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ElMod have, until now, been well known in the RC Tank hobby for their range of innovative, high quality electronic modules for RC tanks. This SU-152 conversion kit represents ElMod's entry into the conversion kit market and I am pleased to say it is very high quality in every respect.




ElMod sent along kit no.#10901 which addresses the upper hull conversion of the Heng Long 1/16 RC KV-1 into the SU-152 assault gun, 'animal killer'. You can choose between a long or short engine deck version, the long version was supplied for this review.




The kit arrived in perfect condition, having been carefully packed with foam 'peanuts' and bubble wrap and an outer carton.


The largest and most important part, the fighting compartment, is flawless, with only very minor, easy to remove flashing, with injection marks in unimportant areas. This superstructure is very solid at 5mm thick and has cast in detailing which includes; steel texture, weld seams and bolt heads. In the photo I have gone ahead and test fitted the gun housing onto the fighting compartment

Other plastic parts consist of the following:
* The gun mantlet
* External fittings including tools, headlamp
* Internal fittings to facilitate the use of gun movement and recoil mechanisms
* A flexible gun weather guard.
* A clear plastic headlamp lens and muzzle brake. More about this when construction is covered.
* Engine deck.



I was stunned to find that the four external fuel tanks are made from solid aluminum, each weighing a whopping 80 grams each, a really nice touch!

The main gun barrel is very well done too and mates perfectly with the internal 'breech' portion through which the barrel will recoil. This will make for a 'jam free' recoil action with no excess play or barrel wobble to worry about.



One sheet of PE parts that will only require a straight edge for folding, and the shape of the barrels themselves for bending. This includes fuel barrel handles, brackets and strapping. A set of small metal nuts is also provided to use in conjunction with the PE. Well cast metal parts including hatches and hinges which are ready for connection using supplied wire and a variety of additional detail parts. 30 bolts with eyelets are included for use in constructing infantry railings using wire also provided. Some minor clean up is required.



A sheet of 'peel off' painting masks enables the modeller to choose from a range of markings which you paint yourself.



In my case, I was provided with the English language version of the instructions, which are fully illustrated and thorough.



I am very impressed about the quality of this ElMod kit, with only minor clean up required, it is ready to assemble in no time, with no major reworking being asked of the modeler such as may be required from other conversion kits on the market. That, and other areas as described where ElMod have gone for the highest quality components means that ElMod have set a new level of expectation for conversion kits.




ElMod SU-152 Construction


Whilst I mentioned earlier the kit itself requires no major alterations, of course you do need to do some work on the donor Heng Long KV-1 kit.
First you need separate the upper hull and remove the turret. Then, removal of all parts attached to the upper hull is required, most can be removed by pushing them out from the inside, however some might require some persuasion with nail polish remover. I would suggest if you do that you should test the effects of whatever solvent you use on one of the unused parts first. There seemed to be no point in removing the right angled armour plate from the front corner since it needs to be on the finished model, however mine wasn't positioned perfectly straight, removing it enables a straight cut where the kit meets the upper hull to be measured square with the exposed front edge of the KV-1 kit.

There are two rectangular areas that need to be cut out of the KV-1 upper hull, one for the engine deck replacement and one below where the ElMod superstructure will be. For the engine deck, the place to cut is self-evident but for the main cut-out, more thought is involved. Here, the rear and side cuts can be made so the fighting compartment panels will overlap them but the forward cut, where the ElMod upper part joins, needs to be more of an exact nature. In this respect, I made the initial cut slightly short of where I thought the final cut would be so the cut-out area could be discarded, allowing easier positioning checks. Then I hand filed in small increments until the two parts met on the same level at the front end. Also, to enable positioning of the ElMod kit parts, you will also need to remove some of the moulded on details from the KV-1 kit such as the rear of the turret ring and bracket mounts.



First I installed the mounting bracket which holds the gun, into the inside of the fighting compartment. The bracket allows the gun to be traversed horizontally, something I overlooked previously. Besides taking the weight of the gun/mechanism, the bracket also provides a smooth pivot point for vertical gun movement. After attaching the fighting compartment to the upper deck, the main gun assembly can then be inserted and attached from the inside. Since I am not installing electronics at this stage, I inserted the barrel locking pin in place until a recoil mechanism is installed.


The photo etched parts for the fuel drums were assembled quickly and easily, all the bends are scribed and most be can be done by hand, the rest with a steel ruler. I did find it necessary to shorten the straps for the fuel drums to get them to fit snugly. I simply held all the straps in a bunch together and filed down the thicker part of the straps to match the lower, thinner end, followed by trimming off some of the length.


The points to attach the infantry railing supports are marked on the kit and need to be drilled out further. I found the supplied .6mm brass wire would not fit through the holes in the supports easily, so instead of honing out the holes, I took the easy way out and used brass wire of a slightly thinner diameter.


Adding all the metal parts went smoothly, resulting in all hatches being workable. In the case of the fuel drums it's worth noting that enough space needs to be left to allow the gun cleaning rods to protrude after they are attached.



I painted the completed ElMod SU-152 with Mr. Hobby WW2 green, in the case of the transparent multiple slotted muzzle brake, this is best painted by hand, taking care not to get paint inside the baffles and onto the internal clear structural tube.


The painting masks were very pleasant to work with. For the star, first I sprayed a sufficient area with matt white, then placed the mask for the white star outline over it. Then, I sprayed matt red for the star centre and masked it over before applying the green base coat. The masks supplied with this kit will be very useful for using different number and star combinations on other Russian WW2 tanks.



I found this kit to be a very enjoyable build and highly recommend it, ElMod really have raised the bar for what a good RC Tank conversion kit should be like. Next, in a separate review about ElMod's latest electronics system for RC Tanks, I'll be reviewing them in connection with installation in this SU-152 kit.