And Camels Too! CastleKits Pyramid Set | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Sunday, 21 September 2008

The CastleKits Pyramid – all items pictured come in the set.

The biggest problem with Hirst Arts terrain molds is certainly not their quality, it is the amount of work required to get even a single building built with their molds. We have twelve or fourteen Hirst Arts molds and The WebMistress has put a couple of buildings together with them. They’re messy, time-consuming, and you need a ton of space to store the parts while building the remainder of the building.

Enter CastleKits, a small company that does the molding for you and throws a bunch of value-added items into the deal. In all honesty, this is the solution for me – the quality of Hirst Arts combined with a significant reduction in our time assembling them.

But  we’ll get to that part, first, lets take a look at what you get.

The WebMistress while casting up Hirst Arts parts for a different project. CastleKits does this for you.


The kit we’re reviewing here is the Pyramid kit. We also have the Descent kit in for review, and that will be coming along in the not-too-distant future. Note that all of the “finished” pictures included do not yet have a dullcote. In pure honesty, we toyed around with these kits for far too long and I figured you’d forgive us if we took pictures a little premature – I am the third writer assigned the pyramid, by way of explanation.


The kit, as delivered to us.


The kit comes with all of the blocks created by the molds necessary to build the pyramid if you follow the included Hirst Arts instructions. An interesting point is that there is a lot of excess in here because the contents of all of the molds necessary to create the pyramid are included. What all of that means is that they calculated the number of molds necessary to have all of the requisite parts, then cast up those molds – thus creating extras of some parts. This is a bonus, not a negative, but shipping is no doubt a little more expensive because of it. The kit also includes two camels by Dungeon Décor and three palm trees and a full set of assembly instructions and a bottle of glue.


The Pyramid from the side and above.


As is usual for Hirst Arts products, the plaster is absolutely beautiful, with the doors inside having well done images that you could paint. I did not paint them, but The WebMistress and I are talking about painting them up in the future with emerald green because it would look cool. The quality of the camels is great, and while the palm trees aren’t top-notch, they’re the same style as we use normally, so we don’t find that a huge negative, you might feel differently.


One thing we found is that you should lay out all of the parts for the inner room first and make certain that you have all of the pieces before you glue anything. Do the same with the outside of the pyramid. In our case, we were short one specific block from the inside walls, and there was enough excess to replace the block with a combination of smaller ones, but since we did not lay everything out, the location of this replacement was inconvenient – the bar across the top of the entryway. More glue in that particular location is bad, but we had glued everything else (literally) by the time we pulled pieces for that row of that wall. You’ve been warned.


The back wall post assembly.


The only other thing that caught me by surprise and you should be aware of is that the supplied glue is slow drying – meaning you can get a perfect fit between blocks and rows, but also meaning that you have to have a lot of patience. After about an hour, I lifted the top of my pyramid to fit it onto the bottom, and the top exploded. Blocks with still wet glue flew everywhere. Amusing now that all is done and nothing was broken, but it did make the fit of my top questionable, because the blocks had glue on them. I scraped it off in the worst cases, but there are still a few odd-fitting bits. I chose to leave them because they made the pyramid look old, but you could get the same effect by choice without throwing glue-covered plaster blocks about the room.


Palm trees are even included.


The instructions tell you to cut a 10 inch by 10 inch piece of MDF to base the Pyramid on, and this is good advice – Hirst Arts kits are always heavy after assembly, and that distributes the weight, keeping it from ripping itself apart when you lift the model. Though if we ever rebase this one or do another, we will cut the MDF to be oversized. The size indicated in the instructions is good and works well, but it doesn’t leave a ton of room for error, and there’s not too much you can do in the sense of making the temple into a diorama if the base ends where the main model does.


The interior of the Pyramid.


It is part of our goal here at Wargames @ to bring up points that may be issues for you when you assemble a product we review – so that you aren’t surprised by the same exact things that surprised us. But one negative side-effect of this model is that our reviews sometimes seem overly negative. Let me say this unequivocally, this model is wonderful. The inside is smaller than we’d like, but plenty big enough to put figures into, and anything larger would require a larger base pyramid, which would rapidly become prohibitively expensive in terms of shipping. The detail is great, and plaster is easy to clean up, so the few spurs that kept things from fitting together well came off simply with an exacto knife.


And the topic, a pyramid, is great for a lot of genres – fantasy, historicals in any period that includes Egypt, and sci-fi are all valid uses for this beasty. We’re going to get a lot of use out of it, that’s for certain.


And it’s small enough that you can store it relatively easily. Or perhaps I’m jaded after storing away the PaperTerrain chapel.


One of the included camels.


For finishing, we did not follow the directions included, and instead used filters and washes to slowly stain it the color of our choice. This worked well enough for us, but it’s up to your tastes. We painted up the camels with Valejo paints, and did nothing with the palm trees but set them out.


The inside comes with a load of options – sarcophagi, canoptic jars, pillars, and extra doors to cut up and use as decoration. There are even pieces for ceiling arches.


My Mummy sent me.


In short, you’ll be pleased with this product if you purchase it, it’s fun to put together, the instructions are straight-forward, and it looks really nice when finished. The cost may seem a bit steep for you, but try to find another 10x10 building in anything other than paper for the asking price.


And there are several of these sarcophagi included.


US Sourcing:

Direct from CastleKits

Pricing: $78.00 USD plus shipping

As of the date this article was published, there was no international source for CastleKits. 

Discuss this review in the forums: Here



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