Sunday, December 27

Build review: Titanic Seal & Iceberg Scene from Suyata

Will Vale has the mind and a talent for creating the unique, so when he saw the novel, new "cute" kit of the Titanic (with seals and icebergs included) from Suyata, his interest piqued. Will has built the kit to show you what's inside and how the model builds in his construction review...

Build review: Titanic Seal & Iceberg Scene
from Suyata.
Kit No# SL001
"Cute" scale kit.
The kit comes with icebergs & five seals included.
Suyata Facebook page.
Suyata (from Hong Kong) are a recent arrival on the plastic model scene and their initial releases cover a wide variety of genres and styles, including a couple of super-deformed or "cute" subjects such as this rather charming take on the ill-fated Titanic.
There are two versions of Titanic available, which both contain the same parts for the ship but offer alternative diorama possibilities. SL-001 Seal & Iceberg Scene offers a set of very cute seals and some icebergs. SL-002 Port Scene & Vehicle instead has a set of Art Deco-looking harbour buildings and a nifty steampunk Zeppelin. Either version can be used to make a waterline or full-hull version of the Titanic, with a stand included.
I really liked the idea of seeing Titanic underway so opted to build the iceberg version for review. The lovely pastel-shaded painting on the box top probably helped make my mind up! The artist even got the rear (dummy) funnel correct as it isn’t producing smoke, which shows good attention to detail.
Box contents
The box contains the usual set of sprues, bagged individually and moulded in several colours. The main hull is in a separate bag and has been pre-painted white over the black plastic where appropriate. 
There’s also a very small decal sheet with nameplates for the stand, and a nicely produced colour manual with clear CAD drawings showing the build process.
As you might guess from the multiple colours, the whole kit can be assembled without glue, although glue definitely helps to keep some of the smaller parts secure. 

The way Suyata have approached the “cute” proportions is rather good. There’s an awful lot of detail and while there are obviously huge reductions in the number of windows, stanchions and portholes, what’s there is generally in the right place with the right shape. The biggest distortion is probably that the funnels and hull have been squashed front-to-back.

Note that nearly all the decks have open windows, and at least in the lower hull it’d be a good idea to fit a black baffle in the centre to stop light shining through from the other side via the portholes. In the superstructure though, the double walls make it unlikely you’ll see all the way through.

The trick with multi-colour snap kits is building them in a way that lets you take advantage of the multiple colours and still deal with seams. And the trick with building ship kits is probably building them in such a way that you can paint the decks and vertical surfaces cleanly. Figuring out how to combine those goals on this model was interesting.
I did a quick dry fit of the deck, hull and superstructure and it’s all very accurate. That means it should be possible to paint the upper part separately and drop it into the hull at the end of the build, which makes everything much much easier.

Suyata also helps by providing many of the chairs, ventilators and other deck details as separate parts which can be inserted into the tan-coloured deck from above or below. This is great for getting a quick result with the coloured parts, but if you want to paint the ship there are quite a few other surfaces which need to be painted white.

The superstructure levels are provided as large parts which slot into the decks and there are very few seams to deal with as a result. I opted to glue the parts to the upper levels, as the tabs which locate them are a bit smaller and I found it was hard to get them all to line up if I started by attaching the parts to the decks first. I used Tamiya Extra-Thin glue where necessary, and a cyanoacrylate-talc mix for gap filling.

Note that I left the bridge assembly separate to allow for painting the decks, which means a couple of seams at the outer corners of the bridge wings will need to be carefully filled after assembly.
There are a few parts which have to be attached before the walls as they’re trapped by them, so I ended up fitting all the seats (the brown strips) in the process. I didn’t worry about the many ejector pin marks as they’ll all be hidden after assembly, except one or two right by the edge of the deck.

With that out of the way, it was possible to clean up and fit all the remaining parts. The lifeboats are a bit tricky as they have a seam down the centre which needed care to remove, everything else was straightforward. The plastic for the extra parts is quite soft which helps cleaning up the small seams, but take care when pressing pieces together to keep your fingernails out of the way or you might dent them.

I left some parts unglued where it helped with access or colour separation, like the masts and funnels. The funnels will need to be modified to fit the superstructure cleanly as the draft angles of the mould mean the bottoms don’t sit quite flat. The gap this creates is small but it’s visible at low angles.
As part of the preparation for primer, I attempted to remove the white paint from the hull. It proved resistant to rubbing with alcohol and lacquer thinner so I ended up sanding the edge gently to feather it and avoid creating a ridge later. I took care to preserve the rivets and raised name which will need to be touched in with gold paint and a steady hand later on. 

Hopefully, this prep work doesn’t detract too much from the impression of the snap-fit unpainted model, which is very satisfying. The raked masts and near-vertical stem give the cute Titanic a jaunty air.
The diorama
The icebergs are provided as several pieces which could be left separate if desired. The sides of some pieces have flatter areas which allow them to be fitted together seamlessly, in which case you end up with one big iceberg with a lower area ideal for the seals to sit on, and one small one.
The adorable seals are provided on a single sprue – there are six, all different sizes but all scaled from the same CAD model. Depending on how you use them it might be worth doing some minor customisation to hide the lack of variety in the poses.
The Titanic itself doesn’t need much space as either a full-hull or waterline model, as you can see. Surprisingly, adding the icebergs and a little room for the sea more-or-less doubles the display space required. I think that’s the way to go though, as soon as I track down a suitable base.
This is a charming kit with excellent engineering and a good level of moulded detail. It’s not ridiculously complicated, but it’s more sophisticated than many “cute” models and captures the features of the real ship quite well. The snap-fit multi-coloured parts mean you can get a nice result with just the contents of the box and a pair of side-cutters, but there’s plenty of potential for a more involved modelling project if you choose to take that route.

The kit's details are sharp and mould lines are generally straightforward to remove if you take care of some of the finer parts like the lifeboats and masts. I didn’t notice any issues with mould slippage. I did spot a few chunky ejector pin marks with some black discolouration of the white plastic, but these are hidden during construction so unlikely to pose a problem.

One minor issue is that the hull plating seems to be projected onto the curve of the hull from the elevation, so there’s some distortion in the shape of plates and hatches on the bow. This is only noticeable from some angles and doesn’t detract from the overall impression.
This is an excellent release and I look forward to seeing what Suyata do next. 

Will Vale

Will (will) be painting and finishing this kit up over the next few weeks in a separate article - stay tuned!

You can find out more about Suyata's kits on their Facebook page. Thanks to them for sending this kit to Will to make and review for you.