ARM: Review - AFV Club M151 RWS

Kit Review: AFV Club 1/35 scale Kit No. AF35157; M151 Remote Weapon
Station; 185 parts (163 in olive styrene, 17 clear styrene, 4 etched
brass, 1 vinyl); price US$15.00
Advantages: provides separate RWS mount and accessories for any modern
US vehicle mounting this unit; upgrades and fixes kits like the early
Trumpeter Stryker kits
Disadvantages: an awful lot of spare parts for the purchase of one
small accessory kit
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all modern US armor fans
Going to the big world military and arms shows like IDEX, DSEi or
AUSA, one is struck rather quickly by the number of protected vehicles
now on offer as well as the selection of remote control weaponry for
them. AUSA 2006 showed at least a dozen of them with varying weapons
and functions, including one with Metalstorm 40mm grenade launchers.
But most consist of a single weapons station with one or two lighter
weapons, smoke grenade launchers, and collocated sights for control
from under armor.
This one, the M151 RWS, is the current standard one used by the US on
the Stryker series wheeled armored vehicles. It combines either an
M2HB .50 caliber machine gun or a Mark 19 40mm grenade launcher with a
fully stabilized mount and sighting station controlled by joystick
from inside the vehicle. This is a fairly fast acting system which
permits the gunner to remain protected, and at the same time use "pan
and zoom" to zero in on miscreant targets and engage them effectively
night or day. While the RWS can be mounted on just about any US
vehicle, it is currently mounted on members of the Stryker family,
assorted uparmored HMMWV vehicles, and can be used with the M1A2 SEP
version of the Abrams tank. (Curious to me is why, as that tank
specifically changed the old remote control commander's weapon station
and cupola for a manual machine gun and increased visibility fixed
cupola.)
AFV Club has done this up right, and has now offered this as a
separate four-sprue kit spun off from its excellent M1126 version of
the Stryker. But as noted in the comments, most of the parts in this
kit are superfluous to the RWS and as such can go to the parts bin.
The actual RWS consists of 63 parts which is still a stunning amount
for what amounts to a "Ma Deuce on steroids." As with all AFV Club
kits, it abounds with RP parts (right puny) so care must be taken with
assembly and installation. A vinyl keeper is included so once the RWS
is mounted on the vehicle of choice it can still traverse as the
actual weapon station does.
Trumpeter produced one for its kit which was quickly noted as missing
a great deal of details; such is not the case here, and it includes
both the "eyebrow" shield for the TV camera lens cover as well as a
mandrel for bending it to the correct shape prior to installation.
This RWS can be used to replace the somewhat anemic one on the
Trumpeter kit or for any of the Humvee kits on the market as well.
The remaining parts are not a waste of plastic, as they include handy
bits like an M4 carbine with "red dot" sight, an M4/M203 combination,
four plastic water cans, a complete set of modern US lights (two head
and four turnsignal/stoplight pods), and many small handholds and
details. The Stryker wheel components are alas unique, but if you have
a Trumpeter kit and want to change the wheels with more precision of
control (e.g over the step rings in the middle of the wheels) you may
prefer these.
The directions are unfortunately printed over a B&W photo on the back
of the box and as such are difficult to read without a good strong
light. No decals are provided, and finishing consists of color
suggestions inside the direction steps.
Overall this is a very nice piece of kit given good treatment, and
should be popular with modern American modelers.
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne
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Just a minor addition. The sight on the M4 in the kit is a Trijicon 4x32 ACOG optical sight, not a red dot sight like an Aimpoint.
Dave
Reply to
Dave Williams
Thanks. Since I only had iron sights they all look "alike" to me!
Cookie Sewell
Reply to
AMPSOne

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