Miniature-Titanic at Cherbourg

Art Braunschweiger recently, after 13 years of work, completed his ​1:350 scale model of the White Star liner Titanic as she appeared ​in Cherbourg harbor shortly after dropping anchor around 6:30 pm on April 10, 1912. (via MeFi)

The 1:350-scale Minicraft kit was used as the basis for this build, with specific modifications made for historical accuracy. These were based on new information discovered in the decades since the original molds for the kit were tooled based on the few plans then available for Titanic and her not-quite-identical sister ship Olympic. In addition, hundreds of other details and scratchbuilt parts - plus three separate lighting systems - were added to create a model as realistic and true to history as possible in its scale. […]

Just after sunset on Wednesday April 10, 1912, the great new White Star liner Titanic entered the harbor at Cherbourg, France. Here she would be met by the tenders Nomadic and Traffic to embark 274 additional passengers, baggage and mail. 142 cross-channel passengers would also leave the ship here. Tea was already being served in the Third-Class Dining Saloon and dinner was just beginning in Second Class. In First Class, dinner would start shortly at seven. The passengers about to disembark would do so from E Deck below, and thus very few passengers would remain on deck after the ship finished anchoring.

This is how Titanic would have appeared to an observer at this moment in time, and this is how I've modeled her. The open gangway on the starboard side, lit from within, conveys the sense of anticipation the arriving passengers must have felt as their tender approached.

The level of detail is absolutely staggering, just check out the special attention that went into the seats and benches:

Deck chairs and benches were also assembled from photoetched brass parts. The seats and backs of the deck benches, cut from flat sheets or "frets", were given accurate curves by bending them against a jig made from a piece of styrene stock. Two manufacturers produce benches for Titanic models in 1:350 scale; the ones from Tom's Modelworks were used on this build.

The most difficult thing was not assembling or shaping the benches (although adding the center support is particularly difficult) - it was imparting exactly the same bends to each. On the Poop Deck, there are benches placed back-to-back and end-to-end, so each had to appear identical to its neighbors. Extras were made and the mismatches discarded.

The benches were relatively straightforward to assemble, but the deck chairs were much less so. The photoetched ones are intended to be assembled fully extended, whereas on the ship when they weren't in use the forward end was folded down against the deck and the seat tilted up slightly (below right). This changed the whole angle of the chair and its legs from the fully extended position. The difficulty with replicating the chairs this way is that the one-piece legs, armrest and base wouldn't permit this configuration. These parts had to be cut and bent to achieve the position shown in the black-and-white photo.

595 deck chairs were assembled, exactly the same number that were on the real ship, and placed in their exact locations corresponding to numbered positions*. Tom Harrison of Tom's Modelworks made a special order of 800 chairs for this model before his passing in February of 2009.