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AFV Club's 1/35 M1126 Stryker

Kit: No. 35126
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: AFV Club, from Merit International, 626-912-2212,
Price: $42.00
Comments: Injection molded. 413 parts (11 photoetched-metal, 21 vinyl, string), decals
Pros: Ease of assembly; beautifully molded tires closely match full-size vehicle clear lenses for lights
Cons:Misnumbered and unnumbered parts; some delicate parts broken on trees
The Stryker, the next generation of LAV (light armored vehicle) built to meet the new Combat Team doctrine of the U.S. Army, entered service in 2002.
AFV Club's kit is the second model of this vehicle to hit the marketplace, and it is well worth the wait. The detail and finesse of the molds are incredible. But several finer pieces, such as the brush guards and handles, were broken. The vehicle features several small tie-downs which could be replaced with photoetched metal or wire - but that's a big job. Hatches are molded separately with interior detail. There are many small ejector-pin marks that need to be filed off; those inside the side storage racks are difficult to remove without damaging the detail.

The fit of the parts was excellent and required no filler throughout assembly. Pictures of a real vehicle show how the tools and jerry cans are strapped down, but there's no material for making the straps. The headlights, taillights, and front directional lights have clear plastic inserts I painted with Tamiya clear colors. Nylon string is included for the winch cable.

I built the kit according to the instructions, leaving off small, fragile pieces, such as grab handles, mirrors, and brush guards, until the two hull halves were glued together. Make sure to insert the commander's vision blocks before you glue the two halves together - it will be impossible to do so afterwards. I sprayed the clear-styrene vision blocks Tamiya clear blue and masked them with Micro Mask. The top grab handle on the driver's side is misnumbered as F5 (it's part No. B19). There are three pulleys in the winch system, all labeled F22, but there are only two in the kit. Part No. B28 is a larger pulley I used with B52 and B53, since this is where it fit best. Part No. C27 in step No. 15 also is not numbered. The driver's hatch, winch subassemblies, winch cover, gun assembly, and front-light subassemblies were left off for easier painting.

The kit's beautiful rubber tires are as close to real tires as I have ever seen on a model. The directions show step rings on all eight wheels, but Strykers are often fitted with less; check references for the particular vehicle you are building.

You are given the option of a .50-caliber machine gun or a 40mm grenade launcher for the remote weapons station. The smoke-grenade launchers can be assembled with dust covers, but only four are provided (16 are needed).

Photoetched-metal guards are included for the light and sight on the gun. A form to bend each to the proper curve is included on the G sprue. The photoetched metal needs to be annealed to retain its shape; I did this on a gas stove top.

The model was sprayed Tamiya NATO green. I applied washes and dry-brushing, then finished with CMK weathering powders.

There are six vehicle marking options. The decals laid down with only a little bit of silvering on some of the very small decals. I used piano wire for the antennas.

This model took 27 hours and was a joy to build with no problems other than a few misnumbering issues. With a little help, even beginners can tackle this build. The completed model matches the photos found in Stryker in detail: U.S. Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle Family, Part One by Ralph Zwilling.

The only thing left is to model packs and other personal equipment - and several aftermarket companies have already done this for you.

- Mike Scharf


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