The box contains a total of 599 parts in AFV Club's signature green, clear plastic, vinyl, and Photo-etched brass.
This kit obviously builds on the previous Stryker kits, adding an additional sprue of PE parts for the engine deck exhaust and a vinyl shroud for the launcher tower (installation of which will prevent the TOW launcher tower from retracting, however), as well as separate TOW missiles.
Other additional goodies added to this release include spare wheels, 7.62mm machine guns, and towing bars, to name a few. Additions to the first Stryker kit include a full sprue devoted to the TOW missles and launcher parts, as well as a new rear plate and different side bustle racks. Other subtle improvements such as the optional lowered wire-cutters, have been added since the earlier releases.
The Stryker has very few weld beads showing, the separate Mexas armor plates are instead fastened to the exterior surfaces with an abundance of well-defined bolts. I must say that the fastener detail is one of the most impressive aspects of this kit. The many tie-down loops that festoon the vehicle are also particularly well-done. The hatches can be positioned opened -they're not meant to be movable. You will find a few small ejector marks on the inside of the driver's hatch, which is otherwise well-detailed with grab handles and locking mechanisms.
I liked the many periscopes of this kit being moulded in clear. When painted with clear purple or magenta, they do look very convincing. Just remember to install the commander's periscopes BEFORE joining the hull halves together -sounds obvious, but one must really pay attention when building a kit of this magnitude! The winch is built to rotate, just remember to wind-on the nylon cable before assembly.
The standout features of this kit are definitely the well-defined details of the vinyl tires with their peculiar bulged sidewalls and the amazing detail of the fully-articulating missile launcher -a small kit in itself. As we've now come to expect, PE brass parts are provided for the engine deck. Not included in the first Stryker release, a nice assortment of securing-straps are also included in PE.
Not one who normally follows directions well, I actually found these instructions straight-forward and easy to follow, especially after consulting Ralph Zwilling's excellent book: "Wings and Wheels Publications: Volume 19, Stryker in Detail Part 2."
I spent a total of about 30 hours building my Stryker kit. The absence of flash, and minimal moulding seams, made those enjoyable hours. The bulk of the work comes during the final 20 percent of the build, when about 80 percent of the detail: winch, seeker/TOW launcher, grenade-launchers, wire-cutters, and other onboard equipment, is added. Anyone who has built a previous Strkyer variant from AFV Club will have no issues. The many intricate parts will make careful study of the included B&W photos of a real Stryker a necessity. The only thing lacking is an interior -we can dream of a future release of such from Hobby Fan, perhaps?
As a currently deployed vehicle, the Stryker is constantly evolving as it's tested in combat. Consequently, one has to carefully research references if wishing to depict a specific vehicle. Accurately portraying a combat Stryker would include simulating the non-slip texture that covers the upper horizontal surfaces of the real vehicle. Details that were missed by AFV Club in its first Stryker release, the M1126 ICV (Item AF35126), have now been addressed in the most recent Stryker variants: the M1130 CV/TACP and M1128 Stryker Mobile Gun System kits.
Though not aimed at the beginner, with a little care and experience, these kits are easily the most detailed and accurate models of a very popular, and current, subject. I cannot wait to soon build all of the Stryker variants now available from AFV Club.
Decals for four vehicles 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.
Review by Robert Burik: M1130 Stryker Command Vehicle/CV TACP LINK
Wings and Wheels Publications: Volume 19, “Stryker in Detail Part 2,” by R. Zwilling.