Monthly Archives: January 2012

TITANIC 1912-2012

FOR THOSE, like me, fascinated by the tragic  Titanic story , and captivated by a lost  golden age of ocean liners,this year’s centenary will bring a great deal of renewed public  interest in the wake of many planned events , new publications,and resulting media coverage. The recent sale of recovered items from the wreck, something I personally abhor; the major new Belfast attraction;a new TV drama from the creators of Downton Abbey, and James Cameron’s reboot of his excellent 1998 movie, remastered  and recalibrated in 3D, are just the tip of  the iceberg…For modellers there will  doubtless be plenty of special editions, and  at least  two brand new kits are  expected:hard to believe that the first model kit appeared way back in 1976. Entex‘s pioneering 1:350 scale model has appeared in many guises ever since ,and  is still available under the Minicraft label.

I made a detailed waterline version when the kit was first released, describing the whole process in  three Scale Models editions:August, September, and October 1976. Here’s the cover of the first  issue, along with  images of the model taken a few years later when I replaced some of the thicker rigging and added a few extra details. All this of course was in the days when photo-etched detail sets for ships were virtually non-existant,and  reference material was fairly patchy ,and remained so until 1985 when Dr. Robert Ballard’s team located and filmed the wreck for the first time.After which, the floodgates well and truly opened…

 

 

 

 

 

THE Winter 1986 edition of Sea Classic International ran a number of exclusive stories on the Titanic,including an early account of the first Ballard expeditions to the wreck site. From the many seabed photos-and we were one of the first UK magazines to feature these-I made a model of the bow section to illustrate the articles. It was the front end of the  Entex kit suitably cut about and distressed in accordance with the wreck images. The  collapsed rear end was  detailed with heaps of microstrip,rod,etc., the whole lot painted in shades of rust. Similar models have been created since, notably by Fox special effects crews for James Cameron’s movie, but we led the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN 1998,following the release of the movie, I returned to the Entex Titanic, armed with stacks of new reference material and detailed Robert Hahn plans, to produce a ‘definitive’ version.[The original ,first model having been sold to a collector].I had great intentions of a full Southampton dock diorama and ,thanks to a lot of research, and visits to Southampton, obtained original  plans of the terminal buildings, passenger boarding gantries, the Red Funnel tugs, and a plan of the dock itself supported by measuring the actual quayside. The crane tracks are still there, as are the bollards seen in the 1912 photos. I was unable to find drawings for the cranes, and this  forced me to lower my sights.

In the event, other priorities compelled me to abandon the project but I had made a start on the ship itself. The hull was cut down,and refitted with all new decks cut from buff plastic sheet suitably scored and painted. Other decks were also replaced so as to provide a more scale appearance and new deck houses scratched from thin white polycard.As well as acquiring various Gold Medal Models photo-etch details sets, I designed some of my own which were privately produced for me by Fotocut in the USA-see photo above. Other aftermarket items were gathered for the model and await a time to come when I can summon the enthusiasm to pick up where I left off. I will probably content myself with the ship being eased out by tugs,leaving the dockside to the imagination. Here are four photos showing the reworked parts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The funnels were assembled and then all the heavy rivet detail sanded off. The plan was to re-skin these with embossed 5 thou. card which would also cover up the overscale support stay location holes. As a test, I also made up an experimental  section of deck using a combination of refined kit parts, plastic sheet, GMM PE parts and Bruce Beveridge decals. See below…

 

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