Skill Level 3. Previous experience recommended.
These models are the creation of card modeler Jerry Vondeling, based on my Titanic kit. They build into 1:1200 scale waterline replicas of the Olympic at various stages of her career and are approximately 9 inches long when complete.
You will need a colour printer capable of handling card or cover stock to print the parts sheets. 67 lb cover stock (approx 8.5 thousandths of an inch or 0.2 mm thick) is recommended.
The Olympic was the first of a class of large ocean liners built for the White Star Line to serve the lucrative North Atlantic passenger trade. She was built at the Belfast yard of Harland & Wolff and was launched on 20 October 1910. Her length of 883 feet and tonnage of 46,324 grt made her the largest ship in the world when she entered service in June 1911.
The early years: 1911-1914
The first two years of service were marred by misfortune. A collision with HMS Hawke and a number of propeller blade breakages required costly journeys to Belfast for repair. Crew unrest after the Titanic sinking resulted in another aborted voyage. Returning to service in 1913 after a major overhaul, the Olympic’s unlucky streak seemed to have ended and a series of successful voyages ensued. This profitable career was interrupted by the outbreak of war in August 1914.
His Majesty's Transport: 1915-1919
Low passenger numbers and other wartime difficulties caused the White Star Line to withdraw the Olympic from service for almost a year. In late 1915 she was taken up by the government as a troop transport, firstly to the Mediterranean in support of the Dardanelles campaign, then ferrying Canadian and American troops to Europe. Despite several close calls with enemy submarines she survived the war with one sunken U-boat to her credit, earning the nickname of “Old Reliable”. Late 1918 and 1919 brought more transport duty returning troops to North America.
Prosperity and glamour: 1920-1929
A lengthy overhaul at Belfast included conversion from coal to oil fuel, and the Olympic returned to passenger service in 1920 a better ship than ever. Although immigration restrictions to the U.S. would reduce passenger numbers the ship was both popular and commercially successful. Changes in accommodation were made to cater to the new tourist class of passenger. But the advent of newer, more fashionable liners and the stock market crash of 1929 were signs that the good times would not last.
Reliable to the last: 1930-1937
The economic depression of the 1930s drastically affected passenger numbers. The Cunard and White Star lines merged in 1934, and the nearing completion of the new Queen Mary brought about the need to reduce the size of the combined fleet. Within a few years many famous old liners, the Olympic included, were withdrawn from service. Her hull and machinery were basically sound but in 1935 she was sold for scrapping, her final voyages being to Jarrow and Inverkeithing for that purpose.
Last updated 28 October 2016
Copyright 2010-2016 by Ralph Currell