AFV Club has followed up their ICV offering with this very nice M1130 command version. The CV is not as numerous as the other variants, but its choice by AFV Club makes sense since it is an easy conversion. The CV's hull is just about the same, except for another power entry hatch on the right side which is really a signal entry panel for antennas and whatnot. The roof has the many additional antennas that make the CV (Command Vehicle) and CV TACV (Command Vehicle Tactical Air Control Party). All of this is covered with the new N Sprue. Not to rest just there, AFV Club decided to include a resin Blue Force Tracker in the the intitial production kits.
Since I covered the AFV Club ICV kit in my earlier review
, I will not waste too much space here going over the same ground again, other than to note that the basic kit is excellent in fit and detail. The detail is crisp, and a joy to work with. The only drawback both in the ICV kit and this follow-up kit is the lack of non-slip coating on the upper surfaces. There are a number of different ways to represent this, including Cast-A-Coat, and Rust All spray, so all hope is not lost. Yes, we still need to be modelers and not just assemblers. But, many will not see the need to even add this detail since it is not so obvious to many. The excellently represented tires are vinyl, and the jury is still out on this choice of material. Some modelers have a difficult time keeping paint from chipping off vinyl tires, and others complain vinyl deteriorates over time.
The instructions are very busy and they should be studied before diving in. For those who built the ICV note that in step 7 the first new ground is covered. AFV Club listened to us and provided the correct perforated strut guards in PE. The wheel step rings are not in PE, but it would not be difficult to thin these by placing them over top of a cone shaped Dremel Took bur and spin it over some sandpaper. Step 11 has some CV specific additions as well, and then the fun really starts on step 16. For those who have the excellent WWP book by Ralph Zwilling there is a nice chapter on the CV to help double check the different details.
Before deciding on step 34 (yes 34 steps!) decide if you want to use the included Duke anti-IED system, which is part N32. I do not see this covered in the instructions, but the Duke is there, and it is mounted on the antenna mounting bracket that goes over the winch cover. If the Duke is mounted I do not believe the other antennas mentioned in the instructions would go there as a result. Also, for those who mount the Duke, most of the time crews add wires from top to bottom (check references) to help guide low hanging wires up and over the Duke.
The large new PE set als includes many footman loops left out of the original ICV kit. The kit already has some plastic ones represented on the engine cover, but now we can place them where we want, including the rear roof (to tie down the water and fuel cans), and hull sides for the many straps that are seen there. The rear door has lots of PE to help with some detail not covered in the ICV (but both are correct - the version represented here is much more common). Oddly, the jerrycan racks do not get the PE option and could benefit with such an update, but still one can thin the plastic parts before gluing them together, thus getting the correct scale effect.
All the new fancy antennas/antenna bases appear accurate. Good luck attaching all those thin antennas to their mounts!
Only three vehicle marking options are provided, and all are of the same Stryker Brigade - 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment - from Germany. As I write this 2nd Cav (really just like any other Stryker Bde and thus a cav unit in name only) is deployed to Iraq. For those who have the WWP book all of the Strykers there are from this Stryker Brigade, so some of the cool markings can seen there. One excellent addition to this decal sheet not provided in the ICV kit is the inclusion of fire warning decals for the fuel cans. Still, they are on the thick side and will require some extra work to try and make them disappear once placed.
Highs: AFV Club stepped-upped and fixed some fo the shortcomings of the ICV kit. Now we get footman loops, perforated strut guards, and even some extras that can be used on other variants like the Blue Force Tracker and Duke. The RWS remains a super little kit in of itself. Note it still can be detailed with some prominent cables.
Lows: The kit is still missing the non-slip surface, but this would be difficult to fix without all new tooling of the hull part. Also, there is no interior for this kit or any other Stryker kit; not even any basic items to use as a start. Hopefully, the aftermarket companies will come to our rescue. I think most modelers would want to leave the ramp down and top hatches open. Finally, some dimensions are off as it relates to the hull, but this is not evident without measuring. It most definitely looks like a Stryker by using the Mk I eyeball.
I highly recommend this kit. The details are astonishing. In my view to make the kit perfect it would need non-slip coating and measure out perfectly. The other shortcomings are subjective.
No slat armor is provided in either kit - or any other kit for that matter. To depict the vehicle in Iraq one needs to have slat mounted, so the remaining choice would be to depict the vehicle at home station or on a training exercise at say, the National Training Center at Ft Irwin or the Joint Readiness Training Center at Ft Polk. These options would require the addition of MILES gear. Still, vehicles are seen at home station without all the MILES mounted, but they normally at least have the MILES Velcro tape on the hull.
The reference photos attached here do not have Velcro tape since this vehicle was just off the truck from the General Dynamics plant. It had not been assigned to a unit yet.