Return to the BUILD
In Issue 3, we begin assembly of one of Titanic’s triple-expansion steam engines as well as test our first smoke generator.
There is so much to do in this issue that the printed magazine only has one article before we get to the instructions!
Materials: The two Columns and the Crankshaft are metal. The remaining non-electrical parts are plastic.
- Giant of the Sea – A Cry for Help
- Step-by-Step Instructions
It is commonly believed that the Columns for the engines of the Titanic were painted in a ‘light mast’ color, just like the funnels. Included with the Vallejo Titanic Colors set (see Issue 1) is a Faded Yellow 71.443 paint color meant for this purpose. However, I also heard that Mission Models British Sand Yellow is a very close match. To compare these two colors head-to-head, I first masked the left and right columns off so only the sections I wanted to paint were exposed. Then I airbrushed one of the columns in each color to see the difference:
To my eyes, the Mission Models British Sand Yellow paint seemed to be more of the fleshy tan I was hoping for. I feel the Vallejo Faded Yellow was a bit too orange and ‘warm’. Therefore, I re-painted the other columns in the Mission Models color. Both columns then received a top coat of clear Vallejo Satin Varnish to protect the color layer. After waiting for the paint to fully dry, I removed the masking. I think the Columns look much better in this color:
The Engine Columns, Cylinders, and Rods
Lay the Columns for Starboard Side (with the interior column markings R4, R3, R2, and R1) facing up on your work surface. Align the Cylinders with the same markings R4, R3, R2, and R1 to the matching column, as shown:
Fit the rounded tab of the matching starboard Cylinders onto the alignment pin of each Column, aligning the screw holes as well. Secure these Cylinders into place with four (4) BM screws, one in each.
This is your friendly reminder to try using 3-in-One Oil on all screws going into metal:
In the same way, secure the four port Cylinders (marked L1, L2, L3 and L4) to the matching Columns for Port Side (also marked L1, L2, L3, and L4) using four (4) more BM screws, one in each Cylinder:
Snap the stirrup-shaped clips of Piston Rods onto these bars of the Connecting Rods, as shown. These only clip into place and need to be able to rotate, so do not glue them.
I wanted these Rods to stand out and look like machined steel that had been oiled. Therefore, I used my 1mm Liquid Chrome Pen to ‘paint’ them first. I did not paint the insides of the stirrup-shaped clips, nor the cross-bars, of these parts so they could rotate freely once installed:
Also, I feel it will look better on our model if we make sure the ‘open’ ends of these stirrup clips are all facing the same way (away from view once installed). In this picture, I left the first one detached to show the alignment of these parts:
Snap the stirrup-shaped clips of the Connecting Rods onto these locations of the Crankshaft. Note the ‘open’ ends of the clips are facing up and the tapered end of the Crankshaft is to the right, as shown:
With the tapered end of the Crankshaft still to the right (circled below), align the Piston Rods of this assembly into these matching grooves (arrows below) of each Cylinder of the Port Side engine assembly.
This step is tricky, so you may want to get an extra set of hands to help align everything. Once everything is laid into position, the Piston Rods will be at different heights inside the Cylinders, as shown. Since these rods will move up and down, I put a drop of 3-In-One Oil into each of the Cylinder grooves under each Piston Rod to help lubricate this area. I also applied a drop of oil to the matching grooves on the opposite Cylinders (not shown here):
Fit the Starboard Side engine assembly on top of the Piston Rods, capturing them in place, and align the two engine halves together. These two halves should be pressed together – do not use any glue here.
Take care to make sure the Piston Rods stay in their respective holes of the Cylinders while bringing these two assemblies together. Don’t worry about any gaps along the tops of the Cylinders right now – there are Cylinder Heads coming soon that will lock these two Cylinder halves together:
Fit the longer Stop Plate (Upper, Front) between the Crankshaft and the front bottom of the Column assembles. This should be cradling the forward (non-tapered) end of the Crankshaft. Press this Stop Plate down onto the two posts of the Columns, as shown.
TIP: The two Upper Stop Plates are flat around the screw holes, while the Lower Stop Plates have recessed screw holes:
In the same way, fit the shorter Stop Plate (Upper, Rear) between the tapered rear end of the Crankshaft and the rear bottom of the Column assemblies. Again, cradling the Crankshaft and pressing the plate down onto the posts as shown:
Fit the longer Stop Plate (Lower, Front) over the Stop Plate (Upper, Front) and secure it into place with two (2) CM screws, as shown.
Note the open underside of this Stop Plate (Lower, Front) will capture the front end of the Crankshaft:
Fit the shorter Stop Plate (Lower, Rear) over the Stop Plate (Upper, Rear) and secure it into place with two (2) more CM screws.
IMPORTANT: The images in the instructions are incorrect here. Make sure the small ‘bump’ of this Stop Plate (Lower, Rear) is facing towards the rear of the engine. I was following the instructions at this point and realized that if we attach this per the instructions, the Crankshaft will not rotate very easily and the engine will not sit correctly in the upcoming Engine Base. I did not realize this until my Crankshaft Cog was already glued in place, so these next two pictures are incorrect:
Note how the Crankshaft Cog we install in the next step is designed to fit under the ‘bump’. This bump also needs to fit into a matching recess of the Base for the Engine we will be installing in an upcoming issue. Make sure to install this Stop Plate (Lower, Rear) correctly, as shown:
Test fit the D-shaped hole of the Crankshaft Cog onto the matching D-shaped post at the tapered end of the Crankshaft. The embossed details (circular recess) of the Crankshaft Cog should be facing away from the engine. When happy with the fitment, use a small drop of super glue to secure the Crankshaft Cog into place, as shown.
I did not like that this Crankshaft Cog was pale green, so I hand brushed it with some Vallejo Signal Red Metallic paint. Not only do I think this color looks more interesting, I feel it is truer to how it might have been in the real Titanic engine room:
I wanted this ‘flywheel’ to have a greasy appearance, so I painted the edge of the gear teeth with a dark grey Artistro Acrylic Paint Pen. Then, while the paint was still wet, I used a dry cotton swab to wipe away the upper layer of this paint. I think it gives it a nice grimy look:
That step completes the engine build steps of this issue, so here is my modified engine assembly so far. I enjoy using different colors on my builds to help create contrast and highlight the nicely detailed parts:
Connect the plug of the Smoke Generator to the matching socket of the Smoke Generator Tester Unit and insert two (2) AAA batteries (not included) into the Tester Unit, ensuring they are installed the correct way around.
The trigger button to activate the Smoke Generator is marked with an arrow below:
Wet a paper towel, then place the disc of the Smoke Generator on top of it with wires coming out the top of the disc. Hold down the button on the Tester Unit and wait a few moments. You should see a trail of smoke (water vapor) coming up from the center of the Smoke Generator disc.
This Smoke Generator uses an ultrasonic ‘atomization disc’ typically found in home humidifiers to turn water into a mist. It is worth noting that the Tester Unit is just that, a tester. It will only create a small amount of ‘smoke’ in this test. The final driver unit in the model should have a lot more power and create a lot more ‘smoke’. For my test, I used a soaking wet cotton ball instead of a paper towel and it worked quite well:
With your test complete, I recommend removing the batteries from the Tester Unit to preserve the parts.
I am impressed by the detail of the engine Columns and Cylinders! We will eventually build both engines of our Titanic and mount them inside the hull. These engines will also be motorized and viewable behind a magnetic hull plate on the port side as the build progresses. Exciting!
Issue 4 – Lower Port Hull Section, Port Hull Section (Bow Lower), Connecting Panel