La Salamandre, 1752. CAFMODEL. 1/48 scale

ADC

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#1
Recently bought the CAFMODEL La Salamandre bomb ketch 2.0 kit from Max at ZHL. Very expensive and ambitious kit perhaps as close as a kit gets to high end scratch build aesthetics and completeness of detail. I bought this because it closely follows the outstanding ANCRE Boudroit/Berti monographe and plans for the build and I wanted to build a full frame kit in my kitchen as I don’t have workshop access at home anymore and this kit can be completed with a basic tool set. I was also attracted by the unique details of these unusually robust ships.

Kit comes in two parts which are usually sold seperate. First part is building cradle and basic hull structure. Second part is full interior fit out, box wood carvings, fittings and rigging. Also includes mini kits for longboat, cutter and barrels. This is a cottage industry style product and there is no fancy packaging. It appears this kit has gone through several revisions over the past few years with upgrades and refinements which may not be reflected in documentation and on past buildings logs on the net. The maker Cao has said he continuously revises his kits and says his next kit will always be the best one. I am aware of already 3 or 4 different building cradle revisions from the Russian and Chinese build logs I have seen.

This kit can be built in several ways as a complete ship, admiralty and open admiralty view or full rigged open admiralty. Strangely there is only one enormous sheet plan over 3 metres wide and a 1/1 rib/keel template sheet over 4 metres wide which I have started cutting up. There are two basic instruction books with some step by step diagrams and very little if any useful instructions written in Chinese with some English. This is a kit for experienced builders and who can work off plans for sure. This being the higher grade B level it has mostly nicely matched wood. All components appear nicely laser cut. There are many photo etched parts. Cast fittings are good but require finishing. Carvings should turn out excellent after cleaning up. I will replace the blocks and some other rigging parts as they are just ordinary quality and seem an afterthought given the high detail from the rest of the kit and will not do the build justice. This kit appears faithful and mostly accurate to the ANCRE monographe of La Salamandre in which there are 37 highly detailed plates to make the model and will complement this kit greatly. Variations from the kit to the ANCRE plans have been reported. I will try to build the ship following these plans. Will take me a long time no doubt and there will be frustrations and challenges.

After studying the kilt for a couple of weeks I have now completed the building cradle. Relatively straight forward quick job and not as complicated as Brian’s Enterprise cradle from the same maker. Parts are accurately cut but need some filing and cleaning up to fit. I have seen other cradles on the net with extra reinforcements so I added some just in case.
Is this kit good value for money and will it deliver on its promises? On early impressions its not perfect but has enormous potential to make a great model. Time will tell.
Below are links to some photo build logs on the net.
https://plus.google.com/photos/105206969767206068120/albums/6044896497804276801
https://plus.google.com/photos/105206969767206068120/albums/5960242700787525729

2F2464B6-4F88-4222-9DF9-F1D73E3F1E75.jpeg FF920557-461D-436E-B03A-B23012EBCC8D.jpeg 112BD4B7-8AB3-444B-AD51-49ACBB7FBFF8.jpeg 79E330CE-455A-4406-9758-E2331BE2E2C2.jpeg 18A0FDA9-C5B1-4144-8475-903B16AF1BB9.jpeg A073FCF8-06DC-415A-A282-67989F0AFACE.jpeg 8CE22B45-CBC4-4D8D-8D9E-E6A6239D0925.jpeg E176CC57-7CCA-42BA-9BC3-4974493DC6D0.jpeg 1FF9B933-A6A4-44A9-96C9-51EADF7D99B0.jpeg
 
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janos

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#2
Looking forward to seing your advance!
What is your first impression about accuracy? Is the Ancre book part of the kit? What was the price of it?
Janos
 

ADC

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#3
Looking forward to seing your advance!
What is your first impression about accuracy? Is the Ancre book part of the kit? What was the price of it?
Janos
On first impressions there are variations and I need more study to articulate them but it appears possible to build the ship faithfully to the monographe plans. Price was better than seen on Ebay ATM. I bought the ANCRE book separately from the publisher in France.
 
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Uwek

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#4
Hallo Paul,
Good to see that you started already your build of the La Salamandre.
I am happy to know that you will be some weeks in front, so I am able to learn, how to do.......
...... today I have also ordered the kit from Max
 

ADC

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#7
Thanks very much all for your encouraging comments. Will post further update in a couple of weeks when I get some decent progress and more study done.
Here are a few casual comparison photos of the Kit and ANCRE plans. The ANCRE plans are far more detailed and complete in every aspect of construction and will be a huge benefit to the build.

DB9B4570-FE6D-45C1-A61E-D0B566D99749.jpeg 01884CA1-5F06-4842-A19A-AE97352ACBF0.jpeg EFBD5DED-AB1F-43E2-A5DA-D35AF36F0804.jpeg 210E5F4F-6B3C-45A0-AD74-C31BFA6FCBCC.jpeg F70B3D4A-DAE2-4446-AA70-C501EB0CFCFB.jpeg F3D0B83F-B7A0-4289-9415-72F0BCB3954A.jpeg
 
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Brian077

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#8
Looks like the instructions are the same as my Enterprise model.
Its the same kit manufacturer and most of the text is in Chinese, but its really the diagrams that matter to an experienced model ship builder.
 

Uwek

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#9
I have also the planset from Jean Boudriot of the bomb ketch and plan to use this one to adjust the model partly to fit more to the „original“.
If I compare now your photos of the plans, comparing the ancre plan with the Chinese, there are indeed differences visible. So it is definitely not a pure copy, they adjusted the kit, maybe or especially because of the needs of a kit.......many thanks to show the plans. Very interesting details......
BTW: please do not wait „weeks“ for the next update.....it would be interesting also to see the small steps in between.
 

Brian077

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#10
Yes its all very interesting this accusation of piracy talk from the other forum. I found the same thing when I purchased the Ancre book and plans and compared it to the ZHL drawings. There were differences in many aspects of the rigging and deck fittings from Ancre to the kit, so hardy a direct copy.
 

ADC

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#11
Yes its all very interesting this accusation of piracy talk from the other forum. I found the same thing when I purchased the Ancre book and plans and compared it to the ZHL drawings. There were differences in many aspects of the rigging and deck fittings from Ancre to the kit, so hardy a direct copy.
I am sure ANCRE has done good business since the Chinese released the Le Requin, Belle and Salamandre kits. They will sell more books and they are not cheap either. The maker of these kits even recommends builders to get these books if they wish to further develop their models.
 

ADC

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#13
I have also the planset from Jean Boudriot of the bomb ketch and plan to use this one to adjust the model partly to fit more to the „original“.
If I compare now your photos of the plans, comparing the ancre plan with the Chinese, there are indeed differences visible. So it is definitely not a pure copy, they adjusted the kit, maybe or especially because of the needs of a kit.......many thanks to show the plans. Very interesting details......
BTW: please do not wait „weeks“ for the next update.....it would be interesting also to see the small steps in between.
I haven’t built a full frame kit before so I will be taking my time. You may get ahead of me I suspect. I have done a lot of research into the documented building logs. For starters there will be some particularly difficult sections in shaping the bow timbers and around frame 45 of the transom area which will be critical. I am still going over the early stages of the build in my head. I also notice the cannons and mortars have now been upgraded to be more correct to the Ancre plans.
 
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zoly99sask

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#14
Yes its all very interesting this accusation of piracy talk from the other forum. I found the same thing when I purchased the Ancre book and plans and compared it to the ZHL drawings. There were differences in many aspects of the rigging and deck fittings from Ancre to the kit, so hardy a direct copy.
Lurkers ;) are stating in a far east forum that this is an Ancre copy without any evidence ,like sending somebody in jail without any proof and judge and attorney defence,the daycare is still open in DPK??
 

Aginvicta

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#17
I'll be watching this build, I find it amazing the amount of parts and detail in these "new" style kits, you are building a smaller version of the real thing, the same way the real ones were built.
Cheers Andy
 

ADC

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#19
I have made some progress so far. Completed the beak head/stem and glued all the keel elements together. Had a reality check also. My former 20/20 vision is now gone and struggled a little at first. Had trouble seeing things and getting some joints right. A pair of reading glasses and a table lamp seems to have fixed the problem.

Another hiccup at first. One of the 3 sheets with the keel, stem and beak head components was slightly thinner by just over 1mm. Needed a bit of juggling to get parts right. Fortunately the worst was around the beak head pieces where on the ANCRE plans shows a taper. Some extra grinding to add the taper corrected the issue. The tapered beak head is not shown in the the kit plans but appears in some build log models.

The keel set up is radically different from previous versions and the rabbet line is along the logitutional keel pieces joint line. So it just a matter of easy grinding the rabbet before glueing the two halfs together. I ground the longer keel sections and cut out the stem and beak head rabbet due to the mis-sized parts and having to pre assemble. There are removable tabs on the keel to slot into the building cradle. Before I put the keel together I will complete the ribs which should take awhile.
I am very pleased to have the ANCRE plans as they show vastly more details than the kit plans. Below is the keel components over the ANCRE plan. They correspond very nicely with only slight variations. Far better than the kit plans.

328B7AD1-E9B9-493F-B396-7AF79B757668.jpeg A68BB2DD-5CEA-45F1-BA06-AD4EC7B394A1.jpeg
 
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