Author Topic: My Rubicon DAK M/C+sidecar - pics and a bit of a review...  (Read 574 times)

Captain Blood

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My Rubicon DAK M/C+sidecar - pics and a bit of a review...
« on: July 29, 2017, 09:36:44 PM »
Hot off the press, it’s the new 1/56 scale Rubicon BMW R75 motorcycle + sidecar kit (DAK version).  Pics and a bit of a review follows…

First up, I should declare that I've bastardised the Rubicon crew figures slightly, with the addition of a few Perry DAK parts. That’s because the style of the Rubicon helmets and field caps (nice as they are) is slightly different. And being OCD about such matters, I want all my figures in this army to have a consistent look. I’ve also added a few Perry pouches, water bottles etc, because the Rubicon crew figures lack a little definition in places (see below). And finally, I swapped some Perry arms onto the pillion rider, simply because I decided I didn’t want the whole crew in short sleeves.

The motorcycle and sidecar itself is a lovely little model. Obviously given its scale, it is a wee bit fiddly to put together, but very cleverly designed and very sharply moulded. Overall, 9/10.
The only negative is where the components attach to the frame in a couple of instances, which makes one or two key parts very difficult to get off the sprue absolutely cleanly, and without a tell-tale change in the line of the component. But I guess even with the best of frame planning, it's inevitable.

I’m no expert, but as far as I can tell, most details are present – rendering such a detailed piece of kit in this small scale necessarily means some simplification is needed.
The only detail missing that seemed a bit of an odd omission to me, is the corrugated shock absorbers on the front forks. Odd, because the spring under the rider’s saddle is modelled in detail.

Of course, the overall effect of a model M/C + sidecar with three crew is as much about the figures as the vehicle.

Here, I have to be a tiny little bit more critical. I say this with love, because I think Rubicon are brilliant. I am full of admiration for the way they have entered the market from nowhere in such a well planned and executed way. They’re dedicated to clever design, great models, good value, and keeping their customers in the process. But if they are going to make the jump from designing and making model vehicle kits, to making miniature figures, I think they are going to have to raise their game just a little bit more.

Why do I say this? Because while the poses of the three crew supplied are perfectly good and interesting - the sidecar machine gunner is particularly good – and there are a number of options supplied (field caps or helmets, MG34 or MG42), unfortunately some areas of detail on the figures are very soft to almost non-existent.

The figures’ hands, for instance, are pretty much devoid of fingers – just mitts really. There’s little or no moulded definition to paint to. The lace-up boots have no detail to speak of either. The ammunition pouches similarly are just squarish blobs.  Ditto the pistol holsters. Other areas are better – the clothing is done well, and some of the upper body detail – epaulettes, etc., is good. Overall though, if you’re accustomed to the definition and fine detail of, say, Perry plastics, then the Rubicon figures leave a little bit to be desired.

I can only assume this is down to sculpting rather than moulding, because – in common with all Rubicon kits, and I’ve made four now – the moulding on the vehicle parts is as sharp and well-defined as you like. I wonder therefore if there’s been a deliberate attempt in the CAD process to soften the lines and detail on the figures, in order to make them look more natural and organic alongside the hard contours and sharp edges of vehicles and machinery.

Anyway, overall the effect is really damned good - it looks the business. So I’m not complaining – just saying that I think Rubicon can do even better than this when it comes to adding crew figures to their vehicle kits. And especially if (as widely speculated, or perhaps hoped!) they are one day going to start producing infantry sets of their own.

Other points – the kit comes with a very generous sheet of waterslide decals, which evidently will also serve the forthcoming Kettenkrad kit. Enough number plates of every conceivable WW2 German denomination, to supply about 40 motorcycles – so plenty of choice. Again, almost unbelievably fiddly getting the tiny front mudguard  number plates in place. Took about half an hour just to do that. But the end result is worth the faff I’d say.

There are some nice options included: You can build the model without the figures if wished, and there is a tarpaulin cover for the sidecar compartment included as an optional extra. Similarly, you get a choice of hard shell storage boxes or leather/fabric saddlebags.

At the end of the day, it may be small, but it’s rather lovely, and only costs 12.00 GBP, so it’s not exactly a pricey purchase. Highly recommended.

Rubicon Models

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Re: My Rubicon DAK M/C+sidecar - pics and a bit of a review...
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 10:02:23 PM »
@Captain Blood - Thank you for the review.  Your feedback is crucial to our future design of the figures and other products.

Of special notes - Mould for the figures are done differently from other vehicle parts.  Apart from our SdKfz 250/251 expansion sets, Q2/17 is basically our first batch of products that come with figures.  We will continue to research better ways to prepare the figure moulds.  It will take time to accumulate experience to make better figure.

Thanks again!

Captain Blood

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Re: My Rubicon DAK M/C+sidecar - pics and a bit of a review...
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2017, 11:01:34 PM »
Thank you. I very much appreciate that you are right at the start of your journey with human figures. These crew figures are not bad at all by the standards of many 28mm plastic figure manufacturers. Just lacking a bit of detail and definition here and there. But with your trademark dedication to excellence and continual development and improvement, I know you can and will improve the detail and quality in your figures over time  :)


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Re: My Rubicon DAK M/C+sidecar - pics and a bit of a review...
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 10:50:06 PM »
I've admired this a couple of times so I should comment.  You've done a great job (as The Donald would say).  The figures are especially good.  I'm still not sure about Rubicon's figures; I think I'd prefer an aesthetic more like Warlord's, but it's fine they went more down the Perry route.  It certainly works on small vehicles like this, which otherwise end up looking a bit like kid's toys when you put 'heroic' 28mm figures on them.  But there's still a lack of definition that bugs me, which I ascribe to the plastic.

One small point - I'd suggest you go back and properly black out the spaces between the spokes.

Thanks for sharing!