The construction of the model

By Morten Jensen  (August 2006)

 Since the first time I saw the amazing painting of the wreck by Ken Marshall, I have always wanted to make a model of this stunning ship that was taken from the surface too soon. This is a 1/350 scale model mostly based on that painting. 

 Compared to the Titanic, the Britannic is in much better shape for several reasons but there are not many photos to base the model on. In order to find sufficient information one has to look at the available pictures and read whatever comes across. Ken’s painting was a great help. As you can see, this is not an impossible project, but requires a lot of research and hours of work. One will also need several products in order to get all the parts required:

One Minicraft 1/350 Titanic model.

One PE-set of railings, GMM or TMW.

One PE detailing-set, TMW.

One PE Britannic conversion-set from Oceanliner-models.

One really patient builder and some spare-time…


Stage 1 – Demolition

 At the very beginning, I had to remove from the Titanic model all the structural details that Britannic did not have. These details were specific vents, the davits, some decks, hatches, and a lot more. The model should be very clean before the next stage. Even structures that are present on the actual wreck needed to be removed from the model because they needed to be modified (funnels, masts, cranes ecc).


Stage 2 – Decks, roofs and bulkheads

 Since this is a wreck model and is covered by marine growth, I did not care about the surface of the new decks, roofs and bulkheads. I used 0,5mm sheet styrene and cardboard mostly. If this was going to be a HMHS or a RMS version, I would use wooden veneer or v-shaped styrene for the decks.

 On this model the construction of the cover over the aft well-deck was an easy task. I cut a piece of cardboard and shaped it in order to fit between the bulkheads of the aft well-deck. The rear part of the B-deck and the poop where now connected. Old and new structures were added on top of the new decks. The PE brass hull side was then glued on the port side of the hull with CA-glue. I used only a half set of parts since the wreck is lying on the starboard side.


Stage 3 – The broken bow

 On the real wreck the bow section is almost torn off the rest of the ship. Since this was the main damage, it needed to be done correctly in order to receive a good impression from the model.

 First, I removed the bow section. Almost nothing of the original hull was removed, except from a small part of the plating in some places in order to allow a different bending of the new shell plating. Remember that the bow is only broken, not blown into pieces. The different decks inside the ship were then added and “scrapped” at the ends to make them look like they have been torn apart from each other.

 If you look at the bow section, it can be seen that the shell plating is bended and twisted from its original shape. These deformations appear very similar to waves. I thought about several methods to make this look nice and in the end  I came across the following solution. First, I covered the bow with normal model plaster to get a nice mould of the plating. 

 Then I covered the internal surface of this mould with “Woodland Latex Rubber”. Only four layers where added, since I wanted a  very thin plating.

 When it became dry, I removed it from the plaster mould and glued it on the bow. I only glued it in the aft end so I could bend and shape the rubber. The result looks just like the real thing with the “waves” in the plating! The gaps and joints were not visible after they were covered with growth.

 The structural deformations near the big opening and the funnel casings were made using aluminium foil. I glued foil around the entire edge,cut it and then bended it into shape with a pair of scissors and tweezers.


Stage 4 – The lifeboat arrangement

 Some of Britannic’s lifeboats where stacked on structures located near the gantry davits on the boat deck. These structures were not that hard to build. I cut them out from 0,5 mm styrene parts, taken from the plans for the PE-sets. They were in 1/350 scale, so I could use them as a guide.

 The davits on the boat deck were removed, and the old tracks where filled with filler. The davits were placed on their new locations. The new gantry davits are from the PE-set. I ran out of davits during the construction, so I had to make two new ones. It was easier to do the two davits on the seabed, since there are covered with a lot of growth.


Stage 5 – The superstructure

 The sides of the superstructure are from the PE-set. The original A-Deck sides were removed and the new ones were added in their place. The sides of B-Deck and C-Deck were just glued over the originals. No special trick here.


Stage 6 – The Bridge

 Britannic’s bridge is much like Titanic’s. The front is gone, but both bulkheads are remaining. The wing cabs are also in good shape. The front part and the roof were removed with a “Dremel” tool as the bow and the foundation for the wheelhouse were sanded. I then added a new wooden foundation. This should look much like the foundation on Titanic, where only the wood has remained. Some instruments were also added, like the telemotor and a telegraph. The ends of the bulkheads on the deckhouse were covered with foil in order to look a bit twisted.


Stage 7 – The marine growth

 The entire ship and the area around it are now covered with different types of marine growth. For the model I used “Woodland Scenics Dirt”, which I normally use for railroad models. The ship was sprayed with spray paint and the dirt was strewed over it. It was then sprayed again with paint, so the dirt could set.


Stage 8 – The seabed

 The seabed was made using different types of sand placed on top of a wooden plate (pine). Different sand with different colours was first added and then sprayed with a glue-water mix. I used one piece of PVAC-glue (white glue) and two pieces of water. Then I added some drops of soap to remove the superficial tension. The plate was first covered with a thin layer of fine sand with no debris. The model was placed on top of this, and more sand was added around it. Some growth was also added around the ship, using the same method.



 All photos: Morten Jensen ©2006



The finished model


click on image to enlarge

Photo 1

The damage near the bow section.

Photo 2

The superstructure covered with marine growth.

Photo 3

The area near the stern.

Photo 4

View of the damage as seen from the bow.

Photo 5

Complete view of the model inside the wooden box used for its transportation from Norway to Greece.

Photo 6

View of the superstructure as seen from the stern.

Photo 7

The bow section and the forward half of the hull.

Photo 8

Another view of the forward half of the model.

Photo 9

'Underwater' version of Photo 7.

Photo 10

'Underwater' version of Photo 8.

Photo 11

'Underwater' version of Photo 5.

Photo 11

'Underwater' version of Photo 2.



 All photos: Michail Michailakis ©2006