Named after a Russian river, I have a soft spot for the Shilka: like many of you I built the old Dragon
Shilka offering. I built mine in the early noughties; I added an etched brass update set and I also think I upgraded the tracks. I beat it up in the painting and weathering stages, applying a heavily chipped finish using the Maskol and sponge method. I was very happy – it looked like an abandoned Iraqi Shilka – It come very close (so I’m told) to winning Best in Show at MAFVA 2005 and did take a best in Class and best use of photo etch, for which I won a shiny new etch mate (Which I still use today).
But... there were detractors! Some details were wrong, some were missing completely – accuracy was questioned in some of the measurements and, if compared against modern online walk-arounds it became apparent that the Dragon
offering just didn’t look right! A correction kit was issued and Kirin produced an interior set – which for love nor money I can’t find anywhere. Recently, with the resurgence of Modern Russian subjects, the throng of requests for a new tooled Shilka obviously became too much to withstand…. Two companies announced Shilkas in quick succession… oh be still my sobbing wallet!
One of these, Hong Model
, is a new company who have chosen to release an oft asked for subject in their 1/35 Shilka. Notwithstanding the mumblings that Hong Model
are just another, less than well received model manufacturer, I feel that they should be congratulated for being so bold with their debutant.
The box art shows a full action shot of a Middle Eastern (Iraqi) Shilka firing upwards. It’s placed in front of a somewhat Asian looking backdrop, but hey – it looks the part. The instructions are presented in a colour covered black and white format in what seems to be a logical fashion and there’s also a double sided colour painting guide. This covers 6 different schemes: 2 Iraqi (one plain sand, one very snazzy looking 3 tone cam – guess which one I’m going for..?), a Russian black/green, a USSR plain green and an East German plain green. Colours are called out in FS numbers – I could find no manufacturer paint codes. A quick Google search of ‘Shilka Camouflage’ turns up endless schemes which could be applied. There’s also the lure of burnt out or abandoned vehicles (which my Doctor says I have to stay away from); gain the options seem limitless.
The sprues are presented (I sound like an estate agent) in dark green for the main parts and dark brown (think Modelkasten
) for the tracks. In the box there’s also an etched brass sheet, clear sprue, copper cable and decal sheet.
In detail parts 1, 2 and 3 represent the lower hull, upper hull and lower turret respectively. These look to be very well detailed and, without having a Shilka to stand next to well proportioned. There are 7 sprues:
2 X A are the rolling stock, suspension and some tools and fittings.
B & D are the upper turret parts, fittings, bins and the guns.
C is the hull fixtures and fittings.
F again contains more hull fittings.
G is the radar parts.
GP is the clear parts.
4 X T sprues containing the parts for the individual track links.
Without going into detail on every part on the sprues there are a few areas of note; both for good and bad. The guns are very well replicated with great hollowed out muzzle detail - I had read in one review that the water cooling tubes are not included – you’ll see from my pictures that they are there and really look the part; you may need to add the tubes that go from the back of the depicted tube into the turret. On the flip side the sprue connection points on the drive sprocket are very heavy and will need some careful removal to reshape and detail. Detail across all parts look to be very crisp, in particular detail around the engine deck looks very nice. The knock-out marks across the piece are well hidden and look to be designed in such a way to be well out of the way on the completed model.
It is impossible to comment on fit without actually building the thing so I’ll hold off on that for now – I’m Impressed with what I’ve seen so far. A couple of downs that are worth a mention though – The tracks have separate guide teeth that will need to be glued to the main track part making them three parts per link. There’s no instruction on how many links per side but I reckon at 100 per run this is going to hurt! The ammo trays are depicted empty (at least we’ve got ammo trays) and the radar can only be depicted in the upright position – with a bit of surgery to the pistons I’m sure this can be overcome; and the unditching beam is smooth and has no wood grain depicted.
I have to say that this kit seems to have taken a bashing already on the modelling grapevine – I’ve seen many comments that the sprue connections are too big and thick – not true as far as I can see. Yes there’s a couple of areas where it looks a bit thick but if this were a Tamiya
kit we’d all be drooling and waxing lyrical about the high finesse and detail shown here. I’ve also read that detail is lacking when compared to the Meng offering – again I can see no lacking detail. I don’t have the Meng kit to do a side by side comparison so can only say that I’m happy with what I see here.
Full build review to follow.
See Jim’s Unboxing Review HERE