The cranes on the 1/350 Academy/Minicraft kit are, for the most part, a reasonable representation of the ones seen on the real ship, however there are several alterations and additions required to make them look more accurate.

We will begin with the alterations to existing parts and then cover the additions.

 

ALTERATIONS

Step 1 (replacing the boom's cross members).

The model's booms and the X shaped cross members are a bit too thick and should be replaced with either the GMM crane add-on parts or Tom's Modelworks full boom replacement parts which are closer to scale.

For the GMM Parts:

Cut out the cross members from the crane boom frame with the tip of a sharp hobby knife. Keep these original X shaped cross member bracing as they will come in use for another project on the model (see HYDRANTS section).

Once you have removed the old X braces from all 8 crane booms file use a small file or sanding block to reduce the thickness of the boom frame. If using the sanding block be careful not to sand flat the pulley at the tip of the boom.

Now CA glue the GMM cross member brace units into place on the booms. After they have set the paint the assembly flat white.

For the Tom's Modelworks Parts:

Bend as instructed or cut of off the boom arms and replace with Evergreen strip as instructed.

Step 2 (removing the mold seams and/or flashing).

Use a small file to remove all traces of flashing or mold seam lines on the crane's upright boom support or main circular base.

Around the top edge of each crane you will see a ridge. If you look at the reference photo below you will see that this ridge did not exist on the Titanic. File this off being careful not to remove any of the other detail.

  • Note: This has been corrected on the 1:350 reissue.

Step 3 (preparing Poop deck cranes for deck lights).

On each of the cranes for the Poop deck drill out one hole about 0.65mm in diameter facing the bow. This will be for the addition of deck lamp that can be seen in the Cork Examiner photo of the area and discussed in Step 3 of the ADDITIONS segment.

Step 4 (Aft Well deck crane base).

The kit provides circular crane bases for the aft Well deck cranes. In reality these crane bases were 'D' shaped, i.e. circular on the outboard side with a flat back and sides like the molded pattern on the deck.

The object of this modification to to use the outboard part of the crane for the curved section and build a whole new inboard section. You will notice that the crane tower is connected to one part, this is OK for the starboard crane but poses a small problem for the port crane because it is connected to the inboard part of the crane base that you will be rebuilding.

Preparation of port crane.

You need to construct a mirror image of part G1A.

Carefully slice off the crane tower from part G1A ensuring that you DO NOT slice off the circular base of the crane tower.. Now clean up the bottom of the circular base of the crane tower so that it is level. Now take part G2A and glue the tower in the centre and half on and half off the other half of the crane base.

Preparation of starboard crane.

Discard part G2A as you will not be needing it.

Creating the starboard "D" shaped base.

  1. Create the walls from Evergreen plastic sheeting. Cut a strip of .02" thick plastic sheet to approx. 4mm high.

  2. Place part G1A onto the deck molding with the tower facing in the direction you want the boom to go. ie the "D" on the top of the tower will point where the boom will go. Now measure up the two gaps and cut lengths of your Evergreen strip to fit. To create the curved section simply scribe the back of the strip a few times until it bends easily. DO NOT over-scribe because you may cut through the plastic.

  3. Now glue the two new walls on to part G1A. Make sure that you...
    • have the aft and forward walls in the correct location.
    • leave a small gap at the top of each wall to allow for the new top to be glued into place.

    There should be some overhang at the bottom of the crane base, simply file this down until it is level with the bottom of part G1A.

  4. Dry fit the part to the deck molding and carefully bend the new walls to fit.

  5. Cut a square of sheet plastic and glue it to the top of the new walls ensuring that you slide the sheet under base of the crane tower. Once dry trim this to the shape of the wall and file up the edges.

  6. (optional) The base of the crane was on the deck. If you glue the crane onto the molding you will have a break in the base.

    To correct this place the crane onto the molding and measure the height of the crane base plus the molding Cut a strip of thin sheet plastic to this height and then glue onto the wall you built above aligning the top of the strip with the top of the base. This will leave an over hang at the bottom of a few millimeters that will slide over the deck molding Fill and file as required.

When dry paint the lower half of the crane base rust red.

Creating the port "D" shaped base.

Follow the same steps as the starboard crane but using your modified G2A.

ADDITIONS

Step 1 (crane hatches).

Minicraft have molded a generic base for each crane based on the Poop Deck cranes seen the photo above. In reality each pair of cranes had a different layout of hatches and ladders.

After cleaning up the parts and drilling the holes for the Poop Deck decklamps care fully file and sand the bases until they are smooth. Then cut 16 new hatches out of .005 Evegreen sheet approx. 4mm high x 2.5mm wide.

Glue them into the positions indicated below. To ensure that the new hatch curves to the shape of the base place a piece of masking tape over the top and stretch it left and right to ensure that the hatch is firmly placed onto the base.

Thanks to Bob Read for his assistance in identifying the location of the hatches.

Forward Well Deck

 

A Deck Promenade (aft)

 

A Deck Promenade (aft)

Poop Deck

 

Step 2 (adding the cable mounts).

Either side of the top section of the crane's upright column there are two connection points for the boom support cables. The support were used when the cranes was in use (see photo below).

Fashion these connection points out of a length of pulled sprue about 0.5mm in diameter. Cut a length of sprue and glue it into the hole on the part so that a length protrudes on either side of the crane head. When dry trim to approx. 1mm in length on either side.

Photo of Olympic crane at work.

Step 3 (adding the lamps to Poop deck cranes).

This modification is for the Poop deck cranes only.

You should already have two 0.65mm diameter holes drilled as described in the ALTERATIONS section - Step 3.

In to these holes glue two clear pulled sprue sections 0.65mm in diameter x 2mm in length. The first 1.5mm is inside the hole for stability and the last 0.5mm protruding out representing the decklamp lens cover.

Step 4 (adding the hand rails).

A safety handrail and posts needs to be added to the small right angled platform to the rear and left of the cranes.

Use the GMM or Tom's Modelworks brass photoetched rails. (You can also make them from pulled sprue but this would be tedious). Both GMM and Tom's sets are HIGHLY recommended. If you should damage one or lose one you can also make them (though not quite to scale but close enough) from spare brass photoetched railings. Either use the 2 panel one bar railing/post frame or cut the interior rails from multi-bar panels leaving only the posts (x3) and top rail and bottom rail.

Whether using the GMM crane railings or making your own from spare GMM deck railing panels you will now need to take the two panels and make a right angle (90 degree) fold in the center and glue with CA to the outside edges of the crew operator's platform.

Repeat the process for all 8 cranes.

Step 5 (adding the switch handle).

Near the top of the upright housing at the rear of the top most electrical panel on the left side of the crane were small switch levers as seen in the Titanic Poop Deck photo.

Construct these from small brass photoetched rails cut from the extra Lusitania railing panels. Cut off 4 rails about 3mm long each and then trimmed these in half making 8 pieces 1.5mm long. Being rather small to work with at this point we used a toothpick and spittle to pick them up.

First dab a tiny bead of CA glue to the aft side of the top most electrical panel on the left side of the crane's upright column. Next dab a bit of spittle onto the toothpick and pick up the 1.5mm brass lever towards its outside edge. Next lift it over to the crane and place the other end into the glue bead at the backside of the panel and let set in a few seconds.

Repeat for the remaining 7 cranes.

Step 6 (adding the operating levers).

Used spare Lusitania GMM photoetched brass railings.

Cut out two adjacent rails and the small section of post between them on the one end. Remove the opposite post. Bend apart very slightly on the open end to create a shallow V pattern. Once all 8 are made, CA glue them on to the operator's deck between the left side of the crane's upright column and the handrail. Dab the glue on to a scrap plastic sheet (our gluing block) and dip the end of the `levers' with the joining post section between them into it. Then with the tweezers place it into the suggested location and let set.

Repeat for remaining cranes.

Step 7 (drilling out for cable preparation).

If you elect to add the rigging to your cranes (we did) an easy way of making it look like the line wraps around the boom's end pulley is to drill a small 0.65mm hole at the end of the boom right at the base of the pulley. Drill slightly backwards toward the crane so the bit will not fly off the boom or out through the side.

Repeat for each crane.

This is a delicate procedure so use a variable speed cordless drill or a pin vice with drill bit.

Step 8 (adding the crane hooks).

If you choose to have your cranes in the `stored' position on the model glue the GMM or Tom's modelworks brass photoetched crane hooks underneath the booms on a slight angle downward near the crane's circular base. Dip the crane hook into a tiny pool of CA glue and then come up from underneath the boom and hook it centrally onto one of the cross member braces.

If you choose to have the cranes in a working position glue the hook hanging straight down.

Repeat for each crane.

Step 9 (adding the boom support pulleys).

Just behind the crane cable pulley (which sits vertically at the end of the crane boom) sits the support cable pulley which lays horizontally.

First fashion the bracket that the pulley sits on. To make the bracket use the spare Lusitania railings from the GMM merchant set. It will take one railing panel per crane to fashion the bracket.

Start with a `post' and at least the top rail and gluing rail (i.e. the two outermost rails on a given panel) cut this panel off flush at the next post but only UP TO the second post.

Do NOT include the 2nd post. When cut what you will have is one post and at least two rails or more (it will depend on what panel type you use i.e. 2-bar, 3-bar, 4-bar etc. to make the bracket).

If you have used multi-railed panels cut the internal rails off flush to the inside edge of the post with your hobby knife. This will leave just the post and top rail and gluing rail creating a 'U' shape.

Place a small puddle of CA glue onto your gluing block, take the tweezers and hold the U by the post and dip the two ends into the glue. Now glue it to the crane boom by placing the end prongs on either side of the end pulley. Make sure that the end prongs point away from the crane and the post end (in the tweezers) is the closest end to the crane. Glue this on about a 20 degree angle up from the boom.

Repeat this for each crane.

Now to make the pulleys.

Fashioned these from the head of common pin cut off and then glued on top of the new GMM boom cross member braces. You could construct them also from pulled sprue flares (see WHISTLES segment for creating flares), trim and glue. Use CA glue in either instance.

Step 10 (adding the cables).

Crane Hook Cable:

This cable needs to be added whether you have the crane stored or operating.

Ensure that the boom is attached to the main crane assembly then tag a piece of pulled sprue or 4lb test monofilament fishing line to the rear of the crane hook underneath the boom. When secure thread the tag end of the line through the drilled hole at the tip of the boom in front of the vertical pulley.

When threaded, pull the line to firm up the `droop' beneath the boom and then tack it to the pulley (with CA). As there is no load on this cable when the crane is stored run it along the boom and then curve it up to the center of the top of the crane column between the two microdot connectors. Tack it on with CA glue.

When all the cranes have been completed trim off all the tag ends as close as possible to the upright column's `face' with small scissors or nail clippers.

Operational Cables:

This cable needs to be added if you have your cranes in an operational position.

These cables originate from the outboard connectors atop the crane's column (i.e. the microdots we added in Step 2), wrap around the horizontal pulley and back up to the opposite connector. Tack a section of pulled sprue or fishing line to one connector, pull the line to keep it taut and wrap it around the horizontal pulley (made from heads of pins), then tack it to the pulley with CA glue. Continue with a taut line, go back up to the opposite connector again and tack it with CA glue. When set, trim off any tag ends with small scissors or nail clippers.

Secondary Safety Cables - A-deck Cranes:

The A-deck cranes had secondary safety cables when in their stored position. These were located on the inboard sides running from the column microdot connector under the locking bar for the crane rest, around the horizontal pulley, back under the locking bar. There is no evidence where it went from here, it is assumed that the cable was then coiled on the boom somewhere near the tower.

Make these from pulled sprue or fishing line . Have these slightly taut.

Step 11 (adding the boom support legs).

When the cranes were stored the crane booms were secured to boom rests.

Tom's Modelworks provide these in his Misc kit.

GMM has some in its kit but you will also have to customize some with scrap GMM brass parts.

Forward Well Deck:

There needs to be 3 leg braces here. The two end braces sat outboard of the winches aft of #3 hatch and the third in the center between the winches. These were attached by a `joist' running along their tops.

Fashion the 'joist' from a section of scrap brass sprue taken from the `tree' that holds the photoetched parts cut a length of 17mm x 1mm wide.

Paint the legs flat white then glue them on to the well deck (after you've painted the planking) as follows: Fashion the 'joist' from a section of scrap brass sprue taken from the `tree' that holds the photoetched parts cut a length of 17mm x 1mm wide.

Paint the legs flat white then glue them on to the well deck (after you've painted the planking) as follows:

Dab a small pool of CA glue onto your gluing block and with the tweezers (or small needlenosed pliers) hold the leg panel by its top and dip the gluing `foot' into the CA. Place this on the well deck near the starboard end of the B deck/Well Deck stairs. Next repeat the gluing process and position the middle leg between the winches keeping in line with the first leg brace. Repeat again with the third leg but place it to the starboard side of the starboard winch in line with the other two.

When they have set, take the brass sprue strip (17mm x 1mm) and dip one end into the CA glue and tack it to the top of one of the outside leg braces centrally located front to back along the top. When set tack the opposite outside end making sure there is no overhang whatsoever. Then tack the center leg making sure all the leg braces remain perpendicular to the deck planking and `joist'.

Paint the joist flat white.

A-Deck:

Use Tom's Modelworks parts from the Misc sheet or construct these tripod leg braces entirely from brass sprue parts as follows:

First cut a rail free from the Lusitania rail panels using either the hand rail or the gluing base rail to a length of 11mm. Make another the same length. Now with the tweezers or other sharp edge, bend the brass at the 4mm mark to about a 75 degree angle. Next bend the same strip at another 75 degrees 3mm along from the first bend. What you should have is a piece of brass with two 4mm legs and a 3mm cross brace.

Now cut a single rail to 5mm long and glue on a 60 degree angle from the center of the 3mm cross brace.

Once both tripods have been assembled paint them flat white. Now dry fit the cranes on and swing their booms out on to a 45 degree angle from the bow/stern line and place a pencil line on the deck near the tip of the boom (which is roughly in line with the bow end of #4 hatch on the deck below near the inside corner by the railings). Repeat for the other side and then glue the two tripod assemblies to the deck with CA glue using the glue block method discussed earlier. When gluing make sure the 5mm leg points to the stern end of the ship.

Now when you dry fit the cranes, the boom should sit horizontally and rest on top of these tripods with the boom on a 45 degree angle across them.

Aft Well Deck

Use the same procedures to make the tripod leg braces as the A-deck cranes. The tripods when attached to the deck should be sitting to the outboard edges aft of #5 hatch on either side of the winch.

Poop Deck

Follow the same procedure you used for the forward Well Deck supports except only make two legs and joist, not three. The legs are positioned just aft of the winch and by the benches with each leg mounted so it is in line with the end of the boom of each crane, about 10mm apart from each other. Next make a joist out of brass (or plastic strip) 10mm long x 1mm wide and glue and paint as recommended for the forward well deck assembly.

Step 12 (adding the securing clamps).

To lock the boom to the boom stands each crane had a securing clamps. See the Titanic Poop deck photo in various books (Walter Lord's A Night To Remember is one of the better versions).

There are two simple ways to make these.

1. If you are using GMM or Tom's brass railing parts for your model cut 9 x 7mm strips of either the hand or gluing rail off the Lusitania spare railing panels, 3 for the front well deck, 2 for the Poop deck cranes and one each for the A-deck and aft well deck cranes.

2. If you do not have the GMM brass available you could substitute plastic strips or staples cut to the same length.

Place a small amount of CA glue on your 'clamps' and lay them centered across the crane booms parallel to the tops of the crane stand assemblies beneath them. The clamps will sit at 90 degrees across the booms on the forward well deck and poop deck cranes while sitting at angles (in relation to the boom) on the A-deck and aft well deck cranes.

When they have dried, use the tweezers or the fat end of a flat wooden toothpick and press the overhanging end down 90 degrees to wrap around the boom and tuck underneath to the leg assembly.

Paint flat white to match the boom.

Repeat for each crane.

Step 13 (adding the electrical box).

There is an electrical box on the crew platform at the base of each crane sitting at the rear side of the crane's vertical column. See diagram above and Ken Marschall's painting on page 44 of Robert Ballard's `Exploring The Titanic'

Fashion this from 8 small pieces of sheet plastic cut into rectangular shapes 1mm wide x 2mm tall and glue into position.

Step 14 (painting the cranes).

  • paint the lower round bases flat white
  • paint the lower half of the lower base rust red on well deck cranes only, leaving the top half white
  • paint the upright columns and booms flat white
  • paint the round platform tops of the bases dark gray
  • paint the operator's platform dark gray
  • paint the operator's platform railing posts flat white
  • paint the operator's platform hand railing flat black
  • paint the operating levers flat black
  • paint the small electrical box lever on the column top flat black
  • paint a rectangular box on column's `face' with small slit on top flat black (representing the open area that the hook cable came out of.
  • paint the hook cables and hooks flat black
  • paint the secondary securing cables flat black
  • paint the legs and joists flat white
  • paint the securing boom clamps flat white
  • paint the crane base ladders dark gray
  • paint the boom support cable pulley and bracket flat white
  • paint the boom support column's electrical box at base flat white

Dan Cherry suggests that undersides of the crane booms in the forward well deck were either painted dark grey or left as primer grey. The forward well deck cranes definitely weren't painted on their undersides as can be seen on page 127 of Ballard's Discovery of Titanic, 1st edition.

It is possible that the Poop Deck cranes were also grey underneath and that the other crane booms were painted white underneath. There is no photographic evidence at this stage.

Crane boom information provided by Dan Cherry.

Step 15 (adding GMM ladders).

First paint a section of spare GMM ladders dark gray while they are still on the `tree', then cut off some spare ladders from the GMM photoetched kit to a length of 4mm each using the hobby knife.

Now holding one end with the tweezers dip the other end of the ladder in the CA glue pool on the gluing block and apply to the crane's circular base over top of the molded ladders with the glued end going to the top of the base just under the dark gray platform. When set tack down the other end with a dab of CA on the end of a pulled sprue applicator, just enough to hold it.

Repeat so each crane has one ladder. See hatch diagrams above for locations. Glue these on AFTER the crane bases have been painted!

Step 16 (adding Duane Fowler's crane decals).

Follow the instructions that come with Duane's decal sheet. Mount the decals on strips of sheet plastic first, trim around them and then glue the sheet plastic to the crane booms and columns as required. (We didn't like the look of the manufacturer's plate on the columns as is so we -cheated-! MP)

Step 17 (mounting the cranes to the deck).

Once you have finished the glue the cranes to the decks.

MAKING THE BOW ANCHOR CRANE

 

The model's crane is basically the right shape but requires at least one alteration. The boom support arm is in fact two rails, not one. With a sharp hobby knife cut the original support pole off and replace with two thinner, but of equal length, microrods or pulled sprue. Glue one to either side of the main anchor pole and boom sitting as the original single railing had.


Replacing the entire crane with a scratch built version:

 

We didn't use the model's at all and instead we fashioned one from metal parts.

The main pole can be made from a finishing nail, or a section of `metal coat hanger' cut to length and the top filed round. Make the boom out of thin coat hanger wire cut to the angle you wished the boom to sit at in relation to the vertical main pole. Bend the tip of the boom slightly as seen in the model's part. The boom was then glued to the main pole with CA glue and allowed to set.

When dry measure the distance from the main pole over to the boom near the bend. Cut two common pins to this length with wire cutters. Glue these onto either side of the main pole and the boom as seen below using CA glue. Slid one of the model's liferings over the bottom of the pole (as we were fashioning our own liferings later) to simulate the collar where the crane is attached to the deck.

The model has the crane sitting too far back from the bow. Having made the new bow anchor well (see ANCHOR section) on the forecastle drill a new hole to the same diameter of the crane's main pole 3mm forward of the existing hole supplied for in the kit. This should place the crane right on the aft edge of the anchor well.

Cut the crane's main pole 2mm longer than the height of the finished crane, this will allow 2mm to fit into the new deck hole for stability. Dry fit the crane into the deck and slide the lifering down flush to the deck. When satisfied with the fit remove the crane and add CA glue to the 2mm pin and the bottom of the lifering then place back into the hole and leave to set.

When set, paint the crane and collar flat white.

SEGMENT ENDNOTES

 

We recommend that you do all interior detailing around the decks and hatches first before adding the cranes. We tried to work from the center of the assembled decks outward to avoid having to reach over or around parts already assembled.

  • Note: Under the A-deck cranes and poop deck cranes were poles located in the center of each base down to the deck below (B deck and C deck respectively). Fashion these out of microrod or pulled sprue to a thickness of 1mm. To mount the best is to drill a small hole down through the middle of these cranes' molded mounting ridges once the decks have been glued together. Next push the sprue or microrod pole down through the hole until it touches the deck level below. Cut the pole flush with the hole and cement each in place. This hole and pole will be covered by the crane's cylindrical body once they are mounted to the model.
 

 
 
This site was created by David Cotgreave January 2000