Zvezda 1/700 Olympic
KIT #: 9059
PRICE: $20.00
DECALS: Flags and such
REVIEWER: Dale Rannals
NOTES: This is actually the Titanic kit


Isn't history funny? I've always maintained that history is the winners version of events, but even so I've always been amazed at what ends up in history books, and what doesn't. In a tale of three sisters, one became notoriously famous for hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage, sinking with a huge loss of life. The second achieves fame, though at a lower level, by getting torpedoed by a German submarine. The third, however, had a very successful career in both war and peace. And with this success comes obscurity. Doesn't seem right.

Three sisters... RMS Titanic, Britannic, and Olympic. Titanic's fatal encounter with an iceberg is known to old and young alike. Britannic's torpedoing in WW1 is less well known, at least to the general public. But Olympic? Hardly a soul will know when asked about her. Why? Because her career was successful and lacked the drama that most people feed on. So, lets look at RMS Olympic.

RMS Olympic was a British transatlantic ocean liner, the lead ship of the White Star Line's trio of Olympic-class liners. Unlike her younger sister ships, Olympic had a long career, spanning 24 years from 1911 to 1935. This included service as a troopship during the First World War. Olympic returned to civilian service after the war and served successfully as an ocean liner throughout the 1920s and into the first half of the 1930s, although increased competition, and the slump in trade during the Great Depression after 1930, made her operation increasingly unprofitable.

Olympic was the largest ocean liner in the world during 1911–13, interrupted only by the brief tenure of the slightly larger Titanic (which had the same dimensions but higher gross tonnage owing to revised interior configurations). She was then surpassed by SS Imperator. Olympic also retained the title of the largest British-built liner until RMS Queen Mary was launched in 1934, again interrupted only by the short careers of her slightly larger sister ships.

Her wartime career was impressive. During the war, Olympic is reported to have carried up to 201,000 troops and other personnel, burning 347,000 tons of coal and traveling about 184,000 miles. She received distress calls and came to the aid of HMS Audacious, a British dreadnought that had hit a mine. She took on some of the crew and tried several times to tow the vessel, to no avail. She also sighted and rammed a U-boat in May, 1918. Her impressive war service earned her the nickname “Old Reliable” and her captain was knighted in 1919 for "valuable services in connection with the transport of troops".

It saddens me that a ship like this doesn't get the recognition it deserves. But thru-out history this is the case most of the time.


This is not a kit of Olympic, but one of RMS Titanic that I found cheap online. Zvezda's offering is of a rather soft plastic, with detail that is pretty decent, if a bit …. soft. The rather cool thing is that the sprues come in three different colors of plastic: black, tan, and white. So anyone could make a pretty nice display model with absolutely no painting. A nice display stand is also included, as are decals of flags and some markings. Instructions are quite clear and complete.


I bought this kit knowing I wasn't going to build Titanic. I knew of Olympic and what really caught my interest is the dazzle camouflage she wore during her wartime career. Now there are differences between between the two girls (notably, “A” deck is enclosed on Titanic and open on Olympic), but as this was going to be more of a painting exercise, I wasn't too concerned about it.

First thing I had to figure out was the waterline. This is a full hull kit and I wanted to do a waterline version. So I looked online for drawings to compare to. Once I had a few to go by I glued the hull halves together and laid a line of tape down each side. Not as easy as it sounds and it took several tries to get each side as I wanted. Once done I took a drill with a small bit and drilled a series of holes right below the tape. I cut between the holes to remove the lower hull and then spent some quality time sanding the remaining jagged hull smooth. It is not perfect by any means, but good enough.

The multi-deck layout of the kit required painting at this point before much more assembly was done. I used Tamiya's Deck Tan for the horizontal bits, and then painted the detail with flat Gull Grey. A thin black oil wash was applied to bring out some detail. The hull was also painted the same flat Gull Grey as a base to start with. Once done, the kit was assembled for the most part; I left off all the detail fittings and masts as I had a lot of paining to do, and I knew these would just get broken off. The kit goes together extremely well, with no problem areas to speak of.

For the dazzle camo, I looked online and found some nice profile drawings of both sides of the ship for both 1916-17 and 1917-18 (they were different). I picked the former for this build. The colors are nothing specific and I chose what looked right to me for each one. I used Vallejo 70.930 Dark Blue, 70.987 Medium Grey, Model Master Gunship Grey, and black (which is actually a very, very dark grey I always use instead of black). I did one color at a time, and painted most of it freehand, masking only the straight bits. This took some time, but as more colors were added it all started coming together. Once complete I added a thin black wash to highlight the details on the hull and deck.

At this point the cranes and masts were put on. The masts have rigging on both sides which are done in plastic. For this scale it is quite heavy handed, but it adds a certain flair to the ship so I put them on.


This was a fun one. It is always surprising for me to see the size difference between liners and warships, the liners being so much larger. In my growing collection of 1/700 ships, she is definitely the one that catches your eye first …. she stands out for sure. The kit itself is great. I'm sure there are others out there that surpass this in detail, but this can be had quite cheap and builds quick and easy. Sans painting (which you really don't need to do), this kit can easily be completed in a day. And it will look good too. Recommended for anyone interested in the subject, beginners included.



Google images for camouflage

Titanic/Olympic differences: https://joeccombs2nd.com/titanic/titanic-olympic-how-to-tell-them-apart-in-photographs/

Dale Rannals

19 September 2017

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