RMS Lusitania 
by Ralf Roggeveen 

1/350 RMS Lusitania (Gunze Sangyo)

Millions of our ancestors crossed the Atlantic in thousands of ships between 1650 and 1950. It does not say much for human nature that the only transatlantic liners which are now well-remembered and easily available as kits are the two big ones that tragically sank, Titanic and Lusitania.  It is to be hoped that many more less notorious civil passenger ships will become available in model form as this century progresses (Loose Cannon have made a start with their 1/700th Carpathia). In this case I have tried to make Lusitania as she would have appeared on her final voyage in May 1915. There is still debate about her exact wartime livery, but the funnels were definitely painted black and she had an attractive buff-coloured centerline which ran all along the passenger walkways. Gunze Sangyo provide clumsy molded plastic rails which must be thrown away and replaced with Gold Medal photo etch. Gold Medal do a basic 1/350th Merchant Ship fittings set for Lusitania and Titantic and a further Gold Plus Detail set, both of which are worth investing in. Note that in WW1 livery some of the molded rails were simply covered with thin plasticard cut to shape and painted buff to simulate canvas covers, saving a lot of photoetch hassle. The two compass towers are entirely scratchbuilt, as is the awning framework on the stern deck. For 1915 it would be more accurate to add two more lifeboats on davits both sides amidships, and to change the screws to four-bladed propellers which had replaced the original triple-blade ones of the kit. In wartime she may have worn the Blue Ensign on her jackstaff as they left New York harbor, though no flags were flown out at sea.

Ralf Roggeveen

Gallery updated 2013

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