Rubicon Models continues to churn out top quality model kits that are suitable for the more discerning wargamer. Some of their latest and upcoming releases provide variants upon a ‘classic’ armoured fighting vehicle and ant-aircraft support.
The Panzer IV is one of the most iconic and widely produced tanks in the German arsenal. Serving in every major theatre where the German forces fought, the basic chassis was used to create a myriad of differently armed vehicles for use during World War Two.
The Panzer IV Ausf D and E variants took the basic design fielded in the early part of the war and upgraded it with more armour, a hull mounted machine gun, and an improved commander’s cupola on the latter version. The Rubicon kit includes 5 frames with parts to create either version, which were produced up until 1941. The joy of a Rubicon kit is the attention to detail – assembly is simple, but there is an awful lot of ‘scale modelling’ detail which other kits lack, plus pieces of stowage, etc. Some of the parts for the exterior of the tank are pretty small, but the effort is worth it for those who want an accurate kit – sure, you can take shortcuts with some lesser models, but for those who want their wargaming models to look ‘right’, Rubicon have you covered.
The Panzer IV Ausf J was a wartime expedient, simplified design, with a dual gear hand cranked turret and a reserve fuel tank. Thanks to Allied bombing raids, the outer design points had also been changed by 1944, which meant no zimmerit paste and wire side skirts rather than plates. Again, the box contains 5 frames, which help to produce a model of the vehicle but one which is robust enough to be gamed with. In addition, in keeping with the top end of the market, there are photo-etched metal parts included to represent the wire skirts. You don’t see that attention to detail on most kits for this scale, and certainly not those intended for wargames use.
The next kit is due out fairly soon and uses the chassis of the Panzer IV as its base. The Flakpanzer IV ‘Wirbelwind’ was dreamt up as a result of the need for an anti-aircraft support weapon that could keep up with and protect German armour. This was a particular need due to Allied air superiority in the western theatre after 1944. The kit itself contains 7 frames, allowing the building of the Panzer IV chassis and the nine-sided, open-topped turret for the quad anti-aircraft guns, complete with crew. Again, the frames are full of extras, and an actual complete Panzer IV kit is included, so you could switch turrets as desired.
Lastly, we have the 3.7cm Flak 43 anti-aircraft gun. The options available on the single frame allow for the use of a static or wheeled mount, and there is a crew of three included with clips of the large ammunition used by this weapon. With a little work, this could be converted for use with the Panzer IV chassis to create the Mobelwagen or Ostwind variants for the late war Flakpanzer.
When you buy a Rubicon kit, you get a model kit that may be used for wargaming. That seems an obvious statement, but Rubicon can always be relied upon to put the scale model concept first, then provide enough robustness in their kits to provide longevity on the tabletop. The fact that they always think in terms of options makes these some of the best kits on the market.