"P R O J E C T T I T A N I C"
RESTORATION OF THE FILM MODEL
In the summer of 2019, something stirred among the wild undergrowth at the foot of the deep tank facility. Lifting straps, that had been slung around the fibreglass remains of the Titanic model, took the strain as the hull was lifted up and lowered down onto a low-loader trailer. The journey was to be short, just a quarter of a mile. But it was the beginning of a new chapter in the legacy of the model. The studio, now under new ownership and management, had received a healthy investment to update the facilities and grounds. The Titanic hull was removed from the deep tank embankment to allow the area to be cleared for new building work to commence. The model was placed down within the grounds of Fort Rikazoli, away from the public and heavy machinery that was operating in the film studio grounds a short distance away.
There is a familiar saying that goes, “better late than never”. No truer words could be said. Behind the scenes, discussions were taking place on the future of the hull, and, if anything could be done to preserve what is left. I was approached to give my input on the potential preservation on the hull. In February 2020, I submitted my own preservation and partial restoration proposal to the studio. After months of consideration, the studio agreed to the proposal, and in June 2021, after many meetings, backed by the Malta Film Studio Commission, Project Titanic began. The proposed plan is to clean the hull. Carry out the essential repairs and stabilize the structure where it can be professionally preserved. A new internal frame would be constructed and fitted within the contour of the hull to allow the hull to be suspended on the frame; the frame acting like an internal skeleton that would also take all the additional weight to follow during the next stage of the restoration.
In late May, 2021, the clean-up work began on the hull where over a ton of debris and junk was removed. Luckily, a number of original features have survived over the course of four decades. Although they are not in any condition to be reused, they will form part of Project Titanic where casts will be taken and copies made for use on the build. With the hull cleared of debris, it will be stabilised for its return journey back to the Malta Film Studio where the process of stripping, cleaning and repairing can begin, while the framework and superstructure and upper deck details are reproduced with all work being carefully carried out by a team of professionals at the film studio. Once completed the newly restored Raise the Titanic film model will go on display within the grounds of the Malta Film Studio.
As of October 2023, the Malta Titanic project is on hold until further notice. It is unclear to if and when the project will resume. In the meantime, the hull remains of the Raise the Titanic model remain within the grounds of the Malta Film Studio.