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Italeri The Colosseum

Review of the 1/500 scale kit of the famous stadium as it appeared in 82 AD
RELATED TOPICS: DIORAMAS | ARCHITECTURAL
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Italeri’s “World Architecture – the Most Famous Monuments” series features some interesting subjects, but the latest addition is a big one even in 1/500 scale. It’s The Colosseum as it appeared in 82 AD at the height of the Roman Empire.

In its heyday, the Colosseum looked very much like a modern football stadium. However, instead of football players, the kit provides four gladiators as well as a lion and a bear to entertain the crowd.

The “stadium” portion is an impressive one-piece molding resembling a Tupperware container. Clever design work simulates the numerous statues present in alcoves around the arena’s exterior by printing them on heavy cardstock. The walls consist of twenty sections molded with sturdy mounting posts for the base and pins designed to hold the cardstock backdrops in place.

A well-done pamphlet includes a comprehensive history and the instructions; painting instructions are provided using color photos of the model instead of diagrams.

Construction of the base requires trimming some substantial sprue gates. The framework that mounts the stadium portion to the base has a bit of play, so I left it unglued until the stadium was prepared. A large sprue gate right in the middle of the arena required careful trimming and filling to hide the large divot. Then the stadium was flipped upside down and the mounting framework attached. All joints were glued while the stadium was upside down.

Italeri suggests attaching the columns that support the upper works — looking for all the world like an elevated running track — but I wanted to firm up the stadium’s perimeter, so I installed wall sections next. The instructions say to paint the walls and install the printed cardstock to the stadium before assembly. But the cardstock is easy to install at the end of the build.

I used a strap to cinch and hold all the wall sections in place while they were glued. Deluxe Models Perfect Plastic Putty was used to fill seams since it can be removed with water, avoiding damage to the molded stonewalls.

Be careful removing the column supports as there are two types that look very similar. I was worried about the alignment but they installed easily. One type mounts to the stadium and the other type to the upper level. The upper level “running track” was installed next but the joints were very visible. I filled them with Tamiya putty then smoothed the work with a motor tool — I didn’t want anyone tripping as they ran laps.

For the base color, I used Krylon colonial ivory from a spray can. Details were painted with various Tamiya colors including flat red for the main trim areas. The stonework was emphasized using Flory Models dark dirt wash.

As the final step, the statue cards were prepared by cutting along the lines indicated and using the tip of a hobby knife to cut tiny slits for the mounting posts using the printed marks as a guide. Each card segment has a printed number corresponding to its position on the model. The wall sections have numbers molded into their reverse faces to match. The accuracy of the trimming and slitting marks was perfect, and the slits allowed the cardstock to stay in place. Just to be safe, I added a drop of glue at each mounting peg.

It took more than a day to build the Roman Colosseum, but only a little over 18 hours total. While it is a difficult kit to make into a finely finished scale model, it is cleverly designed and would likely make a good souvenir or a challenging history-report project.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2019 issue.

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