Panda 1/35 M1296 Stryker Dragoon IFV

KIT #: PH 35045
DECALS: Four serial options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2018 release


The IAV (Interim Armored Vehicle) Stryker is a family of eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicles derived from the Canadian LAV III. Stryker vehicles are produced by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada for the United States Army. It has 4-wheel drive (84) and can be switched to all-wheel drive (88).

The vehicle is named for two unrelated American servicemen who posthumously received the Medal of Honor: Private First Class Stuart S. Stryker, who died in World War II, and Specialist Four Robert F. Stryker, who died in the Vietnam War.

The US Army accepted a prototype version of the Stryker 8x8 wheeled vehicle fitted with a Kongsberg Protector MCT-30 turret, which is armed with a fully stabilized 30 mm XM 813 chain gun, based on the Mk 44 Bushmaster II from Aliant Techsystems (ATK), as urgent operational requirement for the Germany-based 2nd Cavalry Regiment (aka the 2nd Dragoons). This variant of the Stryker is known as the Stryker ICV Dragoon or simply Dragoon, the official designation is XM1296. The vehicle is expected to enter actual troop service in May 2018.

Aside of the 30 mm cannon, the unmanned MCT-30 turret can be fitted with an optional coaxial machine gun, that is externally mounted above the gun shield, but apparently the US Army hasn't opted for it. Another option not taken on the Dragoon is the inclusion of a separate sight for the commander, which would have enabled the vehicle to be used in hunter-killer operations. The gunner is provided with an optronic unit including a thermal imager, a daysight camera and a laser-rangefinder.

The MCT-30 turret stores only 150 rounds of 30 x 173 mm ammunition (two types, of each 75 rounds), however unlike other unmanned turrets it can be reloaded from the interior, if the space below the resupply hatch is not occupied. It offers only limited ballistic protection, reaching only STANAG 4569 level 1 in the base configuration. With applique armor the protection can be boosted up to level 4 (resisting 14.5 mm AP ammunition fired from 200 metres distance); the Dragoon's turret is fitted with bolt-on armor, however the exact protection level has yet to be revealed.

Dragoon is based on rebuild Stryker with flat-bottomed hull - not on the improved vehicle with double-V hull adopted after the Stryker's vulnerability to mines and IEDs became apparent. Thus the vehicle is not well suited for assymetrical and hybrid warfare. It may be less than optimal in conventional warfare, given Soviet/Yugoslavian anti-tank and anti-infantry mines.

The kit is very nicely molded with excellent surface detail. There is a small photo etch fret and you are provided with eight rubber/vinyl tires. You will put a lot of build time into the suspension and drive train. In fact, the first three pages are dedicated to getting all the various bits and pieces into place. The instructions would have to attach the wheels/tires at this stage, but I'm thinking that most of you will wait until after painting has been completed.

The next three pages are for the rear hull section as this includes the exhaust and a variety of compartments. The rear entrance door is separate, but since there is no interior detail, it is best to keep this cemented closed. Next four and a half pages are for the upper hull. This is where the majority of your photoetch will be used in the form of brackets and screens. Again, the hatches are all separate and shown modeled in the closed position.

This leaves the turret assembly. The main gun is minus the breech and is glued to a swivel point that fits behind the mantlet. A nicely detailed machine gun is provided along with its mount. There is a ton of other equipment and scabbed on materials that includes the usual pioneer tools and required storage boxes which are attached to the model. The end result is a very complex looking kit and it should be as there are several hundred bits and pieces that go into making the kit.

There are markings for four vehicles that differ only by serial number. All of them are painted an olive green shade. A full color painting guide is provided to show the other colors used on some of the smaller pieces. This will help to break up the solid shade of the vehicle nicely. The small decal sheet is well printed and should prove to be quite thin.

Panda Hobby has been one of the leaders in bringing you the most modern military vehicles and this one adds to that reputation. It will make into a superb replica of this vehicle and is a 'must have' for those who like wheeled military vehicles.


January 2019

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Thanks to Glen Coleman and Panda Hobby for the preview kit. Get yours today at your favorite retailer.

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