M1126 Stryker
Ref: AFV Club # AF 35126 M1126 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle
Real Models # RMA 35143 M1126 Stryker Wheels Set

The Stryker is the US version of the Piranha III which was developed by the Swiss brand Mowag from 1996. The Piranha III was designed as a whole family of vehicle able to accommodate a great variety of weapons ranging from 7.62mm MG to 105mm guns. Its weight keeps under 20 tons and allows to be transported in a C-130 aircraft.

These characteristics matched what the US Army was looking for its new generation wheeled armored vehicle program.

In 2002, the first batch of Stryker were delivered to the US Army. Thus, the US will to deploy forces to Korea within 96 hours became realizable.

The M1126 is the basic version of the Stryker family. It is a personnel carrier and is able to accommodate 9 soldiers plus a crew of 2. Its M151 remote weapon station can mount either a 0.50 MG or a 40mm Mk19 automatic grenade-launcher. It is protected up to 14.5mm rounds. For the deployment to Iraq during operation Iraqi Freedom, the Strykers were fitted with an additional slat armor protection to defeat RPGs.
The experience from the fights in Iraq led to several modifications to improve the overall protection of the vehicle.

The kit

The kit is released by AFV Club and comes in a sturdy cardboard box. Inside we get 8 light green plastic sprues, 1 clear plastic sprue, the 2 hull halves, 1 small photoetched parts sheet, 8 rubber tires, 12 polycaps, 1 soft vinyl part, 1 length of thread, 1 sheet of decals and the instructions booklet.

The molding and the details are top notch. The usual green plastic is a bit soft.

The instructions come in a 16-page booklet comprising a historical presentation, a paint reference chart in 6 acrylic and enamel ranges and a parts list. The assembly is divided into 27 steps benefiting from very clear drawings. The 6 possible decoration options come at the end of the booklet.
A small sheet is also provided. It concerns corrections for the steps 9, 14 and 15.

The build

Looking for an easy build, I followed the steps as per the instructions. The 8 first steps deal with the chassis and present no difficulty. As I wished to show a vehicle with sagged wheels, I opted for Real Models resin wheels. The carving is good but some air bubbles are ill located particularly on bolt heads. The pouring lug is bit thick but its position in contact with the ground allows to hide the missing details in this place. A spare wheel is also provided.
AFV Club has you gluing a footstep to each wheel. Most of the time, the left front wheel only is fitted with one.
The wheels are not glued yet to facilitate the painting.

Steps 9 to 19 concern the upper hull. Some steps have a large number of parts to glue and require to be careful. Some handles (B10, F6) are very fine and fragile. It is advised to glue them at the end of the build. At step 15, AFV Club gives the option to glue the main winch cable fully wound or partly deployed down to the vehicle nose. This option requires you carefully study the instructions.
At step 16, you need to paint the vision blocks before gluing them. AFV Club tells to paint the exterior glass. It is better to paint all the rear face of the clear part. To do so, I applied several layers of Tamiya clear red then a coat of black and finished with a coat of the vehicle color.
At step 18, the mirrors and the clear parts for the headlights are not glued. At step 19, the vision blocks as painted like above.

Steps 20 to 24 deal with the remote weapon station. At step 22, you need to shape the sights sun protection. To do so, AFV Club provides two templates on the sprue G. Take note that AFV Club has omitted the clear part for the large sight in the instructions.
For the main armament, AFV Club gives the choice between the MG and the grenade-launcher.

The last steps 25 to 27 concern the rear panel, its ramp and the final assembly of the sub assemblies. The fit of the hull halves and the rear panel is excellent.
As a bonus, AFV Club gives 2 M4 carbines, one being fitted with a M203 grenade launcher.

The decoration

With the Stryker family, the painting is easy. You need to spray some XF-67 NATO Green. Following a gloss varnish coat, the decals chosen from the 6 options are applied. No unit indications are given by AFV Club.

The weathering is limited to a wash to accentuate the recesses and the dust effect done by spraying very diluted XF-52 Flat Earth then XF-57 Buff.