RMS Titanic Part 2

I wanted to name it “Ita-Titanic” or “Itanic”, both of which play off of “itasha“, and the reasoning will become clear in a bit. As of the last update, there was still a bit of work to be done, but at this point I think it’s more or less complete (for now).

I say “for now” because this is as much an art project for me as it is a hardware project… or at least that’s how it’s turned out. When J and I first considered doing boats round two, I had really just wanted to bring Titanic up to par mechanically (fix the leaks, streamlined circuitry, etc), but as I mentioned in the last update, once the mechanical business was sorted out, I got caught up in cosmetic improvements. Even then, I’d originally only wanted to make the single cutout as shown last time, but things just kept going.

This is, I was telling J, probably some sort of manifestation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We don’t care about the higher needs until we’ve taken care of the lower ones. Titanic was never really mechanically sound enough to consider any cosmetic work, whereas Lucky Channel, partially thanks to her large number of stock parts, was mechanically sound enough from the get go for me to consider doodling all over her. There may also be a confidence/experience component – I’m not sure I would have even considered making something like this in junior high or high school.

That last part really leads into the philosophy behind the overall approach I took to cosmetics here: it’s really just an illusion. You just need to be able to suggest what you want to depict at the viewer’s resolution (or something like that). I don’t actually need to detail out the ship – which is probably what I thought I would have had to do previously – I just need to make it suggest Titanic from several feet away, and at this point, I think it does a pretty good job.

And it was while I was making a small modification to the drawings prior to printing that I realized that technology is fantastic. When I made the foamcore thing, it was really easy! I went to Google images on my DSL connection and threw out a couple search terms. Images returned several thousand images of varying relevance and size, and I downloaded some 1MB+ images in a couple seconds. Took the pictures and resized them in my already antiquated graphics editor, and test printed several times on my cost-next-to-nothing inkjet printer – which also scans AND copies! To do any of this in 1996 (when I got this hull) would be ridiculous.

Obviously my small modification was adding a chibi neko Nagato mascot on the read of the ship. Another thing you couldn’t even have considered doing in 1996 (this time if only because Haruhi didn’t exist in 1996).

At this point I would like to make some notes about performance, but when I tested the thing in a friend’s pool, there were enough teething problems to preclude doing any meaningful speed trials, etc. Also a limiting factor: at about two thirds speed, the ship’s turning radius was already almost bigger than the radius of said pool (about one and a half yards). I’d definitely say the scale acceleration and speed is better than that of the actual Titanic, despite the fact that the estimated scale power is about the same.

Scale weight also seems to be about the same – there is a very fine line on the hull that suggests where the waterline should be (basically, I’m assuming you use it when painting – that’s what I did), and the ship more or less rides at that line, if not a little lighter. I think sticking a C battery in the front would balance things out a bit, and maybe help the ship’s poor left/right stability (enough such that even a small shift in internal components can cause a noticeable list).

Finally, even the internals have changed since last time; I’ve replaced the DIY battery box with four single-cell D battery boxes glued together. A “real” speed control has replaced the crappy on/off switch, and I think the wiring is more or less tidied up. The only original part now is probably the hull and propeller/shaft. I guess the servo and receiver count too.

Maybe next time we can actually get on the water…

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