Monday, April 15th, 1912 – While on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, New York, the White Star ocean liner RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean as a result of striking an iceberg. The tragedy resulted in the loss of 1,517 lives and forever impacted the Ocean liner industry. Billed as the largest passenger ship in the world [at the time], the Olympic-class Titanic was referred to as “unsinkable” due to its compartmented sections and watertight doors. Design flaws, however, rendered these features useless. During the night of April 14th, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg along her starboard side, causing the rivets which held her steel hull plates to break. This opened the hull along multiple compartments, something the designers had not foreseen. This led to the sinking of the Titanic which, combined with a lack of enough lifeboats and hording of lifeboats by the “upper class” passengers, remains one of history’s deadliest civilian maritime disasters.
As we find ourselves only a month away from the centennial of this event, the modeling community has seen a surge of kit releases and re-releases, as well as new reference material and aftermarket parts. Most of the releases have been offered as anniversary editions, and have included extra material such as references, reproduction pamphlets, and other items. But perhaps the top of all of these releases is the Centenary Anniversary Edition from Academy.
As part of the anniversary, Academy has re-released its 1/400 scale RMS Titanic. This model had already been heralded as one of, if not the, best Titanic kit ever released. With crisp detail and accurately molded features, it has been a favorite of modelers, collectors, and museums alike. (Note – it is the model kit of choice by the RMS Titanic Museum). As part of the centennial edition, Academy has extensively spruced up the kit. The kit is released as both a basic kit (plastic only) and the Anniversary Edition.
The anniversary edition comes in a large box featuring a beautiful painting of the Titanic at dock. The box top is devoid of nearly all writing, except for the words RMS Titanic Centenary Anniversary Edition. The Academy logo, and all other normal box info, is on the sides of the box. This makes the box art perfect for framing and, trust me, it is worth it. The box sides show the model in both unfinished and finished states. The unfinished model shows off all of the extras. However, when you first open the shipping box, you will not see the actual model box. Instead, Academy has included a “box” that the model box slides into. This box is a simple, stylized black with light grey lettering in the middle. I felt this was a nice touch for a memorial edition. Once opened, the box is packed. The kit itself comes on 16 sprues of parts, molded in four colors, plus a gold-plated and a clear sprue. The color molding appears to have been done to help with paint coverage later. The plated sprue includes two very nice nameplates for the included display base. The molding is very well done, with no flash and no ejector marks. Another nice feature is that the hull is molded as a single “tub” with excellent detail for the steel plates and rivets. Also included with this edition is a very nice, very thin, laser-cut wood deck veneer. The color and grain are great for the scale. Academy has also included two frets of photo-etched parts. One fret includes details like ladders and the promenade benches. The other fret, which has been pre-primed in a light grey, includes railing, stairs, and other details which would mostly be white on the model (hence the pre-primed color). Also included with the kit is a section of scale anchor chain, a turned brass flag pole, decals, scale rigging thread, and a special set of decals featuring raised, gold plated letters for the ship’s name and port.
The instructions for the kit are very well done, and two large sheets cover the wood deck and PE details. A small booklet is included with the kit as well. The first half of the booklet covers the history of the Titanic and includes various black & white photos. The second half of the book includes notes and photos from the construction of the box art model, which now resides at the RMS Titanic Museum. This is a nice feature, as it includes the builder’s notes on paints, masking, assembly, PE, and finishing of the model. To round out the box contents, a small pre-printed display plaque (the same one that was shown with the test model at various model and toy shows) is included for show displays and features the model information. Lastly, Academy has included a small puzzle featuring the box art. As with the box top, the puzzle is perfect for framing.
As with any Academy product, this is an excellent model and, with the included extra detail, you simply cannot argue that Academy has gone above and beyond in creating the perfect anniversary edition for the Titanic. This kit receives my highest recommendation and I offer my utmost sincere gratitude as a Titanic buff to Academy for creating such a fine kit, to MRC for providing this review sample, and to IPMS/USA for allowing me the privilege to review it. I cannot wait to get started and look forward to bringing you part two of this review in the near future. Happy modeling!