The Engineer Squad Vehicle (ESV) provides maneuverable support capabilities, which include obstacle clearing, in-stride breaching of surface mines, proofing of subsurface mines and smoke generation for local protection.
The ESV provides the Engineer Squad with a highly mobile, protected transport to decisive locations on the battlefield to provide the required mobility and limited counter mobility support to the SBCT. Integrated into the ESV are current obstacle neutralization and lane marking systems and mine detection devices.
Engineers provide organic mobility, force protection and topographic support to the Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT).
Their organizational design is optimized for mobility operations that enhance mounted maneuverability and dismounted assault in all categories of terrain, which includes the urban environment.
The kit comes packaged in a 41 x 26 x 8cm sturdy box with nice box art. The kit contains 744 light grey plastic parts on 16 sprues (2 transparent ones), one PE sheet is also included as well as 8 vinyl tires. Bonus parts are the mask for painting the driverís windshield, pre-cut straps and finally some MRE, soda and water boxes.
The instruction set is typical from Trumpeter
, exploded view style with clear B&W drawings comprising 30 steps to complete the Stryker itself, and 7 steps for the engineer devices. Many options are available for the build, and they are summarized at the end of the build which will ease the building process. The painting and marking guide is printed in color, as is typical with Trumpeter, and no problems were found here.
This kit is based on the new tooled M1126 kit from Trumpeter (kit number # 00375). The lower hull, sprue A, sprue B, sprue C, sprue D, sprue E and sprue Q are from the M1126 kit. The remaining sprues are new which include sprues WG, WJ, WI, WP, WH, and WK as well as the upper hull.
You have 2 options regarding the front device: the SOB and the mine roller LWMP. This is a nice touch from Trumpeter, but no option is included in this kit for the Surface Mine Plow as seen on the blast model and also on the forthcoming AFV Club offering.
This is large tub with indentions for the suspension components and includes details on the hull sides. These are cleanly rendered via the use of multi-part moulds, with the lower front hull plate a separate part, as is the rear hull plate. All the suspension components are independent with the four gearbox differentials and the short drive shafts. The gear boxes are made of 4 pieces and you need to follow the building order carefully since part A8 canít be glued later.
The wheel mounts, axles and steering arms are nicely depicted, but you cannot angle the front four wheels as they are fixed. It would take a bit of work to alter the angle of the front wheels if you wanted to depict them turning, but you can find enough references on the internet to address this issue. On the 4 rear wheels are the large shock absorber assemblies with outer covers and you can decide to use solid plastic ones or the perforated PE parts. The large rear side boxes are also separate, made up of four parts each to render better definition.
The front hull assembly is different from the M1126 since the attachment parts for the engineer devices are located on the front panel with the hydraulic lines molded on. The assembly is quite simple since the construction of the engineer devices are summarized at the end of the build, only few attachment parts are glued in place. Detail on the rear panel is quite well done with most features included, as well as separate door latches with inside details on the ramp and door. Unfortunately, there are also some pin marks on the inner surfaces which will be difficult to remove as they are in the middle of raised detail, but since there are no interior details, you will most likely have the rear door closed.
On each side are the large can racks, which are provided in plastic or photo-etched parts. Photo-etched straps are also included for the fuel and water cans, but there are no attachment points on the rear panel to attach them. One of the most striking omissions is the fact that the fuel cans have only two handles. Separate taillights and towing shackles are present, although the taillight detail is a little basic since the lower part should be rectangular; it is round in the kit part.
The tires are vinyl with the tread pattern pretty well done without a prominent seam line. The sidewall details consist of raised section ribs with the Michelin X logo and dimension charts embossed onto it. The wheel hubs are two plastic parts with separate hub rings, and as mentioned in the instructions, you can decide to attach these rings or not.
Unfortunately, details on the hubs are the same as the first batch, no improvement have been made by Trumpeter here. The errors can be listed as follows;
The outer ring of bolts are too big and positioned too far inboard while the central hub is too small and is not raised, finally the outer ďstarĒ ribs is too big. The separate ring is far too thick and the inner oval cut outs too small for what are very basic representations of the Stryker wheels. Moreover no drum brakes are present on the inner part of the hub.
Assembly is straightforward with the wheel rims fitting perfectly into the vinyl tires.
This is a newly tooled part with good, clean, crisp surface details included. Most additional items, such as all hatches and equipment, are provided as separate parts for better definition. The two rear upper panels are also separate, again allowing the details to be better represented. No anti-slip coating is represented.
There are many sub-assemblies built separately and then added to the hull, such as the hatches and the RWS. All of the hatches show inside details like closing handles but they all have huge ejector pin marks, some filling and sanding will be required if you want to pose them in the open position. The hinges are not attached to the bottom of the hatches and need to be glued afterwards making the work tedious. Moreover, why has Trumpeter decided to use non transparent plastic parts for the periscopes of both driver and TC hatches?
A great addition is the winch, completely detailed with capstan and drum for cable, but all these nice details are covered at the end of build which is a pity. As an engineer vehicle a rectangular storage box is provided to be glued on the roof just in the middle panel, details are crisp and hinges and lock are nicely depicted.
The head light clusters have all the parts, although the base plate is a complicated molding. You have two options for mounting the light, typical Stryker or ESV style. You may also want to add the wiring to the back of the light clusters for a better appearance, and to help you with this process Trumpeter has provided the L connector for the cable (Pieces WH4).
The two large wire cutters for in front of the Driverís hatch and on the hull top are provided in plastic or PE parts with the thicker photo-etch making these look very good. On the upper middle panel there are the three antenna mounts in correct positions, although one should be on a raised cylinder.
Along either side are the large storage racks which have an inner mounting plate and outer rack with the large holes. The tie downs are obviously in plastic and cannot compete with PE ones. On the left rear is the pioneer tool rack with the tools nicely done and include the clips and brackets molded with the tools. The winch parts are nicely represented but it is missing the cable.
The driver hatch can be fitted with an armor glass windshield, and in order to help the builder during the painting process you can use the mask provided. As seen on the Canadian LAV ĖIII a rear bustle rack is provided, with huge ejector pins beneath the base, so extra work will be required to remove them. An exhaust pipe cover is provided in PE and the diamond shaped mesh is very close to the real deal (great addition here).
The RWS is totally new and is very similar to the AFV Club offering. There are two weapons options; an M2 and the Mk 19, you wonít need an AM barrel since the quality is outstanding. The smoke grenade launchers are very basic and the rear wiring and mounting fairings are molded square but should have rounded edges, this should be easy enough to fix. The smoke grenades themselves are very basic in appearance since they look like simple rods, and they donít display any details on the top cover lid that can differentiate them.
In the following section I will address the accuracy of the 2 front devices as well as the lane marking system dispenser units:
Straight Obstacle Blade (SOB)
The straight obstacle blade (SOB) comprises numerous parts (more than 50) in order to depict perfectly the blade that can be displayed in travel or operation positions (moveable). The blade and the bucket are themselves a nice model and can be display separately. The blade has a different attachment than the mine roller, and the blade can be raised. The details are outstanding, but the use of very small plastic parts can be tricky to remove from the sprue without damage, special care is required.
Light Weight Mine Roller (LWMR)
The LWMR including Magnetic Signature Duplicators (MSDs) is really well represented thanks to the number of parts (more than 60). The mine roller can totally move, and very small details are included. The small wheels and connector arms are similar to the Pearson one. It is missing the cabling connector for the MSD, but it is well depicted and the details are there.
Lane Marking System Dispenser Units
The Lane Marking System Dispenser Units are attached to the upper hull with arms, no tubing or wiring is provided, but connector pins are easily located. The details are good and all the poles are nicely represented. One drawback is the fact that these devices cannot be moved and they are represented in travel mode (folded). You will need to work on small pieces in order to show them in operation.
The Stryker has been improved by Trumpeter and the RWS is nicely done. The wheels hubs are still the same. The ESV characteristics are present on the donor kit. Some improvements can be easily made, especially on the lane marking system.
The blade and mine roller are really outstanding. They have great details, and it will be difficult to choose between one of these.
A Build Log
has been started in the forums to evaluate the kit construction.