This isn't really a new release, but I haven't seen very many product reviews done for this kit and, after picking one up for my late war German army, decided to do one myself. My only prior experience with Rubicon was their extremely inaccurate and poorly modeled Panzer III kit (which I'm given to understand, they have since re-tooled) and their Opel Blitz (which is a decent kit) so I was a little hesitant but decided to take the leap...and I'm glad I did.
The kit itself consists of two sprues, an instruction sheet, and a German decal sheet. Having assembled a few Rubicon kits, it appears that their AFVs share the same decal sheet. On the plus side, this presents the ability to model all sorts of different vehicles and leaves a lot of extra decals leftover. However, this does prevent the modeling of unique vehicles, so take that as you will. The instruction sheet is clear and concise, as well as pointing out additional steps that need to be taken if you've bought one of the many expansion kits.
The plastic quality is decent enough, though even after washing I've noticed a slight glossy sheen to many of the parts. Whether this affect priming and painting remains to be seen (I'll update this if it does). The mold quality is fantastic - there are very little mold lines and flash or slippage is non-existent.
Assembly is fairly straightforward, though early on it requires several holes to be drilled to place parts and, in a few cases, it's unclear which hole needs to be drilled if you aren't using one of the expansions. My advice is to go slow and dry-fit parts before gluing. The only problem I ran into was that the slot to fit the side stowage bins isn't long enough, so they don't sit flush with the vehicle hull unless you remove some of the plastic on the back of the the bin to make it fit correctly. Three crew members are included - a driver, MG gunner, and commander - which is a nice addition and (unlike many kits in this scale) they are properly scaled and proportioned. I used the driver, but decided against the other crew...though I'll inevitably end up using them elsewhere. Another great option for this kit is the ability to easily split it into sub-assemblies for easier painting (seen below) that (as I dry fit them) seem to go together flawlessly once complete.
All in all, I'm very happy with this kit and highly recommend it!
- Extremely detailed and accurate kit
- Pieces included to make the initial and later production models
- Lots of optional kits available from Rubicon to make the different models
- Extra crew included
- Being a very detailed kit, this may be complex for beginning modelers
- Some very minor fit issues
- No stowage included