Article: My Ships Are Made Of Paper (James Pepper)


I am an artist. I have built things out of paper, every since I was a child of 5 when my parents handed to me a piece of cardboard, scissors and a roll of tape every Saturday morning so I could make something. Usually I made cars. In college I built scale models of the Pantheon in Rome and Katsura Imperial Palace in Kyoto Japan. Later I would attend Architecture School, so I knew how to draw.

I developed the patience to build something like this from the 8 1/2years I spent designing and writing an illuminated manuscript of the New Testament (King James Version) which is 677 pages of full color drawings and hand printed text. This bible is hand-made, using a pen dipped in ink, just like ancient Irish manuscripts were made a thousand years ago and is intricately decorated. So I can complete large-scale projects that take years to accomplish.

My first ship was the Normandie, built for a family friend who was the attending physician at dockside for the burn victims when she burned in New York Harbor. That ship was lost in a move. I decided to make the Titanic complete with everything in it, with moveable engines, and to make eight of them, so my art would be preserved!

I had a relative who had the option of taking the Titanic and decided against it. He was stuck in London during the coal strike. When I was a child, I visited the Queen Mary when she came to New York City. I remember the party on board just before she left and the excitement of a great ship leaving port, with all of the ceremony that was correspondingly accurately portrayed in the movie Titanic.

I was once lost at sea, actually our gas gage was broken and we ran out of gas in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, about a mile out, so we drifted the day. Fortunately we were observed drifting, by a guy in a speedboat who had passed us earlier in the morning, and he rescued us. My father, my brothers and I, gave the distress signal using our arms to a neighboring boat, but they just waved back, not realizing our distress. So I personally understand the angst of the bridge officers on the Titanic when they signaled the Californian.

My ships are made of paper, specifically poster board and artist’s quality papers (drawing, construction, and tissue papers). Colors are added to the drawing paper and colored construction paper using Prismacolor pencils which are a high-grade colorfast lead pencil. Bamboo skewers were used for the drive shafts, pins (for hinges, davits, and other metallic objects that required strength), string, and wire for the anchor chains. I used cut down tall thumbtacks (push pins) for capstans and the base of the cranes; toothpicks for the pistons; and a paperclip for the engine crankshaft. Since I was building the ships from scratch, I might as well make them as functional as possible!

Each ship is made with one side removed to display the interior. The idea is to display two ships, one with the starboard side removed and the other the port side, so both sides of the ship can be looked into, both inside and out. I have two Titanics finished, another 5 built to F and E-Deck, two Olympics built to F-Deck and one Britannic built to F-Deck.

I refer to laminating pieces of paper together, what I mean is taking a piece of paper cut to the size of the object and gluing another exact cut piece onto it. This process builds up the paper for sculptural qualities and strength. Also I built these ships using centerlines, built like a house, making sure everything is properly measured and square.

Research is the key to success. Finding interior photographs from the Internet was important, but when I discovered the resources of Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas, I knew I could build this ship. I had access to the journal “Engineering” which had diagrams and photographs of all of the working parts of the ship along with the passenger accommodation and plans. These photographs were sometimes exclusive to this journal and were very large prints, making the details very apparent. They were larger than those found in “The Shipbuilder” also found in their library. These along with color postcards, existing Olympic rooms in a hotel in England, and written descriptions of the interiors of the ship gave me the necessary information. I discovered titanic after I had finished the ships, and it is a great help in my models still under construction.

A good set of plans is necessary for this work. I recalculated and redrew the plans found in “Engineering” to a scale of 1-inch equals 20 feet and I created templates to help in the construction of the parts from these plans. All of this was drafted by hand, using scales, without the aid of a computer. I caution people who think they can follow a set of plans; you must account for the wall and floor widths. You will have to redraw everything on the ship in order to duplicate it. Also you will have to draw unseen areas given the little information you have.

For instance, after I built the tank top, I made the Watertight Bulkheads as one piece for each bulkhead going up to E-Deck or above as the case may be. These sections of the ship are not easily found in the historical record. I had to calculate them based on the widths of each deck plan, the height of the Rigging Plan, and photographs of the hull. And I had to calculate where the doors and propeller shafts passed through these sections of the ship to cut them out of the paper. The floor levels were scribed onto each bulkhead for application of the deck later. When this procedure was done, I had the Tank Top with a framework of bulkheads providing the contours of the hull.

Originally, I started by laying down the keel using long strips of paper laminated to each other about 10 strips of paper each, and about 5 feet high in scale. I remember offsetting each strip so I would have an extremely long 10 to 12 feet strip to make several ships at once. The Keel Plate is one piece to provide the strength for the backbone of the ship. Providing the bow curve was a matter of cutting the keel using exacto-knives much like a lumberjack cuts a tree by removing triangular gouges. The narrowing of the keel at the bow was accomplished by using an exacto knife to trim the keel plate. Onto this Keel Plate, I applied perpendicular sections to fill out the tank area, using the plans of the Tank Top and the pictures of the keel taken from the top of the gantry as a guide. Sections where the bulkheads would be applied were strengthened with extra laminations of paper, all in scale of course. When the Tank Top floor was placed on top of this structure, it provided a very rigid, very strong platform for the construction of the ship, much like how a piece of cardboard is constructed when you look at it from the side.

The deck of the Tank Top is constructed out of several layers of poster board. Sections of this deck are cut out along the centerline to reveal the ribbed effect of the tanks below. At this time I started construction of the boilers.

I knew the boilers were placed on stands and that the stokers must also be on platforms to shovel the coal into the furnaces, therefore I designed the floor to be raised and the coal bins and boilers would be set into the floor. There were references made to the engineers looking through the grating below to observe the water rushing in. I decided that the coal bins would be exposed, without walls, using the depression in the floor to designate their position, so when you view the ship, you see the boilers better. Each boiler face was drawn with the three stoke holes and was made as a circle with tabs on its ends to attach by inserting them into a cylinder of paper for the body of the boiler. All of this was drawn using metallic silver pencils on black construction paper. The effect is a metallic object. The stoke holes are in copper and if you place a mirror into this section, you will see the detail very clearly. I drew the watertight doors onto the bulkheads, with the doors open; the doors were cut previous to the application of the bulkhead. So you can look through the watertight doors into the boiler rooms!

The engines took a month to design and construct. Each ship has one engine without crankshaft to show the scale and the position of the engine. The other engine works with the crankshaft reinforced so the engine can be taken out of the ship and manually turned. Each end of the crankshaft is a very thick and tight cylinder set in a larger doughnut shaped cylinder so the turning of the crankshaft is easily accomplished. Both engines can be removed from the ship and are not connected to the propeller shaft. The friction of the paper prevented the working of the engines to turn the propellers, I tried it, but it did not work. The bulkhead between the engine and turbine casing is a half section, to fit this engine in the ship. The adaptation to make the engine functional, which is obviously not part of the ship, makes this engine too long for its casing.

The crankshaft is a paper clip bent at various 90-degree angles to provide the up and down effect for the pistons as it is turned. The pistons are toothpicks encased in copper colored paper with the paper wrapped around the paperclip crankshaft at the bent areas so the piston will thrust as the crankshaft is turned. The piston cylinders are made of long strips of paper turned or curled over a bamboo skewer several times, to provide strength and glued. This technique of winding paper is used throughout the ship, to make all cylinder shapes, including the boilers, the mushroom vents, the turbine, the winches, cranes, etc. The cylinders are accessible from below for the pistons to go up inside the cylinder as the engine is cranked. So I had to make a platform on the top of the engine with holes in it to allow the pistons to move up and down and the hollow cylinders cover these holes. Lead pencils act as a lubricant, so the cylinders are metallic inside and out. They are topped off with a small piece of poster board with a metallic colored strip of paper on top and then the entire piece is gone over again with metallic color for its type of metal either steel, copper or bronze. The result is a metallic engine, with all of the main pistons functional.

Next I built the Turbine Propeller Assembly, and the wing propeller bronze cast pieces. I found the plans in “Engineering” with photographs, and with the holes in the bulkheads for the propeller-shafts I was able to reconstruct them using several layers of laminated pieces of poster board cut to the shape. They are covered in red paper, to account for anti-fouling paint on the exterior of the hull. I built the propellers at this time. The Turbine Rudder Assembly is an E shaped part that is made out of several layers of paper, providing a cylinder for the propeller shaft through it and two perpendicular, upright cylinders for the hinge of the rudder.

The propeller shafts terminate in the Turbine Room where I wrapped their ends in black construction paper, so they could be easily turned and be prevented from slipping through the bulkhead between the Turbine Engine Casing and the Generator Room.

There is some give, so I can replace the propellers if needed. Next to these, I placed the Turbine Engine. The propeller arrangement provides strength to the model. Therefore the Turbine Engine is a large metallic cylinder about ¾ an inch thick made of wound paper around the turbine propeller shaft. It is long and is easily accessible so I can turn the Turbine Propeller from this location. It is partially encased forward in a larger doughnut shaped cylinder, set forward an inch that is heavily leaded inside and out to reduce friction. The larger cylinder is set at the proper height to provide a straight propeller shaft with the end of the ship and is lined up with the engines. As I wrote before, I lined up the engines with the propeller-shafts, but the friction was too great to turn the propellers.

Next I made the generators, which are a collection of metallic cylinders, some set at right angles to each other. Each ship has two. I built all eight ships at once in this manner, so each part is multiplied eight times.

Now that the hard part was done, it was a matter of building the floors. They are made of several layers of poster board. The first layer is a template of the section, the second layer has cut out of it, room for tabs; tabs are pieces of paper set at right angles to attach floors onto the bulkheads. I had to make room for them on the layer of paper by cutting out their locations on the deck, so that the final layer will be flat, with no bumps from these tabs. Also on finished rooms the tabs were covered up on the walls. The second layer of paper had to be one layer thick, so the tabs were attached to the layer below, and would be even with the second layer, so the third layer would sit evenly on the tabs and the second layer. Also, I had to allow room for the overlap of the skin of the ship on each deck as I folded the paper over and glued it to the next deck up. In some cases, provision of staircase tabs was necessary. Each deck took three layers, sometimes more for structural strength. The third layer would have everything drawn and have the glossy side up. The first layer has the glossy side down, being the ceiling, or would be covered in paper, especially in the boiler rooms.

The floors provided openings for staircases, elevators and cargo shafts. All of the maintenance areas, crew areas, baggage, cargo, food storage rooms, engineer’s mess, etc. are labeled on their floors facing the open section of the ships. The Electrical Room over the Generator Room has the row of indicators set in place, and can only be seen if a small mirror is inserted into the ship.

I did not know which section of the ship, I would remove to display areas below, and so I drew everything, and decorated as much of the ship as possible. Areas that were removed were over particularly interesting sections of the ship, such as the Turkish baths, the swimming pool and the major rooms within the ship. So there are rooms fully decorated inside, that can only be seen through windows, portholes, and doors or with the use of mirrors.

After applying the deck, I made the walls, which were perpendicular to the centerline of the ship. The walls are carefully measured using the rigging plan for heights and applied to each deck. They are double sided, two strips of paper with the glossy side outwards, or if they were decorated (paneling, first class rooms etc.) then they had a layer of drawing paper or construction paper with the necessary details drawn upon it. I wanted the portholes to be visible through the ship, so a longitudinal wall would not obstruct all of the light in a compartment. In extreme cases where for structural reasons, I included longitudinal walls. This means the ship can be backlit and every porthole can look lit up! Or if you position a flashlight over a cargo hold, only that watertight compartment will be lit.

After I applied the first layer of the deck, the second layer was applied with areas left out to accommodate the folding of the paper from the skin of the ship. If the fold-over was not sufficient to make the floor level, I could shim it with other pieces of drawing paper until the floor was level. Drawing paper is a lot thinner than the poster board so I had room to shim. In the lower sections of the ship, I did not have to worry about portholes. It is necessary to fold the skin over onto the deck to prevent light from leaking into the room. Light leakage ruins the effect of a room being lit by the portholes.

The portholes were a difficult and hand blistering task, being applied on each deck separately. First I determined the height of the skin of the ship, from the deck to the ceiling, between each watertight-bulkhead. Usually it was not the wall height, due to the curve of the hull. I drew a line down the strip of paper corresponding to the height of the portholes in that room. I determined where the portholes were placed along that line, based on photographs of the interior and exterior, the rigging plans and the arrangement of the rooms on that deck.

Using a needle, I pierced the piece of paper for each porthole along that line, carefully trying not to bend the paper. The glossy side is on the interior of the ship, so I had to make sure the portholes corresponded with that perspective. I applied another piece of paper onto the dull side for strength, again piercing the paper with a needle through the porthole and then a bamboo skewer from the other side. The combination of the paper and the piercing created a very strong bond and onto this I applied another larger overlapping sheet of black paper for the skin of the hull. If the room required a different interior or the white exterior, the necessary changes were made in another layer of paper and the piercing procedure. Also black construction paper has a better side to it so I had to make sure the sides corresponded throughout the ship, the better side would be seen at all points. The black construction paper was pierced with a needle and skewer. This assembly was attached below directly onto the side of the ship and above, by bending it onto the deck above, onto the second layer of the deck as explained. Therefore to make the portholes, the first layer of the next deck had to be completed.

The final exterior of the ship involved using several sections of black construction paper with the good side out being applied to the skin (directly on the ship), and then piercing the skin with a needle from the inside, and then piercing with the skewer from the outside. Again, longitudinal walls would have made this impossible. The sections of the paper were large and gave the texture of the plates on the hull. The hull below the waterline was simply a series of over-lapped red construction paper strips to make the texture of hull plates. Also, it provided strength.

Floors of Third Class and the crew areas are wooden floors which is brown construction paper placed on the decks where the floors should be. Usually I drew over the construction paper with colored pencil to make the deck look more like a floor. Each room for Second and Third Class has just the white poster board floor, because I did not know what they looked like and to bring light into the ship. With the walls up, it would be dark enough in the cramped space as it was.

When applying a deck on top of another, the use of centerlines comes in handy. I registered the decks upon each other using the staircases and hatches. The decks had to be straight when looking at the ship from its side's Deck is the first deck on the ship where a person could walk from one end of the ship, almost to the other end. It strengthened the model, being 4 layers of poster board thick. The rooms off of Scotland Road on E-Deck are all labeled. I decided to make the First Class rooms have a bright colored floor.

Edwardian color design and Victorian colors are very bright. We often think that Victorian houses are all painted white, this is because historical societies do not have the guts to make decisions, better to paint things white and not get any complaints. This indecision leads to people actually believing that Victorian and turn of the century houses were all whitewashed. The historical record shows that Victorian houses were painted many colors, some bright purple! This was the era when artists could first buy paint in convenient tubes; that is why impressionists are so colorful! Complicated paisley designs were accomplished by very complex looms that appeared in the 1880’s.Technology was making bright inexpensive decoration possible to the masses. Therefore, I designated all First Class rooms with bright colors on their floors. Red, green, yellow, light blue, pink, and ultramarine, these were my brightest colors I could consistently reproduce. This color scheme allows a person to see where First Class is located in the ship.

Second Class has a criss-cross pattern in its carpeting, it can be seen in a photograph of the Second Class Pursers Office. Therefore I used this pattern in various colors all over second-class hallways. Each floor has a different color in its hallways. The room floors are white, to bring light into the model; the walls are white in the rooms and paneled in the hallways.

D-Deck includes the First Class Dining Room. I tried to get the carpeting right based on the photographs of the room. The mirrors on the walls were easy, using metallic silver colored pencils; they are so shiny they reflect the color of the floors when you look inside. I was tempted to put the emergency dynamos found near the First Class Galley onto the ships but this area had to be removed so I could fit my hand into the engine area to turn the propellers. Therefore the deck wraps around the engine compartment on its completed side, meaning the hospital area is on one ship and the baker’s rooms are on the other ship.

D-Deck was particularly tough to wrap the skin of the ship at the stern. This is where the rudder enters the ship in the floor, so I had to accommodate the hinge of the rudder passing through the deck. The skin of the ship suddenly flares upward from this point to the rounded stern. The portholes were difficult. I made the portholes from the interior point of view first, just like the other portholes were made. The exterior portholes would have to be a separate piece because I had to create the contour of the rounded section.

I applied several long strips of black paper slightly overlapping the next one, to create the contour of the stern, accommodated the complex curves. Then I applied larger pieces of the finished stern hull in sections to match the finished plates on the hull. After the black skin was applied, I would then use a needle to pierce the black skin through the port holes on the white interior and then use a skewer from the outside inwards. This gave a continuous evenly distributed skin to the stern.

The Rudder consists of the body of the rudder, which is attached to the hinge (a bamboo skewer) and the crescent shaped rudder control on C-deck. It was made by slipping the hinge from below through the upright cylinders on the ends of the turbine propeller assembly, through the floor of D-Deck, where the rudder enters the ship and finally topped off at C-Deck by applying the crescent shaped rudder control to the top. The rudder was then attached to the hinge by wrapping and gluing the final exterior black and red rudder “plates” to it. The attachment of the rudder to the hinge allowed me to raise the hinge upwards so the crescent shaped rudder control is off the floor on C-Deck and swings freely on its axis. Therefore the rudder-hinge became one piece with free movement at the turbine propeller assembly and at the ship connection on D-deck. It turns just like it did on the ship.

Bollards are simply strips of black paper made into cylinders by wrapping them around a pin. They are topped off by gluing their ends onto a piece of black paper and then trimming off the excess. They are attached to a small stand for their base, all in black; the trick is to make them the same height.

The winches are made in a similar way except they are capped off at both ends with a circle made of several layers of black paper with a diameter larger than the winch cylinder, the use of a punch press for notebook-paper was handy. Then a pin is passed through them making sure to be at center. Between the head of the pin and the winch is a small stand made of black paper that supports the winch. The pin is bent at a 90-degree angle just past the other end of the winch, and then set into the deck. A small stand is placed between the winch and the upright part of the pin to support the winch. Other winches are made in the same way but have different configurations of cylinders and ends. The winch is a cylinder that rotates on the metallic pin, and although it does function, it is extremely fragile!

The wood deck is made of strips of paper that looks like wood. I drew the wood grain onto several large pieces of paper making sure they were consistent in the application of the colors. Then I cut them into thin strips and applied these strips onto the deck, which was the same colored paper. The exact formula of the application of the wood grain, the use of materials to make the paper look like wood, is a secret recipe. It involves many colors and must be applied in a specific order. By applying strips of it, the decks have the look and feel of deck planking.

The hatch covers are a short box like structure set over the hatch opening in the floor of the deck with a white cover made to fit over it. They are made of the same material used on the decks.

The base of the cranes is a cut down thumbtack. I am referring to the large upright type of thumbtacks, (push pins), not the flat ones. I cut off the upper portion to get a rounded preferably ragged edge on the top of the tack. These are set into the deck to provide the circumference movement of the crane. On top of this is placed a small short cylinder of white paper to create the base of the crane. A lid made of several layers of white paper is glued and then trimmed off to make the circular top of the base of the crane

The upper structure consists of two upside-down L-shaped sidepieces, an interior spacer, and the arm of the crane. The interior spacer is made of thick layers of paper that separate the L-shaped pieces and it makes room for the arm of the crane to fit between the L-shaped pieces. The hinge of the crane is made with a piece of wire. The wire is threaded through a hole in the crane base, it goes through the outside of one L-shaped piece, through a hole made in the arm of the crane, and out the other L-shaped piece, and back down through the hole in the center of the crane base. Just tie off the wire, and add glue underneath and it all fits together. The hole in the crane base is made using a needle. Then this is all applied using glue and paper stuffed into the base of the crane to attach it to the broken thumbtack.

The capstans are the upper parts of these thumbtacks, with their bases evenly cut to fit flat on the deck. The tops are lined with a piece of double sided metallic copper paper. In the first ships I used clear thumbtacks so the copper paper gives them the look of metallic bronze objects due to the reflection of the copper within the tack. I am experimenting with other tacks to get a better look.

The Anchor Chains were tedious, making them from wire, one link at a time. The anchors are made of several layers of black construction paper. The center anchor sits in a well in the deck with the triangular anchor hoist capable of 360-degree movement. The anchor chain goes down through thick black cylinders cut to the profile of the hull from the forecastle to the anchors. They are very thick and strong and slightly overlap the hull plates, just like on the ship. Since the anchor chains are very fragile I do not move them much. The anchors are hanging on their chains.

Ladders and staircases were usually very simple, just cut out, draw the stairs and apply directly to the sections cut out of the decks. They were one of the last things applied before the third layer was applied to the decks. The first class and second-class staircases had to provide room for the flare of the grand staircases and the elevators. In the first ship I built the Grand Staircase with the wall clock wall built in, it is dark inside. The elevator shafts are behind it and I was tempted to make the elevators, but the shaft provides light into the ship. The second ship has the grand staircase with the wall to the elevators exposed to bring light into the room. By taking off the roof, you can look down the staircase, complete with railings, the floor and wood paneling. Also the section of wall to the port side is removable, being the ship with the port side removed, so you can look into the room from the boat deck! The second-class elevator shaft was made being careful in the application of the staircase, so it did not encroach on its space.

The B-Deck Rooms are all labeled with their suite numbers and their walls are decorated in the various designs shown in old photographs. The large suites and private decks are all decorated, as well as the restaurant, etc.

A-Deck rooms are all decorated with their windows cut out to admit light into the ship. The funnels can be removed to make greater access to these rooms. The veranda café is complete with its floor and walls and can be seen by looking into its windows, looking thought the ship from the perspective of the Promenade and through the opening in the second-class staircase when the roof is off. The Smoking Room features a floor made of very thin strips of high gloss paper set on a green floor. The roof can come off to reveal the entire room. The fireplace is present with the painting of the ships over it. The stain glass windows are made of tissue paper to allow light to enter the room when the funnel is removed. The walls are all paneled in mahogany. The rotating door turns on an axis made of a pin. The windows are cut out and go all the way up to the boat deck so when the roof is on the room, the light from the boat deck enters the room!

The First Class Lounge is paneled with a fireplace and mirrors on the walls with the breakfront on the interior section. It too has its roof removable as well as the First Class Reading Room. The Reading Room has the German Brass Fender in its fireplace and the arch is carefully drawn into the wall. The drapes are present and can be seen on the exterior looking in.

The bridge controls are made of pieces of fishing swivels set in small cylinders of white paper to represent the telegraphs. The brass pieces give a great look and the wheel is set in place, both on the main bridge and the docking bridge on the stern. The wood railing shows up well on the bridge areas. I drew and labeled the crew areas but due to the need for structural strength, the only way to see the interior areas is through the windows. The First funnel needed to be reinforced on it casing.

The lifeboats are very simple, sections of drawing paper folded to the length of the boats and glued. I attempted to draw the interiors but since they were not very accurate, I decided simplicity was better. They are attached to functional davits, made of a bent pin with its top turned into a loop and set into the deck. The lifeboats are tied onto the pins with string and set in their positions. It is possible to lower the lifeboats or to set them at any stage of lowering. The davits turn, so the boats can be swung out to lower them. In the research of the function of the davits I was able to locate their patent. The boat winches are in their positions found on the deck plans, and work but are very fragile!

The mushroom vents and other vents and pieces of the boat deck were made from the photographs. The mushroom vents are cylinders of paper wound around a pin, glued and then cutting out pieces of the cylinder created a 90-degree turn. The docking bridge was set at this time with its railing made of paper. I tried wire, but it was too tedious, since this is a paper model, I made the railings out of paper. The stern deck has the skylights for the Rudder Control Room below on C-deck. The main rooms of Third Class are all decorated below. The compass platform sits upon two removable roofs so it too is removable. It is made of a small box with legs made from two large paperclips.

The funnels are deceptively difficult to make. I had to determine the oval first and built up using many layers of paper a 1-inch block of that oval shape so I could roll paper around it. There are sections of the oval glued within the cylinder help it hold its shape. Then when I got the basic shape right, I had to set it on an angle to its base and to get the proper angle set on the top. This meant that if I made a mistake, I would have to rebuild the original cylinder shape. Covering it with yellow and black construction paper was the easy part. Getting the shape right and the height was tricky.

They are set in a casing made in A-Deck that is extra thick to support the funnel, with the fourth funnel partially supported by the roof of the First Class Smoking Room. The whistles and pipes were applied afterwards. The whistles helped hide the seams in the exterior paper, which is cut using an exact-knife due to unusual shape made to cover the funnel. I had to shim the funnels at their bases on their casings to correct how they sat in their casings so they lined up properly and were straight. It was a process similar to righting a Christmas tree.

The first ship has wire supporting the interior and the wire loops in the funnels to support rigging. I chose not to rig the ships because I could not make it look good enough compared to the rest of the ship. And, since I made these ships to be taken apart to look inside, rigging would be a problem. The masts can be set in position with the lookout on the forward mast. And the blue ensign is set on the stern with a piece of a paperclip as the mast.

The ships are made using the structural integrity of the actual ships, so they are very strong. I have in my mind’s eye a view of the interior of the ship and I know how to get around inside. This entire process takes about 9 months to build each ship. I am building just this limited edition of the 8 ships; I really don’t want to build the keel again! By building the ship, I know why things are placed where they were and how the ship worked.

One of the ships was on display at the Dallas Public Library in Texas during the summer of 1999.And both finished ships were on display at Southern Methodist University from September 15th to October 15th 1999 at the Fondren Library Center. The web page is at:

The SMU press release is at:

An article was written on this display and it is at:

My ships have a registered copyright

“Titanic, a Sculpture in Paper” Copyright James G. Pepper 1998

Copyright James G. Pepper 1999