This isn’t a review per se since I am going to try to get out of the habit of reviewing products that I purchase myself in order to allow some level of objectivity to remain when I review gaming products.
That said, last night Zach came over with the Imperial City box that we have split. First impression: weight. The box is very heavy and its loaded from top to bottom with sprues. The box is the same size as the boxes used to contain the WFB and 40K army sets and there is not really any room in the box for more sprues.
All of the sprues are made from the same plastic that GW uses for its plastic miniatures but since most of the sprues have pieces larger and thicker than any seen in a plastic sprue previously they have far more heft than any GW plastic sprue you may have seen before.
The box contains, IIRC, 8 x Accessory, 8 x Sanctum, 6 x Basilica and 6 x Manufactorum sprues. The Manufactorum sprues are problematic if you are going to split the boxes since it takes two sprues to create a single set of pipes that you may have seen on some of the pictures online. So if each of you takes three sprues then one of you have to give up a set of pipe components to allow the other to create a full set of pipe elements.
Each sprue contains enough material to make a small building and you can combine two or more sprues to build massive structures. The box is advertised as allowing you to build 10 buildings but in a probable first for GW this is an actual understatement. You can create 10 *large* buildings from the Imperial City box but Zach and I were able to easily put together 14 buildings with a mixture of sizes. So it all depends on your personal tastes in terrain. I built a mix of small and large buildings from the sprues I had and came out with seven buildings all of differing sizes and complexities.
The building components themselves are very well done and I didn’t run into any issues assembling the buildings. Everything fit together properly though it was sometimes tricky to build multi-storey buildings as there are no guides to indicate there panels need to fit together properly when stacking them top to bottom instead of side to side.
The panels all glued together quickly and easily and we didn’t need to wash the sprues in advance. Assembling a building starting with the corner sections and then building out was quite simple and actually quite fun.
It was very simple to put the building panels together to create walls and while the instructions in the box were helpful in some instances it would have been more useful if the instructions had some details on how the GW team put together some of the more complex buildings they show.
The most immediate concern about the buildings is their iconography. Most buildings are littered with skulls. There is not a lot of debate about whether this is a 40K product based solely on the prominence of skulls on the buildings. In fact the basilica sprues contains an archway panel that has a window filled with skulls. If you’ve ever complained about the pre-eminence of the skull as a 40K design element this one panel is GW’s “one finger salute” to you.
If you are going to use the buildings for more than 40K you may want to either examine ways to paint the buildings to minimize the appearance of the skulls or perhaps just pass on the product. I plan to paint the buildings in a rough stone and weathered urban scheme and then paint a lot of the non-skull features to try to push the skulls into the background. That may not work for you and it might be an idea to examine the sprues or some assembled buildings before you make a purchase.
If you are looking for some nice generic sci-fi urban terrain then this probably isn’t for you. If you think GW has already gone overboard in their use of the skull as a design feature then this is really not a product for you. If you can deal with the obvious 40K theme of the terrain then the box makes a considerable amount of terrain for the price and with some appropriate painting will make some very nice baroque urban terrain for your table.