AFV Clubhas released their second Stryker kit which could be labelled 2 in 1 as it can be built as the US Army M1130 CV (Command Vehicle) or the USAF M1130 CV TACP (Command Vehicle Tactical Air Control Party).
The M1130 CV TACP has about 85% part commonality with the M1126 Stryker ICV in real life being equipped with the same RWS along with additional equipment for the many antennas, aerials and other items with only minor modifications to the main vehicle and the kit follows suit with the full M1126 ICV (kit #AF35126) included plus new parts for the CV TACP. There is also additional internal equipment fitted for the CV TACP but as the kit has no interior this is purely academic here.
This additional equipment includes the large Conical Logarithmic Spiral Mobile (CLSM) antenna; the antenna mounting bracket added above the winch cover, the HF coupler mounted in the rear left side storage rack along with the various antennas including the TACP specific X-Blade GETAC SOTM, the EPLRS, ASIP, NTDR UHF/GPS antennas. As a bonus you also get in the initial kit production batch a resin Blue Force Tracker (BFT) currently being fitted to serving Strykers. Information and images of all these antennas except the BFT is included in the Concord Stryker and Wings & Wheels Stryker books listed below.
As mentioned this kit is basically the M1126 ICV kit with the additional of a new sprue N plus new etched parts for the CV TACP parts as well as the resin BFT and consists of 398 parts in olive drag plastic, 17 in clear plastic with eight vinyl tyres and three sheets of etched parts plus vinyl poly caps for the suspension and a short length of twine as well as the instruction and decal sheets.
Much of the review below will therefore be the same as for kit #AF35126 with additional comments for the new CV TACP parts and any minor alterations needed to fit these.
Additional vinyl parts and bonus resin BFT
Standard of plastic moulding is again 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 very few 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.
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 and at the back are the large shock absorber assemblies with new etched perforated suspension covers allowing you to build the kit to the current production standard. There are mounting bolts for the perforated covers included on the sprue A runners which will have to be carefully removed to use with the etched covers.
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. There are additional thicker etched parts provided for the newer large combat lock mechanisms also seen on later Strykers.
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.
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 very 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 about as good as your are going to get for the Stryker and as such have also been used as the basis for a number of aftermarket resin wheels.
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 and the step rings have the correct elongated cut-out on one side but are a little on the thick side.
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.
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 with finely etched mesh covers.
The rear top hull panels are also moulded in place with the main hull but this does not result in any loss of detail definition with separate entry hatches.
One feature of the 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. The right side panel is new for this kit as it includes and additional equipment access door over that of the ICV so make sure you use the correct panel (part N1) as the original is still included in the kit.
The left side panel (part E6) also has to be modified slightly to accept the new HF coupler mounted in the rear left side storage rack but this is very simple with the coupler having an etched and plastic support rack.
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 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.
Mounted next to the Driver’s hatch is the Raytheon AN/VAS-5 DVE passive thermal imaging system which requires you to cut off a couple of the moulded on bolt bosses but this is easy enough to deal with. There is one minor issue here as the thermal unit is designed to fit flush with the side of the mounting plate (part C26) but it should me slightly inboard of the right side and you may want to add the lower wiring to finish off the assembly. It as fairly easy to cut off the locating tabs on part C24, using one to fill the indent in part C26 and re-glue in the right position and you may want to thin the sides of part C24 in the process for a better look. (see images)
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.
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 along with the two large wire cutters for in front of the Driver’s hatch and on the hull top provided in plastic only. These can only be fitted raised but could easily be modified if you wanted to depict these lowered.
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 matching pictures of the real hatch well.
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 grag 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.
Added to the winch cover is the large perforated mounting for the new antennas which consists of the main perforated etched part with plastic end mounting and a couple of etched retaining bolts and you have to cut off one of the moulded on bolt bosses to fit the new mounting.
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.
One item missing is the large signal horn located on the left front hull below the head lights which is a recent addition to all Stryker versions.
Added to the rear hull top are new parts for the CV TACP including long braces and left side aerial mounting brackets that again require the moulded on bolt bosses removed from the original parts.
The main parts are the large Conical Logarithmic Spiral Mobile (CLSM) antenna mounted centrally on the rear hull for the CV version and this consists of a etched lower bracket (part P8), two plastic supports (parts N10) and the two part (CLSM) antenna. One thing to note here is the three locating pins on the supports slip right through the holes in the etched bracket allowing the supports to sit flush with the bracket. But the support pins should actually be flush with the etched bracket leaving a space between it and the supports and this is best done by holding the etched bracket on a flat surface while gluing the support pins in place.
For the CV TACP version there is the two part X-Blade GETAC SOTM antenna use in place of the CLSM and this fits on the same rear hull mounting as the CLSM so you have to decide which version you are building before fitting the appropriate antenna.
Of note is the large HF folding antenna fitted to the left rear corner which is made up of 5 finely moulded parts and you can fit the antenna raised or folded as your wish. You have to take care with the small star wheel as it only about 1mm wide and extreme care is needed removing this from the sprue and in fitting without damage or worse being dropped on the carpet as you will not find it again.
There should also be wiring added the base of the HF antenna running to the side storage box located HF Coupler to finish off this assembly.
You have to take care on what antennas are applicable to the CV or the TACP versions for while the instructions do tell you which to use some of the assembly sequences are very busy and you have to study these carefully to use the right parts for the version you are building.
As mentioned there is included in the initial production batch of kits (not sure how many kits this includes) a resin Blue Force Tracker (BFT) fitted on the left upper hull and this is nicely detailed with just a small casting block to be removed. After fitting in place there is some wiring to be added to finish off as with the other antenna.The fit of the upper and lower hulls was very good with precise location not requiring any trimming or other problems.
This is the same Remote Weapons Station (RWS) included in the first kit and 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 very well done for a plastic .50cal with only those in the recent Dragon M1A1/A2 kits and the superb Tasca guns being better in plastic, you could also enhance this further by using one of the recently released metal .50cal barrels for either Adlers Nest or Lion Marc/Passion Models.
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.
Basic assembly of the RWS will need care due to the many small parts but the fit of the parts is very good overall with 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 two superbly moulded M4A1 Carbines, one fitted with the M203 grenade launcher and the other with the M68 CCO red dot sights and fore grip are still included. 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.
Note there is the skull motif for the CLSM antenna but this is flat and the antenna curved so you may have to carefully coax this into position.
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 and adding the many smaller parts to the upper hull 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
This is another excellent kit of the Stryker from AFV Club and to date is clearly the better of the two kits offered with the option of the two M1130 versions, CV and CV/TACP adding further to the kit value. The inclusion of the resin BFT will make picking up the kit early a good thing to do but no doubt an aftermarket company will offer this for those who miss out.
The inclusion of the etched perforated suspension covers brings the kit up to current standards with the wiring for the new antennas being the most obvious detail to add along with the Bar Armour for vehicles serving in Afghanistan/Iraq.
AFV Club have already announced the M1128 MGS version and hopefully will release others in the family
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.
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