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RMS Carpathia In 1912 Harold Thomas Cottam was the RMS Carpathia's wireless operator. Early in the morning of 15th of April, whilst Carpathia was Eastbound in the North Atlantic, he was about to retire to bed following a long but entirely routine shift. Instead of going to bed however, purely on an impulse, he decided to send a courtesy message to Titanic regarding some undelivered commercial messages that he intended to relay on his next shift. Instead of receiving a polite nod of thanks from Titanic - he received this... 'Come at once. We have struck a berg. It's a CQD OM.' CQD = 'All Stations - Distress!' Carpathia's Captain - Arthur Rostron - was immediately alerted and, despite the extraordinary improbability of the events that were unfolding, he quickly grasped the situation and realised that he was within range to help. He turned Carpathia toward the Titanic's last stated position and ran her at speeds exceeding the ship’s nominal maximum through hazardous waters known - self evidently - to contain dangerous icebergs. Carpathia arrived at the scene of the disaster approximately four hours later - just before sunrise. Heartbreakingly she was too late for the 1503 souls that died that night. She was however able to recover 705 survivors and following a harrowing journey deliver them safely to New York city. Of the several ships associated with the Titanic disaster Carpathia was really the only one with her reputation enhanced in any way. For this reason it is perhaps a little surprising that she is not modelled more frequently. After all she is the hero in the most famous episode in maritime history. Right now however, as some of you will know, I'm in the middle of scratch-building an Avro 504k in 1/32 scale and I'm greatly enjoying the challenge, Here's the WIP if you are interested. So why am I sitting here writing about Carpathia? Well, the Avro project is going well but is progressing very slowly and is about to enter, yet another difficult phase involving cockpits and struts and rigging and what-not... I was hoping to have the Avro ready for the Western Australian Model Expo in May 2019 but, frankly that's looking very unlikely. So I've decided to have a crack at a quicker build that, for the time being, will take priority - RMS Carpathia, Scratch built in 1/500 scale. Here's a book on the subject - just to prove I can read And here are the plans - enlarged from 1/1200 scale from John Bowen's excellent publication 'More Miniature Merchant Ships'. And here is the first cut in the entire project. And the wood selected for the hull - superb stuff this - maybe even as good as bass wood for carving... When doing fuselages and hulls and other symmetrical things I like to temporarily glue two even halves together at the start of the project. This creates a natural centre line to work from but I'm still be able to split the two halves apart later on if need be. For example when it comes to fitting the masts and other centreline accruements. If you follow the thread you'll see what I mean. I've decided to cut the sheer first. The sheer - nautical term that! It means the lovely curve along the top of the hull. I'm using a bench sander for this job as the thickness of the wood is just a whisker too great for my little bandsaw. Besides - belt sanders are fun! It leaves this effect. A nice even curve running the entire length of the hull and a smooth top surface onto which to stick... This! Note how the join in the wood allows us to get the plan's centreline dead in the middle of the job. And now we can cut this... (using a bandsaw of course) and use the bench sander to sand the correct rake on the stem of the ship's bow. Fire up the bandsaw again to start shaping the Carpathia's beautiful 'counter-stern' - which I fear is going to be one of the tricky bits in this build. A bench sander is essential for this kind of work - perhaps even as important as a bandsaw! After about two hours work we have this roughed out initial shape of the Carpathia's hull. Not a bad return on a minimal time investment I reckon. I'm going to try to complete this model quickly. I don't want to mess around too much. 2019 is shaping up to be a hectic year for me so on the brief occasions I'll get out into my 'factory' I'm aiming to get a fair bit done. This is a labour of love - but it's not going to be the work of a perfectionist! Hope to see all my old maritime mates back showing an interest in this one! Very Best Regards, Bandsaw Steve.
For those who hadn't heard, Cunards 3 Queens will all be in Liverpool on Monday 25th for the 175th anniversay. Weather is looking OK if unfortunately not great. Hopefully some decent photo opportunities in the madding crowds! http://www.visitliverpool.com/onemagnificentcity