by: Bob Read [ ]
Real Model of the Czech Republic has been extremely busy of late producing some very fine resin conversion sets and kits of modern Canadian AFV's, a subject which has been sorely lacking in the modelling industry to date. One of their latest offerings is a conversion set for AFV Club's Stryker kit. It is a Canadian LAVIII Command and Control vehicle. These sturdy fire support, scout and recon vehicles are currently being used to great effect by Canadian troops in Afghanistan.
The kit is well packaged in a cardboard box with a colour picture of the finished vehicle and the parts included on the lid. Inside there is an eleven page instruction and reference booklet showing how to use the resin conversions and how to bend and attached the photoetch parts. The reference images show how the turret baskets go together and what some of the vehicles look like in the field, which will also help with the parts placements.
Inside are zipper bags filled with 32 light green resin parts. All were warp and bubble free indicating very fine and accurate moulding techniques. The major parts include a one-piece replacement upper hull, a one-piece turret and a rear bulkhead. There are eight drive wheels and tires as well as a spare tire and hub, which are all moulded with the proper Michelin logo. Other resin parts include smoke grenade dischargers (mine had an extra set), a 7.62mm C6 pintel mounted GPMG as well as the parts for the C6 co-axial gun, various antenna, ammo cans and hatches. There are even two wire bending templates also cast in resin. Some of the resin parts have minor flash but that would be easily removed.
The kit also include a metal Barrel Depot M242 25mm Bushmaster chain gun fluted barrel, a few lengths of brass wire for manufacturing the turret baskets and the spare tire rack (these are what the resin bending templates are for), 2 colour printed paper sheets of signage, water bottle boxes and even American and Canadian MRE boxes. All of this is more than enough to speak to the quality and completeness of the kit, but the true highlight is yet to come....
To round out the list of parts are no less than SEVEN sheets of superbly rendered photoetch metal parts. Things like turret basket mesh, stowage bins and lockers, tie downs, jerry can racks, pioneer tool mountings, wire cutters, crew armour, wheel covers, antenna parts and a host of other exterior parts are all beautifully rendered in high quality photoetch metal. Those familiar with working with photoetch parts will recognize the manufacturer's lineage.
One of the smaller photoetch sheets has on it a very useful small Canadian Maple Leaf airbrush mask as well as a Transformers logo to mark an individual vehicle that has that 'Decepticon' look to it.
Having previously built the LAVIII ISAF kit from Real Model last year, I know that this kit is extremely well engineered and I have every reason to expect that all the parts will fit very well and adapt the Stryker kit into an exciting modern Canadian subject. Well done Real Model for another exciting and well designed Canadian armour subject!!
Many thanks to Miloslav Hraban of Real Model for providing me with this kit.