Building Pavlov’s House
The Editor hinted that I might find it more of a challenge to assemble than it appeared, but I'm confident with such kits now, so I warily remarked that I ought probably to find it quite achievable; certainly this particular one was lightweight and looked pretty straightforward...
The instructions are friendly enough - they include clear colour photos, as 4Ground kits tend to, and an introduction with handy tips. The parts themselves were well machined and clean: the white-painted cardstock cladding is bright and my wife was particularly struck by the striking green colour ("It looks like the kind of green that should have been outlawed in the 70s") until I noted that it was inspired by a real building made famous in the battle of Stalingrad.
This paint was the first issue though: in fitting the parts together, I discovered an issue which I've occasionally found in other 4Ground kits: the layers of paint make the parts too thick.
This is fine most of the time, as tabs can simply be shaved down to ensure they sit snugly into their given notches - this still works even when the part to be inserted is painted on both sides.
The real issue comes not in sticking tabs into slots, but when you have to start layering painted parts together or when you have to insert an assembled piece into place with two painted planes against each other - in this case, the stairs, which need to be flush against the back wall. Unless you shave the paint off, it just will not go together properly, and you risk the UDF warping or breaking - a pity.
The pic below is of another paint-layer-inflicted awkwardness: the (surely almost redendant) inserts which go behind the kickboards on the stairs are rendered too wide to squeeze into place because of the paint, but all the dry-fitting in the world can't alert you to this problem until the stairs are built, so without being able to shave off the paint layers in the recesses, the only choice is to take some length from the inserts. I took 1.5-2mm off each.
Then I got to the bricks, and I believe this bit explains the Editor's wry amusement...
I wish I'd photographed the building before adding the bricks to better illustrate the difference they make - I just love how very very unique it can look!
In short, they are as much a pain to arrange and glue in place as they are tremendously good fun to arrange and play with! It took me an evening to assemble this small part of Pavlov's House using PVA and superglue, and fully half of that was just bricklaying...but once I got the hang of it, I had a blast!
Now, where's that orangey-brown 'brick-dust' basing sand I had stashed away..?