- Published on Monday, 29 August 2011 23:34 Ben Drew
Airfix European Four Story Shop Ruin
Scale: 1/76 (OO Gauge/25mm Figures)
Product Code: A75007
Available from any good hobby stockist or Airfix direct HERE
Airfix have started producing some Resin one piece buildings set in the very British 1/76 (OO) Scale, this item is one of seven in the range, several, others items in the range have been recently reviewed by colleagues here at www.scaleplasticandrail.com, and following on from their reviews I was looking forward to reviewing this. However now I look at it I'm so dissapointed, this item unfortunatly looks so wrong it's unreal, as you can see from the above picture how the hell is the roof being held up, nevermind the brickwork, but we'll come onto the structural elements shortly! The actual casting is pretty good if you consider the price being asked, it isn't the sharpest but it's passable especially at this scale.
The subject itself is good, plenty of european shops where damaged/destroyed over the last 100 years so there is scope for the product, my issue is the damage just looks too false. Now I do know a thing or two about building structures, and unfortunatly from working in close proximity to war damaged buildings from my time serving in the Royal Engineers during the breakup of Yugoslavia, that and being obsessed with the Ardennes offesive during WW2 for most of my adolecense!
Now with regards to the above image my major issue is the large opening on the end elevation that extends all the way up the gable to the ridge looks too uniform, sure this isn't the issue which can be easily corrected, but buildings with a construction like this have a roof made up of either trusses or what in the UK are called cut roofs made up of rafters and purlins. In either case the major supporting elements for the roof are totally missing (for the cut roof the missing side wall and the trussed roof the missing top front wall, so we'd expect to see some distortion in the roof, even the roof on my property isn't as straight as the one that appears on this item. That kills the kit for me, be it wargames or for someone making a weekend kit/diorama without serious modification the products a none starter. Now if someone from Airfix could show some reference to similar bomb/war damage I'll eat the proverbiable hat, but from my recollection, personal pictures of war damage and my favorite Then and Now Books from After The Battle I'm uanble to find anything similar, I've put in a few pictures to illustrate my point.
This item looks to have whats left of a trussed roof, note that where the supporting walls have failed so has the roof.
In the following picture we see a slightly diffent structure as it's a hipped roof but again, where the supporting structure goes so does the roof, take note of the bowing walls where damage from the force of explosion has either pushed walls in or out and the from failure of the structure.
Now on the item all four walls are shown square, it just isn't realistic, as i've been going on about it (sorry!) if that amount of damage occured there would be some distortion somewhere in the walls and roof... now onto the roof.. lets take a close look at the roof, it's clad in clay tiles which are fine however again, how realistic is it.. I have to say I'm an out of box modeller and by no means a rivet counter so to be this critical is unusual for me! Again (stuck record time) the roof is just wrong it's as deep as the walls are thick, no detail is provided, just look in your loft for reference.
Right I wont keep banging on but the other biggy for me is on the ground floor... they've 'taken out' the main supporting column on the ground floor that's supporting the entire front wall and again no distortion in the wall..
Right now I'll let up on the moaning about structural issues with the item now onto lesser issues, suprisingly they've supplied some metal window frames, now I think they're puched/stamped rather than etch, but they are too small for the windows, a full brick course, so thats 75/100mm out, not a killer but why not make it fit! they do supply clear acetate for glass but if the buildings this damaged then there would be no glass left..
Finally I'll mention the floors, this appears to be in all the series... the floorboards are far too thick, the same as the the floor joists (Which incidently run the wrong way, they should run front to back).. I'd cut them out and replace with some strip wood or plasticard. hand in hand with this is the lack of stairs, always the strongest internal structure left in a damaged building just look why governments recommended hiding under the stairs in an air raid!
So what do we think?
Well would I buy it... no it would take more time to fix the issues with this item that it would to scratch the entire building. Now if I take a step back if say my 15 years old son bought it for wargaming (in 25/28mm...) and paid the £18 would it represent good value for money? Well no it still doesn't make sense, Games workshop sell similar sized items for £12-£15 (even at their prices!) which present better value. So where does that market lie for this item... I'm not sure I can answer that, but some people won't be bothered about the acuracy of this in their diorama. I don't understand why someone would spend the effort of getting the tank/vehicle just 'right' to stick it next to something so wrong. When I look at the other reviews and on Airfix's own website it looks like the subject model I've had to review is the only one with these issues, so all I can recommend is to buy one of the other items in the range. I think I'm going to update this review with an example on how you could improve the item in the near future. I think it would look more at home in a lilliput lane collection that with a modeller/
Overall - Save your money and make one out of a cereal box, it'll look better - Airfix, fix the building it needs to be more realistic
Many thanks to Airfix for supplying the review item