on 23 January 2014
When i first bought this kit i was very excited due to the interesting subject matter of the french navy an the beautiful french design with gold and wood. The focus is on the Téméraire class, french 3rd rate ship of the line conceived under the reign of Louis xvi. These class of ship were mass produced and were the darlings of the british fleet if captured. They took part in trafalgar, in fact HMS Victory started her fist shots at a Téméraire class ship, her side guns on its stern galleries killing 170 men. This particular ship had a short life of only ten years sinking in a storm due to iron nails corroding against the copper sheathing as france was short on copper. The nails used corrode and th plates used to fall off. Seemed worth the money to me. You get a huge top opening box with two hull halves, 3 sail sheets and at a guess, 10 sprews of parts, chain, rope, flags and instructions. The details of this ship have been beautifully re-created in this kit and in 863 parts. That is where the good ends.
This kit has the worst instructions i have ever seen in a model kit box. You get 6 pages for 863 parts and is missing essential assembly direction. The cannons are not shown on the decks. You see one assembly of one cannon illustrated to the side and nothing demonstrated on the decks themselves. The roof assembly over the wings of the officers quarters are not shown. You would need a crystal ball for most of the assembly which is why you will have to hit the net for example builds.
The hull and detailing are all on two pages!!
the parts are good quality but are have little flexibility about them and are prone to cracking under pressure which is a huge issue with this kit because none of the large sections fit and require pressure. The hull halves have no symmetry when fitted as the three markers on the keel dont actually join. the top gun deck is too short on the port side causing more fitting issues and the deck itself is too long. The decks do not join the hull on the starboard side because the hull is warped. The officers galleries assemble poorly leaving a gap between the base and hull. All this is not helped by the poor assembly instructions. Three words to note, filler, filler, filler!!!!!
There also seems to serious overkill on the parts and in my view poorly thought out. For example, the cannons and there cradles are in three parts for each cannon??? the base, walls and cannon. Revell and airfix have the cradle in one assembly. This tripled the assembly time, however i like the way you get all the cannons in full unlike the fore named manufacturers.The sails are the usual pollyform type but you get all of them which is unusual for a model kit The detail is beautiful though with no flash but does have injection marks. The windows a very well done and the balcony is stunning especially when painted in gold.
Other fitting issues which you come across is fitting two gun decks with cannons into the two hull halves which heller advise which is near impossible and had to force the decks in the assembled hull which i found difficult due to no flexibility in the plastic. The cannons dont all sit right on the cradles as they all have inconsistant molding. The beautiful figure head does not join correctly on the ship either.
conclusion: This is the worst model kit i have ever attempted to build. In typical french style, all fur coat and no nickers im afraid and i have to say easily worse than airfix victory 1:180 for assembly but with six times the parts and six times the trouble.
I do love the attention to detail with this kit and the subject but if i had known it would be this much trouble to build i would not have bought it. It is certainly not worth the money asked for here. If you do buy it, best of luck.
pros: beautiful detail, interesting subject matter.
cons: most parts do not fit properly, instructions are terrible, over priced, over kill on assembly detail.