Gigantic ‘Tintanic’ moors at East London mall
8m-long model is on coastal tour, before it is due to ‘set sail’ for Ireland
Africa’s largest – and the world’s fifth-largest – Titanic model docked at Hemingways mall on Friday.
The 8m long and 1.5m high replica has already been inspected by a swarm of Titanic enthusiasts, while curious shoppers stop to admire the iconic ship.
Designed and created by Free State-born miniature model artist, historian and Titanic enthusiast Gino Hart, the Tintanic is a detailed model of the much-vaunted “unsinkable” vessel that infamously sank in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City in 1912.
The name Tintanic is inspired by the materials Hart used, including high-grade aluminium, in his construction.
Using 50,000 rivets, 20,000 deck planks and 160m² of waterproof plywood, resin and laser technology, Hart laboured for three years to create his dream ship.
He started out with a coffee tin, two rivets and an active imagination.
“This is my 19th Titanic model. I remember building my first one when I was 14 out of a cardboard box.
“Of course it looked nothing like the Titanic and I loved sinking the models in the Vaal Dam so I could create better, bigger ones,” said Hart.
“Creating this model has been a long-term dream of mine and I’m definitely not sinking this one. It took a lot of back-breaking work to make it and move it around,” he laughed.
Hart was first introduced to the story of the doomed ship when he was 12 and watched James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster, Titanic.
“Cameron’s film is just a work of art.
“Funnily enough, I have never stepped foot on an ocean liner, but I remember being so enthralled and collecting books and researching the Titanic non-stop after seeing that film,” said Hart, who oozes with facts about the Titanic’s propeller system, as well as histories of tragic deaths and a long-lost family pocket watch found in the ship’s wreckage.
Completed and first launched in 2017, the Tintanic has 1,000 individual window frames, more than 4,000 rooms and seven grand staircases.
It is the first model in the world to be furnished in its interior at this level.
Hart’s next venture is to decorate all the interiors and to add no less than 1,523 resin figurines representing the death toll in the Titanic’s fatal accident.
“ I was so drawn to the history of the people that form part of the Titanic’s story and I want this artwork to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and the families affected by the sinking of the ship,” said Hart, who estimates that the artwork will be complete in 2022.
The Tintanic’s visit to East London forms part of its 2019 coastal tour, as the ship moves along the coast to Durban before turning around and heading for Cape Town. Thereafter, Hart plans to move the model to Ireland, where he hopes it will find its permanent home at the Belfast Titanic Museum.
“It’s like in real life: once the Titanic goes, she never comes back,” said Hart, who will not be bringing the model back to South Africa after this final tour.
Hemingways GM Reinette Van Tonder said the mall was very proud to bring the Tintanic to East London.
It will be on display there until January 25...