The Meng ZSU-23-4 Shilka Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun kit is actually a decent production of the model. All of the parts are cleanly molded with very little in the way of seam lines and ejector pin marks to deal with. The build is relatively simple for the most part, and other than the a slew of holes that need to be drilled depending on what variant you actually build and of course the so called movable tracks supplied by the kit, the kit does kind of just fall together. The kit supplied 23mm barrels are more than adequate to use, however, I wanted to give RB Models replacement barrel set a run for its money. In addition, I chose a set of Master Club’s metal track link sets to replace the kit’s supplied links. This was due to the fact that the snap-together, while looking nice for a styrene version, don’t actually stay together very well without gluing all of the links.
What to do, what to do? Sometimes a project happens to fall onto the bench...for any number of reason. Then you stare at the box and think to yourself, “what am I going to do with this?”. Similarly this was the case with the Shilka ; however, it was the interior to upgrade the kit provided parts that landed first. I was presented with the interior from 3D In Scale, makers of 3D printed interiors and accessories in the 1/35 armor scale for review here on Armorama. As part of the review I was going to build and paint the interior to help show what it was all about. Fortunately for me, Meng sent the Kitmaker Network one of their ZSU-23-4 Shilka Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Gun kits. The perfect opportunity presents itself sometimes.
With the kit and some accessories out of the way, I decided I wanted to do a knocked out version of the Shilka, but nothing too far over the top; a little fire damage and sooty mess to the rear deck and turret would get the idea across and still allow me the luxury of using the interior without destroying that too. So with having a basic idea of what I wanted without a complete theme to go on, it was time to immerse myself in the painting end of the project. With the assistance of a few online pictures of some knocked out Shilka vehicles, I honed in a look I thought would work.