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Rubicon A15 Crusader

Part of the Third Quarter 2015 releases is the A15 Crusader, including 6 different variants from Mk I to MK III, as well as the AA and CS versions.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

The Crusader is a medium battle tank of the Cruiser class and saw service between 1940 and 1943. It began service as the Mark I with a 2 pdr or Close Support (CS) variant with a 3-inch howitzer, even had an auxiliary turret. Later the Mark II was improved with thicker front armour on hull and turret, again available as CS variant. The late Mark III received an improved turret and a heavy 6 pdr. This Mk III was also fitted with an AA turret, fitted with Oerlikon 20 mm guns. And of course was the base of many variants, like recovery vehicle and self-propelled guns.

Rubicon Models covers the variants Mk I to III in this kit, with 70 pieces in 3 sprues. Along comes an instruction leaflet as well as a british decal sheet.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

The sprues are used in a very optimated way and cover a lot of parts for all the different variants. Casting is clean and crisp, only a few mold lines. The parts a located in a pleasant and thought-out way.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

The build begins with the track sections. The double layer of the track wheels gives it extra depth and plasticity.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

Next up is the hull. Simple and fast build and added the wheel weights in the lower hull. The fit is good and one really great detail are the front lights and their guards. You can use a simplified version (which i did) or you can use just the lights and build your own guards with sturdy wire, using a bending tool included in the sprue.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

Depending on what variant, you got different an optional Fuel Tank for Mk I, II and III.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

As the hull is finished now, the next step is about the turrets. Beginning with the AA Mk II or III. The only difference between these two was the position of the radio inside the turret. The guns are moveable, if you don't glue them shut.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

Then of course are the other turrets, for Mk I / II / Mk ICS and IICS as well as the Mk III. On both turrets you can build the commander hatch open or closed. You can choose from a QF 2 pdr for Mk I or II, an 3 inch Howitzer for the CS versions of both, or for the Mk III between the QF 6 pdr Mk3 and Mk 5. And then there are for the different track guards for the Mk I and II, III as well as the AA version.

As you have enough parts to build 3 different turrets (beside a small toolbox on the back of the regular turrets), and can easily swap them, this might be tricky with the track guards. You might try to magnetize them though.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

The final build with Mk III track guards and Mk III, AA and Mk I/I turret looks like this. The auxiliary turret was not used.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

As the commander hatch was build open, there is space for a fitting tank commander. In this case from the Perry World War II range.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

A quick comparison with JTFM / Die Waffenkammer Crusader. From the size they are really close. Both build as an Mk III Crusader.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

And of course the view around the tank, with (re-)moveable turret.

Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader Rubicon Models - Cruiser Tank A15 Crusader

Conclusion
Once again, a multipurpose kit by Rubicon Models with a lot of options. The concept of different options and variants within one kit, using the advantages of plastic to the maximum is a really big bonus. It is easy to build, you can swap between different options and / or magnetize them.

The details and cast are on a high level and it is a more pleasant experience compared to a resin or resin-lead model. It is great to see, that more and more vehicles are available in plastic, as this makes it easier for new players to start with the (historical) hobby and / or to switch from other systems into historical settings.

The kit was provided by Fantasy Warehouse / Warehouse Games.

Link: Rubicon Models

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