This guide is for the experienced and expert modeler inclined to correct the inaccuracies and add the enhancements to the 1/350 scale Minicraft kit that are befitting the legend of this ship. I've included general information on this page and detailed fixes are broken out in sub-pages and are organized around the construction steps in the instruction manual for easier application. The new format also makes for easier printout.
Read through all the material BEFORE you build. Some of the fixes require you make profound decisions before you start.
At this level of detail, you need the following books at a minimum to have a reasonable photo sampling of the ship. Odd sources, postcards, and Olympic photos are helpful for cross referencing and small detail.
Eaton and Haas "Titanic: Triumph and tragedy"
- loads of pictures, not great quality
EE O'Donnell's "Last Days of the Titanic" - top quality prints of the Father Browne photos.
Dr. Robert Ballard's "The Discovery of the Titanic" - The wreck indicates additional detail.
Lynch and Marschall's "Titanic, An Illustrated History" - More good pictures and the foldout cut-away.
Leo Marriott's "Titanic" - Mostly Olympic but the photo quality is outstanding!
Hyslop, Forsyth, Jemima "Titanic Voices" - new, or old pictures cropped different to show more detail.
Susan Wels "Legacy of the World's Greatest Oceanliner" - large clear pictures and good deck plans.
Harland & Wolff's "Rigging Plan" - A treasure chest of detail and precise locations.
Tom McCluskie's "Anatomy of the Titanic" - Loads of technical material and new pictures.
Tom McCluskie's "Titanic & Her Sisters Olympic and Brittanic" - Every picture there is!
A note about Ken Marschall's paintings - he probably has the largest collection of photos in the world, many unpublished or on obscure postcards. If he doesn't know for sure, he will guess. He continues to learn and newer paintings have corrections over older ones. A given painting may not be right in a small detail, but in the absence of other photographic proof, it's the next best thing.
You'll find the fold-out mosaic from either Dr. Ballard's book "The Discovery of the Titanic" or the Oct. '87 National Geographic very helpful.
(Ya gotta know the nautical jargon to talk to other Titanic buffs.)
Item refers to a number
on my diagrams and the fix I describe.
Step refers to a construction step in the instruction manual for the kit.
Fore = 'in front of' or the forward part of the ship.
Aft = 'behind' or the back part of the ship.
Port = left
Starboard = right
Superstructure is the high part in the middle top of the ship.
Well decks are the two sunken decks fore and aft of the superstructure.
Forecastle is the raised deck at the forward tip of the ship, pronounced "folk sel".
Poop deck is the raised deck at the back of the ship.
"This guy needs to get a life!" is the supreme compliment a modeler gets who applies all of the fixes listed and more!
* General review of the kit
* General tips
* The Gold Medal Photo etched parts
* Fixes and enhancements
* Modeling links
The Minicraft kit has a massive amount of detailing. It's also a very old kit, the molds having gone through several owners. The Minicraft people tell me the molds have only been maintained, never updated or corrected. The molds will go to China for maintenance and future production but no fixes of inaccuracies are planned.
There are a number of poor fits. Test fit the superstructure to the hull several times and adjust the tabs on the hull. Test fit the decks in combination several times. You'll still need filler. Be prepared for much filing and sanding of the mold lines on all the small parts. Test fit everything! Hint: Keep blunt objects like hammers and baseball bats out of easy reach of your work area!
There are too many of a few parts (like bollards, but you need the spares), and too few of the correct vents. There are other extra cowl vents of different sizes you end up using in the end game.
Use clear acetate cut from document protectors and cement these to the backside of all windows (after painting). When the light hits it just right, you can see the glint off the glass and it gives the model some life.
Try using fine mono-filament fish line instead of thread. It doesn't droop with the humidity. Also paint the rigging mid or dark gray instead of black. It produces a better effect in scale.
Funnel color - The Minicraft kit provides a formula for mixing the correct color for the funnels. This is useful for the Revell kit. Mix 1 drop red, 2 drops natural wood, 11 drops yellow and 25 drops white. Use multiples for a little extra paint. This formula works well.
The Gold Medal parts make for a MUCH finer and more pristine model. I highly recommend them. Just know that small photo-etched parts take special skill to use them. Super glue, CA glue, or similar products sold at hobby stores have a science of their own when using these parts.
Special thanks to Loren Perry at Gold Medal, he's revised his parts and issued new sets, partly in response to new info seen here, and mainly because he wants to see Titanic done right.
350-15 Titanic/Lusitania Detail Set - 1/350 scale, includes antenna spreaders, crane booms and racks, life boat safety lines, and about 50 deck chairs.
A new edition of this set includes a ninth crane boom support, a slightly smaller (and more correctly sized) ship's wheel, corrected docking bridge supports and incorporation of the forward well deck gate, special crane platform rails, and the 46 benches will eliminate the need for the separate bench set. The posts for the railings have been modified for correct spacing. New price (it's twice as big now) $20.00.
350-3 Merchant Ship Set - Titanic/Lusitania - Handrails, rat lines, and exterior stairs and ladders. Some of the rails are peculiar to Titanic or Lusitania. $36
350-16 Ocean Liner figures - 218 figures including musicians. $10
Limited edition "Benches" set - The benches provide 46 two-piece benches with simulated wrought-iron ends and see-through slats for the seat backs and bottoms. $5
Limited edition "Skylights" set The skylight set provides two replacement tops for the forward
and aft First-Class skylights, skylight covers (with portholes) for the
engine room casing and three smaller skylights for the crew's galley, wireless
office, and officer's washroom. Added bonuses in this set are the small
gate for the forward well deck stairway, special short 1-bar rails for the
electric crane platforms, and simulated chain-and-turn buckle tie-downs
Neither limited edition set comes with an instruction sheet, but all parts are labeled for easy identification. They can only be ordered direct from Gold Medal.
Check with hobby stores or mail checks or money orders to Gold Medal Models, Route 2, Box 3104, Lopez Washington, 98261, USA.
As a UK source and for an extensive source of other ocean liner models try White Ensign Models. They do international credit card orders.
If you use the photo etched people, glob the paint on thick to give them some dimension. Bend and shape them BEFORE you paint them. They are the right shape for period dress.
Updates since 2 November, 1998 by step number from the
instruction manual in the guide:
Updates since 13 February, 1999
5A More on rigging sizes
11F Boat deck troughs
16E Funnel color
49-51 Focsel/Poop railings
12B Addition posts on A-deck
14B Skid lights
20 #3 funnel deckhouse
9A/B/C - A-deck upgrades
20A/B #3 Funnel house
21E aft staircase cover
15H Vents and duct
46B Stern running light
9H A-deck details
45Q Docking bridge stair mods
2J Stern portholes
60 46 star US flag
23H Smoke room portholes
More Titanic modeling discussion, and a the source for some of the fixes found here, can be see at The Original Titanic Modeling Home Page. Look for Duane Fowler's decal set of the major signs on the ship.
If you are a modeler in need of links to the model building world, you'll enjoy The Modeler's Home Page!
Thanks to Bob Read, Loren Perry, Mike and Steve Pell, Bruce Beveridge, KC, Matt Hermans, Phil Hinds, David Cotgreave, and others for new details.