This is Sally 4th‘s kit 28WW2_001 Russian Farmhouse. I have no idea how typical this building is of Russian farmhouses. (farmhice?) I picked this kit up because it looked (to me) like it wouldn’t be out-of-place as a white farmer’s home in Africa. (NB: I am not doubting it’s accuracy…. I have seen a photo of the original building, and this is what it looks like. It’s a dam’ good representation.)
It’s laser-cut from 2mm and 3mm MDF, with a patch of ‘fun fur’ for the thatching. It also comes with extensive colour-printed instructions. The fit is good, and it is well-engineered.
The building itself is a rectangle with two interior rooms. Three walls have windows, and one wall is blank. It is surrounded by a wooden walkway and an overhanging awning/roof. There is a nice-looking chimney supplied, but apparently I forgot to add it.
I primed and painted all the pieces before assembly, which makes for much easier painting. Priming isn’t essential, but without it, the MDF tends to soak up paint like crazy. However the tolerances on this kit are extremely tight, so too much paint will interfere with the fit of the pieces. Be aware of how it fits together before you start painting.
The roof has four sloped pieces that are glued together, and to a good, solid frame that helps align them. The instructions suggest that there can be difficulty getting them aligned because of all the angles, but it wasn’t really difficult.
The instructions tell you to assemble the four outer walls, let them dry, then insert the inner walls and room dividers. (The walls are double-thicknesses as are the interior walls. This makes for a more substantial kit, and allows detail on both sides of the walls..)
Because the tolerances are so close, I’d suggest that you assemble the interior walls then glue the outer walls around them. (And do not paint the wall surfaces that are glued together.) When dry, I filled what seams there were on the outer walls, and used a bit of the filler to add some texture to the walls themselves.
Each window has a lintel, a sill, two sides, and a shutter (open or closed) and a frame that sits inside them. Again, be careful of painting the surfaces that glue together because they may not fit easily if you are careless. Don’t get me wrong, the resulting windows look great, and all the pieces make them easy to paint. They are engineered so that they align themselves for the most part, so in spite of the number of pieces they aren’t really difficult to assemble.
The doors can also be assembled open or closed (or left unglued.) They have a handle assembly that looks like a block with two curved antennae. The instructions showed where they go, but not how. Eventually I realized that they fit into the door with the antennae pointing down, making a very convincing set of iron door handles.
The floor and walkway are a single piece, and slot into place easily. The awning and supports also fit easily and cleanly. The roof just sits on top for easy removal.
I had never tried the ‘fun fur’ thatching before, and it was complicated by the multiple angles of the roof, I aligned and glued one long side. When that was dry, I did the other long side. When that was dry, I folded the fabric at each end flat and slit it at the approximate centre of the wall. This left a flap on each end that overlapped the other side. I trimmed this flap where it overlapped the other, and glued them down.
Then the fabric was dry, I brushed the fur with a toothbrush, blending over the joins. I used slightly dilute white glue and brushed it all downwards.
I painted the whole house much like they did in their instructions. (It looked good, why not?)
When dry, I lightly primed the thatch, then brushed various tans and greys onto it. The fur supplied was black, and I had some doubts, but it actually worked well.
While more complex than most laser-cut kits, this was easy to assemble, and a pleasure to build. The results make the extra complexity worth it. Available from Sally 4th.