Ace 1/48 ZU-23-2 Anti-Aircraft Gun
KIT #: 48101
PRICE: $10.95 from
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New mold kit


ZU-23-2 was developed in the late 1950s. It was designed to engage low-flying targets at a range of 2.5 km as well as armoured vehicles at a range of 2 km and for direct defense of troops and strategic locations against air assault usually conducted by helicopters and low-flying airplanes. Development of this weapon into a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) led to the ZSU-23-4 Shilka.

It mounts two 2A14 23 mm autocannons on a small trailer which can be converted into a stationary mount for firing the guns. While in this position the wheels are moved aside. The autocannon can be prepared for firing from the march position in 30 seconds and in emergency can be fired from the traveling position. The weapon is aimed and fired manually, with the help of the ZAP-23 optical-mechanical sight which uses manually entered target data to provide limited automatic aiming. It also has a straight-tube telescope for use against ground targets such as infantry as well as unarmored or lightly armoured vehicles. The ammo is a feed by a conveyor belt from two ammunition boxes. Each of the ammunition boxes are located on the side of the twin autocannon and each carries 50 rounds. The fumes created by firing the weapon are partially removed thorough the side openings in the barrels.

The cannon carriage is based on the earlier ZPU-2 anti-aircraft twin heavy machine gun, which mounted two KPV 14.5 mm heavy machine guns. ZU-23-2 can be identified by different placement of the ammunition boxes (at right angles to the gun carriage) and by muzzle flash suppressors. In another similarity to the ZPU series, single-barrel and four-barrel versions of the ZU-23 were also developed. However, these versions never entered service.

ZU-23-2 can be towed by a number of different vehicles. In USSR and later Russia the most frequently used towing vehicles for it were GAZ-66 four-wheels drive trucks and GAZ-69 four-wheel drive light trucks.


Ace's first 1/48 military kit is molded on four grey sprues. Two of the sprues are identical and those are the ones that include the gun barrels, wheels and a variety of braces and ammo boxes. Molding is all we have come to expect from Ace, which means it is pretty good. No sink areas, flash or other molding glitches were noticed while looking at the sprues. Typical of the somewhat low pressure molding that Ace uses, there will be the need to clean up the parts once removing them from the sprues. I'd recommend a razor saw for some which are quite fine and may well break if removed by the normal methods. There isn't much in the way of options for this kit. Basically you have the ability to build it as shown on the box top, which is the firing set-up, or it can be molded with the wheels up and in the travel position. The instructions show you just what bits and pieces are needed for each. I don't see any indication that the gun can be elevated, so that will have to be determined during the build itself.

The instructions are quite well done. There are a number of superbly done line drawings for each part of the build. Additional detail drawings show how some of the parts will look when together. No decals on this one so you are pretty well free to paint it any way you think will be appropriate. Some suggestions are overall khaki green or a khaki green/dark green camouflage or perhaps brown and tan.


I think this is a good kit on which to enter the 1/48 field. It is something one doesn't always see and would be perfect for an airfield diorama or all by itself.


April 2010

My thanks to for the preview kit. Get yours at the link and at a discount.

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