Author Topic: Ideas for future tank kits  (Read 836 times)

Pinky

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Ideas for future tank kits
« on: March 25, 2017, 02:44:42 PM »
This thread is intended as detailed suggestions for future Rubicon tank kits.  I'm taking the Rubicon Crusader kit as the template, as it includes 2 turrets as well as the parts for a major variant (the Crusader AA).  Not only is it one of Rubicon's most accurate and well engineered kits, it's also very flexible.  The idea is to come up with more kits along these lines.   

First, the M3 Lee.  Not a great tank, or even one of my favourites, but potentially a good subject for a Rubicon multi-option kit.   

The basic Lee only served with the US Army for a short period - it had been replaced by the Sherman by the invasion of Sicily.  The only options needed for the basic Lee would be different 75mm barrels.  The Lee was also used (unmodified) by the Red Army, so that means more marking options (red stars and slogans, mostly).



It would be mandatory to include the parts for the British Grant, including the turret and sand shields (as well as some typical desert stowage).  This would be a great companion piece to the Rubicon Crusader.  Grants were also used by Australia, which means even more marking options.



The British used the Lee in Burma, and these vehicles were quite distinctive.  The kit could include some extra parts to represent the modifications made for service in Burma - smoke dischargers, extra track armour, revised stowage boxes and a low-profile cupola (although the Grant cupola would probably do).



What would really give the kit some versatility would be if it could also build the M31 Tank Recovery Vehicle.  That would mean a crane (which was substantial, and would take up a lot of sprue space), large stowage boxes, dummy 75mm gun mount and other recovery-related fittings. It might be a stretch in terms of the parts count, but it was the main US tank recovery vehicle throughout the war and would be a good addition to the existing US armour range.

« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 03:03:39 PM by Pinky »

Rubicon Models

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 02:56:06 PM »
@Pinky, we will eventually do the M3 Lee/Grant.  The M4 Sherman project is the prelude to other tanks like the M3 Lee/Grant and M7 Priest.

ultravanillasmurf

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 04:59:12 PM »
There is also a film star markings for Lulu Belle.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahara_(1943_film)

Pinky

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2017, 12:41:35 PM »
Another candidate is the Valentine.  It was something of an 'also-ran'; it never achieved the prominence of the Matilda, Grant or even the Crusader, but was widely used for much of the Desert War.  It was always behind the technological curve, being undergunned, slow, cramped and inefficient, but it seems to have been quite popular.  The Soviets quite liked it.  They received 3,690 and used them up to the end of the war.  A few were also used by the New Zealander in the Pacific.   I guess the obvious competition for a kit would be the Matilda, which also saw service on the Eastern Front and the Pacific.  I think the Valentine has more potential as a kit, however.  Both the Matilda and Valentine are well suited to Rubicon's simplified track design, as their narrow tracks are presumably relatively straightforward to mould, but I'd guess the Matilda's is the easier of the two.

As the Valentine is quite a small vehicle, there is presumably scope for several options to be included.  The logical starting point would be the MkII, which was the first type to see widespread service with the British and the Soviets.  A standard feature was the distinctive side-mounted spare fuel tanks.  In desert service it was fitted with sand shields and fuel can racks.  The MkIII, with a redesigned 3-man turret, entered service in 1942, but the MkII was the most common version overall in the Desert War, and probably the best representation of an early version if a choice had to be made.





Later types were of marginal importance in British service (most ended up in second-line roles).  The 6-pdr armed MkIX saw service with the British near the end of the Tunisian campaign, and was also used by the Soviets.  It would probably be the best later version to include.



The most important Valentine variant was the Archer.  This would require a new upper hull (with interior) and of course a 17-pdr.  Including this variant would give the kit much broader appeal to both wargamers and modellers, especially as it was used in NW Europe.  This (I'd suggest) is what would give this kit the edge over a Matilda. 

« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 06:34:25 PM by Pinky »

Pinky

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2017, 01:52:36 PM »
Next up was going to be the M13/40, but I'm going to assume that's being done by Warlord/Italeri.  Just to be clear, aside from the M13/40, these are not subjects I'm personally keen on; I'm trying to think of tank kits that would fill important gaps and have a broad appeal.

tyroflyer

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2017, 07:39:01 PM »
All of Pinky's suggestions are good. The Valentine made me think of other British tanks used in North Africa, particularly early on.

Light tank Mk VI
Cruiser Mk I
Cruiser Mk II
Cruiser Mk III
Cruiser Mk IV

They have the disadvantage they weren't produced in large numbers (some quite small). However this might be offset from a wargaming perspective by their additional use by the BEF in France 1940 and in some cases Greece in 1941. I'm not advocating they appear high up on the priority list but it does highlight there is no shortage of potential subjects for the wargame table and/or display cabinet.

Pinky

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2017, 09:35:18 PM »
I would like these early British tanks too.  In fact, I'd love to see a range of early war tanks in 1/56 scale.  Many of these were quite small vehicles, which is why I suggested earlier that a 2-in-1 approach might work - say a MkVI Light Tank paired with a Dingo Scout Car.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 11:45:06 PM by Pinky »

ultravanillasmurf

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2017, 09:45:26 PM »
I have just re-reading the Osprey book on the British light tanks, and was interested in the VI.

If Rubicon did do it, there are opportunities for the German convertions as well. It also had a limited post war life.

I still think that once there are plastic BEF figures (to go with the existing Blitzkrieg period Germans) that opposing forces (light tank - Panzer I; cruiser - Panzer II; Matilda II-Panzer 38(t) or other pairs) would be a marketing opportunity.

Similarly for French, Polish and Russian.

Of course the Sea Lion book for Bolt Action  should be another opportunity.

ultravanillasmurf

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2017, 10:01:17 PM »
On the Valentine options, there is also the Bishop 25 pounder SPG.

There is also the possibility of combining it with the Cruiser I and II, as they have very similar (limited research, YMMV) lower hulls and running gear.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 10:12:20 PM by ultravanillasmurf »

ripley

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2017, 11:02:54 PM »
As a modeller I would like to see Rubicon produce more 2 in 1 type of kits like their SU 122 / 85 or their Crusader  . I think a ISU 122 / 152 kit would be great . And if they do decide to produce a M13/40 , do  Semovente  75/34 parts in the box as well .  I would like to see them produce all the Panzer IV based SPGs , and flak tanks once they have the gun tank reissued . If they get around to producing 20 /37 mm AA guns , maybe go the mounted on a halftrack route . I'm sure a SdKfz 7  , 8 or 10 tractor would go over well , and if it came with the option of adding a AA , 50mm Pak , or dare I say a 88mm Bunker Buster , fantastic . The big question is , what do the gamers want ?. If its a cool kit  but over priced in the game or has little use in the game , will they spend their $ on one ? Modellers tend to buy what they like ( sometimes , ok  , most times multiple kits ) , Gamers tend to get things that work well in the game for the least amount of game points ( early war multi mg tanks , flame thrower tanks , cheezy   ::) ) Rubicon has to find the balance of cool model / use- full game piece , and from talking to the gamers at my LHS the opinion that  varies from gamer to gamer .

Pinky

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2017, 11:46:53 PM »
On the Valentine options, there is also the Bishop 25 pounder SPG.

I left that one out 'cos it's such an awful vehicle...

ultravanillasmurf

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2017, 11:48:19 PM »
On the Valentine options, there is also the Bishop 25 pounder SPG.

I left that one out 'cos it's such an awful vehicle...

It is the oversized icing on the cake ^___^.

ultravanillasmurf

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2017, 12:01:56 AM »
Just dug out the Bolt Action army lists.

As suspected the following sets are points comparable.

T26A; light VIB; Panzer I; FT with gun.

T26B; Cruiser III; Panzer II; Char Dx; 7TP (this is half way between this lot and the list below)

BT5; Cruiser I/II/IV; Crusader II; Panzer III C-F, IV A, 38(t); R35

tyroflyer

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2017, 06:55:26 AM »
I'd like to add a note of caution on the 2 in 1 pairing of kits. Some might want to build a particular army and don't want to assemble its opposition. Perhaps they have a friend with the opposing force already. Perhaps in Pinky's example they want 3 Mk VI light tanks but only 1 dingo scout car or the other way around. I don't have any objection to it being used as a marketing tool much like you can buy a Spitfire and Messerschmidt 110 in the same box but can still buy them individually.

Of course making the price of the combined kits less than the sum of its parts would be an incentive. If some of these vehicles are too small Rubicon could simply have 2 in the same box. I guess there is no right solution.

I'm pleased these early tanks have attracted this support.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 09:57:34 AM by tyroflyer »

Pinky

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Re: Ideas for future tank kits
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2017, 10:37:23 AM »
I'd like to add a note of caution on the 2 in 1 pairing of kits. Some might want to build a particular army and don't want to assemble its opposition. Perhaps they have a friend with the opposing force already. Perhaps in Pinky's example they want 3 Mk VI light tanks but only 1 dingo scout car or the other way around. I don't have any objection to it being used as a marketing tool much like you can buy a Spitfire and Messerschmidt 110 in the same box but can still buy them individually.

This is a very good point, of course.  It would be a case of choosing the subjects carefully.  I was thinking of the Matchbox 1/76 scale sets that included 2 vehicles and a diorama.  Nitto also did it in the same scale - they would provide a small soft skin with their tank kits.  The only reason I suggested this is because it might otherwise be easier to market than small (presumably 1 sprue) vehicle kits.  You wouldn't put models from opposing armies together - you'd include a support vehicle that complimented the main vehicle.  This seems to work for wargamers and modellers, although admittedly wargamers may end up with multiples of something they don't really need.   

Having 2 of the same vehicle in a box is another approach.  That would probably appeal more to wargamers and less to modellers.

I doubt Rubicon will do down this route, but I thought it was interesting to throw it out there.