This is the highlight of Atlantic's 'The Egyptians' range. A structure which at the base of the first step is 326mm square,and consists mainly of four sides of colonnades, each of six columns apart from the rather grand front entrance. The colonnades are free-standing, so support no roof, and simply enclose a square courtyard which must presumably be the heart of the 'palace'. This has a raised area with some steps, and is engraved to be paved with irregular flagstones, but has no other features. So there is no building as such; nowhere that could be called 'indoors', so hardly a palace anyone would want to live in. However that probably mattered little to those at whom the model was aimed, children of the late 1970s, for whom such a model was very different from the norm.
The 'palace' consists of a single square base, the 18 columns, a single square entablature along the top and the large front entrance (plus separate statues) which has no door, but then there are no walls either. The set also includes the six sphinx models shown, which are intended to line a processional way to the palace. These sphinx statues are nicely done, and all the columns have nice engravings of figures all round, with capitals shaped like palms. Everything here is highly reminiscent of Egyptian style and taste, without the whole being a model of anything in particular. One strange aspect is a round hole in the centre of the main courtyard, about 17mm in diameter, which has a plug to cover it. Is this a drain, or a large well head? Neither seem likely, but we cannot guess what else it is. The whole model certainly feels very Egyptian, and looks great, but lacks both authenticity and any real playability. We found the columns to be a struggle to fit in place, which presumably was so when it was new, so a fair model but not a great one.
This very large product included sprues from all the Egyptian figure sets; At The Pharaoh's Court, Egyptian Army and Egyptian Cavalry As an entirely civilian accessory, it is not easy to see how the Army and Cavalry sets fit well with this palace, but of course the Court set is perfect. We must assume that the seated pharaoh and his wife would have pride of place on the raised inner platform, with courtiers, guards and attendants milling about both 'inside' and out. The sarcophagus and the mummy have no obvious role, but generally the figures in that set work very well here.
When this model was first produced there were very few models of buildings or forts in 1/72 scale. Certainly nothing like this for ancient Egypt was on the market, so this was a bold move by Atlantic since the product was quite expensive by the standards of the day. Today of course there is a vast array of buildings, mainly laser-cut MDF, which provide for the needs of many modellers looking to create an environment or even a whole complex for their figures. However the high level of decoration on Egyptian structures and the many curved pillars and complex shapes like the statues mean plastic remains the best material for this kind of subject. There was never any hope of reproducing an actual Egyptian palace, which would have been vast, but as the flagship product for a range which many including ourselves find very appealing, this does the job very nicely, and although hard to find today it remains a satisfying and attractive item in the collection.