AFV Club follow the Trumpeter kit of the M1126 Stryker ICV (kit #00375) with the release of their version which is also of the basic M1126 Stryker ICV and as we have seen the test shot photos previously we can now see what is in a the actual kit.
The M1126 Stryker is based on the GDLS Canada LAV III 8x8 light armoured vehicle with the LAV III itself a version of the Piranha III built by Mowag of Switzerland and is a full-time four-wheel drive with selective eight-wheel drive armoured vehicle weighing approximately 19t. The basic Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV), the subject of this kit provides armoured protection for the two-man crew and a squad of nine infantry soldiers.
The armour provides integral 14.5mm protection against machine gun rounds, mortar and artillery fragments. In Iraq from January 2004, Stryker vehicles were outfitted with a 'cage' of slat armour which encircles the vehicle about 18in from the main body as protection against Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs).
The ICV has a remote weapons station which can mount either a .50cal M2 machine gun, MK19 40mm grenade launcher or MK240 7.62mm machine gun and also has four banks of four M6 smoke grenade launchers.
This kit like the Trumpeter offering has some pre-production and early production features but includes more up to date details as well and one problem with producing a kit of a current operational vehicle is things change constantly which means a kit can only really be a snap shot at a certain time or may include a mix of features.
Obviously a comparison with the Trumpeter kit is inevitable and I will include side by side images to show the differences as we go along but the most noticeable difference is the variations in sizes of the parts. The main hull for example sees the AFV Club hull 5mm longer yet 2mm narrower than the Trumpeter hull with many other differences in hatch sizes and hull contours.
Unfortunately I don’t have any accurate plans of the vehicle and only basic dimensions which makes it difficult at this time to determine which is correct but comparing parts such as the hatches, hull contours and other details to real photos would indicate the AFV Club parts match the photos better in most cases.
I will include throughout the review a number of reference photos of the real Stryker to illustrate the kit and to help those wishing to add additional details with these provided courtesy of Prime Portal where you can find extensive walk-arounds on all the Stryker variants.
The AFV Club kit consists of 360 parts in olive drag plastic, 17 in clear
plastic with eight vinyl tyres and a sheet of etched parts plus vinyl poly
caps for the suspension and a short length of twine as well as the instruction
and decal sheets.
AFV Club (left), Trumpeter (right)
AFV Club (left), Trumpeter (right)
Additional vinyl parts
Standard of plastic moulding is very good overall with nice clean detail but there is a sprinkling of flash and some very shallow sink marks about the place but most notably no pin marks of any consequence and of course the usual mould seams which will need care when cleaning from the smaller parts.
This is large tub with indentations for the suspension components and includes details on the hull sides such as the rear suspension mounting detail which are cleanly rendered by the use of multi-part moulds with the lower front hull plate a separate part as is the rear hull plate.
This detail on the AFV Club lower hull is better defined than the Trumpeter hull but the main differences is the sizes with the AFV Club hull being between 2.5 and 3.5mm narrower but about 5mm longer than the Trumpeter hull.
All the suspension components are separate with the front two and the rear two differentials mounded together with the connecting drive shaft and the four wheel drive shafts and the diffs have separate bottom sections with excellent details.
The front wheel mounts, shock absorbers, wishbone struts and steering arms are provided with the front four wheels fixed in place the same as with the Trumpeter kit but the level of detail on the AFV Club parts is again better defined than on the Trumpeter kit.
At the back are the large shock absorber assemblies with outer covers but these are also mounded solid with those on production Strykers being larger and fully perforated which would best be represented with an etched part, this again is the same as on the Trumpeter kit.
The large rear side panniers are also separate to provide better definition than if included with the lower hull and at the back is the separate hull panel with separate squad entry ramp and smaller exit door.
Details on the rear panel is quite well done with most features included as well as separate door latches with inside details on the ramp and door which are free of any pin marks but again there is no interior fittings and the ramp/door is best fitted closed as there is no interior provided.
Again there are differences in ramp sizes with the Trumpeter part being 2.5mm wider than the AFV Club ramp but the level of detail on the AFV Club parts is noticeably better defined than the Trumpeter parts.
Also included are separate taillights and towing shackles with the taillight having separate clear plastic lenses which can be painted before fitting for a better look.
The fit of the rear panel to the lower hull is very good without the need for any trimming or filling while at the front the separate lower and side bolted plates also fit nicely along with the tow shackles and lifting eyes added.
The main tyres are vinyl with the tread pattern well done with the sidewall detail consists of subtle contouring between the fine ribs and also includes the sidewall “Michelin X” embossing and overall the tyres are better represented than the Trumpeter items but you do need to use a sharp blade when cutting away the central moulding tabs on the AFV Club tyres.
The wheel hubs are made up of 6 plastic parts with inner poly cap to help fitting the plus the separate hub step rings on all eight wheels but current service vehicles only have these fitted to the front two wheels.
Detail on the hubs is very well done with the central hub representing that of the real wheel much better than the Trumpeter hubs and the step rings have the correct elongated cut-out on one side but are again a little on the thick side as are the Trumpeter steps.
Assembly is straightforward with the wheel rims fitting neatly into the vinyl tyres without any play and the rear brake drum parts neatly trap the poly cap to fit easily to the back of the wheel rim.
There is a slight size difference between the tyres with the AFV Club items being about 1mm larger in diameter (.5mm each side) than the Trumpeter wheels but this is hardly noticeable on the assembled wheels but again the level of detail is better defined on the AFV Club wheels.
This is again a single large moulding with good clean crisp surface details included with separate hatches and other equipment but notable has that large engine intake and exhaust grills mounded in place while they are separate on the Trumpeter kit.
The rear top hull panels are also moulded in place while they are separate parts on the Trumpeter kit but being with the main hull does not result in any loss of detail definition.
One feature of the AFV Club hull is the side panels that are moulded as thin separate panels added to the main tub and these have excellent details and give very good definition around the hatches and other openings that nicely represent the panels of the real vehicle.
Again the main issue here is the size differential between the two hulls with the AFV Club hull being 5mm longer yet 2mm narrower than the Trumpeter hull with the rear hull plate being 2mm deeper on the AFV Club part and as mentioned without accurate drawings it is difficult to determine which is correct at this time.
The many small tie down loops attached to the round panel attachment bosses are included where applicable although they are not open but look okay as they are quite finely represented. The rows of small tie downs along the side panels are also included but again are not open instead just giving the impression of raised tie downs and these may be replaced with the inevitable etched sets to come for this kit for a better appearance.
There are many sub-assemblies built separately and then added to the hull such as the Driver’s hatch with 14 parts and 3 clear periscopes, but this again is a different size to the hatch in the Trumpeter kit being 2mm narrower that gives a slimmer look to the hatch which does match photos more closely than the Trumpeter hatch. The details on the hatch again are more refined than the Trumpeter hatch but the hinge is not workable with you positioning the hatch either open or closed but as there is no interior closed would be the best option unless including a driver figure. Also included is a soft vinyl 'cover' positioned over the back of the Driver's hatch to the hull top that covers the hinge detail which flexes as the hatch is opened.
The Commander’s hatch which has the main base as part of the upper hull but has 7 periscopes in clear plastic and the hatch has excellent interior detail without any pin marks with the hatch shape more elongated than the Trumpeter hatch and again this better matches pictures of the real hatch.
The head light clusters with about 12 parts plus clear plastic light lenses have all the basic components that are finely moulded and you will have to take care during assembly. You may also want to add the myriad of wiring to the back of the light clusters for a better appearance while the large tube bush guard will need care removing the mould seam.
In the centre of the front hull (well offset slightly to the left) is the winch assembly which has excellent detail definition and assembles without any problems but remember to feed the tow cable through the winch before adding the end eye (part B2). The whole winch assembly sits on small mounting pins away for the hull and this is nicely represented on the base and again the winch is far more detailed than the Trumpeter offering.
All the hatches are separate parts with very good detail on both sides without any pin marks to contend with if showing the hatches open and there are etched intake screens for the moulded on engine intakes and again these are a different size and location on the hull than the Trumpeter intakes but appear from photos to be better proportioned on the AFV Club kit.
The two large wire cutters for in front of the Driver’s hatch and on the hull top are provided in plastic only and can only be fitted raised but could easily be modified if you wanted to depict these lowered and the etched cutters in the Trumpeter kit offer better options here.
On the upper rear panel the two antenna mounts are in the correct position so no alterations are required as they are on the Trumpeter kit which has one mounting in the wrong location.
Along either side are the large storage racks which have an inner mounting plate and outer rack with the large holes and these are well done and also include 5 larger brag handles on the right side and the simulated rows of tie down loops along the top, bottom and on the rear of these racks which again okay but could be better represented in etched parts.
The large winch assembly on the left side is nicely moulded but you should wind on the tow cable (thread) before fitting together and this should also be threaded through the side cable guide assembly which as a movable pulley with the top cover fitting neatly in place.
This top cover is again a different size than the same part in the Trumpeter kit which is 2mm longer than the AFV Club part.
On the left rear is the pioneer tool rack with the tools nicely done and are moulded without any tool clips or brackets allowing you to add these from your favourite medium.
There are numerous other items fitted about the hull which shouldn’t cause any problems such as the square tube fitting on the upper rear hull that will need care cleaning the mould seams and the rear view mirrors on the front hull sides that are very well done and you can add these extended or stowed flush on the hull sides as you see fit.
The fit of the upper and lower hulls was very good with precise location not requiring any trimming or other problems.
The final item in the kit and arguably the most important is the top Remote Weapons Station and this is considerably more detailed than the very simplified RWS in the Trumpeter kit.
The AFV Club RWS is made up of about 30 parts with excellent detail included as well as two etched sun guards for over the main sights and there are small jigs included on the sprue so you can bend the right size curve before fitting to the sights to make things easier. Always anneal etched parts before trying to bend to a curve or will be pushing it up hill with a sharp stick as it will just spring back when you try and add the curve.
The main sight assembly and weapons base can be elevated freely after assembly and the large ammo box includes the main sight cover that is attached to the side of the box when not in use as seen in most photos of the RWS as well as fine etched chain to attach to the cover for added detail.
The 16 smoke grenades are nicely done but take care as the base of these (parts F28) are angled to get right slant when fitted to the base so make sure you put these the right way around, but this is fairly obvious when assembling the grenades.
You get a choice of M2 .50cal MG or MK.19 40mm Grenade Launcher to mount on the RWS and the .50 cal is completely new for this kit and is very well done for a plastic .50cal with probably only the superb Tasca guns being better.
The receiver is in two halves with separate feed chute cover resulting in the receiver being hollow and the cooling jacket while solid is tapered for a good appearance and the rear firing handles are also separate parts. You will have to drill out the muzzle as this is solid but overall this is an excellent .50cal in plastic.
The Mk.19 40mm Grenade Launcher is in just 3 parts with hollow receiver and separate large top feed cover and again you will need to drill out the muzzle for a nice looking Mk.19.
Overall the AFV Club RWS is considerably more detailed than the Trumpeter RWS with all the issues of the Trumpeter RWS being correct on the AFV Club assembly with the Trumpeter RWS also undersized as well as lacking any serious detail and as mentioned previously is the biggest letdown of that kit.
Basic assembly of the AFV Club RWS will need care due to the many small parts but the fit of the parts was much better than the Trumpeter item and the only part to offer any challenge was the fit of the ammo box as it is a little tricky if you want the gun and sights to elevate after assembly.
The smoke grenade launchers are again better represented than the Trumpeter items and are also better sized with the square base also included which was missing form the Trumpeter mountings.
As a bonus you get two superbly moulded M4A1 Carbines, one fitted with the M203 grenade launcher and the other with the ACOG Trijicon 4x monocular sight and fore grip. Both have the stock extended but it would be very easy to cut this off to represent the shorter stock and you will have to drill out the muzzles, especially the M203 for a better appearance, also remember to drill out the back of the stock while you are there as this is hollow.
The large AFV Club decal sheet is well printed with thin carrier film cropped close to the printed images which should make application easier and provides a large selection of vehicle registration numbers and unit insignia for six vehicles although no specific unit info is provided
The Trumpeter decal sheet is well printed with thin carrier film cropped close to the printed images which should make application easier and provides vehicle registration numbers for three specific vehicles plus a heap of additional stencilling and numbers to make just about any vehicle you wish.
A large colour sheet is provided with five view illustrations of the Stryker to clearly show the location of the various markings but no actual unit information is given.
These are the usual exploded view drawings which are easy enough to follow but of course you should study each sequence carefully before cutting or gluing as you would with any kit.
A couple of areas are quite confusing though and will require careful study, especially the head light assembles which are a little confusing but with care you should work these out. There is an error with the mirror mounting posts as they are transposed in the instructions and you should use part C18 on the right side and C19 on the left, not the other way around as per the instructions
There are also a few errors in the initial instruction sheets that
should be rectified before the kits go on general sale but just to
check these are:
In step 9 the top grab handle is part B19, not F5 as indicated.
In step 14 the winch pulley is part B40, not F22 as indicated.
In step 15 part C27 the small oval fitting just behind the Driver’s hatch is not numbered.
This kit from AFV Club is considerably more detailed in all areas than the Trumpeter offering with not only better detailed parts but also more actual detail included on most assemblies most notable the RWS.
The size differentials will have to remain unanswered until I can get more detailed information (any feedback welcome) but as mentioned many of the AFV Club parts when compared by eye to available photos appear more to size than some of the Trumpeter parts.
This kit is the best M1126 Stryker ICV currently available but with some TLC the Trumpeter kit will build into a nice looking kit as we have seen from various build-ups and we just have to wait to see the Dragon offering which hopefully will include more up to date features as it appears it won’t be released for some time yet?
Highly Recommended 8/10
See the Stryker Subjects page for additional reviews of Stryker related kits/update sets.
in detail Part 1
Present Vehicle Line No.17
Wings & Wheels Publications.
in detail Part 2
Present Vehicle Line No.19
Wings & Wheels Publications.
|STRYKER Interim Armored Vehicle
Concord Mini Color Series #7515
by Carl Schulze & Ralph Zwilling
Stryker ICV/RV Special
|Stryker Combat Vehicles
Osprey New Vanguard 121
Gordon L Rottman
Militar Fahrzeug 2/2007 Pages 45-53
2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiments
"Second Dragoons" Germany 2006