Since writing the first post about Cities of Death I have started work on the large Basilica Administratum and so far I have to say that as an edifice it is outstanding but as a model kit itâ€™s fairly average. The Basilica isnâ€™t completed as I still need to add the details (lights and ladders) but I need to finish the Sanctum Imperialis to the same level so that I donâ€™t leave myself short of floors, balustrades etc.
The building looks very impressive and although it hasnâ€™t been based it is every bit as sturdy as I expected. It isnâ€™t as well balanced as I would like and will need to be based to ensure we donâ€™t have any unfortunate table topples. Even at this gray plastic stage the building looks good and adds a nice terrain piece to my table. I actually intend to use this for Necromunda rather than 40k and it looks excellent from a gaming point of view.
Putting the building together was reasonably quick and easy. Every piece required some clean-up to remove the flash from around the wall edge and also the interior window edges but no better or worse than any regular GW plastic kit. Even though the amount of flash wasnâ€™t particularly bad the process was tiresome as I had 20 wall pieces plus floors plus extras plus eight wall supports (which drew blood twice and once disappeared up under a fingernail – BE WARNED)!
The instructions indicate that itâ€™s possible to remove the doors and have them either opening or an empty doorway but Iâ€™ve had a devil of a job with that. The first one I removed using a Stanley knife and it took almost as long to do one door as it did to clean up the entire rest of the building. After that I tried a dremel but to get a blade thin enough to fit in the space meant it was not very sturdy (I broke three) and even with the machine set to its lowest speed it melted the door rather than cutting it resulting in a mess of melted plastic. As a last resort I am going to try and lay my hands on a modeling hacksaw and see if that works but it certainly wasn’t as easy as the diagram made out!
Apart from the door the construction was painless and it seems the secret to the buildings is definitely the floor sections, as without them it would be near impossible to get nice straight walls. Once I had the wall sections in place and the glue had got tacky (obviously polystyrene cement is the way to go despite GW ridiculous indication to use superglue)?! I glued on the floor pieces and it locked everything in place. Once I had the ground floor completed it was remarkably easy to just add on each further layer.
Whilst on first glance it appears that the pieces donâ€™t have any type of locking mechanism there are in fact little tabs on one side of each wall section and these make it reasonably easy to line the pieces up neatly. This is particularly true when forming the corners which will almost form a perfect 90 just from the little tabs. Similar to this the details and floors all have tabs or indents designed to fit together snuggly. Whilst itâ€™s not a clip together project they definitely do provide useful guidance, just make sure you donâ€™t clip/file them off.
The most challenging part of the entire project was the balcony and at this point GW seems to have stopped trying. It was an absolute bastard to get to fit. The balustrades didnâ€™t sit square on the balcony floor, the supports didnâ€™t square with the walls or the floor. Then the floor was too wide to fit properly between the vertical columns on the walls so I had to file off the studs/rivets on the walls and then the supports didnâ€™t hold firm to the walls and the balcony floor didnâ€™t remotely meet with any part of the wall! What a fiasco! Needless to say I wouldnâ€™t recommend building a balcony although it is probably the coolest building feature and is pretty much essential for gaming.
So at the completion of the Basilica I feel the building is a success but the product itself is seriously mediocre. It does result in a good looking building but GW seems to have tried to add extra features (balcony, removable doors) which they havenâ€™t got right. Although arguably they are advanced features and perhaps Iâ€™m just not that advanced?!
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