Time for the next review of the amazing Rubicon Miniatures vehicles! Here we have a mid war Panzer III. As always, the packaging is beautiful, doing justice to the wonderful kit that it contains.
For all the detail and options, there are just three sprues. Just like previous kits, the pieces were very well placed on the sprue, which made everything really easy to reach.
When pieces are jammed together on a sprue, it creates more tension on each section, making smaller more narrow pieces more prone to breaking as you remove them. With the great distances between pieces here, you never run into that situation!
Just like every other instruction set, this one is very easy to read, and sets out the entire project in simple steps. There are also guides along the way as to which type of PZ 3 you want to create.
Let's not forget the decal sheets, which have an incredible array of options too! Just like the sprues, the placement allows you to actually get at them.
I quickly started off with the turret, choosing the long barreled option.
As an aside, these emery sticks are excellent to all kinds of mould line and sprue burr removal (not that there's lots of it to worry about on Rubicon kits!). Each stick has two different gauges of roughness, as you can see in the picture.
You can leave the barrel in a moveable position if you want. Also, notice the pins on the lower ring of the turret. This thing just snaps together, like nearly all of the pieces on this vehicle. I could swear that half of this could be built using no glue whatsoever!!
The completed turret with cupola.
I really loved the detail of the tracks and running wheels. While the details is fantastic, the complexity is reduced. It's the easiest set of tracks to put together.
The individual spring for each drive wheel is there, even though most of it is covered by the subsequent pieces. However, you can still see a hint of them, offering some very nice depth for a vehicle intended for gaming use!
This is the neatest thing about the track assemblies. So easy to put together, minimal mould lines, but super detail!
And yes, this just snapped on. The value in that comes in the painting phase. If I wanted to, I could leave this entire assembly off, and paint it separately. Should this be for a diorama or painting contest, that would mean ease of access and higher quality results as well.
As I mentioned with the Opel Blitz post, the concept behind Rubicon kits is to walk the line between gaming kit and diorama subject matter for competition pieces. The price is great, as is the detail... but without hundreds of tiny pieces as you would have to deal with on 1/35th scale models, for instance.
The upper section of the hull also snapped together. The smaller bits and extras were also added at this time.
Just when you thought it could not get better, I realized that the Shurizen armor snaps into place too! Yes, this means that you could paint the armor first with ease, and simply pop it back on.
Talk about options! If you don't want the extra armor (or you want it to be an earlier war vehicle), it can be taken away before you start the game. Of everything else I love about this kit, I believe this gem is my favorite. Once again, it shows that balance of painting detail and gaming playability.
Some images of the finished assembly. Boy, I can't wait to get at this with the paints!!! Stay tuned...