Any Allied force created for use with World War Two rules needs Sherman tanks. And to combat those Shermans, German forces need anti-tank guns. Luckily, the recent Rubicon model kit releases have you covered on both counts.
The first kit we’re looking at is the M4 Sherman, which has the option to be built as a British Firefly 1C. This is a satisfyingly more complex kit than others made available to the wargames market but is still relatively simple to build. The M4 Sherman was the workhorse of Allied tank forces, serving with all the major powers and being suitably modified throughout the war. It also saw service in the post-WWII period with the UN forces in Korea, made up a large part of the Israeli armoured forces in the Arab-Israeli Wars, was used for a while by the ARVN in the Vietnam War and was used by both sides in the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War. This particular kit comes with both small and large hatch hulls, plus what modelers term ‘low’ and ‘high’ bustle turrets, the option to fit either a 75mm gun or a 105mm Howitzer and the QF 17-pounder gun to enable the Firefly IC used by the British to be created. The kit also comes with two sets of waterslide decals, one for US service and the other British, plus a set of tank crew.
Our second Allied kit is also a Sherman, which comes with all the options mentioned above. However, the difference is in the hull, the front end of which consists of a cast hull rather than a welded one. Known as the M4 Composite, or Firefly IC Hybrid, the casting process makes for a more rounded and sloped front end, aiding in the ability of the armour to resist fire from this angle.
To counter the threat posed by the ever-evolving Sherman, the Germans and their European allies had access to many resources, including Anti-Tank guns. Rubicon offers two different guns, complete with crews. The PaK 38 / PaK 97/38 model kit allows the creation of one field piece, basically the early and late war versions of the same gun. The main difference is the use of a larger calibre of barrel, moving from 50mm to 75mm, and the gunshield. The kit is simple to build but still quite detailed, and comes with five crew and ammunition boxes.
The PaK 40 kit allows for the building of one field piece but is based upon on weapon that was constructed out of steel rather than an alloy. This 75mm weapon formed the main backbone of the German army from around 1943 onwards, its heavier construction meaning that it was difficult to manhandle but was able to deal with pretty much any Allied tank. Having served pretty much throughout the remainder of the war, it also served with East European, Finnish and Norwegian forces in the post war period. The kit comes with six crew, shells and ammunition boxes that add to the overall effect.
Overall, these are great kits with something for both the gamer and the model maker to enjoy. The level of detail is quite high, but the kits themselves are still reasonably simple to build. Rubicon Models continue to carve a niche in the wargames market for those looking for more from their tabletop models, a level of accuracy and additional options not always found amongst other manufacturers. As always, we look forward to seeing more from this growing range.