Kit Review: AFV Club 1/35 scale Kit No. AF35126; M1126 8 x 8 ICV Infantry Carrier Vehicle Stryker; 395 parts (357 in olive drab styrene, 17 clear styrene, 13 black vinyl, 7 etched brass, 1 black nylon thread); retail price US$42.00
Advantages: base kit of a growing family of kits; nicely done with great attention to detail; optional position hatches less engine compartment; very nicely detailed remote weapons station with choice of either 40mm M19 or 12.7mm M2 armament
Disadvantages: no interior components
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all modern US armor and wheeled armor fans
The US Army, having turned down the Swiss Mowag Piranha II that became the USMC=92s LAV series of 8 x 8 light armored vehicles, had to later rethink its decision and after some soul searching settled on a modified version of the Piranha III as its new wheeled combat vehicle system. Starting with the basic M1126 infantry carrier vehicle version, the family has now ballooned out to include dedicated scout, ATGM, mortar, 105mm SP gun, and air liaison vehicles among others.
But while the idea seemed good no plan survives first contact, and the debut of the new vehicle =96 dubbed =93Stryker=94 after two Medal of Honor awardees =96 soon fell afoul of Iraqi resistance improvised explosive devices and RPG attacks. The vehicles now sport add-on armor protection to include either the familiar =93slat=94 armor or now a new steel net mesh which is much lighter. (The weight with slat armor and upgrades was between 22 and 29 short tons, based on source and specific fit - so much for light weight.)
Happily of the two kits currently on the market this one is considered the better of the two, and even though it is a =93traditional=94 AFV Club kit (read lots of tiny parts) it is nicely executed and captures the original model of the vehicle. I heartily suggest the two Wings and Wheels Publications =93Stryker in Detail" books by Ralph Zwilling for anyone modeling Strykers as they use color photo coverage of all current variants inside and out.
The AFV Club kit has amazing detail with the suspension being very well covered and even the vinyl tires exhibiting the =93puffy=94 look of the original Michelin tires. All of the applique cover plates over the vehicle=92s 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.
As this is the infantry carrier it comes with the M151 Remote Weapons Station which is very nicely done (and also available as a separate kit with extra parts). The kit provides options for either the 40mm M19 automatic grenade launcher or the M2HB =93Ma Deuce=94 12.7mm heavy machine gun, as well as a pair of M4 carbines.
However it is totally barren inside which is a bit of a shame, as all of the hatches and ramps can be positioned either opened or closed. The actual Stryker has suspended crew seats, a lot of kit, and a computer terminal for the commander to operate the weapons station inside so it is a shame none of it is provided.
The directions are fairly clear, and as this is the least complex of the AFV Club Stryker kits they work very well.
Six finishing options are offered: A Company, 3-21 Infantry, 25th ID; B Troop, 1-14 Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Infantry Division; A Company, 1-34 Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division; A Company, 1-21 Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division; A-14, A Company, 5-020 Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division; and A-31, 5-20 Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division. All are in the forest green as delivered scheme with FS30277 patches to set off the bumper codes.
Overall, this is the parent kit of an entire family. There are a number of nice aftermarket upgrades to this kit around (one from AFV Club itself with some standard add-ons like tow bars) as well as etched brass kits for the =93slat=94 armor for those skilled with soldering irons.