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Academy 1/400 scale RMS Titanic

Kit: No. 1458
Scale: 1/400
Manufacturer: Academy, distributed by MRC, P.O. Box 6312, Edison, NJ 08818-6312, phone 732-225-2100
Price: $49
Comments: Injection molded, 427 parts, decals.

You probably already know more than you thought possible about the legendary luxury liner RMS Titanic. It was the biggest and most luxuriously appointed ship of its time. With a length of 883' and a beam of 93', it was roughly equivalent to an Iowa-class battleship.

One of its many design innovations was its 16 watertight doors, which could keep Titanic afloat if any two compartments were flooded. The April 14, 1912, collision with an iceberg scraped 300' of the side, popping rivets and opening a long, narrow, 12-square-foot hole (less than the area of your front door) that flooded more than two compartments.

Academy's Titanic is injection molded in 427 white, black, tan, clear, and brass-plated parts. Molding detail is crisp, with doors and external light fixtures molded in; the decks even have wood grain! Inside, the large rooms on each deck are labeled with raised letters - a nice touch helping the modeler get a feel for the layout of the ship.

The hull is molded as a single piece, and some parts are too thick for the scale. Extras include preformed styrene rails, cloth-like flags, and string for the rigging. Decals provide ship names in white and gold.

The 20-page, 43-step instruction booklet is illustrated with easy-to-follow line drawings and part numbers. Several photos of the finished kit at critical steps were particularly helpful. A four-view photograph of the finished kit aids painting. There were a few mistakes, most corrected by an errata sheet. However, the rails (D6, 7) in step 26 should be mounted opposite what is indicated.

I built according to the instructions, leaving off the vents, funnels, rails, and other small parts until after painting. In step 32, the instructions would have you glue the decks to each other and then attach the hull sides. It was easier to do the opposite; first attach the upper hull sides (A1, 2) to the main hull, then slip the decks into place as they are finished.

Be careful - the stacks are not interchangeable, so keep track of them. The tallest is forward, the shortest aft. I attached some of the steam pipes to the stacks and allowed the bottoms to hang below the edge of the stack. Sanding them flush allowed them to fit perfectly on the deck roofs.

The boat deck needed a little filler where it mated to the outer bulkheads, but the rest of the assemblies fit well.

I used 2-pound fishing line for the rigging. The rigging is installed through many assembly steps, which was a blessing and a curse. It provided for strong anchoring, but the lines got in the way of further assembly. I coiled and taped many lines to the deck to keep them out of the way. When the model is nearly finished, it's easy to attach the loose ends.

I used Polly Scale and Tamiya paints on my Titanic. I didn't add the gold-colored cheat line between the white and black, but plan to obtain gold stripe decal for that.

Academy's new Titanic is more accurate than previous Titanic kits. I checked it against information on two web sites: the official Titanic scale modeling page: www.titanic-model.com and modeler's guide: www.flash.net/~rfm/MODELING/guide.html.

I have no reservations recommending the kit to builders who can handle lots of parts and rigging. I spent 35 hours on mine.

- Phil Kirchmeier

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