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M1130

Trumpeter 1/35 M1130 Stryker Command Vehicle Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2009 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject M1130 Stryker Command Vehicle Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0397 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-etch
Pros Excellent exterior detailing Cons No interior, 'roll your own' unit and vehicle markings
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $49.95

First Look

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The US Marine Corps made the leap from tracked armored personnel carriers to their Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) in the early 1980s in order to have the capability to rapidly deploy a combat capability anywhere in the world without an excessive airlift effort. The US Army was reluctant to make the switch to wheeled vehicles, preferring instead its M1 Abrams tank, M2 Bradley APC and M3 Bradley.

When the Army's mission shifted from defending the line in Europe to more fluid operations worldwide, they reconsidered the LAV, only to have Congress choose the HUMVEE to meet their mobility needs. In Desert Storm, the Rangers borrowed a few LAVs from the Marines and found they didn't quite meet their needs.

By the turn of the century, the Army had embraced the need to have some of its forces capable of rapid deployment into remote areas where the transport of the M1 and M2 would be difficult and maintenance on those same vehicles would be nearly non-existent. A trade show was hosted to look over the available wheeled combat vehicles to understand the state of the art and the issues in adopting such a capability into US Army doctrine. A source selection followed and the team of General Motors/Canada and General Dynamics Land Systems (makers of the M1 Abrams) was selected to tailor the GM-designed vehicle to meet US Army requirements. The vehicle family was named for Medal of Honor recipient PFC Stuart Stryker. The M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicle is designed to carry a crew of two and a squad of nine. The M1126 was the first of a family of combat vehicles that include the M1128 Mobile Gun System, M1130 Command Vehicle, M1130 TACP, and M1134 ATGM.

Trumpeter and DML square off quite frequently on various kit subjects and the winner is always the modeler with choices in those subjects. Interestingly enough, DML has stayed out of the Stryker battle as AFV Club continues to offer its own array of Stryker variants in 1/35 scale. This new release is the latest round in that battle to render the Command Vehicle variant of the Stryker family. According to the specs, this kit consists of 481 parts.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 11 parts trees, plus separately provided upper and lower hull halves. Two small trees of clear parts, one fret of photo-etch, and a set of rubber tires round out the basic kit. New to this series is the inclusion of paint masks and foldable 1/35 scale cartons of MREs and other supplies including cases of Coke and Pepsi.

Assembly of this kit is similar to the M1126 I built after its release (look here) and the main differences externally are the driver's enclosure, a standard choice of guns on the commander's turret (versus the CROWS system on the M1126), and a variety of communications antennas for the top of the hull.

The rear access door at the rear of the vehicle is molded separately and could be positioned open, though the kit does not have an interior. This means that the kit is designed to be displayed open once one or more of the aftermarket interiors become available. You can scratchbuild an interior thanks to the outstanding references on the Stryker published by Wings and Wheels Publications.

The upper hull is VERY intricately detailed. The array of antennas, vision blocks, access hatches, maintenance panels, and even the pioneering tool kit are all well done. With the separate roof panel, the kit will lend itself to the release of other variants of this vehicle from Trumpeter plus the potential of even more from the aforementioned aftermarket community.

The kit is presented in its standard mobility configuration as was common before post-war operations in Iraq. With the blistering RPG fire that was so intense that they even overcame several Abrams tanks, it is no surprise that RPG fire would threaten the Stryker as well. An ingenious slatted armor array was fitted to the Strykers in the field to neutralize the RPG warheads before impact on the hull.

As with the original M1126 release, this kit includes bedding bundles as well as personal packs for external stowage. What is new in this kit is the vehicle commander figure to stand in the open commander's hatch.

The kit provides markings for two examples.

This is a relatively easy build straight from the box as this kit hasn't been over-engineered. I enjoyed the first build of this kit and now that I have both volumes of the Wings and Wheels references on the Stryker, my next builds will have far more detail inside and out.

For a look at the completed model, see our build-review here.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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