Här kommer ännu ett av tikings fina byggen. Jag låter honom själv beskriva sitt bygge. Texten är på engelska.
Building the M1134 Stryker - ATGM Variant
The Anti-Tank - guided missile vehicle or the ATGM as it is called is the primary weapon used by the SBCT Anti-Armor Companies. The M1134 Stryker is based on the M1126ICV, the first of the variants. This variant is equipped with an elevated TOW system mount and capable of destroying armor at a long distance with an effective range of about 3750m.
I decided to build this variant because it was 'different'. It can be considered to be my motto or theme, if you have been up to date with my builds, as most of you modelers might have already known. Doing things not readily available in kit form is my forte, so to speak. It gives me the unique pleasure of being the only 'Joe' in town. Being that the builds I do are not available I am forced to scratch build the parts that will be an addition to the model.
Planning is something I try to do as accurately as I possibly can. I am never lucky to get any plans or drawings when it comes to choosing my subjects that I wish to model. So I use a system that is my own. I call it ‘Deductive Measuring'. The phrase is similar to ‘Deductive Reasoning', which I used as a model to get my point across. Since I do not have any drawings or plans I use pictures to judge placement of the parts of the vehicle. It is pretty simple. If you look at a picture and see that a grab iron is slightly closer to the right top corner of the hull, then you simply place your model of the grab iron at the same area as in the pictures. Judging the exact placement by millimeters is next to impossible. If you are not a ‘bolt counter' as most modelers, than this should not be an issue. I say to do it as accurately as you possibly can. My method of modeling may not be acceptable to most, ‘By-the-book' modeler, but then again, everyone is different and methods and procedures will differ, which is absolutely a good thing. I do not like to get hung up on standard issues. Anything that is simple and to the point, I will embrace with an open arm.
My collection of pictures came from the http://primeportal.net/home.htm website and info from knowledgeable modelers. They are a good source for many reference vehicles. Other pictures were taken from across the net, while searching, to use as references.
I used the AFV Club M1126 ICV Stryker kit as the basis for the ATGM variant. I felt it was a much better kit than what the Trumpeter kit offered. A big plus was the details were much sharper and cleaner than the Trumpeter kit. So getting all the pictures and details needed for the project it was time to get on with it. I plan on writing this article a little different than the norm. Simply because, long writes up are tedious and too word intensive, at least to me as a modeler. Also, it does not hurt to approach things from a different perspective.
The building procedure was more or less non standard. I did not follow any ‘ABC' strict method or the sort. I build according to how I felt. There are many articles that seem to follow some sort of code on how to proceed in an ‘ABC' fashion. These do not pertain to me as I do as I feel is right. So my procedure is in no way part of the numerous of fanatic imposed method of builds that are out there today. My standard is built in the way that I see fit. I would like to point out that some pictures of the beginning stage of this build are not shown. This is simply because I did not take any at the time and/or got deleted by accident. I had not planned on doing an article on this build. So, pictures of the very beginning stage of the TOW mount & Hatch from scratch, is not included in this article, unfortunately.
The first thing I did was add all the parts and make adjustments to the lower hull itself. Nothing complicated here. Just following the instructions that came along with the kit made it less difficult. All parts for the hull went together nicely with little effort. Only minor cleaning was done to remove the flashes from the pieces after being removed from their spruces. Upon mounting the wheel axels I decided to insure that the two front axis and wheels were at an angle.
The next step was to find add the mounting hatch dimension and how to fit it to the top back hull. It was a little tricky without the exact measurements of the top hatch door. So using my method of ‘Deductive Measuring' I came to a figure that would seem to fit the area required for the hatch door to be placed without looking awkward to the eye and give some since of believability. I did not need to make a hole in the hull for the hatch since I had decided to model the door closed. I could have left it opened but that would have meant I had to do an interior and that would not have done justice to the model as a whole. I had to scratch build the door hatch using styrene which was a little tricky. One problem with pictures is there are always parts or angles that you cannot see well and sure enough it is always the part you need the most. So, I try to view as many pictures of the same part from different angles. Sometimes you just have to figure out the rest if you're unsure of how the actual design part, you're trying to model, looks like. With the hatch door done I added PE bolts from Edward's deflector kit.
After I was satisfy with the hatch door, I measured the area to make the hole for the elevated TOW support. I decided to make the TOW mount movable in its vertical range to be able to pose it in any direction. Measuring the hole was tricky. I looked at all angles from pictures and found a location that would be as close to the real thing as possible. I used a table drill to make the hole. It had to be just right in order for the styrene tube to glide up and down easily but still have enough resistance to keep it at the level when left alone. After that I used 2mm thick styrene to cover the area under the TOW on the hull. Then proceed to add other little details according to the real thing. I scratch built the three antenna deflector shields to protect the antennas when they were lowered in firing mode. See Pic 21, 26
This particular stage of the build was the trickiest of all the scratch built parts that was done on this build. The TOW launcher had a good many arcs, angles, uneven and perpendicular structural design that I had to come up without the end results looking like a half baked cookie cutter experiment. Again, many detail pictures helped in getting the TOW to come out as accurate as possible. Without having the proper measurements of the actual TOW, I had to use my trusty ‘Deductive Measuring' technique. This was merely a trail & error procedure that thankfully took three tries before I got it to look close to what the actual design structure looked liked.
Again, using paper templates to get a rough idea of scale is usually what I do first before cutting out any styrene. This saves me from wasting any unnecessary styrene before the right measurements are found. I used 2mm styrene sheet for the frame of the TOW. The bolts you see around the edges were made by slicing off small pieces from styrene rods. If money is an object, which in most cases it is, this route is usually the best way to go. There are several sizes and structural styrene rod designs to choose from. I used this method for some of my other builds as well. Another alternative is using pre manufactured type bolts. My all time favorite is ‘Calibre 35' brand. Now this company makes the best scale bolts to date. The detail is awesome. I do recommend them for scratch builders. They are a little expensive but are worth it just for the details. Making the internal launch chutes were pretty straight forward. I used 5mm styrene tubes which I cut down in the middle dividing them in two halves. The internal rings at the opening of the TOW were made using sliced tubes. For the smoker dischargers braces & support were all done using square styrene rods.
I think I managed pretty well to duplicate this area well, even though the angles in some pictures made it difficult to see well. I used the smoke chargers that came with the AFV Club kit, placing them at the required angles according to the pictures I had in my possession. I also used pop nits from ‘Grant line' for some of the smaller representations of bolts.These are basically model railroad sizes which I thought would work well for the areas I needed. On the whole the TOW came out exceptionally well without any scale drawings to work from. See pic 19, 33, 34, 36
After the construction of the TOW & the loader hatch I turned my attention to the other small details around the hull. Other modifications, additions and scratch built parts that were done are:
- Left hull side bin - PE part from Trumpeter's upgrade kit
- Plastic sheet styrene for the extra armor
- Raised light support for the front light cluster
- Antennas flame deflector shields
- Edward's PE Grill Deflector
- A complete gun ring & gun mount
- Using Light gel plastic for the periscopes
- Strips of paper for the straps
The extra armor were done using 15mm styrene sheet. I could have bought the Edwards PE version but then again...I did not feel that it was necessary for this build. Cutting the plastic sheet to fit the hull structure was simply done using the original AFV Club kit's armor as a guide, when cutting the plastic sheet. I then used small styrene rods to space out the extra armor onto the hull. After that I continued to glue most of the original kit parts onto the extra plastic armor that I cut out. See pic 4
One thing I did use was the Trumpeter's PE Storage bin part from the upgrade set that they introduced after the release of the Trumpeter's ICV M1126 Stryker kit. As I wanted to have one of the storage bins opened I decided to use the ones from the upgrade set, which is a nicely done part. The storage bin also has a separate door and hinge PE part that makes the extra details worth the effort. See pic 11
One of the things that I liked on the Strikers' is the raised lights on the front hull which were added after the introduction of the Slat armor. The purpose is to increase the clearance for the cluster of lights that would have been blocked by the Slat if the lights were left in its original state.
I used square styrene rods and 0.5mm styrene sheet for the foot base. Here, I added PE parts from the Edward's upgrade Stryker kit. The parts included the light cluster components. I must admit that the PE upgrades from Edward is very good and more accurate than the AFV Club's kit own parts. But, the metal parts can be really irritating to glue together. Probably my bad luck...but after fitting the parts it became satisfactory to me. To make the cluster more interesting I added small cables to give it some life but unfortunately I saw that I should have made the wiring thicker than the 0.2mm brass wire I chose. I will not make that mistake on my next Stryker. See pic 7, 8, 9
Another PE part I used from the Edward set was the Grill Deflector which is a brilliant addition to the strikers' awesome rugged feature. The look of this beast with the Deflector is brutal and honestly, does it justice. The laser edges where you where suppose to fold the flaps to form the deflector went together like a charm. This particular Edward's PE part was a great addition to this build. The deflector was something well worth the purchase. See pic 2 & 4
The next stage to making the original kit to look more like the ATGM variant was to replace the original kit's gun ring mount. Of course the all so ordinary .50 cal gun is not used on this variant as well as its original stationary mount. I replace this entire area with a new scratch built mount by using the original mount as a guide to make a new mount. Later, I cut and grinded the ring to the shape for the new mounts. I used .20mm styrene sheet for this. The support arch-shaped ring mount were added using the same thickness styrene sheet. The new support arm for the gun was also scratch built using similar design style as most mount of this caliber. I used everything from small tiny .02mm styrene rods to tubes for the actual gun mount. See pic 13, 14
The next modification was to make the periscopes believable looking. I used ‘LEE' lightening gels, bought at a Photo lighting store. There are other brands of filters but I just happened to get the ‘LEE' ones. I liked this method better than painting. It also looks more realistic this way. I first measured the dimensions of one of the periscopes and proceeded to cut strips of the different gels to the specifications needed for the periscopes. After painting the periscopes green I attached the color gels with a little touch of modelers' glue. I used orange, red and blue. Standing back and looking at it I must say it really looks the part...no doubt. See pic 10, 29, 30, 31, 32
One of the last and simple additions to completing this build is the usage of strips of paper for tie down straps. I could have used the PE straps but decided to use paper and save the PE for another project instead. I guess it was just laziness.
It was now time for painting this baby which was pretty much straight forward. I do not own an airbrush or any fancy painting apparatus. So I used Tamiya's rattle cans, Nato Green, to be exact, to paint the entire model. Then to represent the splattered mud effect I used Desert yellow rattle can by Humbrol. After letting everything dry for about 10 minutes, I then went over the entire model with a well diluted mixture of artist black, water and some window cleaner. I then went over the entire model. I let the first black wash dried then went at it again. I continue like this until I got the results I wanted. Again, I am a person who likes simplicity. Not everything works for everyone and I certainly think it is a hassle to read about long complicated procedures. I try different methods that are less elaborate with somewhat good results. At least I think so.
Now, it is time for the best part of building this model or any model for that matter. Weathering! There many different opinions about how much weathering there should be on the finish model. For me, I like anything between moderate weathering to heavy weathering. I got to have a model weathered otherwise it will not appeal to me. It has to have the used look. Something that says, yes, it is not just for show... but a piece of equipment that has been through hell, so to speak. My major weathering ingredients are real dirt, powder pigments (black, grey & brown) & real rust.
One thing I see a lot at shows is show weathering. Weathering that looks pretty. D o not get me wrong, they look good... that's just it...It looks good. To me it is not real but who am I to argue. Everyone is different and if the judges like pretty weathering than I am never going to win anything. Everything becomes too perfect which is not real. I call it ‘Show weathering'
I give the entire model a dust of real dirt and brush off the excess. I repeat this method until I get the look I am looking for. I try different blends and ease them into all access to bring out the different details. Sometimes it is just a trail & error thing. Once everything looked the way I wanted it, I stood back and looked at the model...I was satisfied. Hope you enjoyed this short build article.