City House Ruins

POLA 1:87 Scale Scenery Review

City House Ruins, 1:87 H0 Model Kit POLA 166

The model shows a bombed-out city house with an adjacent smaller building which was been completely destroyed. Just visible amidst the rubble is the opening of a large cellar which survived the attack. The hand-painted sign "LSR --->" on the front wall suggests that the occupants of the building may have sat out the attack at the nearest Luftschutzraum bunker. In that case, maybe nobody was hurt here. The election posters in front of the rubble make the connection to post-war Germany. The building tells many stories of the period before and after 1945, of which the most obvious is that of its destruction. The scene portrayed in the model is typical of many cities between 1939 and 1945, cities like Warsaw, Rotterdam, Coventry, London, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Berlin, Dresden and Darmstadt, to name a few.

Area bombing of civilian population centers was first tried during the Spanish Civil War: In April of 1937, German bombers and pilots of the Condor Legion attacked the Basque city of Guernica and destroyed it. The senseless killing of civilians caused massive international protests. The attack on Guernica inspired Picasso to paint his famous work of art by the same name. Guernica was a demonstration of power, the city had no strategic value, only a symbolic one. In the following years, area bombing of enemy civilians became a common practise, employed by democracies and dictatorships alike. It was hoped that this strategy might end the war more quickly by demoralizing the enemy population, but the opposite was the case. Animals and human being resist even more vigorously when their backs are against the wall and there is no possibility of escape.

Contents

  • City House Ruin
  • Period II, after ca. 1921
  • 12 Parts, pre-weathered
  • 36 Pieces of Rubble
  • Four-Colour Decals
  • Krupp-Ardelt Excavator
  • 1:72 Scale Floor Plan: 17.28 × 9.00 m
  • 1:72 Scale Height: 10.44 m
  • Accessory: Roman Pavement No. 652

Evaluation

A very educational choice of subject. In the process of painting and detailing the rubble, the modeller will be reminded of his or her own home. Broken water pipes, ceiling supports, roof beams, and scattered tiles are part of a puzzle, they document the sequence of destruction. The modeller is immediately confronted with the destruction and its effect on the people who used to live here. Even the enclosed Krupp-Ardelt excavator tells an interesting story. Industry produces what is most needed, guns in war, brooms and shovels afterwards.

Rubble

Scale model with excellent detail. The distribution of rubble shows a good amount of experience with this subject. Nothing appears random, the pieces seem to be somehow connected to eachother and to the remains of the building. Realistic rubble is probably one of the greatest challenges for scale model designers. Every items needs to be considered carefully in order to avoid unrealistic duplication.

Easy to build, only 12 parts and several smaller pieces of rubble.

Good quality. The parts are practically free of flash, and they are easy to remove from the sprue. The parts fit very well, making the ruin very easy to assemble even for a beginner. The distribution of additional pieces of rubble is indicated in the manual, and these instructions should be followed for realistic results.

Wargamers will want to make the interior accessible to infantry figures, especially the sloped sides of the rubble mound. This may be achieved by building small platforms from rubble and fallen beams.

Excellent colouring. The outer walls are painted in different colours inside and out, and they are pre-weathered as well. No additioal painting work is required, but a little drybrushing with light sand will accentuate even more detail. The rubble mound is weathered, but the many small parts have not been painted individually. It is well worth the effort to pick out individual items with a small paintbrush, red roof tiles, gray supports, brown-gray beams, and cream-coloured stucco will stand out nicely.

Four-colour decals of election posters are suitable for the post-war period in Germany, only the bunker sign is a wartime marking.

The kit includes a Wiking model of the Krupp-Ardelt excavator. The manufacturer points out that this popular vehicle model is often pilfered from the box, and customers should check that the kit is complete immediately after purchasing it.

Missing window frames indicate that the building burned out. In that case, the outer walls should be appropriately smudged, especially above the window openings. Anyone with access to an airbrush may want to add this effect.

The outer walls scale out to only 18 cm strength, instead of the 37 cm normally seen in a building of this size. However, the overall effect is acceptable.

HO scale models are 21 % smaller than figures and vehicles in 1:72 scale. The difference is very obvious, although less so if the building is of a certain size. The city house ruin is large enough to pass as a compatible building for simulation games. Modellers may even be able to use it to simulate perspective depth in a diorama.

Historical Employment

  • Central and Eastern Europe 1939-1960

The city house ruin is a nice model for dioramas and historical simulation games, even if it is not strictly compatible with 1:72 scale figures and vehicles. The ruin has different dimensions than an intact house, it has no roof and it appears more compatible as a result. The selection of buildings in HO scale is enormous, it would be a 1:72 scale modeller's dream come true. One unusual feature of the city house ruin is that it comes painted and weathered. The model is ready for action in minutes, and it is well worth the money. It is to be hoped that manufacturers of plastic model kits discover historic buildings for the military modeller as a growing market segment, and that buildings like this one will appear in 1:72 scale some day soon.

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Buildings and Scenery for Wargames and Dioramas