12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« Machine Gun

Scale Modelling – Scratch-Building

Scale Modelling the 12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« Machine Gun from Scratch.

Roskopf 1:100 scale BTR-152.K Armoured Personnel Carrier armed with a scratch-built 12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« machine gun in a pintle mount made from polystyrene and piano wire.


  • 1.5 × 2 mm Styrene Strip (Ammo Box)
  • 1 × 1.5 mm Styrene Strip (Receiver)
  • 0.5 × 1 mm Styrene Strip (Feed Tray Cover)
  • 0.25 mm Styrene Sheet or Paper (Front Sight)
  • 2 mm Ø Styrene Tubing (Control Grips)
  • 1 mm Ø Styrene Tubing (Barrel Cooling Jacket, and Muzzle Brake M.1946)
  • 0.5 mm Ø Piano Wire (Barrel, Gas Cylinder, and Pintle Post)
  • 0.2 mm Ø Paint Brush Bristle (Rear Sight)
Scratch-Build Scale Model Parts of the 12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« Machine Gun

This scratch-built 12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« machine gun consists of ten parts, which are easy to cut and assemble. The work is fun and quickly accomplished, if dozens of machine guns are built in assembly line fashion. To do so, cut twelve or 24 receivers from styrene sheet, as well as the corresponding number of barrels from piano wire, drill holes into the receiver front plate and glue all barrels into place. Next, prepare the required number of barrel cooling jackets, slide one over each barrel and secure them to the receiver front plate with plastic cement. Continue this process with one new part at a time, and you will end up with dozens of fine 12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« machine guns to arm your model vehicles.

12.7 mm DShK Machine Gun Parts in 1:87 Scale

Part Length Width Height
1.) Receiver 6.8 mm 1 mm 1.5 mm
2.) Barrel 10.7 mm 0.5 mm Ø Wire
3.) Cooling Jacket 7.5 mm 1 mm Ø PS
4.1) Muzzle Brake M.38 1.5 mm 0.8 mm Ø front
1.2 mm Ø rear
4.2) Muzzle Brake M.46 0.5 mm 1 mm Ø PS
5.) Gas Cylinder 7.5 mm 0.5 mm Ø Wire
6.) Control Grips 2 mm Ø PS 1.5 mm
7.) Feed Tray Cover 2.9 mm 1 mm 0.5 mm
8.) Rear Sight 2 mm 0.2 mm Ø Bristle
9.) Front Sight 4 mm 0.3 mm 0.25 mm
10.) Ammo Can 3.2 mm 1.8 mm 2.3 mm
11.) Pintle Bracket, Base 2 mm 2 mm 1 mm
12.) Recoil Damper Cylinder (× 2) 7.8 mm 1 mm Ø
13.) Recoil Damper Rod (× 2) 2.1 + 3 mm 0.5 mm Ø Wire
14.) Pintle Bracket, Left Cheek 2.6 mm 1.7 mm 0.25 mm
15.) Pintle Bracket, Right Cheek 2.9 mm 2.9 mm 0.25 mm
16.) IR-Spotlight 2 mm 1.3 mm 1.6 mm
17.) Pintle 2.9 mm 2.9 mm 0.25 mm
18.) Elevation Handwheel 2.5 mm Ø 0.25 mm

A true 1:87 scale model of the 12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« machine gun, using a 0.4 mm Ø barrel and 0.6 mm Ø cooling jacket, tends to be too fragile for our wargaming purposes, which is why we chose to build a more robust model using a 0.5 mm Ø wire barrel and 1 mm Ø polystyrene cooling jacket instead.

Assembling the 12.7 mm DShK Machine Gun

  1. Receiver (6.8 × 1 × 1.5 mm), cut a 6.8 mm section of 1 × 1.5 mm styrene strip; using a 0.5 mm micro drill bit, drill a 3 mm deep socket near to top of the front face of the receiver to accept the barrel.
  2. Barrel (0.5 mm Ø piano wire); superglue piano wire into the receiver, and check alignment while the glue is setting. Cut the barrel to the required length of 10.7 mm and file the muzzle flat. Note: the overall length of the machine gun – receiver with control grips and barrel attached – should be 18.7 mm in 1:87 scale. The barrel measures 10.7 mm from the muzzle to the receiver, the receiver is 6.8 mm long and the control grips add the final 1.2 mm.
  3. Cooling Jacket (1 mm Ø styrene tubing), cut a 7.5 mm section, file the ends flat, thread onto the barrel, and glue to the receiver front.
  4. Muzzle Brake M.1938 (white glue, or pinhead?, and 0.25 mm styrene sheet); the muzzle brake of the 12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« machine gun M.1938 has a unique teardrop shape which can be difficult to model in braille scale. Dip the muzzle in white glue and suspend the machine gun with the barrel pointing straight down so that a teardrop may form. Alternatively, find a 0.5 mm Ø pin with a tiny teardrop shaped pinhead and use that as the machine gun barrel. The teardrop shaped section needs to be 1.5 mm long, and there is a 1.2 mm Ø shield at the end of it. If white glue is used to create the teardrop shape, the shield, stamped from 0.25 mm styrene sheet or paper, needs to be threaded onto the barrel before the glue is applied. Once the teardrop shape has fully set, slide the shield forward and superglue it into position.
    Muzzle Brake M.1946 (1 mm Ø styrene tubing), carefully shave a 0.5 mm section off the styrene tube, sand it lightly if the cut did not go well, thread onto the barrel, and superglue in place so that approximately 0.25 mm of the barrel protrudes beyond the muzzle brake.
  5. Gas Cylinder (0.5 mm Ø piano wire), cut a 10.5 mm section; using a 0.5 mm micro drill bit, drill a 3 mm deep socket into the front face of the receiver just below the cooling jacket and glue the gas cylinder into it. To save time, cut only a 7.5 mm section of piano wire and superglue it directly to the underside of the cooling jacket, without the need for a second hole in the receiver. This alternative may be less sturdy, but it makes aligning the cooling jacket and gas cylinder much easier.
  6. Control Grips (2 mm Ø styrene tubing), cut a 1.6 mm section, split into two half-pipes, and glue one half-pipe to the rear of the receiver.
  7. Feed Tray Cover (2.9 × 1.5 × 0.5 mm), cut a 2.9 mm section from 1.5 × 0.5 mm styrene strip, and glue it onto the receiver approximately 1.7 mm from the front edge. Once the glue has set, round the top edges of the long sides with sandpaper or a needle file.
  8. Rear sight (paint brush bristle); drill a 0.5 mm Ø socket into the top of the receiver, approximately 1.6 mm from the rear edge of the receiver and immediately behind the feed tray cover, glue a paint brush bristle into the socket and trim it to 2 mm length once the glue has set.
  9. Front sight (4 × 0.3 × 0.25 mm), cut a 4 × 0.3 mm strip of 0.25 mm styrene sheet or thin paper, fold in half, lay the barrel into the fold and glue the ends of the front sight to each other. The front sight sits in front of the cooling jacket. Once the glue has set, trim the front sight to its final height of 1.5 mm.
  10. Ammunition Can (3.2 × 1.8 × 2.3 mm), cut a 3.2 mm section of 1.5 × 2 mm styrene strip, and add 0,25 mm styrene sheet to the side and top to bring the width and height of the can closer to the required 1.8 × 2.3 mm for 1:87 scale. File the front edge of the lid off, to give the ammo can its distinctive shape, and carefully round the other edges of the can with sandpaper or needle file. Glue into position at the left-hand side of the receiver and feed tray cover.

The completed 12.7 mm DShK »Dashka« machine gun still needs a wheeled carriage, tripod, or pintle mount with recoil dampers. The BTR-152 pictured above has a pintle post made of a short length of styrene tubing and glued to the armoured roof.

Modelling Techniques