for it, but I’m pretty sure it can be used in other M113 kits without too much effort.
The oldest M113 kit in 1/35 scale was the Tamiya one and it represented the original gasoline powered M113 “A0” with a welded-in fuel tank. The Elefant set can be used to replace the tank in that kit and represent later upgraded vehicle.
Academy in their line of M113 kits tried to represent the removable fuel tank, but failed miserably… Their tanks are several millimeters too long! For those kits the Elefant set is a great improvement. I’m not 100% sure if the part from my sample set would fit into the Academy kit without some adjustments, as I don’t have any of my Academy M113s at hand to test it, but I believe Elefant also offer a set dedicated to that kit with similar parts and I strongly recommend it.
I will not even mention the Italeri and Dragon kits and you should really avoid them as a plague too…
Now as for the AFV Club kit, for which the kit is designed, it has to be said that the part in the kit is not bad at all and very usable in fact. But the Elefant parts provide extra level of detail and improve the accuracy too, so are certainly worth the purchase, particularly if you super-detail the rest of the kit.
By the way, the AFV Club kit is in an interesting configuration – the vehicle they apparently used as a reference for their kit was an early M113A1, which originally came with the welded-in non-removable tank, that was later equipped with the newer type of tank. As a result, the kit comes with the removable type tank, but on the top hull plate AFV Club represented an oval bolted access panel with the fuel filler cap on. This access panel was used to access the inside of the welded-in tank to clean it. It was eliminated from later production vehicles (and the filler cap was placed directly on the hull top, closer to the rear left corner of it), as it was no longer needed with removable tanks, but can still be seen on some later variant M113s, which were converted from early hulls.
But I digress… Regardless of the kit you use, the Elefant set is a nice upgrade - almost essential one for Academy M113s, although the AFV Club kits, for which my copy of the set is theoretically designed, benefits the least as the kit parts are decent enough too.
Many thanks to Vladimir Ziska of Elefant Corporation for the review sample!