A recent trip to my local hobby shop, Models Enterprises in Fairbanks, surprised me immensely. I found a 1:35th scale M1130 CV Stryker by AFV Club. That in and of itself is no surprise. What did surprise me however was the fact that they included parts to turn the CV into the TACP Stryker! I was one of the first Airmen in the Air Force to work out of one of those variants, my squadron at the time, the 3rd ASOS, and our brigade the 172nd Stryker Brigade were the first to receive this particular variant! Here is the AF.mil article dated 05MAY2005!
Let me give you some of the details about the TACP variant rollout that the AF.mil article, and the Pentagon News Channel didn't go over. Or actually, the fallout from the rollout footage and article...
As you can see by the camera man on the left side of the photo in between Strykers, the Pentagon News Channel filmed the event also! However, that lead to CMSgt of the Air Force (at the time) Murray seeing his Airmen wearing 'a damn Army uniform'. This resulted in a phone call to the 354th Operations Group Commander bitching about "What the hell are my Airmen doing wearing a damned Army uniform" (rumor... call is true however) which resulted in our squadron being informed NOT to wear ACU's and get DCU uniforms ready for the deployment. Fun, my DCU's were from 2002 and still had my Airman First Class stripes on them along with my Ft. Riley 1st Armor Division (3rd BDE was there in 2002 until recently when the 1st Infantry Division returned to Ft. Riley). I remember running around on Eielson AFB in DCU's for a couple weeks until a call came down informing us that we could wear the ACU's that were issued to us for this deployment!
Now, on to the kit!
The four shock absorber covers on the lower hull, parts P-10 and P-11. Somehow, I managed to fold them correctly...
I assembled the photo etched parts (P-10 and P-11 respectively) that go over the shock absorbers pretty easily. The highlighted part is P-7, the photo etched bolt and washer. As long as you cut them out carefully, on a piece of wood and use your finger nail to hold them in place, they don't go flying. I managed to use moisture on my finger tip to pick them up and place them roughly in the right spot, then used my hobby knife to get them right where I wanted them before the CA glue dried up.
Here are some styrene bolt/washers that came attached to the side of the parts sprue A. These were the worst to attempt to work with mainly because I had to carefully shave them off without losing them! After that, aligning them was the hardest part. However, as you can see here, the results were rather rewarding!
This is as far as I am right now, I do have a large portion of the lower hull completed as far as drive train and axles in place, that will be another article here shortly.