Last October I attended the Ihobby show in Chicago. As we were setting up our booth and display, a crate arrived from the Meng factory in China. In it was a build-up model of their latest release; the Crossing, based on the latest John Woo film. I hadn’t heard of the movie but the factory supplied a DVD containing a trailer for the film.
The plot centers on the sinking of the steamer Taiping during the Chinese Revolution in 1949 when it collided with the cargo boat Jianyuan near the Zhoushan Archipelago. Sailing without lights from Shanghai to Keelung on Taiwan on the night of 26-27 January 1949, the Taiping struck the cargo vessel and quickly sank, reportedly killing more than 1,500 passengers and crew.
The Taiping, a 2,050-ton Great Lakes passenger-freight ship that had been constructed in the Manitowoc shipyard in Wisconsin in 1920, was rated for only 580 passengers. During its fateful last night, however, it was packed to almost three times its capacity. A full-scale replica of the ship was specially made for the shooting of the film. The first part of the movie was released in 2014, while the sequel will be hitting the theaters in May 2015.
Meng has done it again with this kit. Their packaging is sublime to say the least. The model comes in a beautiful box with vacu-formed inlays, lined with black felt with and a cut-out white sleeve to top it off. Trés chic!
The ship’s instruction manual is a hardback book in color. The only down point is that it is entirely in Chinese with some English captions written by a Chinese. So if you are not fluent in Mandarin as I am, you’re in trouble. (kidding!)
Parts wise, the model consists of a one-piece hull, already primed in hull red and black. It comes with detailed parts in white and buff for the deck equipment, anchor wind assembly, mooring winch, main deck cabin, hull railing, poop deck, second and third deck housing, wheelhouse, lifeboat assemblies, top deck, masts and funnel.
Also included is a sheet of self-adhesive veneer for the planking and a decal sheet for some of the detail. A display base, a nameplate, a screwdriver and two screws also come with the kit.
All in all, the model is a must for the ship builder. This rendition is unique in two ways. Firstly, it is unique in the way Meng approached the subject and its engineering. Secondly it is a dramatic subject that has slipped past the attention of the world and almost disappeared into the dark abyss of history. Now with the movie and the visual 3D interpretation of the kit, a little bit of awareness is reignited about what happened during that disastrous night in 1949.
I would give Meng my two thumbs up on this one and if you are a history buff and ship modeler and want to build something exceptional, then the Crossing is the way to go!