” Soviet Quad AA “
Hello folks, This is one of my favorite builds to date.. The Meng 1/35 ZSU 23-4 Shilka Self Propelled Anti-aircraft tank.. I’m a huge fan of cold war Soviet armor, I don’t know why but I just seem to find it very interesting.. This was quite the engineered kit I must say.. Lots of parts, lots of unexpected joy in building this great model.. I really like how Meng approached the engineering for the construction of this kit which would lead you to believe that there will be a more involved interior in the future, or at least for the engine & drivetrain, some mods to how the upper hull attaches to the lower would need to happen if they plan on incorporating any interior in the turret… The drivers compartment is however all there with great details and I did buld and paint and even weather the drivers compartment, however it’s virtually impossible to see any of it unless you lift it’s hatch and peek in with a flashlight..
The rest of the model goes together very nicely, the instructions are clear and easy to follow although I would suggest using a highlight pen to indicate which variant you choose to build as the kit includes parts for three versions and steps and parts needed for each variant are labeled A,B or C…
Tracks are a love hate with every armor builder, and usually I don’t mind track work at the bench, especially when the kit advertised the tracks as ” workable with no cement “.. Let me just save you time and cursing by telling you now, they are NOT ” workable ” and you definitely wanna use cement and just treat them as Indy links. They do snap together easily enough but they also un-snap from each other even easier..
The unditching log was replaced with actual wooden dowel and roughed up with bench tools and weathered with oils and actual dirt from the garden.. Photoetch included in the kit is great, thin and can be very fiddley and easy to break.. I really took my time with it so I didn’t damage or lose any of it, and was a little bit of a challenge in places.. the small chains on the sponson shelves were especially fiddley as we’re the chains that retain the unditching log on the rear of the vehicle..
The four 23mm Anti-aircraft cannons or ” auto cannons ” as the Russians call them, are great right out of the box and you get two different kinds, however I opted to purchase turned aluminum barrels from RB models and in my opinion, they’re just that little bit extra in sharpness of details. The water cooling hoses we’re kinda a pain to place and fish through to the correct locations in the gun assembly but if you take you time, one hose at a time, you’ll eventually get there..
You do have the option of displaying with the ammo feed covers removed or open and there is some details in there but they’re molded belts of ammo and that just didn’t look real to me.. So I modeled them closed.. The AA targeting Radar system on the rear deck is like building a separate model on it’s own, some thin styrene plastic parts are easy to break and you’ll want to read the instructions carefully here. You can build one of two radar systems depending on which variant you choose and you can also build in the stowed or deployed position, not both..
Meng gives you quite the decal and paint scheme selection to choose from.. Being into Russian modern armor, I’m always pleased to get extra decals I can use later on other projects.. I chose this Soviet Union Army desert scheme from their War in Afghanistan, 1988.. Paint is Vallejo model air and Tamiya acrylics… Weathering with artist oils and pigments from Ammo MiG.. I absolutely loved building this kit and aside from the silly tracks that you’ll end up cementing anyway, I’d highly recommend this kit for the intermediate to more experienced modelers. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did..