The ZSU 23-4 ‘SHILKA’ is a quadruple barrelled Self Propelled Anti Aircraft Gun, from Russian origin, but still used to this day in some countries. Designed on the chassis of the ubiquiotous PT-76 chassis, it was first produced in circa 1966, and has seen many improvements and upgrades ever since, to remain a potent close air defence weapon as well as having the capability to engage ground targets.
This resin set contains the complete driver’s station and turret interior to add to the Dragon kits 3518 or 3521
what’s in the box?
The kit comes in a sturdy cardboard box (18cm by 12cm by 6cm) and the 55 parts are well protected by the use of bubble wrap and foam ‘peanuts’. There is one label pasted on the box, with one photograph of the set build into the Dragon donor kit. This label also serves to seal the box, making it impossible to inspect the contents in a shop without breaking the label. The parts are divided into three ziplock bags, one for the drivers station, and two for the turret interior.
The instructions are a sombre affair, consisting of 17 grainy black and white photographs, on a dubble sided sheet of A2 paper. 3 photo’s show the individual parts with part no’s, whilst the remaining 14 photos show the various parts in place, from different angles.
a closer look
First impressions count, and with this set my first impression was ‘WOW’. The individual parts show incredible detail, very fine castings, and not a single air bubble present. No parts are broken, but there is some slight warpage to the edges of the turret basket walls, which may or may not need to be corrected when fitting to the Dragon turret. A quick dry-fit of various parts shows that there are no fit issues, and the use of filler should be un-nesscary or minimal.
The parts are cast in cream coloured resin. Some parts have substantial pour plugs attached, and the use of a razor saw will be required. You could use a motor tool, but with the amount of resin dust this will create I would not recommend this. Better to use a saw and wet and dry sandpaper. Flash is however minimal, and cleans up with a hobby knife in no time.
I would suggest to study the instructions carefully before starting, and before removing ‘waste’ resin from parts, as some parts have what looks like a large pour slab which in effect is part of the part.
Some of the items deserve closer inspection, such as the Gunners instrument panel. All the dials and switches are in the correct place, the bezel around the radar screen is correct, and the small handles next to the screen are ‘hollow’.
The Radio is another superb casting, and although there is one row of switches ‘missing’ (there should be four rows, instead of three), the superb wiring makes up for that.
The Drivers station has some more excellent wiring detail along the side and rear walls, and a very nice looking instrument panel. The instrument panel is full of dials, which are recessed deep enough to allow an application of clear varnish to mimic the glass, but they don’t have any dial detail.
Unlike the Drivers control panel, the two main computer main frame casings on the right side of the turret don’t seem to be an exact match with the reference photos I have at my disposal. As my reference on this vehicle are limited, I can’t say if they are right or wrong, but what I can say is that they look very good none the less. The finely detailed switches and locks should look superb once painted and weathered.
Unfortunately the instructions don’t follow the same high quality as the resin parts. The photos are grainy and it can be tricky to work out where exactly some of the parts fit in. Careful study of the instructions is required, as is constant test fitting. Also missing are paint instructions. Even the box art shows the resin parts in cream and the plastic (Dragon) parts in grey. Some of the references below can help, having good interior photos which show clearly the interior colour scheme.
The ZSU 23-4 is not one of the most popular modelling subjects, quite possibly because the ZSU 23-4 is not one of the best known militairy vehicles around. When was the last time you saw one in the news? It is however in interesting vehicle, in escence not that different from the German Gepard or the American M247 Sgt York.
Dragon has two sets available, kits 3518 or 3521, and either would greatly benefit from this addition. At $49.98 this set is not cheap, but you do get a very good detailed interior, which thanks to the large hatches will still be largely visible after completion. Highly recommended.
As I don’t have a ‘hard copy’ for this specific vehicle, all my references came courtisy by the internet this time, and a Google for ZSU 23-4 comes up with plenty of relevant results. Here are some I found and used:
The last link has some excellent interior shots, for paint reference.
My thanks to VLS Corporation for this review sample