During my very enjoyable experience at Partizan in June, I had a chance to look at the buildings from Sally 4th with the photo-realistic covers applied to them. I picked up the corner shops, part of the Normandy range, and brought it home. I had begun construction a couple of weeks ago, but life got in the way. I had a chance over the three-day weekend to finish it. Bottom line: I am extremely pleased with this kit and will be getting more of them.
The basic building as an MDF kit, not unlike others. There are a couple of unique features that I really like. First the buildings have interior walls. Second, all the windows and doors come with clear plastic pieces, so they look like real windows. Finally, I really like the way the roof is constructed. The outside, visible portion is part of the exterior of the walls. The support for the roof fits inside the peaked portions of the walls. This gives a very nice look with full roof support. The MDF is thick and sturdy and does not warp.
I also found the step-by-step instructions easy to follow. Each step included a color illustration. This was the first of the Sally 4th buildings I have constructed, and am no good with paper models, but this kit went together like a dream, and the final product is terrific.
You can purchase the professionally printed photo-realistic covers on thick card or you can download the cover sheets and print them yourself. In this case, I opted to purchase the cover sheets while I was at Partizan. I figured that the pre-printed sheets on card were cheaper than me printing them at home and would look better.
The scary part for me was beginning to apply the photo-realistic covers. Up to this point, any mistakes could be easily corrected. Once I started cutting paper, mistakes would be harder to correct. Since I didn’t print the covers myself, I thought that reprinting any mistakes on my home printer might not match those I purchased. The photo-covers come in several sheets and are easily cut out with an X-acto or scissors. The registration was perfect. When I cut out the sheets, including cutting out the windows, and laid them against the MDF, they lined up perfectly.
The windows and doors were a three-step process. The glazing is glued to the clear plastic and then glued into the openings. Then the brick frames of the windows and doors are glued into place. The effect is really nice.
You can see that the interiors are detailed with interior walls. Sally 4th offers optional wallpaper for the building interiors and optional interior stairwells. In the picture above, you can see where the stairways would fit. They also sell optional bombed out roof sections to replace the nice ones that come with the kit. I saw these at Partizan, and thought they looked great!
In the picture above you can see the awnings and the color instruction booklet. I have elected not to attach the awnings to make the buildings easier to store, but it is nice that you have that options.
At this point, I had not picked up a paint brush. All of this work was done with an X-acto, scissors, and Elmer’s blue. I later applied a little dark gray paint to the tops of the chimneys and painted the shutters for the windows, but that was all.
The cylinders coming out of the chimneys were meant to be rolls of paper. Demonstrating my poor skill with paper models, I muffed the first one and decided to cut bits of black straws instead. My straws don’t look as good as the paper ones shown on the Sally 4th Web page.
As I said earlier, despite a couple of rookie mistakes, this building went together with little muss or fuss. I like the way the kit includes corner brickwork that hides the seams between the cover sheets on the walls and roof. I have already ordered the Norman church — which comes with three different steeple tops for different eras. I will likely order a couple more of the Normandy buildings in the near future.
If you are at Historicon, I will be using this building in one of my Saturday Combat Patrol(TM) games. Come by and take a look.
Before I discovered Sally 4th, I had been ordering one or two of the Crescent Root buildings each month. The Sally 4th and Crescent Root buildings will mix nicely.
Again, I highly recommend this kit and the others in the series. It took me no longer to complete this building than any similarly-sized MDF building, but the final product looks nicer than I would have achieved by painting it instead of using the photo-realistic covers.