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ZSU-23-4 Shilka Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun 1:35


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ZSU-23-4 Shilka Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun
1:35 Meng Models


The Shilka was developed in the 60s based on a standard tracked chassis, to which a lightly armoured body and large turret containing four 23mm autocannons that were belt-fed and aimed using radar for optimum accuracy in all weathers and light levels. It was designed to fill the gap between larger longer-range missile defences and the installation it was assigned to protect, whether it was an airfield or otherwise. It is very accurate and forced a change in NATO doctrine due to its efficacy in identifying and neutralising a target.

There were numerous variants, and each barrel could be fed with different ammunition, although the usual load was armour piercing tracer and incendiary fragmentation interleaved in the feed. The radar dome is mounted on the turret behind the weapons, and is a proven effective unit that picks up targets quickly at longer range and follows them until they penetrate its sphere of operation. The electro-mechanical targeting "computer" weighs in at a staggering 180kg that calculates a frighteningly accurate lead-time so that the rounds arrive on target at just the right moment.

It has seen action in many conflicts, and is in service today in a wide range of countries due to its reputation for being a highly effective weapons system, and from inheritance from the Soviet Union.

The Kit
This is a complete new tooling from Meng, and quite a welcome sight from someone that owns the old Dragon kit and wasn't looking forward to building it. It is smothered in detail, and has a complete driver compartment under a poseable hatch, with individual link tracks, a small fret of Photo-Etch and flexible hosing to the cannons. It arrives in their usual satin finished box, which is full to the brim on lifting the lid. Inside there are nine sprues in olive green styrene plus a hull lower, four of black styrene, a clear sprue, a medium sized PE fret, a strip of poly-caps and length of very flexible vinyl tubing. A decal sheet and instruction booklet completes the package, which has the usual Meng air of quality about it.












Construction begins with the hull, which includes poly-caps for the road wheels, idlers and multi-part drive sprockets. A number of holes need drilling in the detailed hull bottom, and a bulkhead with additional parts is added to the rear. The suspension mounts slot into the hull sides along with bump-stops and final drive housing, and then it's time for the tracks. The tracks are individual links and click together without the use of glue. There are three sprue gates on each link, all of which are on the mating areas, so will be quick to clean up, and there are no ejector pin marks as these have all been placed on the sprues themselves. You will need 91 links per side, which is a total of 182, so 546 sprue gates. With the tracks on, the basic chassis top with fenders is added together with some of the parts in the driver compartment, which are joined by controls, seat and clear instrument panel plus instrument decals. More instruments are added to the underside of the top deck, which has a choice of side panels with different access hatch arrangements.


A selection of grilles, hatches and fender parts with the light clusters attached to the front are built up before being added to the upper hull along with a number of smaller parts plus a selection of pioneer tools, hatches, and towing ropes. These parts vary between decal options, so take care when building these sections up. After attaching the upper hull to the lower, the aft bulkhead is detailed with a set of mudguards, a curved grille that is made up using a two part jig (I love these little touches in Meng kits), more tow cables and a large bracket for the unditching beam, which is held in place by two pins and a couple of PE chains.


The turret to the Shilka is complex, and construction begins with the four autocannon, which have finely moulded flash-hiders at their tips, with very thin muzzles. These attach to the breeches, and lengths of vinyl hose are added, with dimensions given in the accompanying text. The two pairs of cannon are linked up and surrounded by a perforated box section, with a scrap diagram showing the correct routing of the hoses once complete. The turret body is then built up, and here you need to take careful note of the hole drilling diagram, which has different diameters as well as different patterns depending on your decal choice. The roof, sides and rear are assembled, then the cannon pack is added along with the bays on either side where the ammo feeds are located. These can be left visible by leaving the top covers open later in the build. The lower turret and turret ring are then added, and a pair of cheek compartments, hatch covers, cupolas and the big radar assembly are constructed before being added to the main assembly over the next six steps. The last three steps show the correct equipment for each decal option, so again take care following these. The finished turret can then be inserted into the ring on the hull, twisting it to lock it in place.

There appear to be only four markings options on first glance, but there are actually nine, as three types have two or three different schemes provided. A wide range of schemes are included that should satisfy most modellers without resorting to their own research and decals. From the box you can build one of the following:

  • ZSU-23-4V1 55th anniversary Parade on Red Square, November 1972 – Russian Green with white striping and hub caps.
  • ZSU-23-4V1 A certain unit, Polish Army 2010 – Russian green with 0388 on the turret.
  • ZSU-23-4V1 A certain unit, Far Eastern Military District, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation "Peace Mission 2014", joint anti-terror military Drill 2014 – Sand, green and black camo, Russian flag on the hull sides.
  • ZSU-23-4M No.505 Anti-aircraft Battalion, 324th Motorised Rifle Regiment, Ural Military District, the First Chechen War, 1995-1996 – Russian green with lighter green camo, 505 on the hull sides.
  • ZSU-23-4M A certain unit, National People's Army, the former German Democratic Republic – Dark green with GDR symbol and 2613 on the turret.
  • ZSU-23-4M2 Marines of the Black Sea Fleet, 2011 – Russian green with light green camo and black demarcation strips.
  • ZSU-23-4MZ No.185 Anti-aircraft battalion, 105th Motorised Rifle Regiment, Ural Military District, 1998 – Russian green, mid green and blue/grey camo, 185 on the hull sides.
  • ZSU-23-4MZ No.822 Anti-aircraft Battalion, 341st Tank Regiment, Ural Military District, 1997 – Green, light green, orange brown camo, with 822 on the hull sides.
  • ZSU-23-4MZ No.370 Soviet troops in Afghanistan, 1988 – Light green with black camo, white 370 on the turret sides.


Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Two instrument panel decals and a couple of data placards are included along with the national and unit markings.

This is now the definitive Shilka in this scale, with lots of detail, a diverse decal sheet covering multiple variants, and a comprehensive package that includes everything most modellers will need to build a good representation of this efficient killer.

Very highly recommended.


Review sample courtesy of

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On ‎4‎/‎13‎/‎2016 at 7:35 AM, Dudikoff said:

Thanks for the review; I was waiting for one since I have one on order. Too bad there's no turret interior, though.

It would be great if someone could compare it with the Hong Models kit.


Apparently HONG it`s way better (I have the Meng kit)



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