OK, so I'm a slow builder, but I got there in the end...... After seemingly spending weeks building for an hour here and 30 minutes there (I was about a third of the way through when I last posted about it) Tower Bridge is complete, and stunning it is too !
Having got to the end of instruction booklet one, I set about booklet two where my next task was to complete the first tower up to level of the horizontal walkway (pic below; click all pics to enlarge).
Then came the dreaded "x 2" where I had to go back to the start of booklet one and do it all over again, building the second tower from scratch. I'm aware that people deal with repetitive builds differently, some like myself constructing the repeating parts of the build one after the other, while others build them in parallel. I don't think there's a right way - it can get a bit dull whichever way you do it.
Once I'd also completed the second tower up to the level of the horizontal walkway, I was able to put the two towers and the road bridge together, at which point the model really started to take shape (below).
The next task was to construct the horizontal walkway. This includes some interesting parts such as the white lattice fences and a couple of lovely printed shields. There's also some nice colours on view, particularly Medium Blue and a smattering of Pearl Gold. Once constructed, the walkway can be moved into place, joining the two towers together (below).
Once the walkway is in place, the tops of the towers can be completed, at which point the model is almost finished. All that's left to be done is to build and attach (using Technic pins) the approaches leading up to the bridge on either side, and finally construct the four 'chains' (I'm not quite sure what they're called) which run from high up on the towers to the approaches on either side. These are probably the weakest part of the build, looking a bit clunky and crude against the beautifully detailed splendour of the rest of the model.
Except we're not quite done yet. The final finishing touch is four scale vehicles - a red bus, a yellow truck, a black cab and a green convertible (below) to add some authenticity in the form of the notorious London traffic.....
Once the vehicles are built and placed on the bridge we're done, and I have to say it was worth the time and effort. Beautifully designed, interesting to build (apart from the unavoidable repetition), and it now has pride of place in my home in the hallway atop the piano. This in itself speaks volumes - the fact that my wife is happy for it to be prominently displayed in a communal area is testament to how beautiful the model is.....
One slightly disappointing post-script is some possible quality issues affecting the Tan bricks in the set. On a number of occasions I noticed that areas of the build involving Tan parts weren't 'flush' with each other. At first I thought it might just be a trick of the light as I was building under strong spotlights shining directly from above which I thought might have been casting shadows and fooling my eyes. I believe however that it's more than that.
Looking closely at the Tan brick below, I reckon that the plastic forming the sides of the brick denoted by the numbers 1 and 2 in the picture (click to enlarge) is thicker than the plastic forming the sides of the brick denoted by the numbers 3 and 4. I don't have a micrometer, but my distinctly amateurish attempts at measuring the thickness of the plastic would tend to bear out my suspicions. Furthermore, this seems to be the case for all the Tan bricks I examined, and would explain the appearance of ridges or overhangs when the Tan bricks are stacked on top of plates.
Has anyone else noticed this, either with this set or with Tan bricks in other sets ? Or am I imagining it ?! It thankfully doesn't detract from the finished model, but it's noticeable and I think a little unsightly close up. Let me know.
Anyway, the final verdict ? Notwithstanding the possible quality issues highlighted above, this is a magnificent model, and if you can afford it, buy it !