by: Jim Starkweather [ ]
This building kit is a 1/35 replica of an actual building still standing in Russia. The building is four-sided and includes four wall sections, two roof sections, a chimney, and eight windows. There is also a sheet with six signs in Russian that can be used on the building.
The first thing that strikes me about this kit is that the building will easily fit into a large number of eras and geographic areas. Sure the building is based on an existing Russian building believed to have been around in WWII, but let's face it building of this type are common in other countries as well. Probably due to the large scale immigration going on in the 20th century and movement of skilled workers around the globe. For example. Replace the windows on this kit to something a bit more basic and this building would be a perfect match to housing in a POW camp. However let's say for accuracy sake you want to use this in a Russian diorama, well in that case I don't think you can go wrong. The only thing I noted from the images supplied by Bob Letterman on this project were that the window lintels and trim were a bit more ornate than those of the real subject. Otherwise the details seems to be well replicated to this kit.
There are obviously not too many pieces with this kit. Putting it together should be a fairly straight-forward process. There are no instructions, but you shouldn't need any. There is quite a bit of excess resin to be trimmed from the open windows of the walls. Additionally all the window have thinner resin to remove where the windows would be. You may decide to use this resin to simulate broken glass (painted?). There are no clear parts included to add glass however. This would have been a nice addition. The main (and only) door to the building is fixed in the mold. It may be able to be cut out if you are patient and skilled enough or simply knocked out and a new door from scratch added. Again a separate door (as we have seen with other VLS kits recently) might have been a better option.
Considering the list price of this kit ($40), there is a lot of resin here which probably accounts for the cost. And it would appear that a decent amount of research was done to replicate the building which is admirable.
Overall I would have to say that it's the buildings design and details that are it's prime assets. There are not a lot of four-sided buildings like this on the market. And none that I can think of that are single-story utilitarian type building like this. Very common for the time period yet how many times have we seen vendors put out more 'typical' buildings like hotels, shops, houses, etc? There are a lot of possibilities with this building. You could try a diorama with one wall exposed or maybe light up the windows for a cool lighting effect. Either way I think this kit is a nice addition for any diorama builder who wants to start with a good kit to either use out-of-the-box or customize.
And stay tuned. I think I will have Russian Dwelling #2 coming up in a few days.