First look - Rubicon Panzer III

This is a little experiment for the Blog. we wondered if our readers would like to see some of the kits or books we are sent to review first before they go in the magazine.

The review team at Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy was recently sent the Panzer III kit by Rubicon Models. This new company is generating a lot of interest in the Wargames world as they are producing 28mm (1/56 scale) tank kits. The full review is in our next issue (WSS 75) but in the mean time here’s a taster of the kit. This was quite a nostalgic kit for me, as it reminded me of the old Matchbox 1/76th kit I’d had as a kid.

Sellophane wrapped kit.

Each sprue is wrapped in its own sellophane ‘pouch’, presumably so if any pieces did break off in transit, it’d stay with its sprue.

Sprues

The kit came with transfers, which was a useful and pleasant surprise. The plastic was crisp in detail and sturdy. 

First up was the turret. There was the option to fit the 75mm L24 gun, but I went with the 50mm L60. The commander’s hatch I left open and with the minimal of modelling work, you could leavel the side hatches open too. The kit required glue (I use Revell Contacta Professional) but was not overtly complex. I chose not to fit the smoke dischargers as I had not seen them on any Afrika Korps panzers (which is what this one was destined to be painted as).

The tracks were a joy. You still had the full detail of the track wheels but a simple construction. I remember struggling with the old Matchbox Panzer III but there again I was about 9 at the time! While I like the concept of separate tracks, these are cast as a whole but will still allow modellers to paint into all the awkward areas before final construction. At first I thought “Where’s the hull escape hatches?” but of course these were eliminated on the Ausf L onwards. 

Final assembly. The tracks align perfectly, thanks to the flat V shaped inscisions. They also mean you can practically only fit the tracks one way, so there is no danger of putting them on backwards. The final picture shows the completed Panzer III without Schurzen side armour. The model with Schurzen will be in the magazine. There is a gap in the front hull, this is because I ‘ve not glued the hull down for entirely selfish reasons - I wanting to paint the tracks properly before I do! The fit is perfect.

All in all this is an impressive kit, easy to assemble but with good detail. No really fiddly parts for someone like me who’s all fingers and thumbs - I think the most difficult part (if that’s the right word) was fitting the headlights! I’ve always been meaning to collect either the 21st Panzer Division or 15th Panzer for the Desert War. Hmm, I think I’ll be needing a few more of these for a start!

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