Build Your Own Titanic Review

This year, if you hadn’t noticed already is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (she went down on 15th April 1912) and there has been everything from blockbuster exhibitions, books, new documentaries, re-newed efforts to salvage her and James Cameron has also re-released the film now in 3D coming out. Now there is another publication to add to the mix: a build your own Titanic book in which the artsy crafty among you can cut the card and glue together your own liner at a 1:200 scale (53″ long).


Published by the imaginative German company Taschen, famed budget coffee table publishers that has brought art books to the masses, all text, as is ususal with Taschen is in English, German and French. The book is well illustrated with many interesting photographs and contemporary illustrations with a basic background history to the liner’s fateful maiden voyage and its salvaging attempts; it mentions little about the films and the number of films that have been made centered around this story though.


I’m not too sure who this book is aimed at but I would imagine it to be some geeky father trying to impress modelmaking on his semi-willing son. I will admit I haven’t tried to attempt the model myself as yet (I’ll save this for when my son is a bit older and impose it on him) but it does look fiddly and frustrating, but I am sure that in capable hands it would look, well alright. After the historical text there is a whole 12 pages taking you through the step by step instructions on how to build your model ship including what tools you will need (misses out patience) in English, German and French all making for quite an eccentric little product.


A recent documentary on TV claimed that the world changed the night the Titanic sank. No disrespect to the families of survivors, but was the world really different after the sinking? As terrible as this disaster was I don’t believe it changed the world in the way say 9/11 changed the political and historic landscape. I believe ships are still running into large inanimate objects. What it did do however was ignite the public imagination and this book is an example of that. The enduring staying power of the story in cinema alone is worth noting; there were major films about this incident made in 1929, 1943, 1958, 1980 and of course 1997 as well as many TV movies and dramatisations. It could easily have been published at the time of the liner’s maiden voyage as some canny merchandising but this is another example of how enduring the story of the Titanic is within the public consciousness.


Chris Hick

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