‘Walls and Ruins’ is the name of this set, and pretty neatly describes the contents too. The largest pieces are assorted bits of ruined building and all are single wall – that is to say there are no corners. This means none will successfully stand by themselves, although some could be combined to form a corner, as illustrated on the box artwork. The first two pieces in the second row are clearly meant to be combined if desired, but these do not work well if joined at right angles to make a corner, so all that can be said of this is that the large piece can be extended using the smaller piece, which seems a feature of little value. The pieces engraved with stones of different sizes are only ruined in as much as they are clearly incomplete, but the brickwork pieces are quite nicely done with broken plasterwork adding to the effect. One very large negative feature however is that all these pieces are most definitely single-sided. While they may seem to be of a reasonable thickness for a wall they are only engraved on one side, and indeed the reverse is sunken so the actual amount of plastic used is minimised. This makes them quite useless for viewing from the back, so these are purely items for use when the observer is forced to see them from the front.
As is self evident, the third row contains a number of items representing piles of sandbags. Piles of sandbags are useful for many campaigns, but the chosen shapes are quite strange. Two of the pieces do fit together fairly well, but not so well as to make it seem intentional. The middle piece with the bags piled precariously is a particularly odd shape and only really works when positioned next to the first wall section on our first row. Of course there is nothing to say sandbags should be piled in regular formations, and at least these three pieces are all double-sided – i.e. equally detailed on both sides and of the required thickness.
Moving down to the fourth row we find some small sections of brick wall with the same realistically ‘stressed’ plasterwork as the larger pieces, but these are well detailed on both sides. They reach up to around the waist on a standard figure, and they do fit together very well. Corners can be created easily, and multiple lengths of the longer piece can be strung together with the aid of some of the 13 single bricks also in the set. If you are so inclined then you could choose to create entire features using just these single bricks, in which case we salute your patience, but many will perhaps choose to use them to litter the battlefield, which is an excellent idea if there are ruined walls around. The two wall pieces in the next row are much the same idea, and again they fit together very well, either straight or as a corner.
The first small item in the last row is a sandbag. Single sandbags are nothing new, but they do provide flexibility, particularly in making the large sandbag models into something more realistic. The final item looks like a single stone to match the stone/large brick walls, although it could equally serve as a box or similar. Again you could choose to build something with these, although they are not perfectly rectangular so this would be a bit of a challenge, so once again they could make good debris for a shattered urban battlefield.
We were disappointed with the single-sided aspect of the larger wall pieces, but we were also surprised by their size. The tallest item in the first row is 65mm high, and the top of the lower window sill is 18mm above the ground, which means it reaches the mid chest of the average 1/72 scale figure. Remove his base, so they are directly comparable, and the sill is higher still – much too high for most normal houses in our view. Equally the doorway is 29mm tall and 19mm wide, which just looks too large when a figure is placed in it. The mismatch is not enormous, but it does leave us wondering whether Italeri haven’t rather oversized another product, although clearly it matters much less in this case.
While the larger pieces have their limitations all the smaller ones are fine and very nicely produced. The box states these are for World War II, but clearly the possibilities extend well beyond that one conflict. This is a product that is good in parts, but could have been better yet with a little more thought on how the larger pieces could have been used.