Modern Soviet Light AA Guns in 1/35...
...building the Meng set of 4 different guns
Meng, a manufacturer based in China, is a relatively new company on the scene, producing some really excellent 1/35 kits. As well as an interesting variety of larger AFVs they also have what they call a 'Supply Series' and among them is this set of 4 Russian Light AA Guns. The 4 weapons are the single barrelled ZPU-1, twin barrelled ZPU-2 and large ZU-23-2 and finally the 4-barrelled ZPU-4. Widely used for low-level air defence by many countries around the world, they can be mounted on a wide variety of platforms, including civilian pick-up trucks, and are equally effective against ground targets.
The models all have the option of being built in emplaced or travel positions, and both the ZPU-2 and the ZPU-4 can be made as the Chinese built copies, the Type 56 and Type 58 respectively. They all have very fine detailing, which does include some etch brass parts. and involve some very small parts which do need to be handled with care, especially when removing them from the sprues. An instruction booklet details the build sequences of each weapon in turn, and shows the various detailing options you can choose from.
The smallest, the ZPU-1 is a tripod mount for this 14.5mm machine gun and which is quite a delicate little model, including the sights.
The ZPU-2 involves 2 of the same 14.5mm guns, though with tiny detail differences between them to allow for a right hand and left hand feed mechanism. A number of etch detail parts on this one, and some finely moulded parts that you need to be very careful when detaching them from the sprues. You can make this so the guns can elevate, along with the sights, and the wheels can be fitted in either travelling or emplaced positions. Be careful to check the instructions for some detail fittings on the right hand side of the carriage, depending on whether you choose to do the Russian or Chinese variants. With the gun sights there are two neat little plastic pins which enable the sights to elevate with the gun barrel mounting. I found I needed to drill out the little holes for them to fit into (I used a 0.7mm twist drill) just so the pins fit well and without breaking. The result is a mounting that elevates quite neatly. I chose to go for the Russian version of the gun, and in the emplaced firing position, with the wheels rotated backwards, lifting them off the ground and allowing the gun to sit on its' own base.
I have been building these one at a time, and with 2 complete, a third built but not yet painted, the fourth (the ZPU-4) yet to be put together, there will be more added to this one as it gets done and the smaller ZPU-2 gets painted, so do look out for more to be added...
My example of this kit came from Hobby Link Japan.