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A   “ D. M o r r e l l    W a t e r c o l o u r   L a n d s c a p e s ”   P r o j e c t
RMS 'Titanic'
An accurate and detailed exclusive scale model.


   


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Researching the plans and marine architecture of the ‘Titanic’.

Research for the project commenced October, 1981, but resourcing the construction plans for the Titanic was particularly difficult since they were allegedly destroyed in a bombing raid on Harland & Wolff shipyards by the Luftwaffe in 1941. Eaton & Hass published copies, but not sufficiently accurate or detailed from which to produce a replica model. However, I discovered a copy of the original Harland & Wolff plans for the Titanic, published under licence by the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in 1982, which included a detailed side elevation along with a deck-by-deck layout. In addition, Harland & Wolff provided me with a photograph taken of the Titanic during her fitting-out in the Graving Dock and the camera was positioned ‘dead-centre’, evidenced by the symmetry of the perspective lines of her well-decks. The proportions of her length to height and deck levels provided an invaluable comparison with the original plans.



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This process consumed hours of meticulous measuring and scaling up, including tracing enlarged projections. Having scrutinized the builder's 20ft. model in the Liverpool Maritime Museum, it became clear that the design had undergone many changes during her construction, including an increase in tonnage, which made her larger than her sister ship, ‘Olympic’, (fifteen weeks her elder), making her the largest vessel afloat in 1911, at 46,328 tons. Other important details were also changed, such as the design and placing of her air-intake and extraction vents and deck machinery. The hull of the builder's model was made of wood, not plates of steel, so a detailed study of her entire length was required to replicate her plating and rivet patterns. The model was extremely informative, especially with reference to her original White Star livery, but I have seen no photographic evidence of the alleged ‘yellow chromate’ line around the Titanic between the black hull and the white superstructure. I believe this to be a myth. In fact, the absence of this yellow line is clear in Father Browne's photograph, “Boarding at Southampton” from the first-class gangway. (TitanicPhotographs.com).


Much invaluable information was sourced through researching both Father Browne's photographic record of the Titanic's maiden voyage and the technical account of her construction in ‘The Shipbuilder’, published at the time. But you have to be careful about photographs of the Titanic, because they are often confused with shots of the Olympic, especially on-board pictures of the ships in dock and under construction. Harland & Wolff commissioned a professional photographer to record the building and completion of the Olympic class vessels, which provides a rich observational resource, when viewed with discretion.

Although the Titanic got some bad press, she was not a bad design. Her sister ship sailed for 24 years and survived the first world war, nicknamed ‘Old Reliable’ by the troops. (Her third sister, ‘Britannic’ was bombed to the bottom of the Aegean Sea, in 1916).

Resourcing the methods for construction.

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The research took three years to compile and was worked out by constructing a 6ft. water-line model, which was discarded after it had served its purpose. It was photographed and projected as an overlay on the original to ensure it was a perfect replica image. Equally useful was the location of the fittings, such as the ladders, whistles and the steam-cooling pipes up the funnels; the bay windows of the Smoking Lounge and the First Class Lounge on ‘A’ deck; the location of the capstans, steam winches and the anchor chain machinery on the forecastle, down to the stack of deckchairs on the promenade deck. But the main purpose of the prototype was to test out the best building materials and adhesives for effectiveness and longevity.


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Building the final model

The construction of the final model took a further four years, making this a seven year project. The hull was constructed of fibreglass mat and resin laid over a plaster former. The plating was glued to the former as cartridge paper strips and the riveting was reverse-pressed into the paper by running a cog wheel from a clock along a straightedge. The whole thing then coated with a releasing agent, and the fibreglass process repeated to make the positive shape of the hull. The superstructure is of plastic modeller's sheet backed with aluminium. The decks are constructed of Formica sheet laminated with teak veneer planking, every strip individually laid. The deck machinery and capstans are made of brass, as are the three screw propellers, and the main air vent cowls are of sheet aluminium. The cargo-hold cranes are ceramic, press-moulded, and the Gibbs are nickel with soldered cross wires. All the rails and stanchions are soldered wire. The davits are of ‘H’ section soldered nickel-silver. The windows are of clear cellulose acetate sheet with integral printed framing.

The project was not undertaken as a technical exercise in model engineering, but rather to produce a realistic miniature replica of the Titanic at sea, populated by Edwardian passengers and crew, as any normal ship of the time would have been. The inspiration was not to achieve technical acclaim, but to illustrate what a beautifully aesthetic ship it was.

The scale of the model is 1:150 making its length 5'9" and was finally completed 10 May, 1988.

This vessel was built as a working model, equipped with three motors driving the triple screws from a six volt battery which also powered all the internal and external lighting. Servos operated the rudder, motor speed and also the anchor chain on the starboard bow, all managed by remote control. The model was sailed on Winterset Lake, Cold Hiendley Lake, Bretton Park Lake and the Huddersfield Broad Canal in West Yorkshire, UK. The model can now be seen at the Wicklow Maritime Museum - a branch of the Life Boat Association of Ireland.


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D.Morrell scale model ‘White Star Line’ Royal Mail Steamer ‘TITANIC’
  

'Titanic:Blood & Steel'



The model was used in 2011, in the making of a film entitled 'Titanic: Blood and Steel' by 'Epos Films/De Angelis Productions, directed by Ciaran Donnelly and programmed for release in 2012, with a budget of £28 million. Christine McDonagh (asst. Art Director) approached D.Morrell on behalf of Tom Conroy (Production Designer) with a view to using the model that was displayed on this 'RMS Titanic Model' web page. It was transported by airfreight to Belgrade, Serbia, where the majority of the filming was being done.

The film is a twelve part miniseries written by Matthew Faulk and Mark Skeet, staring Derek Jacobi, Kevin Zegers, Neve Campbell and Chris Noth. The narrative focuses on the conflicts, intrigues and tragedies during the construction of the vessel at the Harland and Wollf shipyards in Belfast, within a period of political and social unrest at a time when sections of the community were lobbying for 'Home Rule' for Northern Ireland.



On Set: D.Morrell's scale model 'White Star Line' Royal Mail Steamer 'TITANIC'




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