Real Model
New Zealand NZLAV III - Uparmoured
Real Model Set No. RM35127
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
AFV Club

This extensive resin conversion from Real Models for the excellent AFV Club M1126 Stryker ICV (kit #AF 35126) is for the New Zealand NZLAV III which is basically the same vehicle as the Canadian LAV III (Real Model set #RM 35125) with just some minor hull detail and equipment differences.

It is fitted with the same 2-man Delco Turret (produced by BAe Australia Ltd under licence from GM Defence) armed with the Bushmaster 25mm cannon as fitted to the US Army M2/M3 Bradley, USMC LAV25 and ADF ASLAV.

The Conversion:

As this conversion set is basically the same as for the Canadian LAV III, this review will be similar with variations for the subtle differences between the two conversion sets.

This too is an extensive conversion set and is not designed for the inexperienced modeller and previous experience working with resin and etched parts would be an advantage. The set consist of 39 parts in grey/green resin, 4 frets of etched parts (produced by Eduard for Real Model), 4 x 250mm lengths of brass rod, a metal 25mm Bushmaster fluted barrel (by Barrel Depot) plus the 9 page A4 sized instruction booklet.

Standard of resin casting is excellent overall and features crisp clean details with virtually no blemishes other than a few air holes exposed along the lower hull sides and rear of the turret after the casting plugs are removed, but these are either easy to fill or hidden by other detail added.

There is what appears to be some blemishes on the flat hull surfaces but this is just discolouration of the resin and the details are perfectly cast so don’t worry on this when looking at the parts images as this will disappear once painted.

As the etched parts are produced by Eduard most will be familiar with the standards here and these parts are no exception but as there are numerous small and delicate parts the usual care will be needed when working with these.

The main resin parts are the full upper hull cast in one piece and the new turret as well as 9 resin wheels to replace the kit vinyl wheels; these are also available separately as Real Model set #RMA 35143.

Upper Hull:

This is cast perfectly square without any warping as all but there is large casting strips right around the lower sides and front of the hull casting that has to be carefully removed, there is thankfully an indentation along the sides wide enough to allow a razor saw to be used without damaging the hull edge and the saw from Lion Roar (set #LT0026) took care of this very quickly.

Once the casting strip is removed there is some minor cleanup remaining inside the lip and a couple of small air holes exposed but nothing dramatic as well as some minor resin film inside the hull openings for the front and back crew hatches and turret ring.

Detail on the upper hull is superb with many fine details included as well as subtle non-slip surface texturing on the upper hull panels. The hull is designed to take some of the AFV Club kit parts such as the driver’s hatch and rear crew entry hatches, head light clusters and other smaller parts as well as the extensive etched details provided. Five pages of the instruction booklet are devoted to the etched parts and some of the sub-assemblies are quite intricate with numerous smaller parts and some careful bending required but the instructions are the usual Eduard type and easy to follow in most instances.

The main hull difference between the NZLAV III and the LAV III is the engine exhausts with the NZLAV III having the arrangement similar the US Stryker exhaust layout with additional etched screens and details provided.

Real Model

Also included for the NZLAV III are two large towing bars carried on the right side of the hull with etched mountings as well as some other different and additional etched fittings for the NZLAV III hull.

The large spare wheel rack on the rear plate is made from the brass rod provided but no actual template is included to get the right size or shape of the rack other than a perspective drawing and small photo of the actual rack and you will have to use the spare resin wheel included as guide for the shape and width of the rack. Soldering the wire segments together would be the best option and obviously previous experience with this would be beneficial.

The fit of the resin upper hull to the AFV Club lower hull was very good overall with just some minor trimming along the locating lip but nothing out of the ordinary for a resin/plastic join and a lot less than on some other major conversions I have used.

Added at the back is the AFV Club kit rear hull plate (part #E8) but you have to trim the top of this panel to fit the different contours of the LAV III hull. This may need a little trail fitting to determine the correct amount to trim and it's best to trim just a little at a time instead of one large lump and find too much has been removed.

The lower hull suspension is assembled as per the AFV Club kit instructions with the resin wheels designed to simply replace the kit vinyl wheels without alteration. These wheels are those from the Real Models Stryker wheel set #RMA 35143 (see full review here) and have the same level of detail as the kit wheels as well as minor bulging effect at ground contact. This is actually appropriate for modern radial type tyres as opposed to the cross ply tyres of WWII vintage.

Real Model

There are the normal 8 wheels and a spare included in the set plus one extra normal wheel with full hub detail and I’m not sure if this was just included in error as it doesn’t see to be used, so maybe I got a bonus here


This is a cleanly cast resin shell with excellent details included with just a large casting plug on the back and some fine resin film inside the hatch openings to be removed. After removing the rear plug there were some large air holes exposed but as there is also a large turret basket added this will cover most sins in this area.

Most of the main details are included with the turret casting such as the hatch periscopes, main sight boxes, gun mantlet and housing, lifting eyes, aerial mounts as well as the add on armour panels and this reduces assembly time but care is needed not to damage any of the finer details during cleanup.

The 25mm barrel is provided in aluminium and as mentioned is the Barrel Depot fluted barrel with separate brass muzzle flash suppressor. (see full barrel review here).

Added to the turret are the separate smoke launcher clusters and you should be careful not to cut off the launcher mounting posts from the front corners of the turret during cleanup as they do look a little like excess resin pouring blocks so take care here. The two crew hatches are also in resin with nice details on both sides some etched parts also added.

The main additions for the turret are the three large luggage baskets on the back and both sides made from the brass rod provided. Included with the set are two resin templates to help bend the wire basket frames to the correct size but some test fitting would be advisable. It is also best to solder the basket frames together for greater strength and there are additional etched parts for the bottom basket mesh, side panels and equipment racks added to the baskets.

These sub-assemblies will require a bit of work and as mentioned previous experience would come in handy to get the best results.

The turret fits to the resin hull with conventional locating lugs that fit into cut-outs in the turret ring allowing turret rotation after fitting.


As mentioned this is a 9 page A4 sized instruction booklet and includes photos of the resin parts to help identification as well as photos of the assembled model indicating where the parts go plus the 5 pages of Eduard type instructions for the etched parts. There are also some reference photos of the actual LAV III to help, most notably 3 good shots of the turret baskets which will be of assistance while assembling the wire basket frames.


This is another extensive conversion for the NZLAV III with good quality resin and etched parts requiring a minimum of cleanup. The lack of warping or other blemishes aids in assembly with overall good fit of the parts with the rear panel trimming being the only real issue to deal with.

The turret is virtually a kit in itself with excellent details with the extensive etched parts added to the hull as well as the subtle differences for the NZLAV III adding further detail and the resin wheels a good bonus.

Highly recommended for experienced modellers.

See the Stryker Subjects page for other sets available for the Stryker.

Other Real Model Stryker Conversions sets included:

The contents:

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On the Net:
Prime Portal

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Thanks to Miloslav from Real Model for the review kit.

Page created October 16, 2008