DEF Model is the first choice for most modelers when it comes to replacing vinyl tires supplied in plastic kits with high-quality resin offerings. This review covers DEF Model’s US M1296 Stryker Dragoon Sagged Wheel Set (DW35114), a direct resin replacement wheel set for AFV Club’s 1/35 scale kit (AF35319).


The US Army was looking to improve firepower of the baseline M1126 Stryker infantry carrier vehicle, as its 12.7 mm heavy machine gun was not particularly effective against modern armored vehicles. In 2015 the US Army approved a lethality upgrade by equipping a total of 81 Strykers with 30 mm unmanned turrets, which significantly increased firepower of the Stryker while preserving its mobility. After the testing and evaluation, the first operational vehicle officially designated as M1296 Infantry Carrier Vehicle – Dragoon (ICVD) was delivered to the US Army in 2017.

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US M1296 Stryker Dragoon Sagged Wheel Set (DW35114) from DEF Model comes packed in a hard cardboard box. The image on the front of the box shows the contents of the set.

The box includes a zip-lock bag with resin pieces, four masking sheets and masking instruction leaflet.

Opening the zip-lock bag, I inspected the resin pieces. I found no air-bubbles, seam lines or any other casting imperfections. After reviewing several wheel sets from DEF Model, I have to admit I expect nothing but the best resin cast from DEF Model.

The details are nicely defined and very impressively delivered in scale. Check out the rim with all the bolts perfectly rendered, as well as tire sidewall details and the tiny lettering perfectly legible under high magnification. Wow!

The carrier blocks are large but should prove very easy to remove: a pair of side cutters and a sharp modeling blade should do the trick nicely. Since the blocks are located on the bottom of the tire, no detail on the tire tread pattern or sidewall is lost after cleaning the pieces.

The tire depicted in the set is Michelin XZL365/85R20, the all-terrain, all-position radial designed for special service and military vehicles. The tire has dimensions of 1144 x 368 mm (45 x 14.5 in) with the approved rim width of 254 mm (10 in), and features non-directional tread with open shoulder design.

photo by Ralph Zwilling (Abrams Squad “M1296 StrykerDragoon”)

Checking the reference photos of the Michelin XZL 365/85R20 tire and comparing the images to 1/35 scale offerings from DEF Model, I was very impressed with how accurate and well-defined the details on the resin tires are. The non-directional tire tread is perfectly delivered and the sidewall inscriptions superbly reproduced and clearly recognizable… the MICHELIN X, XZL, 365/85R20 and several other microscopic details… it’s all there. The complex bolt pattern on the rims is faithfully replicated, along with the characteristic shape of the hub.

The tires in this set are sized to 32.55 x 10.15mm, a fraction of millimeter smaller than the real tire in 1/35 scale. Unfortunately, I can't compare the size of vinyl tires supplied with the kit to DEF offerings, but the photos on DEF website suggest AFV Club tires being a bit bigger in diameter.

The wheels in this set are not identical. In fact, the set consists of 8 road wheels in 4 different orientations (labeled as A, B, C and D). The variation in orientation ensures the wheels fitted to the same side of the vehicle do not look repetitive, but slightly different, adding to the realism of the model.

Please note the A2 wheel represents the front left Stryker wheel which needs hub step ring installed (AFV Club kit part Q36).

The wheels in this set are depicted with a slight sag. The compression in the wheel is not overdone and I feel it conveys the weight of the vehicle really well.

Fitting the wheels:

This wheel set is designed as a direct replacement for kit vinyl tires/plastic rims. The thing to note before installing the resin wheels is to fix kit part F2 to the central rear wheel opening. Although I don’t expect any serious issues with fitting these plastic pieces or the resin wheels to the axle stubs, images on DEF website could provide some help: link.

Wheel masks:

Four identical pre-cut masking sheets are included in this kit. The masks are of help when painting the wheels, allowing airbrushing without overspray. Also included is the instruction leaflet which shows two different ways of applying the masks and painting the wheels.


US M1296 Stryker Dragoon Sagged Wheel Set (DW35114) from DEF Model delivers 1/35 scale resin replacement wheels and wheel masks for AFV Club’s offering (AF35319). The set includes 8 road wheels, perfectly cast in resin and with ton of details superbly reproduced in scale. These wheels present a huge improvement over vinyl tires supplied with the AFV Club kit and provide an essential upgrade for anyone building a 1/35 scale M1296 Stryker Dragoon.

Highly recommended.


A big thank you to DEF Model for this review sample.



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