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Author Topic: 1/325 RTR Titanic  (Read 12640 times)

Edward Pinniger

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1/325 RTR Titanic
« on: April 23, 2010, 04:58:23 PM »



Titanic is such an obvious choice for a RTR R/C boat that it's surprising manufacturers have taken this long to produce one! They started to turn up on eBay earlier this year (not sure if any UK retailers have them yet - Howes will probably be the first) but the asking price of 80 + postage seemed very steep for a RTR (for that price, you could buy the 1/350 plastic kit and at least half of the gear needed to R/C it). However, last month I picked up a second-hand example at a model show for 40 - As it has rudder steering and a more or less scale prop layout (unlike most cheap RTRs), and is also about 10% larger than the 1/350 plastic Titanic kit, with a single-piece hull moulding, I thought it had a lot of potential.

I'm sure there are other Mayhem members who've seen this RTR boat and wanted to find out more about it, so I thought it would be worth posting a basic "review" with photos of the working parts + interior hardware as well as closeups of the model itself.

A note on scale: The RTR Titanic is described on the box as "1/325". I was surprised to find (comparing the model's 85cm length with that of the real ship) that this is correct - I assumed it was a straightforward copy of the 1/350 plastic kit, as are the RTR "1/115" Sovremenny destroyer and "1/275" Kiev carrier, copied from (and the same size as) the Trumpeter 1/200 and 1/350 kits. However, I have a Revell 1/400 plastic kit of Titanic, and the small detail parts in this are virtually identical in detail and parts breakdown to those on the RTR Titanic. So I'm guessing the manufacturers copied the 1/400 kit instead, and scaled up everything by 25%, resulting in a 1/325 model!
Though 1/325 is a tiny scale by R/C boat standards, the model is still a fair size and looks quite impressive both in and out of the water. Unlike a warship, there aren't many tiny, intricate structures like radars and AA guns, so "scale fragility" is less of an issue .

Also note that my second-hand model had the upper masts and rigging broken off, as you can see in the photos below. This doesn't bother me as I'll be rebuilding the upper masts from metal wire anyway. On an intact model, the rigging (black thread) consists of three "antenna wires" running between spreaders attached to the masts, and lines running from the masts to metal eyelets at the bow and stern. The forward mast also has a small plastic flag.


Anyway, first here are some overall views of the model. The hull - up to the level of the well decks - is a single-piece moulding in the lower hull colour, with the upper hull painted black. Most of the upper works consist of another single-piece moulding in sand-coloured plastic (deck colour), attached to the hull with screws (most of which are concealed under the cranes, a few are under non-prototypical "capstans" on the boat deck and two are at the bottom of the battery compartment), with the hull sides and bulkheads moulded seperately in white plastic parts. All the parts, other than the black upper hull, are unpainted; the yellow stripe at deck level is a strip of adhesive tape, which also seals the join between the hull and superstructure mouldings.
As you can see in the 4th photo, the model has LED lighting (more on this later)









The battery compartment is concealed under a removable section of deck amidships, under the compass platform. It's held in place with a single screw, which goes into a metal threaded holder (so hopefully the threads won't wear away from repeated use, as would be the case if the screw went straight into plastic). The on/off press button is located on the forecastle.


Size comparison with the 1/400 Revell kit (the paint on this is not my work!)

Now, the most important part from the R/C point of view, the hardware. Note that getting the model apart was quite a tricky job, and should be done very carefully if you're not (as I am) intending to rebuild the boat from the deck up anyway! The deck/upper works moulding is held in place by numerous screws, most of which are concealed under capstans and cranes. The former are easy to prise off, the latter not so much - I eventually had to slice them off with the aid of a Dremel saw + chisel-bladed hobby knife. Once the deck moulding is removed, the hull sides and funnels - which need to be removed to get access to the LED lighting - are also held in place by screws, but these are easy to get at and remove.

The three photos below show the setup from forward to stern:







Each prop is driven by a separate motor, connected to the shaft with a universal coupling. The motors and couplings look reasonably good, and are fixed in place very securely. The rudder is operated by a simple three-position servo, similar to that on the Dickie/Seaport tug; this is located over the central motor. The receiver is in a sealed box forward of the battery compartment, connected to this is the coiled wire aerial - the straight upper end of this appears to be intended to go inside the forwardmost funnel, but with my model was loose inside the hull, which may have contributed to the radio range problems (as most of the aerial was then near the waterline)
All of the hardware is quite neatly and securely fixed in place, and most of the wiring is also neat, with screws and tabs to hold some wires in place; unlike the "spaghetti" found inside many RTRs.

Ballast consists of a bundle of steel bars between the motors and battery compartment location (plus a single bar between the outer motors), and a block of concrete-like substance in the bow, under the receiver box.






The props appear to be cast metal (possibly zinc alloy) with a brass coating, and are held in place by a brass nut. They're reasonably scale in size and appearance, though the central prop doesn't have the correct four blades. The rudder is also more or less in scale. When steering, one of the outer props shuts down, but the turn circle is still quite large.
The prop shaft "skegs" for the outer props are separate plastic mouldings, and are not sealed or glued where they contact the main hull, allowing water to seep in. Water doesn't get into the hull itself - but it's still important to make sure all the water is drained out after running. I'll be sealing these up with epoxy glue as soon as possible!



The battery is a 9.6v ni-cad pack, as usual with RTRs a compatible charger is supplied. The transmitter has straightforward three-position speed + steering controls.
The battery pack sits quite low down in the hull and should not cause stability problems (unlike the one in the Dickie/Seaport tug) but it is quite loose in the compartment, and if it shifts too much to one side can cause the model to heel over slightly. I'd highly recommend adding some padding (e.g. thin foam, bubble wrap) to the battery compartment to prevent this.







Lighting consists of a series of colourless LEDs along the promenade deck, which are attached to a long, thin circuit board; and a LED in each funnel. The effect is shown in the third photo below (it would be a lot more noticeable in darker conditions, especially the funnels). IMO, the promenade deck lights don't look bad at all (painting the inside surface of the hull sides would help, so that the light doesn't shine through the plastic), but the funnels glowing from inside looks more than a bit stupid (especially considering that they're totally the wrong colour; "White Star Buff" is an orangey sand colour, not bright yellow)
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2010, 05:02:04 PM »

Some detail closeup photos, from bow to stern:













Most of the smaller fittings and details appear to be directly scaled up from those in the Academy/Minicraft/Revell 1/400 plastic kit, and are quite reasonable. However, there are quite a few details missing, and others (such as the deck chairs and the smaller ladders) are crudely moulded straight onto the deck. Bulkheads have doors and windows moulded on, though the doors are featureless rectangles, the windows are the correct pattern and if carefully painted a darker colour, with dark brown wood frames, would look quite good.
The funnels are three-part mouldings, all have the same pipework on the sides and the funnel cap bands are very overscale in thickness (the gratings are also wrong - there should be only three bars). Funnel stays are made from scale telegraph pole-thickness steel wire! - I'd recommend replacing these with thin fuse wire or rigging thread, as they're perhaps the single most obviously overscale feature of the model (the deck planking isn't so noticeable on the water). Deck railings - again scaled up from the 1/400 kit - are also extremely heavy and overscale, though from a distance they (probably) look better than none at all. More noticeably, the solid bulwarks around the well decks are missing. Anchors are also bright gold and upside down (nothing a bit of glue + black paint won't fix...)

The most glaringly poor aspect though - without which the model would look reasonable just with a careful repaint to remove the shiny plastic look - is the deck planking; the plank width is more suited to 1/48 scale, with seams over a scale foot wide and deep! There isn't a lot that can be done about this, short of removing the fittings, sanding the decks flat and replacing them with scribed styrene sheet or wood.




Closeup of the hull sides. The porthole and window pattern is not accurate (and there are too few windows on the upper hull sides), though on a working model this isn't particularly noticeable, even close up. The yellow band is represented by an adhesive tape strip over the hull/upper works join, rather tacky looking and best replaced with paint!


Finally, some shots of the model on the water at Black Park. It sits rather low in the water (not particularly evident in the photos, due to the reflection + clear water) but is quite stable (if the battery is prevented from moving about). It runs very nicely - not anything like a true 1/325 scale speed, but far better than the ludicrous "speedboat" performance of the previous RTR warships! The turning circle is also very wide - no "tank steering" here - which makes for quite realistic-looking manoueuvering, but does make the model harder to control. No need to worry about icebergs this time of year, however...







The radio seems to be much less prone to interference from more powerful, non-RTR radios. I ran it at Black Park with several other boats running nearby, and the controls only stopped responding at about 10 metres out - none of my other RTR boats (other than the Sea Lite yacht) would work at even 1m away from the transmitter with that many other radios around. The range performance may have been affected by the aerial position (mentioned earlier), I'll be interested to see how it performs with the aerial now properly located high above the waterline.


To summarise, for the current retail price of 80+ it would be better to simply buy a 1/350 plastic kit and convert it to R/C. However, if you can find one at a lower price, second-hand or discounted (or - like the other RTR boats - the retail price eventually comes down to a more reasonable 30-40) it's definitely worth looking at. The hardware/running gear is quite good quality, and could be easily converted to "proper" radio simply with the addition of a RX, ESC and servo, leaving the motors, shafts and rudder/servo arm in place (I'll probably eventually do this myself), whilst the single-piece hull is much more suited to a working model than the relatively thin, two-piece kit hull. The inaccurate porthole + window layout is a major detail issue (and, unlike the overscale deck, almost impossible to fix) but not really noticeable once the model is on the water.


Since taking these photos, I've started work on rebuilding my model and converting it to Olympic (the main difference is the promenade deck, which has open sides along its entire length on Olympic; but there are numerous other small detail differences, such as the location of vents). I'll post a few photos soon, however I don't intend to make a "work in progress" build log as I'm so bad at keeping these up to date! However, I will post some photos of the finished model when it's done, with plenty of info on the materials + techniques I used.
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 08:32:17 PM »

Here are some photos of my RMS Olympic conversion so far. It looks very bare without deck fittings and fine detail, and also rather rough-looking with no paint, but is already looking a lot less plasticky and toylike IMO. Replacing
Note - This won't be a "work in progress" thread, when the model has made more progress (deck fittings added, hull painted etc.) I may post some photos in a different thread (I'll definitely post photos when it's finished). I thought it would be worth posting here to give a comparison with the original RTR boat.











I've sanded down all the decks and re-surfaced them with Slaters plank-textured styrene sheet (plain styrene sheet for the non-planked areas, such as funnel housings). Some bulkheads have also been replaced with styrene sheet, and the well deck bulwarks, along with some other missing superstructure bulwarks, were built in the same way; deck edging has been added with styrene strip, and the forecastle + poop deck resurfaced and portholes (with the correct number, size and spacing) drilled out (the C deck portholes will also be redone later). Funnels have been completely stripped down and painted black inside - details like piping, ladders and gratings will be added later, currently only the top bands have been added with styrene strip.
Finally, "A" deck has been completely opened up (the most obvious difference between Olympic and Titanic) and the decks + bulkheads inside painted, as they'll be hard to get at later. The vertical stanchions along the bulwarks will also be added later. (The stand nameplate will also be changed eventually!)

Most of the basic structural work is now done, so fittings and deck details are next - these will be rebuilt using a mixture of scratchbuilding and the original detail parts. I'm also hoping to acquire some 1/350 Titanic kit parts to help out with this (see my Wants + Swaps post!), if not I'll just have to do a bit more scratchbuilding!






I've modified the ballast layout (removing the concrete slab, and moving some of the steel bars further forward) so the model sits closer to the waterline, and have also relocated the on/off switch inside the battery compartment, removed the funnel lights, and inverted the side lights so they shine out of the portholes on "B deck" rather than up onto the promenade deck (which has been re-surfaced). I also sealed up the seams around the prop skegs + rudder bracket with epoxy glue.
The above two photos show the battery compartment (with switch + padding) and the lighting. I may use the spare LEDs from the funnel to light up the portholes on C deck (which have been drilled out).
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Patrick Henry

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2010, 09:46:13 PM »

That looks an awful lot better already Edward...keep the pics coming, I for one am following this with interest.
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Welshtrooper

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2010, 11:20:35 PM »

Excellent work there so far buddy, looking forward to seeing her finished :-))
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2010, 10:04:35 AM »

Great write up.
 Thanks!  :-))
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Peewee

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2010, 11:15:18 AM »

Hi,

Great write up, i am sure people are aware of Toms model works and gold medal models who have photo etches to enable 1/400 and 1/350 Titanic models to be upgraded

http://www.tomsmodelworks.com/catalog/advanced_search_result.php?osCsid=2483ecc324e63dd063ffe8d7c20bd5bb&keywords=titanic&x=54&y=6&categories_id=27&inc_subcat=1&manufacturers_id=&pfrom=&pto=&dfrom=&dto=

and

http://www.goldmm.com/ships/gms350-3M.htm

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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2010, 01:51:49 PM »

Any future photos will be in a new thread (in the "working vessels" category), I'll post some more when the hull + upper works are finished + painted (I'll add some of the structural details like coaling hatches to the hull sides before painting, as well as drilling out some of the missing portholes)
As I mentioned before, this won't be a full build thread showing each stage in detail, as I never seem to manage to keep threads like this up to date; just some in-progress photos every so often showing how the model is developing.

Hi,

Great write up, i am sure people are aware of Toms model works and gold medal models who have photo etches to enable 1/400 and 1/350 Titanic models to be upgraded

I know, I've got the GMM Titanic/Lusitania railing set (though not either kit, ironically - I picked the set up cheaply second-hand) but I don't really want to use them on this model as I find 1/350 etched railings are just too fine to be practical on a working model.
I might buy one of the bench/deck chair sets, though, as these are almost impossible to represent realistically in plastic (even in bigger scales) and they're not quite so vulnerable to damage as the railings (being placed against bulkheads + deckhouses)
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Kaleb

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2011, 07:07:38 PM »

Thats awesome and really helpful, but could you tell me where you got that model? O0
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2011, 06:55:14 PM »

I bought it second-hand at a model show last year, from a member of (I think) Newbury model boat club. Since then I've never seen any for sale in shops (I think there were a few on eBay last year) and a Google search doesn't turn up any currently for sale, so it looks like this model is no longer in production  {:-{
Seems odd, since you'd think a half-decent RTR Titanic would sell loads, and the model does run quite well out of the box, with rudder steering and reasonable quality motors + props (which run at a reasonably slow speed, unlike the "Smasher" destroyer!) - even if the radio gear is the usual cheap RTR rubbish.

Now I have a Hachette/Amati 1/250 Titanic which I've converted to R/C, I've decided to sell this part-completed RTR conversion. (it's now set up to use a proper radio system, though no RX + ESC is currently installed) as an "unfinished project for completion", including some parts from the Revell 1/350 kit for detailling. If anyone's interested, I'll post it for sale here first rather than eBay.
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ToddO

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 03:21:48 PM »

Edward:

My son has this model and in addition to a radio range problem (fritzing out when you send beyond about 3 meters) that is likely due to the aerial not being upright as you found, it has the wrong screw on the starboard shaft. That motor spins in the opposite direction of the port motor, but the starboard screw is the same as the port and center screws, so the boat doesn't perform well and won't move in reverse as the center motor cuts out and the outboard motors counteract one another. So ... I want to crack the boat open and fix the aerial mounting as you've described (thanks!) and reverse the polarity on that starboard motor but not do any other mods (for now; a radio upgrade would be nice). Can you post any other photos showing where all the screws for the deck are located and advise as to how I might get it apart in such a way as to not wreck it? It is my son's boat and he'd be quite upset if I tear it up.

Thanks!

-Todd
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Edward Pinniger

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Re: 1/325 RTR Titanic
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2011, 05:29:26 PM »

Edward:

My son has this model and in addition to a radio range problem (fritzing out when you send beyond about 3 meters) that is likely due to the aerial not being upright as you found, it has the wrong screw on the starboard shaft. That motor spins in the opposite direction of the port motor, but the starboard screw is the same as the port and center screws, so the boat doesn't perform well and won't move in reverse as the center motor cuts out and the outboard motors counteract one another. So ... I want to crack the boat open and fix the aerial mounting as you've described (thanks!) and reverse the polarity on that starboard motor but not do any other mods (for now; a radio upgrade would be nice). Can you post any other photos showing where all the screws for the deck are located and advise as to how I might get it apart in such a way as to not wreck it? It is my son's boat and he'd be quite upset if I tear it up.

Thanks!

-Todd

I really wish I could help you more with your problem, but I modified this so extensively when rebuilding it (well over a year ago) that I can't remember the exact locations of the deck screws! I know that most of them are under the black capstans on deck (which are fairly easy to remove and glue back) but a number are under the cranes (which are not - sawing them off seems to be the only way to remove them whilst leaving them more or less intact). So there isn't really any way to modify/refit this boat without doing some major surgery on it - though there's no need to replace the decks etc. as I did.

I found that the cheap radio installed was so poor that adjusting the aerial position didn't make that much difference to the reliability, so I eventually just stripped it all out and fitted a 27mhz radio and 15 amp ESC, keeping the original motor/prop setup. I also kept the original rudder but replaced the RTR steering gear with a standard Hi-Tec servo.  The 7.2v Ni-Cad battery was replaced with a small 6v 4.5ah gel cell of about the same size/weight (it fits in the battery compartment) which gives much longer running time.

I've now shelved this project as I bought a much larger Amati/Hachette 1/250 Titanic which I've now converted to R/C - but I still have the converted RTR Titanic stored in the attic, and am planning to put it up for sale (along with a load of Revell 1/350 detail parts for finishing it) on the Mayhem sales forum when I get round to it!
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