by: Jim Starkweather [ ]
The creators of this engine kit have done a nice job replicating the extreme level of detail involved in one of these modern engines. In this case a diesel Caterpillar C7 engine. They have even included what must have been their resource photos to create the kit. Those alone should provide modelers with a lot of needed color reference for painting the finished kit.
The kit is made up of a little over 30 resin parts, four photo etch pieces and some wire strands to do the engine wiring. The photo etch is mostly for the filter/grills. The kit includes a middle-side wall for the engine compartment and a back firewall as well. The kit also includes a compartment cover to replace the one on the kit. It has the needed underside details that are missing from the AFV Club versions.
The resin parts are of very high quality with little or normal amounts of flash. This upgrade will not be for the tame at heart as there is a lot of wiring and small bits to place in order to pull off it off. However looking at the finished photos (which are also provided) you can see that the final effect is very good indeed.
There are some minor accuracy issues I noted when comparing the resource photos Legend provided with the actual built kit photos. Most notably the Caterpillar oil filter shown in yellow with the 'Cat' logo is smaller on the kit than in the reference photos. It's possible there are size differences in production engines that would explain this. There were a few other minor discrepancies I noted, but not being an expert on Caterpillar engines I don't want to be critical of something that may be correct on a different version of the engine. I did look for reference photos online and there are few available, so by including the reference photos in the kit Legend has done a great service to the modeler to start with. Without them I would not have been even able to compare, etc. Also I did note that with the engine fully installed into the kit, you will not see many of these minor size issues anyways.
I am very impressed with this upgrade kit. The instructions are easy to follow and well detailed. The inclusion of the reference photos is also another bonus. It likely won't be inexpensive, but certainly if your goal is to build an opened up Stryker this will definitely be a much more time saving method than scratch building an engine. Take a look at the photos and make up your own mind though. The parts speak for themselves in that respect.