The ZU-23-2 (Zenitnaya Ustanovka) is a towed soviet short-range air defense gun developed in the sixties. The primary weapons are twin 23mm guns mounted onto a small trailer. It can be easily towed from a numerous number of vehicles; in Russian service those trucks are generally GAZ-66 or GAZ-69. This gun is very well used around the world, to engage ground targets usually mounted on civilian trucks (technical) in most of the modern conflicts: Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. This gun is becoming an iconic piece of equipment that most modern builders must have.
Content of the kit
Small gun, small kit?. Not really and the content of the kit is really impressive:
- 3 plastic sprues for more than 120 pieces
- One PE fret
- Two copper tubes
- Two TPE tires
The level of detail in this small AA gun is amazing but comes with a price of around 30 USD, there are many very small parts that need extreme care in both removing from the sprues and during assembly such as the sight with more than 20 pieces and the two small seats. It is important to mention that a number of the small sub-assemblies being designed to be movable after assembly as shown in the instructions to name a few the guns can be elevated in any angles and the gun itself can be rotated inside the trailer. I will definitely recommend to simply glue these in place as some are very difficult to glue together to be movable given the very small size and clearances of the parts involved especially the gun. Ammo boxes are also moveable and all mechanism of the ammo feed can be seen.
One nice addiction is the presence of TPE tires that clearly enhance the details and you will be able to pose the gun in firing or travel modes with alternate position of the 3 round bases as well as the wheels suspension arms. There is extra ammunition with two types of rounds and flash suppressors supplied in copper are a perfect compromise between a full plastic gun and an expensive brass barrel.
You will need more than 17 steps to complete the build so this is not really a kit for the inexperienced modeller due to the many extremely small and delicate parts and large number of steps.
The color of the plastic in my review sample is OD, not a regular color for Trumpeter, free of flash and mold misalignment.
The two 23mm guns are built from numerous parts comprising the cocking mechanism at the rear represented with 3 small plastic pieces. The large flash suppressors are nicely detailed thanks to the use of copper tube that has the perfect dimension and wall thickness. Such tubes are glued onto the plastic barrel as the real one, therefore vents are present. The guns can be elevated at any angles and the hydraulic cylinder part C30 will be inserted into part C36 the same as real hydraulic cylinder, giving freedom in term of angle elevation. All barrels have the fine mold lines that need to be sanded.
The main cradle is glued onto the two moveable side walls and it cover with PE. The bottom part of the cradle is detailed with small dials and handles at the top of the cradle is done with fragile multiple parts and special care is required when removing them from sprues and during gluing.
ZU-23 is equipped with a mechanical-optical ZAP-23 sight with complicated shape and a lot of dials and bezels. This main sight is made up of twenty plastic parts and 3 building steps are necessary to complete the build achieving an outstanding level of detail. This centrepiece will certainly attract viewers attention and matches photos of the actual sight well with the long rod that connect the sight to the guns to allow the sight and guns to be at the same angle depending on the elevation. This rod is not cemented to the sight allowing the modeller to easily move it after construction.
The two crew seats have the fine rod frame with metal seat added for a good representation of the seats. The thickness of the plastic used for the seats is really thin and really mimic the actual seats. The ammo boxes have the embossed star from the original owner and the ammo belts feed mechanism is pretty well detailed. Ammo boxes can be attached to the gun or not leaving enough space to see the gun. The gun support is further detailed with the use of pedals for the gunner station in PE that add realism. The seats are glued onto the turntable and their characteristic star bold heads can be nicely seen. Further usage of PE to represent the different seats gauges
The trailer is also accurately done with numerous small details including the folding tow hitch, small lights and other smaller details. Thin fenders are attached with wire frames, which are very delicate to work with. The gun is also provided with the protective cage frame for the sight not seen on reference picture. Since the gun can be depicted in two different modes: travel and combat, the 3 round base plates with tooth feet can be adjusted accordingly.
The axle arms are also provided in two versions for the same mentions stated above. The tow hitch can also be attached to the trailer in two versions, also depending on which option you have decided to depict your gun in. The level of detail is rather complicated for such normal items, with all handles and crank represented with small bars. Roads wheels in TPE are provided with nice tire tread and sidewall detail along great hub details.
The gun is easily installed into the trailer without further mechanism such as small brackets, gluing is necessary to secure the gun in place. Cherry on the cake, 20 rounds are included to further details your gun, but no spent casing nor ammo belts are provided.
In short, this gun has the following features:
- Flash suppressor in copper tube
- Fully workable gun that can be elevated in any angles
- Terrific sight details
- TPE tires with two modes
This is the best Zu-23-2 on the market to date, of course high quality does not come cheap and ESRP should be around 30 USD.
I would like to thank Trumpeter for sending me this review sample and especially Jackson Xiao.