Today I want to share the story of my biggest hobby, which fascinates me since childhood since 1998, when I first watched the famous film by James Cameron “Titanic”. At the age of 8, I was so deeply impressed by what I saw that I instantly became “Titanic addicted”. I began to collect everything that directly or indirectly related to this story: newspaper and magazine clippings, books, audio and video tapes, discs, T-shirts, playing cards, notebooks and pens, wrappers from chocolates and chewing gum, even begged my parents for puzzles with the image of the Titanic. And, of course, I always dreamed of my own model of the sensational ship. Later, in my student years, I got ready and ordered a set of the Titanic model in 1/400 scale, which was supposed to be 77 centimeters long. I began to collect it with inspiration, but at that time did not have the necessary tools and skills, so I decided to postpone the work until better times.
12 years have passed. Much has changed dramatically, I have lived in Moscow by that time already, but my love for the history of the Titanic has never ended up. During this time I became practically a real “Titanicist” – scrupulously studying the drawings of the ship, I thoroughly learned its design; watching long hours of video about the film, now I know how every second was filmed in the sensational film, all its secrets and movie bloopers (albeit a few). In 2014 the foreign Titanic exhibition visited the capital, where I was lucky to work for a while.
In 2020, after self-isolation, when everything was done, musical inspiration was exhausted, and all the new movies were watched, I remembered a model that had been dusting for many years in a box in the attic. During my next visit to Voronezh, I took it with myself and decided to complete the build. While working I learned that a year earlier the Chinese company Trumpeter released a new model of the Titanic of unprecedented dimensions – at a scale of 1/200 in length it was supposed to be 137 centimeters! Having finished the old model, I firmly decided that after so many years of the Titanic research, I simply must build this model. It took three months to prepare the materials – I had to order two sets of Trumpeter parts at once in order to save my nerves in case of an unsuccessful assembly. And later I thanked myself many times for that – I always had spare parts from the second kit. It turned out that in addition to the basic set, third-party firms released a huge number of additional parts that increased the detail, quality and similarity of the model of the Titanic to its real prototype. Of course, I could not pass by the temptation to assemble the perfect ship. I ordered a premium set from Pontos, which included brass propellers, masts and other elements of the ship’s devices, 13 photo-etched sheets with the finest details and a set of wooden decks for more authenticity. However, my inner perfectionism made me purchase decks from a third-party company Scaledecks, the detail and quality of which were highly appreciated by professional modelers. Of course, any hobby requires financial investment. And buying a professional kit to create a museum-quality model was tantamount to buying a powerful computer. It cost me countless amounts of acrylic paint used in painting, airbrush cleaner, professional cutters for cutting parts from sprues, sandpaper, scalpels, clamps, hundreds of cotton swabs and kilometers of masking tape.
Building and painting lasted almost without stopping for six months. During this time, I have done a colossal work on a new study of the ship – just as time does not stand still, so new facts appear, indicating a more accurate color palette of the outer coloring of the ship. Now it is already known for certain that the ship in Cameron’s film, no matter how the director tried to follow the facts, is far from historical accuracy, primarily in terms of the characteristics of the color in which its prototype was painted. Also, modern researchers are inclined to the version that on the Titanic, unlike her sister Olympic, a central propeller with three blades was installed in the maiden voyage (in the film it is four-bladed). In pursuit of prestige and speed, shipping companies of the early 20th century were looking for ways to increase the speed of their ships. So on the Titanic the White Star Line company decided to install a three-blade propeller as an experiment, which, according to the research of those times, would increase the speed. Therefore, for professionals my model looks a little different and more accurate than it was presented in the James Cameron film.
Separately, it is worth highlighting my adventures with the search for suitable threads for rigging, because they were not provided in the factory kit. As it turned out, the difficulty was the lack of suitable materials in Russian stores. Ideally, I would need an elastic thread with a cross section of 0.25 mm or less to match the scale and to avoid further problems with sagging or excessive tension. The group for modelers on Facebook recommended the EZ Line thread, which is sold primarily in the US and occasionally imported to Europe. Without waiting for one order from Germany, I had to make a second one from America. And when both were already considered lost somewhere halfway through, unexpectedly I received the first order after two and a half months of waiting. At the same time, already in Moscow, I purchased two threads with a cross section of 0.02 and 0.03 mm (the thickness of a human hair is approx. 0.05 mm) for better detailing of the smallest ropes on the model.
I wanted to avoid the atmosphere of fatality and the ill-starred fate of the ship, which led to her death, so I decided to add a garland of brightly colored parade flags, which were raised on the real Titanic only once – on April 4, 1912, during anchorage in the port of Southampton. A colorful ribbon with signal pennants added completeness and a festive atmosphere that actually hovered over the ship, which was preparing for her first transatlantic voyage and was a symbol of unshakable human progress and a challenge to nature and the elements.
The final touch in the work was a specially ordered showcase made of wood and plexiglass (150*30*45 cm) according to the verified dimensions, and inside were added aluminum plates with the name and technical characteristics of the ship in English and Russian.