Stryker M1128 MGS Mobile Gun System
by Cookie Sewell
Heavy wheeled armored vehicles with heavy armament (e.g. tank guns) are a very tricky item to produce and produce well. Trying to combine the recoil of a tank gun with a highly sprung light chassis is usually a bad combination, and means either the vehicle has a very narrow arc of fire or will tend to “fly up” or flip over. The general solution is to either “dumb down” the tank gun with reduced capabilities, which then prevents it using full capability standard ammunition, or installing a complex and difficult to maintain muzzle brake to provide the necessary level of recoil.
In recent years, however, new technology recoil systems involving longer travel have meant even high-power guns like 105mm tank guns or even the powerful 125mm 2A46 series Soviet tank guns may be used on light vehicles. The first production version of an American vehicle to use this is the new M1128 Mobile Gun System version of the Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle family now entering service in Iraq. Fitted with a 105mm gun capable of using all of the ammunition fired by the older M60 and early M1 tanks, it provides the Stryker Brigade Combat Team with the necessary firepower for many different missions where missiles or artillery are not appropriate. The vehicle carries 18 rounds in an autoloader which both provides safety from the long recoil of the gun as well as simplifies combat for the crew.
AFV Club was the second company to come out with a standard M1126 Stryker combat vehicle, but theirs was considered by most modelers to be the best and did a better job of capturing the first versions of the Stryker to see service. They have now followed up with their third variant, the first one requiring a serious “make-over” due to the totally different upper hull and turret.
The AFV Club kit has amazing detail to it, with the suspension being very well covered and even the vinyl tires exhibiting the “puffy” look of the original Michelin tires. All of the applique cover plates over the vehicle’s ceramic armor tiles are separate, and even the covers over the suspension shock mounts show a nice see-through screening effect. But AFV Club has gotten smarter over the years; the main suspension units now consist of two central backbone units with add-on differential covers vice the dozens of parts they would have used some years back.
There are some accessories, but oddly enough while the kit comes with a spare wheel there is no tire for it. It also comes with the now-standard in Iraq tow bar, and the directions show how to use it in stowed or deployed position.
AFV Club, for reasons best known to themselves, still provides the less-than-serious “recoiling” gun barrel option but at least it is unobtrusive. The gun itself is complex and consists of a central turned aluminum core with add-on barrel shroud, MRS mirror, and breech components. Since it is a remote controlled gun, there are a lot more parts than with most internally mounted weapons – 84 to be exact. There is a coaxial sight which is installed in Steps 27-29 but take care as it has to be installed either up or down, so do not cement it in place in Step 28 (it shows it as working but as the hatches do not you have to make a firm decision.)
Steps 38-40 cover the commander’s M2 .50 caliber machine gun, which seems to generally be stored out to the right to provide the commander more room when sitting up in the hatch as well as a better capability to engage targets to his front and side. The model shows it mounted to his front, which would be fine for combat but does not seem to match up with photos of actual vehicles.
The directions are fairly clear but are augmented with B&W photos of actual vehicles, which is very handy and a smart use of such items.
Four different finishing options are provided: the only identifiable one is 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, A company 2-23 Infantry. Due to what appears to be a too light background, there is a small supplemental sheet with the more common FS30277 sand background for them. All vehicles appear to be in forest green.
Overall this is an excellent kit, and I am sure that both Hobby Fan will have an interior kit on the way for it in resin as well as more of the “aftermarket boys” working on a slat armor package as soon as the MGS shows up with one in Iraq.
A 33 Stryker suspension and drive line
Thanks to Hobby Fan Trading for the review sample.
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