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Monday, February 23, 2015

Bolt Action - Review: Rubicon Plastic Tiger I

Hey Gang,

As players of Bolt Action we are literally spoiled for choice when it comes to quality model kits, especially when it comes to vehicles. I personally generally lean towards the faster to assemble nature of resin kits. I have run into the products of another company that changed the way I view the alternative, plastics. Rubicon Miniatures.

I picked up a Rubicon Tiger 1 when it released. Now, I had the Warlord Wittman Tiger but after my trip to the National WW2 museum in New Orleans I longed for a smooth hulled early war version (for my DAK). I opened the box to find a pile of sprues and a pit in my stomach (I did not want to spend days assembling the thing).  After a quick flick through the very clear directions I discovered you can made the Tiger in the box one of three ways (different makes across the war). This is a fantastic perk to Rubicon kits. All of their models can be built in a number of ways to represent a number of vehicles or variants of singular vehicles. This is not only a cool bonus, it also meant that I had far few parts to assemble than I thought. My next step was to flick over to the ever helpful Wikipedia to find out which variant of the Tiger 1 fought in the desert. My next step was to begin the assembly!

I was properly impressed with the level of planning that went into creating this kit right off the bat. The casting of the plastics was crisp and clean and it had a nice level of detail that was easy to paint later. Furthermore pieces went together easily and without gaps. In addition, in most cases pieces combined in such a way that hid mold lines. The road wheel assembly (seen on the left) was by far the most complex section of the tank. And yet, the assembly process was quick and intuitive. I am a chronically slow model builder and I was able to clip, trim, and assemble each side of the tank in less than ten minutes. Rubicon could have easily made these wheeled sections single piece and could have gotten away with less detail but they didn't. It wasn't until I started painting the tank that the multiple layers of wheels really made sense and they look fantastic!

My only word of warning when building this kit is that you should use the right tools for the job. I attacked this model with my usual desk of tricks and the same old super glue I use for everything. I recommend using an appropriate plastic glue with a proper applicator. I say this because I spilled super glue onto the large flat roof section on top of the turret. As it is one of the first parts of the tank you see from above, this was not ideal. After waiting for the glue to dry I scraped it off with the back of my hobby blade. Thankfully, no permanent damage was done.

Like most Bolt Action tank kits, Rubicon's WW2 range is 1/56 scale. This Tiger is slightly larger than my old trusty 1/56 Warlord Tiger. I like this a great deal. While still being the correct scale, the Rubicon Tiger is larger, bulkier and more intimidating. Exactly what a Tiger should be. You can see the comparison shots below.

You can see my fully painted DAK Tiger below. She is a wee beast! 

While not normally a fan of plastic kits, Rubicon may have forced me to reconsider my opinions of non-resin kits. The quality and variability of this kit is sensational and the price point is great! I would highly recommend checking these guys out if you are in the market for a new truck, halftrack or tank. They range is growing all the time and I personally am looking forward to the incredibly versatile Hanomag kit coming out soon. 

Til next time!

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