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vacuum formed hulls - Combat Models Vacform kits

R/C Submarine modelers

Postby Dave » Wed Sep 10, 2003 4:09 pm

I have seen a S-42 kit forsale on ebay and would like some information from those who have built model submarines from vacuum formed hulls.

Can someone tell me if building a r/c model submarine from a vacuum formed hull kit easy to do? I have never worked with the material before except with sails on sail boats. I have never made an entire model with the stuff before so I am being honest.

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Postby Novagator » Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:09 pm

I have never built one either, but it seems the material would be too thin, wouldn't it? I think fiberglass is better for an rc sub.
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Postby Ramius-II » Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:39 pm

Hi Dave: :)

I thought you might be interested in reading this web page:

From the General Board, June 14, 2003 "MY type VIIC had an accident"

Just one more wire!
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Postby Sub culture » Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:40 pm

I don't see any problem building a sub from vac form mouldings. Skip Asay's kit's are made this way, and plenty of folk praise them. Also Robbe kits are vac formed, and they also work well.

It's not such a good material to use for a pressure hull though, not as stiff as fibreglass. Also the collision impact resistance will be somewhat lower, but then I don't reckon you'll be slamming it into the side of the lake too often, eh!;)

Most vac formings are moulded from ABS or Styrene.
ABS needs special attention, as not all glues will adhere well to it. Stabilit Express is one glue recommended.

Styrene is easier, epoxy glues work well here, as well as solvent based (Acetone) glues for non stressed areas.


Edited By Sub culture on 1063248124
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Want to dive your boat in crystal clear water? Then you had better Dive-in-
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Postby 109-1045975219 » Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:45 pm

Hello, I have built a 1/72 scale type VIIc to look like U-552 around 1942 time frame. It started out as a combat models vacuum molded kit and after many changes, much scratchbuilding, and remolding the hull in fiberglass, now is an operational static diving model. The model length at 36 inches sounds impressive but be aware that this equates to less than 3" of internal width and height at the widest point in the hull. It is possible but go into this with no illusions. I made my own WTC out of Lexan and split the hull vertically just after the "saddle tanks" with the cap for the WTC attached to the aft part of the hull. The lexan tube affords me 2" internal diameter by 13" length of space to "fill". I drive the boat with a single 12v motor powered by an OTW ESC with BEC through an external gearbox driving both shafts counterrotating. I have an OTW levelling device connected to my rear dive planes and a slotted pushrod to move the forward dive planes as well with the same servo but outside the operational area of the leveller. A second servo operates the twin rudders. I use a pump system (refuelling pump) with a 250ml IV bag for the ballast tank inside the lexan tube. I power the whole system with an 8.4v ni-cad pack in the free flooding areas split in 2/3 fwd of the WTC and 1/3 aft and waterproofed with tool dip. I have included a link to some photos of the finished boat, but if you want more info you can contact me by e-mail. Good Luck.

Mike Godding, Kenora, Ontario, Canada

Postby Bigdave » Thu Sep 11, 2003 9:40 am

It can be done, but unless you are up to alot of time and work stay away from the thin plastic hulls. Subtech kits are very strong and thick enough. The combat hulls are not. You get what you pay for. Good luck, Dave. :D
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Postby safrole » Thu Sep 18, 2003 6:02 pm

(Sorry to be a bit off topic.)

Mike, I love your idea on the slotted rod for the front planes. I will steal that if I am able. Was the system to jittery or something with them hooked firmly in tandem?

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Postby » Wed Oct 15, 2003 11:05 pm

Hi! My first sub was vac formed.Got it in the early 80's.Still have it.No problems.
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