ZU-23-2 "Sergey" - Russian 23 mm Anti-aircraft Twin-barreled Autocannon

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Company: Master Model - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Master Model - Website: Visit Site
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The ZU-23-2 was developed in the late 1950s. It was designed to engage low-flying targets at a range of 2.5 kilometers as well as armored vehicles at a range of two kilometers and for direct defense of troops and strategic locations against air assault usually conducted by helicopters and low-flying airplanes. In 1955, KBP presented the single-barrel ZU-1 and the twin-barrel ZU-14. While the former was eventually dropped, the ZU-14 was selected and, after some modifications, entered series production.

In the Soviet Union, some 140,000 units were produced. The ZU-23 has also been produced under license by Bulgaria, Poland, Egypt and the People's Republic of China.

Development of this weapon into a self-propelled anti-aircraft gun (SPAAG) led to the ZSU-23-4 Shilka. However, the guns look completely different.

The ZU-23-2 (2A13) mounts two 2A14 23 mm auto-cannons mounted 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 auto-cannons can be prepared for firing from the march position in 30 seconds and in an 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 use manually entered target data to provide limited automatic aiming. It also has a straight-tube telescope T-3 for use against ground targets such as infantry as well as unarmored or lightly armored vehicles. The ammunition is a feed by a conveyor belt from two ammunition boxes. Each of the ammunition boxes is located on the side of the twin auto-cannon and each box carries 50 rounds. The fumes created by firing the weapon are partially removed through the side openings in the barrels.

Normally, once each barrel has fired 100 rounds it becomes too hot and is replaced with a spare barrel. Each weapon is normally provided with two replacement barrels as part of its standard equipment. Tulamashzavod Joint Stock Company is offering to upgrade the 2A14 guns to the 2A14M standard with a barrel life of 10,000 rounds instead of 8,000 rounds.

The ZU-23-2 can be towed by a number of different vehicles. However, in the Middle East, it is more often mounted on just about any vehicle that can be found. A google search will yield pictures of this weapon system mounted on Toyotas, BMDs, MTLBs, M113s, BM21s, Unimogs, BTR70s, BMPs, HMMWVs, M35s, GAZ66s, BTR152s, Chevy Dualies and Jimmys and Ford F150s.

Up until recently, if you wanted to model this system you were going to be using the old Skif/Eastern Express example. If you were lucky, you may have gotten the Pit Road version (Long OOP). The Skif/Eastern Express could be had as a stand- alone kit or removed from a GAZ-66, BTR-152, and MTLB. Fortunately, both Meng Models and Trumpeter have released better versions. Trumpeter’s kit is a stand-alone gun only and the Meng release comes with a Toyota Pickup. For the price, the Trumpeter is the better option.

Why a metal barrel? Anytime I can save some time and get a better looking finish without spending an arm load, I will do it. Master Model makes a nice and simple addition. You will have to do some cutting but you won’t have to worry about keeping the plastic barrels round or having the seam running down the length. Master Model’s kit is three parts. You get Two barrels, two adapters, two flash hiders, and a small instruction sheet on where to make the cuts and assembly.

Both the Meng and the Skif kit have the receivers, barrel, and flash hider molded as one single piece. The Trumpeter kit has a portion of the receiver and the barrel as a single piece. The Trumpeter kit also comes with two brass sleeves for the flash hiders. The logical choice for the application of these parts would be the Skif kit but that would be similar to putting a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound. They Skif kit is so basic and simply it really would not improve the overall look of the kit. The next option would be the Meng offering but the barrels have the upper locking mechanism molded onto the barrels. If you use them here, you will need to carefully remove these and add them to the Master Model offerings or scratch build your own. I will be using these on the Trumpeter kit and then eventually mounting the gun system onto a Land Rover.

My review sample arrived with the flash hiders flattened out of round. Luckily I have a Cleveland wire drill set. This set has 60 different sized drill bits. I started with the smallest size I could fit through the flash hiders and continually increased the size until they were round. After this was accomplished I went down and annealed them on the stove burner. The conversion is simple. Cut off the plastic barrel and glue the brass one on. It really is that simple. One note; you may want to cut a little more off than the directions show. The handles are not quite located in the center of the new barrel where they should be. Other than this minor issue, these are a great and simple addition to use on any of the available kits. Also, if you are into the hypothetical side of model building, these could easily be used on Warhammer 40K vehicles, Gundams, and various other kits to make a really neat gun system.

I would like to thank Master Model for releasing and providing this kit for review. This is a nice addition to hop up at least three of the four releases of this gun. Also thanks goes out to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it. Go out there and pick up one of these new barrel sets and make your Auto-cannon rule!


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