Thursday, 15 March 2018

A foo from below: The ZSU 23-4 Shilka

The ZSU 23-4 'Shilka'

During the late 1940's and early 1950's more and more aircraft became jet powered enabling them to fly faster. Mechanically aimed anti-aircraft guns started to become ineffective. Missiles are often used for air defense but in the middle of the last century this was mainly for long to mid-ranges. For the short range radar aimed anti-aircraft guns where developed or SPAAG's where developed. The ZSU 23-4 Shilka is the Sovjet variant of such a weapon. The ZSU 23-4 was introduced in 1962 and has been used all over the world. It proved to be effective not only against the low flying aircraft it was designed to shoot down but also in mountain combat. The Wikipedia page contains some information on problems with the targeting computer but that computer is made from axles and vacuum tubes so I'm not sure how relevant that is today since many armies have done upgrades, such as with this Polish version. Given that this weapon has been used all over the world for over half a century a lot of different colors and patterns are available. The radar can be lowered so it is not visible on all pictures. The Tunguska Anti-Aircraft system is it's successor.

The 1/100 Zvezda model

There are no plastic models in 1/72 available of the Shilka, Armo made a resin model. In 1/35 only dragon had a model. In 2017 both Meng and Hong Model released their products in 1/35. Luckily for small scale fans Zvezda released a 1/100 scale variant as part of their modern wargaming series. I build this model and it is really very, very good. It is made in such a way no glue is needed. I did glue all the parts and only on one or two places of the turret I really needed glue to get the parts to fit perfect. A generic sheet with decals is provided but I didn't use these. It is truly amazing how much detail Zvezda crammed in this little model using about 30 parts. Even the unditching log on the back looks like a real piece of wood. On to the pictures since the speak the most.

Like all their 1/100 kits of modern vehicles the ZSU 23-4 Shilka retails for about €7,50 which is well worth it. Highly recommended, for beginners also. If you really want a 1/72 model you need to find the ARMO resin kit or a ready made model for collectors from Fabbri for example.

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