SIKU and DRAGON WAVE Cruise Ship models.
This page focusses on the new SIKU 1/1400 scale modes: AIDAluna, Mein Schiff 3 and the recent release, Mein Schiff 1. They also produce a 1/1400 scale model of Queen Mary 2.
The above photograph is designed to give a comparison of the two 1/1400 scale ships with a 1/1250 scale one.
All three ships are similar in that they are/were aimed at a souvenir market, with minimal detailing. The Dragon Wave ship being of a slightly higher quality. The SIKU ships are full hull models and therefore the first exercise was to ‘waterline’ them. For the Mein Schiff 3 this was relatively easy as all one had to do was unscrew the lower hull (plastic) from the main hull (metal) and nip the washers holding the screws for the superstructure (plastic) and then glue the superstructure to the hull. For AIDAluna the exercise was much more complicated as the lower hull curved up both at the bow and the stern and thus required filling down to give a waterline appearance. The blue of the lower hull may be seen and I should probably have continued to reduce the freeboard by a couple of mm. (They also produce a 1/1400 scale model of Queen Mary 2).
The difference in scale is masked by the size of the ships and the box like structure of modern cruise ships. Yes they are to a smaller scale which means they are 15% (between an inch and an inch and a third half) smaller than they would be if the scale was 1/1250 but placed strategically then the eye will accept them as being that bit further distant. One debate was whether the SIKU models are ‘models’ or ‘toys’. If one pays either £10 or £12.50 for a model (the current price of the SIKU) you cannot expect the same quality of finish than one at ten or twenty times the price. The most striking defects might be the balconies and tenders. The cabin windows are flush with the superstructure giving the appearance of windows rather than being recessed with a nominal deck as on better quality models. The tenders too lack that bit of definition that would make all the difference. (see note on Mein Sciff 1 below). However the quality of the paint work, the attention given to the livery and the detailing of the top decks go along way to compensate. My own view is that they are what they are and to accept them as fair representation of the ships in question. For information the Dragon Wave model has tenders cast individually and gave the appearance of balconies by running a light brown line below the ‘windows’.
New model – Mein Schiff 1 introduced.
Like the earlier ships this is full hull models and therefore the first exercise was to ‘waterline’ it. For the Mein Schiff 1 this was relatively easy. Firstly one had to undo the screws which hold the lower hull (plastic) from the main hull (metal) and nip the washers holding the screws for the superstructure (plastic). The next job was to file down the small part of the metal hull which protrudes below the waterline. This only took a couple of minutes. The plastic superstructure is made up of several parts: the promenade deck with the lifeboats, the main superstructure, the funnel section and the forward / main mast. The latter is too broad, appearing like twin exhausts but which are in reality twin masts with a goal post top for signal flags. I decided to ‘improve’ by using a hack saw on the top mast block and as it was so thick make two cuts giving three broad thinner pillars. I filed them down to reduce the width, bent the centre upright to make a platform for a radar and glued a cross bar on the top. I kept the original structure rather than remove totally and rebuild for strength and to keep the appearance as close to the rest of the superstructure as possible.Close up of main mast showing the twin mast and centre radar mast. I should have taken a picture prior to the change for comparative purposes but only thought of that when it was too late!
To sum up the detailing of the top deck, the accuracy and complexity of the livery on the hull and the big improvement to the lifeboats by having them and the promenade deck as a separate element, all make the SIKU Mein Schiff 1 an attractive model at a ‘pocket money’ price.