Coquettishly called Eastern Front: Ruined City this is the Streets of Stalingrad! A bag full of big building bits to construct two, full five-storey high, city blocks with both fully-formed, facades and shattered, soviet sections plus broken brick walls and torn terracotta tiles. All built on thick rubber mat squares impinted with coloured kerbs and cobbles enclosing a debris strewn rubble field. You even get, a very realistic model of, the iconic Barmaley fountain
I have the excellent Eastern Front Starter Set – Stalingrad (Sov vs Germ) – see separate review – and at the time I bemoaned the lack of realistic city buildings to make a proper battle scene. Well here they are! Though the set is expensive you do get a lot for your money and all the walls are fully detailed on both sides so you can have a brick exterior or a plastered one. Similarily the splintered interior floors have details underneath of the ceiling of the floor below.
Setting The Scene
- 2 x 70 cm sq City Block bases
- 8 x full 5 storey tenement block wall
- 2 x 4 different types of ruined wall
- 8 x Ruined Roof sections
- 8 x Ruined interior floors
- 8 x Corner joining strips
- 8 x Straight joining strips
- 2 x 2 piece cruciform interior wall sections
- 8 x straight small ruined wall sections
- 1 x Barmaley fountain
Note normally I would have described this section as “opening the box” but I didn’t get a box! Well not a full coloured printed Flames of War box anyway but merely an ordinary brown cardboard box holding polythene bags containing all the plastic pieces and the two large bases and Barmaley fountainall firmly wrapped in bubble wrap. There was also no paperwork of any description, no header, contents list or building instructions. I didn’t know whether this was normal or a special case. Either way all the pieces were there and fine so that was alright. Construction looked straightforward, so at first I didn’t download the instructions from the Flames of War website. This proved to be a bit of a mistake but no biggie!
We’re Gonna Build This City!
The walls, as mentioned before, are detailed on both sides: One side has brick built upper stories over a Portland Stone, slab built shop window and doorway. The other side has a plaster effect finish for the upper four storeys. So you can build your blocks in either style or 1 block in each style. These blocks are joined together using either straight connecting strips or corner connecting strips. It’s worth planning a dry run before you glue them together to make sure you’ve got the right bits to build what you want. The damaged walls have only one complete edge that will join to a connector so you need to make sure that it will have the same finish on the outside as the section you are joining to.
They all go together very nicely and can be glued with either a Poly Cement or Superglue. I used a thick, gel-like plastic glue. The straight connectors should be built having a small gap at the bottom so interior walls can be slotted in. The floors sit on ridges in the corners and strengthen the model to give a very solid construction which can handle a bit of rough treatment on the battlefield.
It wasn’t entirely obvious to me how the roofs fitted on the corners and, in fact, I’ve done them wrong. It doesn’t seem to affect the overall look too badly but as I subsequently found out, when I belatedly downloaded the instructions, they should be further out with their locating ridge attached to the outside of the wall.
Bits of interior walls can be located into the bottom of the walls as just mentioned or left free-standing. There are two lots of two sections that link together in a cross-shape. I haven’t glued these walls in place so I can move them about for different configurations. Indeed the whole city block sections I have just built as five free-standing units, sometime with a “hanging” connector so I can vary the overall configuration for different scenes. I ended up with one damaged wall left over.
Barmy - aley Fountain!
Finally a mention of the model of the Barmaley Fountain. This work was designed by sculptor Romuald Iodko and depicts children holding hands dancing a “Khorovod” around a crocodile whilst being watched by a circle of frogs. Of course it does!
It relates to the story of the wicked child-eating robber in Africa, Barmaley, who gets swallowed up by a crocodile brought in by a gorilla. Despite this gruesome fate Barmaley was apparently later released after promising to reform and become a friendly baker! In keeping with the fantastic nature of the story the model is a fantastic replica of the real thing.
The Barmaley Fountain was made famous in several 1942 photographs by Emmanuil Evzerikhin, poignantly counterposing the playing children with the ruined destruction of the buildings. The model faithfully reproduces the six children, 3 girls and 3 boys, holding hands in their actual poses. The base with crocodile and frogs is cast in one piece in hard resin. The children are moulded in pairs. They each have different sized tabs on the bottom to fit in the slots around the crocodile. This makes sure you fit them in the right orientation.
This became permamently associated with Stalingrad. It was featured in films like “Enemy at the Gates” and there are two replicas in Volgograd today. I think this is a superb model and it makes a nice finishing touch to this set.
Please note only the City Bases come ready painted. All the other pieces have a standard grey finish. I have enhanced their look with several quick sprays of different undercoat spray paint. I’ve also added my own models and bits of foliage. Some of the roof pieces were cut to fit the corner configurations I built (the downloaded instructions encourage you to do this if required). The plastic can be cut with craft knife or clippers. The “asphalt” under the fountain and between the blocks are strips cut from shed roofing felt.
If you want to conduct street fighting battles in realistic ruins of Stalingrad, buy this Ruined City set.