Titanic & LED Set
Academy is re-releasing its well-known 1/700 Titanic, this time in a MPC (Multi-Color-Parts) format with an LED Light Set. Upon opening the box you will find 6 sprues (white, tan, black, brown, bronze and orange), plus the hull –in two parts, black and red hull- and the main ship structure, molded in white.
Construction of this kit is simple and broken down into 24 steps. You basically assemble the main ship structure, bow and aft deck, plus the hull as main subassemblies. The instructions are good and easy to follow and the fit is really good.
Please note this is not a “snap-tite” kit, you will need glue and many of the parts are actually pretty small so this is not a model for kids. I do believe a young modeler could assemble this kit with some adult supervision.
Now, let me describe the LED light set; the real reason why I wanted to try out this kit: You are provided with 8 white LED, a clear plastic strip (for the LED to attach to), some electric conductive tape, wires, a switch and a battery holder.
You do not need to be a rocket scientist to assemble this electric set, but you do need to pay attention to the instructions. The LEDs are polarized, this means is you cannot mix the (+) and (-) terminal or you will burn them. One of the legs is longer than the other. That is the positive (+) terminal. Make sure you line up all the “long” legs on the same side of the clear plastic sheet that the LED attach to and then use the electric conductive tape to connect them all to a piece of wire. I would suggest you even mark with a sharpie (on the clear plastic piece) which side is the positive and which one is the negative. Academy really had a great idea by providing the conductive tape. That means you don’t need to solder anything: just use the tape instead.
Then make sure you keep the polarization of the LED properly connected to the red and black wire and you run the proper wires to the battery holder. It is not difficult; you just have to follow the instructions (How difficult could it be for a modeler to follow the instructions?).
Once you got all the wires and LED working, you will have very bright LED inside the plastic hull. That means that you will have bright spots of light just under the deck (see pictures) and bright/dark portholes around the location of the LED.
To avoid that “searchlight under the deck” look just cut and trim to shape some index cards and glue them right under the deck. The index cards are opaque and will block the direct light from the LED. That way the deck will look right.
Then, in order to soften the light along the hull fold and stuff some Kleenex between the LEDs and portholes, lengthwise along the hull. The tissue around the LEDs will then create a “light guide”, which will soften and homogenize the light across the hull, making the portholes to have similar brightness levels and look more realistic.
In summary, I was expecting a simple and fun build and that is what I got. It took me about 12 hours (interrupted by 3 weeks due to a pipe replacement in my basement) to put together this ship and I had a lot of fun. The LED light system was an interesting change of pace and it is easy to do. As I wrote earlier you just have to pay attention to the polarization of the LED legs to ensure you don’t connect them backwards.
The only drawback of this kit was some small sink marks in the lifeboats, which I quickly filled and sanded.
Given that the plastic is molded in multiple colors you don’t have to worry about painting, but in order to make the kit look a bit better I applied an enamel wash to all parts. That certainly enhances the surface detail, but I might have gone a bit too far on the weathering, after all this ship saw a very brief service life. Weather the model as you desire, or not at all.
Considering the relatively high part count and the small size of some parts, I would highly recommend this kit to everyone except the most novice modeler. Go ahead and try it out. You will have fun.
I would like to thank Academy models, Model Rectifier Corp and IPMS/USA for the review sample.