Trumpeter 1/35 M1132 Stryker Engineer Squad Vehicle w/LWMR Mine Roller Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2010||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||M1132 Stryker Engineer Squad Vehicle w/LWMR Mine Roller||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||1574||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||First kit of this subject in this scale; very nice detailing throughout||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$49.95|
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 M1132 Engineer Squad Vehicle (ESV) is the combat engineer variant of the Stryker family designed to support mine plows on the front to clear a path through a suspected minefield, lane marker system on the back to show traffic the safest way through the minefield, and stowage for the variety of other duties carried out by these teams.
Trumpeter has released its latest installment in the Stryker family of combat vehicles - the M1132 ESV with mine plow. Trumpeter was first to market with a production Stryker which was a fun build (look here) and what is nice to see is that Trumpeter has accepted the early feedback from its early releases to make improvements that we see in the box now.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 19 parts trees and according to the specs, there are 744 parts in this kit. As with the earlier releases, there don't appear to be any assembly challenges in the kit aside from many small parts.
As with the previous Strykers, assembly begins with the lower hull and there's not much different aside from the lower face of the front hull plate which gets lots of gear installed to support mounting of the mine plow.
Next up is the rear access door at the rear of the vehicle. While the door is molded separately and could be positioned open, 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. With the release of the two-volume set of detail books from Wings and Wheels Press covering the Stryker in great detail, it is fairly straightforward to scratchbuild your own interior should you wish.
The upper hull is VERY intricately detailed. The array of antennas, vision blocks, winches, access hatches, maintenance panels, cable cutters, 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.
Unlike the previous versions, this kit has some new details on the upper hull for the enclosed driver's compartment, exhaust shield, dorsal stowage, rear bustle rack, and different hatch configuration. The front mine plow and rear lane marker units are distinctive as well.
The kit provides you with your choice of Light Weight Mine Roller system or dozer blade for the front of your vehicle. Both are nicely done and it provides you with two major engineering configurations for this Stryker.
One relatively new addition to the kit is the inclusion of water, soda, and MRE ration boxes which can be stowed in the bustle rack or wherever on your vehicle. Very nice touch from Trumpeter.
When I first reviewed the original M1126 variant of the Stryker, I posed the following list of variants that you might be able to develop with some scratchbuilding or with the aid of some aftermarket conversions:
- M1126 ICV
- M1127 Reconnaissance Vehicle
- M1128 Mobile Gun System
- M1129 Mortar Carrier
- M1130 Command Vehicle
- M1131 Fire Support Vehicle
- M1132 Engineer Squad Vehicle
- M1133 Medical Evacuation Vehicle
- M1134 Antitank Guided Missile Vehicle
- M1135 NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle
What's nice is that Trumpeter is moving through this list and providing you with complete kits of these variants. We may not see them all, but we're getting close!
Once again, this is a nice kit that should build up into another distinctive variant of the Stryker family. With the number of aftermarket sets available for the vehicle now on the market, you have a variety of up-armored configurations that you can choose from. It is definitely nice to see modern combat vehicle kits coming out long before they retire!
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!