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In memoriam

Brave and determined intern Ariel tackled a project of massive proportions: building a 27-inch paper model of The Titanic in honor of this week’s centennial.

The model pieces and instructions are included in The Titanic Notebook: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Ship by Claire Hawcock (Insight Editions, March). Though the browse-worthy Notebook is jam-packed with pop-ups, foldouts, and trivia, Ariel headed straight for the model—and stuck with it for the next three and a half grueling hours.

supplies: instructions, punch-out pieces, glue, and (this one is crucial!) coffee

Ariel explains, “It was doable, but took some time to figure out. The diagrams are not exactly clear.” She found the pieces to be well-made and sturdy, but the shiny cardstock was “not glue-friendly”. A good deal of Scotch tape was needed to avert disaster.

Ariel hard at work

Based on Ariel’s experience with decoding the instructions and coaxing the parts together, the recommended age of  seven years and up may be a bit ambitious; this is probably a better bet for older kids or a kid-and-adult team. But as Ariel says, “It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?!”

the final product…

…complete with ice-cube iceberg

For more Titanic, see Horn Book Magazine contributor Betty Carter’s annotated Titanic bibliography.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.



  1. B. Holroyd says:

    I have also constructed the model, finding the stern ( ‘poopdeck’ or ‘fantail’ ) the main challenge! I plan on redesigning the masts, propellers, funnels, docking bridge and lifeboats, however, for a more accurate representation of Titanic. The model was relatively easy except, for, as said, the tail end of the ship; not exactly the best configuration I have seen for assembling that particular area of the Titanic! There are many paper models of the famous vessel out there, and this one is a simplified but impressive reincarnation of her! It could have used a few more accuracies on the superstructure, like the Grand Staircase housing, the electric cranes and hatch covers, the compass tower amidship and the docking bridge, which spanned the width of the tail section on the original ship. Overall, though, the paper engineering by David Hancock resulted in a beautiful, display-worthy model of a trans-Atlantic legend! I recommend it for the enthusiast and paper-modeler alike!

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