Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

PzKfw IVH - Warlord Games vs Rubicon - Final Details

Since I posted this it has been pointed on the Lead Adventurers forum that Rubicon Models has discontinued or retired this particular PzKfw IV kit. They are working on a replacement for it and the concept will either be one kit that you can build from a D to a J or perhaps two kits (I think you almost have to go with two kits because of the changes to the hull). Its an interesting thread on the Rubicon forums and I would encourage you to read it or at least look at the last few pages with the library concept they are developing. Rubicon Forum
You can also take a look at another excellent comparison at the The Figure Fanatic, Leif took a much better look at the vehicles from more of an historical viewpoint than I did.

This post will wrap up the comparison between the Rubicon Models and Warlord Games PzKfw IV kits. One of the things I noticed while finishing the Rubicon kit is that it does indeed include the short 75mm gun barrel and the proper mantlet to build the PzKfw IV F1, what lacks is the deflector that goes under the gun to push the aerial down when the turret pivots in that direction. So if you are willing to do a bit of scratch building with some angled shapes you could produce an F1 from this kit without to much effort. The F1 and F2 were identical except for the gun.

I'm going to skip putting on the skirts at this point till I'm ready to paint the model. I have taken a few pictures to show you the difference. Again the Rubicon is going to be more robust with thicker skirts and integral brackets (especially for the turret skirting). The Warlord Games kit has thinner skirts and separate brackets that are going to create a better look but sacrificing some sturdiness that might be needed on the gaming table.

Here are the final details for the Rubicon Models kit. While I was putting these on I found more than a couple of places where I could have done better with this build. Most of this would have been taking care of with my regular set of clamps or rubber bands, There are some gaps that exist because of my carelessness that if you are a bit more careful won't be a problem. The use of what I would refer to as applique parts leaves a greater chance to have gaps through careless modeling.

Here are the parts that more or less go on the front and sides of the Rubicon Model

Tiny stuff, for the most part the Rubicon Models kit is really good at making sure you get the pieces in the right position. There is one exception and that's the headlights, there is a vague arrow point to more or less where they should go but there is nothing else to guide you to their placement. I actually referenced the Warlord Games kit to get them in more or less the right position. This isn't quite as bad as the hatchet job on the side hatches but its close for me.

The extra bogie wheels actually require assembly, and the fit into the box on the driver's side is really, really tight.

The front and side details in place

Components for the rear of the tank and one side

And glued in place

The side skirts. Thicker and with the brackets integral to the skirt itself. While not very accurate from a modeling standpoint, from a gaming standpoint this decision makes perfect sense. I won't attach these till after priming and the first layer of dark yellow is applied.

The turret skirting, the integral brackets are very obvious here

The Rubicon Models kit, just needs prep work to be done to be ready for painting. I see gaps and pieces of sprue that I missed during the assembly.

And from here I move on to finishing up the Warlord Games kit.

This part of the build was interrupted by a variety of factors so its not quite as comprehensive as the Rubicon kit picture wise.

There are still a lot of parts on the frame just for the skirts!

The Warlord Games kit, just needs prep work to be done to be ready for painting. I see gaps and pieces of sprue that I missed during the assembly.

After all of that I thought a round of side by side pictures might be helpful before I launch into my opinions on these kits.

Both kits are a bit featureless from the back. I think the Rubicon model has a better engine deck.

There is more detail on the right side of the Warlord Games kit than the Rubicon. Although I'm not sure I have seen that particular engine filter before. I'll have to hit my research books!

From the front, the vehicles are much more comparable detail wise. 

The driver's side. The levels of detail are about the same from this angle.

There you have it. I felt a bit rushed on these, so I'm sorry to say these builds are not my best work. They are going to take a little extra prep to get them ready for paint because of that. Patience is a virtue, I should have practiced that.

It was interesting to see the different approaches to making these kits by the manufacturers. The Rubicon Models kit went with a thicker plastic for the hull and turrets and a construction technique that is almost unique with the two piece hull. This model is going to hold up to the rigors of the gaming table much better. They did take some shortcuts in detail which bother me, in particular the awful side hatches on the turret and the lack of a locator pins for the headlights.

The Warlord Games kit has sharper detail and a bit more of it as found in the extra detail parts that come with the kit. It even has both antennas, however, I'm not sure how many of these actually managed to keep both antennas, I almost think this one is a command tank, but I need to hit my books again to be sure. Like the Rubicon kit though there are a few instances where some locator pins would have been very nice, or at least some indents in the hull or turret. Notably both antennas require a little quess work as to their proper location as do some of the extra details. The kit is definitely from a thinner plastic and while it makes an excellent display piece, it may not hold up to the rigors for the gaming table as well as the Rubicon Kit.

While I didn't put the skirts together, the Rubicon skirts are definitely designed to be handled. Three pieces and you are ready to go. The Warlord Games kit is much more of a model in this respect requiring you to attach all the brackets and then add the skirts, I'm going to guess that you are going to see some breakage from regular use.

If you are familiar with pasts posts of mine referencing kits, you know that I'm a bit fanatical about instructions. Here the Rubicon kit wins hands down, a little instruction book with plenty of step by step drawings. The Warlord Games kit is one page front and back, and could use some additional photos and drawings.

The Rubicon kit also comes with a larger selection of decals compared to the Warlord Games kit. Just take a look at the photos and you can see the difference. The Warlord sheet does come with some divisional symbols which the Rubicon sheet does not.

I'm of two minds at this point. From a game perspective I think the Rubicon Models kit is the way to go. Although I might sit down and figure out a way to cast replacement hatches for the turret. Antennas are also and issue on both kits. They always look great but they are likely going to be the first thing to get broken off as well. Thin exposed plastic just doesn't hold up well on the gaming table. It would be nice if the Rubicon kit at least had the bracket for the rear antenna. If I elect to keep the antennas I'm going to head to the shop and swipe some wire and replace them with that. Should look a lot better anyway.

From a detail perspective the Warlord kit is much better (although why they seem to have skimped on the engine deck is a bit of a mystery to me). If I was building a piece for modeling or painting competition this is the one I would go with.

Really in the end you can't go wrong with either kit. They are easy to assemble and have plenty of detail for models that are going to be sitting on the gaming table and typically viewed from arms length away. They will both handle up close and personal viewing as well. I think the Rubicon is definitely more rugged but the Warlord kit should be fine as well.

Personally I'm going to go with the Rubicon Models kit for my gaming needs. One final thought. I mentioned in a previous post that it is possible to build a PzKfw IV F1 from this kit. The gun mantlet and the short barreled 75mm gun are included on one of the sprues you are just missing the aerial deflector that goes under the barrel.


  1. Nice review and summary.

    I built my Rubicon as an F1 and borrowed the deflector from the Warlord kit. In general I came to the same conclusions as you. However I can't stand the Rubicon shürtzen so I will go for Warlord for the late war stuff. Also, I think the Rubicon hull is better suited for early/mid war tanks.

    Lastly, that air filter were only mounted on ausf H vehicles (some debate on it being present on very late G's) between may '43 and february '44. Of course, they were still in place after that on vehicles produced during the period.

    1. I was wondering about that air filter, I just don't remember seeing it on any of the pictures that come to mind.

      Of course was I posted this out on LAF and TMP people pointed out that the Rubicon kit is or has been retired and will be going through a replacement that will allow a build form D - J there hasn't been a decision on whether that will be two kits or one kit but I would bet on two. I added some notes at the beginning of this post with a link to the Rubicon forum where the discussion is going on.

    2. It's mostly not visible because of the schurzen. I did not know that Rubicon is going to redo the Panzer IV. I look forward to see the new version.

    3. I'm looking forward to seeing the new kit. I don't see any indication of when they expect to finish the project though. Looks like these two are going to see a lot of work before the new ones come out!