ARM: AFV Club 1/35 scale M1134 Stryker ATGM

Kit Review: AFV Club 1/35 scale Kit No. AF35134; Stryker M1134 Stryker Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM); 599 parts (502 in olive drab styrene,
57 etched brass, 17 clear styrene, 22in black vinyl, 1 length of black nylon string); estimated price US$48-56
Advantages: first complete kit of this variant on the market; nicely done with great attention to detail; optional position hatches less engine compartment; missile launcher assembly may be positioned as desired
Disadvantages: no interior components
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all modern US armor and wheeled armor fans
    As with the previous LAV series for the USMC the US Army Stryker family includes a dedicated antitank variant with a twin TOW missile launcher. These have been become indispensable in Iraq and will probably prove to be so again in Afghanistan. (There is a marvelous video on the Internet of a sniper who cannot be suppressed by an Abrams as it cannot get a shot at him; a Bradley behind him can and uses its TOW launcher to eliminate the sniper and a good chunk of the heavy adobe wall he was hiding behind on a roof as well.)
    Eventual numbers are for 36 of these variants to be deployed in every Stryker Brigade Combat Team. I heartily recommend anyone doing this kit to get a copy of the “Wings and Wheels Publications” Volume 19, “Stryker in Detail Part 2" by Ralph Zwilling, as it has color photo coverage of this variant inside and out to include one of the finishing options in this kit.
    AFV Club has continued their series of Strykers with the fourth kit and fifth variant of the family with the TOW launcher variant. This uses the basic Stryker components (as was the basic idea of the design when created – eight common variants with roof and interior changes and two others with more extensive modifications) with a new hull top and the very exquisite TOW launcher assembly.
    The AFV Club kit retails the amazing detail of its three forebearers with the suspension being very well covered and even the vinyl tires exhibiting the “puffy” look of the original Michelin tires. All of the applique cover plates over the vehicle’s ceramic armor tiles are separate, and even the covers over the suspension shock mounts show a nice see-through screening effect. But AFV Club has gotten smarter over the years; the main suspension units now consist of two central backbone units with add-on differential covers vice the dozens of parts they would have used some years back.
    Once again the kit comes with TWO spare wheels but no tires for either one! It also comes with the now-standard in Iraq tow bar, and the directions show how to use it in stowed or deployed position.
    The TOW section of the launcher consists of 90 new mold parts and can be left free for posing. The elevator tower (parts G13/14/15) is left loose so the elevator will function and rotate. The launcher consists of 18 parts with an option for the covers on the front of the missile tubes. The missile tubes are designed to either be loaded in the launcher or left inside the vehicle, but there is no interior to speak of so you are on your own there. The guidance mechanism takes another 8 parts, but you will need to take care in Step 28 as it is very busy and will take care as the seeker and launcher move together when assembled. Step 29 covers the plethora of smoke grenade launchers that are now common on Strykers. If you want the launcher permanently elevated you can install the shroud, Part T, before attaching the launcher mount to the elevator.
    Also note that the kit comes with two TOW missiles outside of their transport/launch tubes, one appearing to be a TOW 2 and the other a TOW 2A with the pop-out standoff probe for reactive armor.
    Once again the directions are fairly clear but are augmented with B&W photos of actual vehicles, which is very handy and a smart use of such items. (Other companies should pay attention...)
    Again four different finishing options are provided: AT-21, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment; D-17 and D-27, D Company, 112th Infantry, 56th Brigade, 28th Infantry Division; AT-22, 52nd Infantry Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. All are in the forest green as delivered scheme with FS30277 patches to set off the bumper codes.
    Overall again this is an excellent kit and should make AFV Club four for four on their Strykers. It should also take the standard M1126 Stryker ICV “slat armor” package if anyone wishes to do an Operation Iraqi Freedom version.
     Thanks to Miin Herng Tsueng and Hobby Fan Trading Company for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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