Small World Models 1/96th Blueback Kit Restoration

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  • thor
    SubCommittee Member
    • Feb 2009
    • 1441

    Small World Models 1/96th Blueback Kit Restoration

    We will begin the restoration/resurrection of the Small World Models 1/9th Blueback kit by pulling a solid & think hull out of the failing molds. As you can see here there are numerous cracks, checks, and lifting areas on the mold inner surface. These are signs that the mold is going to fail very soon.











    I tried to take the best images I could that would show some of the challenges using these old molds. There is a lot of cracks that are very fine that do not show up well on photos taken with my phone.
    Regards,

    Matt
  • thor
    SubCommittee Member
    • Feb 2009
    • 1441

    #2
    Before I can pull a heavy part out to make the new hull master, I need to provide Bob Martin with a production kit for his use. These photos show the first layup in these molds for Bob.











    Regards,

    Matt

    Comment

    • thor
      SubCommittee Member
      • Feb 2009
      • 1441

      #3
      I am currently getting ready to lay up an extra heavy hull in preparation for creating an all-new hull master for the Blueback. Somehow in the recent past as these molds and masters changed owners the hull masters disappeared leaving only these VERY tired old molds for us to work with.

      The goal with retooling all of these old Small World Model kits is to rework the new masters to be pulled from the molds to return the quality of the scribing and edges of the hull to being new (as original). We are going to eliminate the all-urethane resin sterns on all of these boats and make the hull all epoxy-glass. All of the appendages, shears, scopes, & sail will all be provided in a super crisp, extra-strong resin 3D printed format. One of the downfalls of all of these kits is that there a LOT of pieces to them making them very laborious(expensive) to produce. I plan to reduce the number of parts to each kit, improve the overall quality and strength of the hull and significantly reduce the time required to produce a single kit. My goal is one day-one kit or more. The modern technology of 3D printing allows us to leverage the equipment to eliminate molds, rubber, urethane, and all of the time required to support the old school methods of production. I am not saying there is anything wrong at all with the old school production methods. I am saying that the more modern techniques allow us to be much more cost and time efficient.

      With the above production goals in mind, I have started the 3D CAD work of the Blueback sail as the first component of a large resin printed batch of components. These resin printed 3D parts will be superior to the old urethane resin parts previously provided with these kits. The new 3D Resin for SLA printers has come a long way in the last 3 years. The extra-strong resin systems that we can use now are light years beyond the old resins.

      Here is a shot of the CAD for the Blueback 3D sail. It is currently in printing as I write this with a 12-hour print time.

      Last edited by thor; 09-07-2023, 07:07 PM.
      Regards,

      Matt

      Comment

      • sam reichart
        Past President
        • Feb 2003
        • 1299

        #4
        Matt. Wow - 12 hours to print the sail? How long will it take you to print all the parts for one model?

        Comment

        • thor
          SubCommittee Member
          • Feb 2009
          • 1441

          #5
          Hi Sam,

          I'm using my small 8K Hi Rez printer for the sail. It prints very slowly but the quality of the part is mind blowing. It rivals injection molded oarts. It prints in horizontal layers and leaves no print lines at all. I can print 8 sails at a time with my small 8k printer and with my new Phrozen Mega 8k I can print out 20 full sets of Blueback parts at one time. That's 20 full kits of parts ready in one single print batch.

          It will still take about 12 hours to print the batch but that allows me to do other tasks while its working. The great thing about these parts is there is literally nothing to do with the parts other than pop them off the build plate and place them in the UV cure oven for a few minutes. After thar they are ready for packaging.
          Regards,

          Matt

          Comment

          • wlambing
            SubCommittee Member
            • Feb 2003
            • 842

            #6
            Just a curiosity question; what kind/type of paints will have to be used on these little girls? I know from some minor experience with 3D parts for surface vessels that certain enamels that we are used to using will flake off or even not adhere, which could be bad for in a submerged environment. Nobody wants to see a naked submarine, plus, think of the children!!!

            Comment

            • thor
              SubCommittee Member
              • Feb 2009
              • 1441

              #7
              That is an excellent question, Bill. I have had the same issue with some filament printed parts, but I have not had any issues with paint sticking to resin printed parts. Always use a good primer, of course, over a lightly sanded surface. I use a Gray Tamiya surface primer (L). Then I'm using straight Tamiya enamels over them. Thats exactly what I use on the FRP parts as well.

              By the way, Bill. I have the tooling for the new 1/96th Sturgeon kit. I want to release the short hull and long hull versions but wanted to chat with you a bit about the long hull version. The tooling is sitting right in front of me.
              Regards,

              Matt

              Comment

              • sam reichart
                Past President
                • Feb 2003
                • 1299

                #8
                Originally posted by thor View Post
                Hi Sam,

                I'm using my small 8K Hi Rez printer for the sail. It prints very slowly but the quality of the part is mind blowing. It rivals injection molded oarts. It prints in horizontal layers and leaves no print lines at all. I can print 8 sails at a time with my small 8k printer and with my new Phrozen Mega 8k I can print out 20 full sets of Blueback parts at one time. That's 20 full kits of parts ready in one single print batch.

                It will still take about 12 hours to print the batch but that allows me to do other tasks while its working. The great thing about these parts is there is literally nothing to do with the parts other than pop them off the build plate and place them in the UV cure oven for a few minutes. After thar they are ready for packaging.
                that's awesome, Matt. That Type XXI I got was printed in 8K, and as you stated, the detail is incredible, and no sanding or anything is needed for the surface. I think that you're onto something here... maybe having short build time models available will increase people's interest in trying a submarine.

                Comment

                • wlambing
                  SubCommittee Member
                  • Feb 2003
                  • 842

                  #9
                  Matt,

                  I don't have any of my reference materials anymore (given away to fellow modelers who don't model anymore!), but IIRC, the "long hull" version had a 12' extension inserted into the Ops Compartment just aft of the sail. This created some space aft of the Torpedo Room for a Supply Office and some more storage, I think. USS Trepang on which I served was a standard or "short hull". Our Supply shack was crammed into a corner of the Mess Decks. Please feel free to PM me with any questions and I'll see what I can do to help. Jim Christley is in here, too!

                  Take care,

                  Bill

                  Comment

                  • oldsubs
                    Member
                    • Feb 2017
                    • 66

                    #10
                    Matt/Bill et al: I have the 637 (SCB 188A) LOA at 292' 3.125". [It is 13'9" longer than Thresher/Permit.] The "long hull 637" starting with the FY 67 units ( starting with Archerfish SSN-678) were lengthened 8'3" to 300' 6.125. Narwhal (SSN-671 SCB 245) was lengthened a further 14 feet to about 314' 8". Source: Friedman, US Submarines Since 1945 pp 146-147 and 259

                    Comment

                    • thor
                      SubCommittee Member
                      • Feb 2009
                      • 1441

                      #11
                      Thanks, Guys! I have quite a bit information on the Sturgeon Class but what I need is the exact area in the hull that was extended and how did it impact the deck fittings/arrangement and the floods/drains on the lower hull. I'll PM you Bill. Thanks to you both!
                      Last edited by thor; 09-09-2023, 12:56 PM.
                      Regards,

                      Matt

                      Comment

                      • oldsubs
                        Member
                        • Feb 2017
                        • 66

                        #12
                        The addition of some frames and hull to lengthen the ship's design would impact cost. The location of the new cylinder section would need to minimize impact on everything in the pressure hull structure thus no changes to deck fitting locations, no changes to ballast tanks, thus their flood ports and topside vents. The place where this would be of least impact is the aft end of the ops compartment. All other changes would be internal. I have no hard evidence (drawings and such) that this is correct but some cobweb encrusted memory tells me that it is.

                        Comment

                        • thor
                          SubCommittee Member
                          • Feb 2009
                          • 1441

                          #13
                          A bit more progress on the sail and sail top. I am going to provide the modeler with the option of portraying the boat with masts retracted or all fully extended. I like the look of a clean sail top with just the search scope deployed.

                          Another option that will be provided for this kit is an alternative stern fin/plane, sail/sail plane option. I've grown to really like the USS Barbel as originally launched. She has no tip plates on the outboard of the stern planes, along with a different sail with no sail planes. The forward planes were mounted on the bow. All 3 Barbel class boats were revised later in their careers, but you will have the option to model either 3 of these boats in a number of different configurations.

                          Here is where the CAD is tonight:



                          You can see the two sail top variants on the sails shown above.
                          Regards,

                          Matt

                          Comment

                          • wlambing
                            SubCommittee Member
                            • Feb 2003
                            • 842

                            #14
                            Correction: USS Narwhal is NOT a 637 Class submarine! I have seen this erroneous listing as a Sturgeon several times. She is a one-off, all by herself, Rickover experiment that was actually quite successful in her career. S5G reactor plant, 33' pressure hull cylinder diameter, 314' 8 5/8" OAL, 6 MBTs, 3 on each end, 'cos she had no AMR 2 wasp waist tankage, it was all Engine Room! Topside fittings were mostly mirror-image to the 637 locations. I spent slightly more than 5 years in her Auxiliary Division (MAR 73- MAY 78).

                            The options Matt is presenting are wayyyy cool! While having a sailful of appendages extended while you're driving your boat around in the pond may help with making it easier to keep track of, in the real world, most of the time those chunks of pipe are faired into the sail for efficient transit through the ocean environment. For example; 1 periscope up and the BRA-34 antenna, at slow speed on a 637 at PD. You would also have the BRA-24 Floating wire extended, but nobody's come up with a good way to model that, so it doesn't happen. On my boats, I'll compromise by having 2 'scopes up and another antenna/snorkel raised to help these aging eyeballs.

                            Matt- Keep up the good ideas, but make her producible, so's we can get the thing, build it and run it!

                            Comment

                            • thor
                              SubCommittee Member
                              • Feb 2009
                              • 1441

                              #15
                              Thats the idea, Bill. Thank you for the encouragement! The availability of the new resin 3D technology makes things so much easier to produce. I will only be fabricating the hulls by hand. The rest will be done through printing. The effort of pouring all of those parts with urethane resin was always the choke point for me. It is very labor intensive and its very messy. The molds take up a ton of space in my small shop, as well. The 3D printing takes care of all of that and produces far superior parts to the old hand poured resin parts. I only have to do the CAD once, which takes a TON of time but its only done once. Load up the print program and hit GO. Thats it.

                              These boats will hit the water soon. Bob is kicking me in the backside to get them out of the shop so he can get them in your hands.!
                              Regards,

                              Matt

                              Comment

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