ZSU 23-4 Shilka

Self propelled anti aircraft gun

Kit #: 72051 Preview by Will Allcott - will_alcott(at)yahoo(dot)com
Edited by Marc Mercier
The ZSU-23-4 is probably the most successful post-war self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, seeing extensive service with Soviet client states from the late 1960s onwards.

Note that ARMO also produce a kit of the ZSU-23-4W1 (V1?) variant, number 72017, see The instruction sheet in that kit is identical to the one in this kit. However, there are differences in the hull, particularly in the number and location of the hatches on the left side of the hull, and the position of the saw.

The kit is packed in a sturdy, top-opening box, with a small black and white photo of real vehicle. Inside, there are two zip-close plastic bags, containing approximately 51 resin pieces.

The largest part in the kit is the hull.
Casting quality is pretty good - there are some surface irregularities, and the underside of the hull is bowed, but this should not be evident when assembled. Some thin details were slightly damaged in my kit. The hull is cast with all hatches in place and has no detail on its underside.

The hull is attached to its casting block at the front edge of the glacis. Pioneer tools (two shovels and a saw) are moulded in place, along with two towing cables. One towing cable is on the glacis, dangerously close to the casting plug, while the other is along the hull side, and makes some very sharp bends to wrap around the rear of the hull. I'll likely replace both cables.

Add-on details for the hull include towing lugs, headlights and guards, a mount for an unditching log and some sort of exhaust shield/deflector.

The body of the turret is also provided as a single casting, although this part suffers from some air bubbles on its underside, and the casting plug is quite large.

To be added to the turret body are the four 23-mm guns and the tracking radar. The guns are moulded in two pairs, and are quite fragile, as well as suffering from wrapage.

The substantial radar dish is supported on several flimsy resin struts, one of which had already broken in my kit.

Location of the guns and the radar is vague at best - study your references carefully and test fit before committing to superglue!

More than half the parts in the kit go into the suspension and track. Each roadwheel is moulded with an integral suspension arm, meaning that you could articulate the suspension if you were feeling daring.

Ten straight lengths of track are provided. No guidance is given as to how to wrap these around the sprocket and idler, so hot water or a hair dryer may be required. Several of the lengths of track are curved.

I have no detailed references on the Shilka, so I can't comment on scale accuracy. Comparing to photographs, I noticed that the rearmost of the three hatches on the left side of the hull should be a little higher (almost at the top edge of the hull), and I believe the contours of the bulges at the front of each side of the turret should be more rounded. Otherwise, the kit certainly looks like a ZSU-23-4!

Instructions consist of a single-sided A4 sheet, with an exploded view assembly diagram. The only written information is the Polish word 'DRUT', which I am assuming in this context means wire, and refers to the antenna. No painting instructions or decals are provided.


This promises to be a challenging kit, but it can reward the dedicated builder with a unique model of one of the coolest looking post-war weapons systems, and it remains the only option in this scale. 

Preview sample purchased by the author.

This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 14 January 2015