AFV Club 1/35 M1130 Stryker CV/TACP Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|M1130 Stryker CV/TACP
|Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin
|Excellent exterior detailing
When the US Army adopted the Stryker combat vehicle as its next generation of battlefield mobility capability, the first type in the field was the M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV). Like it's distant tracked cousin, the M113, the Stryker chassis would be adapted to meet a number of special missions. One such mission/configuration is the mobile command post. In the M113 series, that was filled by the M577. In the Stryker, it is the M1130.
While the M557 looks different (taller crew compartment) than the M113, the M1130 is very similar in appearance. When you look at the vehicle closely however, there are a number of important differences. The M1130 is set up for a wide range of communications capabilities to allow the forward commanders to have access to critical real-time data from a variety of sources.
The TACP (tactical air control party) variant is also based on the M1130 vehicle, but where the CV is plugged into the Army's tactical information infrastructure, the TACP is the mobile communications center for the ground FAC (forward air controller) and ALO (air liaison officer) team. These are US Air Force personnel embedded with Army forces to provide direct control of USAF close air support assets operating in support (or in the vicinity) of those Army forces.
Last year, Trumpeter released the first 1/35 rendition of the M1126 Stryker IFV. We not only gave the kit a good look ( reviewed here), we also built the model ( look here). A month or so later, AFV Club released the first installment of the Stryker series, also an M1126 ( look here). Unlike Trumpeter though, AFV Club has released a second installment in the series with this M1130, and has even announced an M1128 in the future.
Like the M1126 release, this kit is molded in olive green styrene and presented on eight parts trees, plus separate upper and lower hull moldings. A ninth olive green tree provides the differences between the M1126 and this M1130 release. One tree of clear parts is provided for periscopes and lenses. Three frets of photo-etched parts is also provided as well as eight rubber tires. One bonus part included in this release is a resin-cast BFT (Blue Force Tracker) unit that is becoming standard equipment on combat vehicles.
When I first reviewed the Trumpeter kit, there was very little information available to the average modeler on the Stryker but that has since been rectified by THE reference on the subject, Wings and Wheels Publications' Stryker in Detail.
As I said above, this kit shares eight parts trees from the first release, plus the addition of one tree that represents the unique 'kit' of this variant - one new left hull side, and a number of special communications antennas and support gear. The additional photo-etch also provide the additional parts for the two types of M1130 represented in this kit.
While the TACP and standard CV are very similar in configuration, the quick way to tell them apart is the CLSM 'dome' on the rear of the upper hull used on the command vehicles. On the TACP, the CLSP is replaced with the 'X-Blade' antenna (UHF DAMA SATCOM). There is also the compulsory UHF air-to-ground radio antenna on the TACP which is a much thicker 'whip'
Like the previous release, this kit doesn't come with an interior, though the doors and hatches can be positioned open. With the Wings and Wheels book mentioned above, you have enough information to scratch-build the interior of the CV or TACP should you have a serious case of AMS.
This release has markings for three examples:
- M1130 CV, 2nd Sqn, 2nd Stryker Cav Regt 'Cougars', Dec 2006
- M1130 TACP, 2nd Sqn, 2nd Stryker Cav Regt 'Cougars', Feb 2007
- M1130 CV, 1st Sqn, 2nd Stryker Cav Regt 'War Eagles', Aug 2006
What you have in this release is easily the most up-to-date Stryker configuration to date. While this kit still doesn't render the bar armor, Eduard has released bar armor sets as well as supplemental armor sets for both the Trumpeter and AFV Club Stryker series. When AFV Club released their M1126, it was a little better in some areas than Trumpeter's release, but it wasn't enough to break a tie. In fact, when AFV Club released the Remote Weapons Station separately, Trumpeter's greatest flaw in their kit could be easily fixed.
Now with the release of AFV Club's M1130 and more variants coming down the pike, it is safe to say that AFV Club wins the best Strykers in any scale competition.
My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample! They have this kit listed at $26.99, significantly less than the current US MSRP.