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What scale should it be ??

R/C Submarine modelers

Postby ThierryC » Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:03 pm

Hello all

I want to produce the hull of the french Surcouf for sale, however I am not sure what scale would people be more interested in.
The original was 110m long (361ft) and 9m wide (29 1/2ft) thus we get:
Scale 1/96: 45" long and 3" 1/2 wide
Scale 1/72: 60" long and 4" 3/4 wide
Scale 1/60: 72" long and 5" 3/4 wide
Scale 1/48: 90" long and 7" 1/4 wide

What do you think the best scale would be and why ?

Thanks for your help.
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Postby USS Silversides » Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:10 pm

Well if I were to build one, I like 1:72 scale for most models, but 1:60 would be kind of neat, don't you think?:D

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Postby JWLaRue » Sat Dec 13, 2003 6:44 pm

Hi Thierry,

My preference is for big(er) sub models, however my observation is that model transportability is a big factor in people's decisions when buying a hull. (ymvv :) )

My rough rule-of-thumb is that it needs to be able to fit across the back seat of a car.....so either 1/92nd or 1/72nd would then work.

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Postby dietzer » Sat Dec 13, 2003 7:15 pm

Hey, Thierry!

I'd pay for a 1/96 scale Surcouf hull, if that helps any.

BTW, did you know that Surcouf had an asymetrical hull ? The port and starboard sides are not the same. The only set of plans I found that shows this is the set I got from NAVYPLAN. The owner said he drew them using original plans from the French archive. Even the Musee de la Marine plans of the Surcouf I had did not show this asymetry...

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Postby Bob the Builder » Sat Dec 13, 2003 7:57 pm

I'm a big boat guy, like Jeff.

I say 1:48 scale. Lots of room for working guns, tubes, etc...
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Postby ThierryC » Sat Dec 13, 2003 9:34 pm

So far I think it is between 1/72 and 1/60. I would love to go for 1/48 but my wife just plain refuse to have something like that in the house, I guess she didn't like the 1/48 i10 :-)
1/96 is a bit small as it is only 3" 1/2 wide at the widest point.

Carl could you email me at thierryc@hotmail.com ??
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Postby Dolphin » Sun Dec 14, 2003 1:25 am

Please share more about Surcouf's asymetrical hull! I did not know this, fascinating! Why?



If the model is for static display only, then 1/96.

If the model is for R/C, then I might opt for 1/60 scale.

Surcouf was a unique and grand vessel, so some impression of size would be desirable. 1/48 is too big, needs to fit in that Honda. Even in 1/60 scale, this would still be a challenge, but very possible.

In any scale, every detail like AAA guns and deck fittings would likely all need to be fabricated for this model too. No Tamiya 37cm AA guns to kit bash here in this case as for 1/32-1/35 scale U-boats. The French AA guns master patterns would have to be all scratch built, so in one sense this free's up choice of scale. Would your customers likely be European (metric scales) or American (English scales)?

Consider cost and ease of manufacture, a larger model would be a put out of a large chunk of change money wise. Yet too small a scale, would see just as much work producing with less return in profit? Cost of materials? Epoxy?

Finally, I would ask very definitely those modelers around the world that have actually built a Surcouf in the various scales. Pay close attention to their opinions most! Did they wish they in hindsight had built bigger or smaller? Would a slightly larger model or smaller model hull have afforded a more efficient propulsion or ballast arrangement? Would a smaller model have made it a better regatta course runner if that was important to them? Or would they have wished a larger size to fit in some special effects for those 8" pop guns!

Would curtain size 'off the shelf' piston tanks work best, or would the model require because of size, a larger scratch built piston tank if the builder selected that kind of ballast system? A special sized tank might be more than a modeler might wish to tackle. Yet, these models are also challenging to begin with, other wise consider stamp collecting! Consider cost to the consumer and the manufacturer, and how much the consumer will still have to put out after the hull is purchased only too.

To summarize, I think 1/60 would be a good grand size, but only if it was best considering all the internal requirements, 1 or 2 piston tank, or a large WTC? What size WTC? Would an already commercially built WTC work best, or would a special one need to be made by the model builder. Try to select a scale (size) that affords the model builder the least amount of hurdles engineering wise. Keep it simple. But vitally, contact those whom have already built a large Surcouf model, there is no substitute for experience in what to build and what to avoid.

In my building program personally, a Surcouf would not be included. I have already selected my 'majestic five' for a life time of building goals. However one of these five is a French design!

(My Majestic Five)
1. British Trenchant SSN 1/64
2. German built 'Dolphin' SSK 1/43
3. French Arethuse class hunter killer 1/40
4. American L-class (AL-4 - WW1 vintage) 1/32
5. German Type XVIIB 1/32

My humble opinion

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Postby ThierryC » Sun Dec 14, 2003 2:13 am

Thanks a lot Steve, that was very insightful !
For people interested, I am also producing right now a 1/48 german class 212, pictures to come soon.
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Postby dietzer » Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:39 pm

Dolphin wrote:Please share more about Surcouf's asymetrical hull! I did not know this, fascinating! Why?

Steve,

I don't have documention to explain Surcouf's hull asymetry, but it seems to be due to her engines. The hull "bulges" out around the starboard aft on the bottom side of the hull around the starboard engine. I'm just guessing based on the asymetrical hull stations, but it appears that for some reason her engine arrangement required this. I'm using the term "bulge" here although I'm not entirely sure it applies. The hull doesn't stick out, per se, it's really just that the starboard side of these hull frames are deeper (extend further down onto the keel) that the port side. I'm not sure what the proper term for this is...

There is a similar "bulge" at the forward port on the bottom of the hull. I can find no explanation for this "bulge" other than it being created to offset the "bulge" at the starboard aft (i.e., to help balance the boat). An interesting, if peculiar, arrangement!

I was so suprised by this asymetry I emailed the owner of NAVYPLAN (who is also the draftsman) asking if this was perhaps a mistake on the plans. He assured me that the asymetry was real, and that the official plans in the French archive show this asymetry, even though the Musee de la Marine plans of the Surcouf do not.

Hope this helps,

Carl




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Postby dietzer » Sun Dec 14, 2003 6:58 pm

I found a picture showing the forward port asymetry on the NAVYPLAN website. You can see the one hull station on the port side extends further down towards the keel than on the starboard side. This is very similar to the asymetry on the starboard aft portion of the hull.

Carl

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Postby Dolphin » Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:28 am

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Thank you Carl for this neat insight. What a surprise. Glad in this case one can still be surprised. :) This reminds me way back in researching the Skipjack SSN's, finding hull line drawings (for D&E) that showed the bow sections on the Skipjack SSN's where slightly oval and not round as was the rest of the Skipjack's hull length.

Based only on your message, I bet the reason for the asymmetry is due to the narrow parallel separation of the propeller shafts in relation to the vessels center line and longitudinally staggered diesel engines. Note how the props are staggered, each propeller disk turning within the radius of the other with the horizontal dive plane (minimal clearance
) just forward and around each side of the propellers.

Keeping the propulsion as close as possible to the center line with parallel shafts allows better turning performance while still getting away with employing only a single large rudder. This might imply the diesels are staggered longitudinally in placement too and might explain the hull asymmetry . This seems to be a common design trait of French submarines built between 1920 - 1940. Do other French submarines with similar propulsion arrangements from this period also show similar hull asymmetry? The minelayer 'Rubis'?

Since Surcouf was a commerce raider in the attempt to resuscitate the 'Prize Rules' in place before the first world war, surface speed would have been very desirable. Reducing wetted surface hull area (resistance) to the absolute minimum, the hull form was made essentially as tight a package as possible around the most powerful engines they could then produce. Would this explain the hull asymmetry?

This French artist of NAVYPLAN produces some beautiful drawings. Some of his modern nuclear submarines are not completely accurate or at least imcomplete. His drawings of his diesel subs, but most impressively his drawing of the Liner Normandie and especially his Udoloy class Russian destroyer drawings are worth almost dieing for! Wow! I am more into Russian destroyers than their subs (esp. the Kashin and Udoloys).

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Postby dietzer » Mon Dec 15, 2003 10:15 am

Steve,

I think you hit the nail on the head. I didn't even think about them staggering the diesels. But that is a good guess based on the staggered props. Wish I had thought of it... :D

You are also right about the speed. For her size, she was incredibly fast, even compared against other WWII subs built 10 years after Surcouf was commissioned.

I don't have any info on other French subs, so I can't comment on similarities. I counted myself lucky to find plans of Surcouf. I'm glad NAVYPLAN drew the Surcouf plans this summer and released them this fall.

BTW, if you happen to find the hard-to-get (at least in the US) Le Modele Reduit de Bateaux (also known as MRB) plans of the Surcouf, don't bother buying them. These plans are not very accurate, and show Surcouf with 6 bow tubes instead of 4!

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Postby Seasub88 » Mon Dec 15, 2003 11:56 am

:O I believe the asymetry of the Surcouf is because it was designed by a Venitian gondola builder.
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Postby Dolphin » Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:35 pm

Hi Carl,

Thank you for the tip on those Le Modele Reduit de Bateaux plans. The NAVYPLAN Surcouf looks best to me, but your the surcouf expert! I don't expect to build a model of the beautiful Surcouf any day soon. But I enjoy learning about her! Thank you for your great info about Surcouf.

Regards,

Steve
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Postby Frank » Mon Dec 15, 2003 11:07 pm

Hi Thierry,
I think 1:60 scale is a good manageable size. I speak from experience as I built a Surcouf About four years ago from a long discontinued DeBoer hull. At sixty inches it is impress and can still be handled by one person. My only regret is that I decided to complete the integrity of the hull intact and work through the deck. That limited me to a 3" Merriman WTC. If I had cut at the widest flare of the hull, I could have installed a 3-1/2" with a little more room, and less hastle to get in and out of the hull. If you want to see any photos just drop me a line.
Frank
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