The other week I reviewed the new Rubicon M4A3 Sherman, but today I have the lovely Panzer III for review.
The Rubicon Panzer III comes on three sprues, along with a decal sheet and an instruction booklet. The single kit can make either a Panzer III J, M or L and like all of Rubicon's kits it's 1/56 scale. The beauty of the design is you can switch between the three variants on a whim but more on that later.
As with the Sherman kit, the instruction guide that comes with it is amazing. A simpler kit then the Sherman, the Panzer III guide is easy to follow and all the components are well labelled on the sprues. It also comes with a great sheet of decals to help in marking your tank.
The first step is building the turret. This is where you see the first signs of genius put into this kit. You get both the long barrel gun (Medium AT Gun) and the short barrel gun (Light Howitzer) option and both barrels slot in and out of the mantlet without the need for glue. This allows you to change the load-out of your Panzer III between games, incredibly helpful for a wargaming piece.
The next step is the tracks and these are similar to the Sherman in that they are a single piece design which is amazing for modelling. There are no gaps in the tracks from mismatched pieces, yet they still hold great detail.
Then the hull snaps together with all the finer details. The level of detail is astonishing, including optional smoke dischargers for the turret. Now comes the Schurzen. Another brilliant point in design, the Schurzen is also interchangable.
The side sheets clip on without glue and won't budge with normal gameplay. The turret Schurzen is a little looser, but will still sit comfortably on the turret for the duration of a game. The ability to add or remove Schurzen as you desire is incredibly useful for a wargamer and I hope Rubicon keeps this design aspect in all their German kits with Schurzen.
I've painted mine up to fit in with my later war Ostfront Panzers. This kit was a joy to assemble and paint, even for someone like me, who paints to play, as opposed to play to paint. The fine details were crisp and there are a lot of innovating design points, that while outwardly simple, add so much more to this kit for your average wargamer.
Rubicon has released their official webpage and with it a list of distributors. I'm eagerly awaiting my local distributor getting in some stock to help fill out my Tank Wars armies. If you have any questions or want to add to their wish list threads, check out the Rubicon forums or join us on our own forums to discuss the exciting prospects of Rubicon Models!