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Seeking advise on Engel subs - Any 'but' before buying?

R/C Submarine modelers

Postby toneburst » Thu Mar 04, 2004 3:18 am

Hello to all,

since my U47 is nearing completion I've been thinking about my next project. Robbe's XXI will probably be shipping in 2025 (give and take some years) I gathered some info on the Engel subs ( http://engel-modellbau.de ).
I like their Nautilus, but it's to expensive for me right now. Second one I would like to build is the Gato but this one gives me some 'transportation problems' (will not fit in my car without the danger of getting damaged). This left me with two choices: the Patrich Henry or the U 19 (both TAES version).
If anyone has experiences when it comes to building and quality of the kits (or any other comments) and likes to share these I would really appreciate.

Thanks,

Jos.
Bailed out aircrew please report here......
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Postby witchblade » Thu Mar 04, 2004 5:18 am

Hi jos,

I've sent you an email with some info about my Patrick Henry and its rebuild (+reason).

In short for the rest of de committee. I like the Engel kits. Good price/quality. The only thing is that one cannot always reach each an every corner of the ship after it's build.

Danny
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Postby ThierryC » Thu Mar 04, 2004 8:41 am

Hi Jos

Check out my website, I describe the construction and modification of the U19. I would not recommand that boat as it is a major pain in the butt to build. Specially in its stock version. This was my 2nd Engel boat, and now that it is finished I would have junked the WTC completly and made my own with a bayonet locking ring and immitate the WTC of the lafayette.

If u have any question about the u19, feel free to email me.
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Postby safrole » Thu Mar 04, 2004 9:39 am

Subconcepts announced they have a new kit coming out soon. Frank is a perfectionist, so I'm sure it will be a good kit. You'll at least want to wait and see what kind of boat it is.

As far as Engel kits go, I have heard that the Lafayette's bayonette ring is their best sealing method so far.
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Postby Bigdave » Thu Mar 04, 2004 12:42 pm

My best friend is building the Lafayette kit now. This kit is great. The quality is second to none. You can see a photo of it's contents in the new Subcommettee report. I think I have talked him into doing a article on building it. This is definitely their best kit in my opinion. Dave. :D
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Postby donO » Thu Mar 04, 2004 2:08 pm

As Bigdave says I am currently building the Lafayette kit, and am very impressed with it so far. I can't speak on how well the bayonet seal works, because I haven't gotten that far yet.

I also have the Patrick Henry kit, which I named the Abraham Lincoln. This kit I bought probably 10 years ago and have run it at several of the Sub Regattas. It runs great and the quality of the fiberglass work is very good. A couple of things to consider is that it is NOT a scale kit by any means, and it probably weighs about 50 lbs when it is ready for the water. This is because the inside of the hull has to be sealed and waterproof, it's a "dry hull" design. This means you can't pick up additional water weight like the wet hull designs; so all your weight has to be inside the hull all the time. Even though it is pretty big inside the hull, it is still difficult to work on when everything is mounted in the hull. You can remove the Engel tanks and your radio equipment, but I found that this took alot of manuevering to get them out the hatch. Luckily I don't have to remove them very often. I also didn't like the hatch sealing method they used, so I made my own seal out of RTV, and my own hatch cover out of lexan. I am now on my second RTV seal because I was worried about its age, and it was getting thinner every year. The first seal lasted about 8 years with no leaks. Hope this helps.
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Postby 99-1073702857 » Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:01 pm

Regarding the Patrick Henry...I have one that I bought about 1978, and it has provided good service, however, the dry hull design is absolutely a double hernia waiting to happen. The boat feels like it was made out of cast iron and bricks as you lug it back and forth to the pond. I am now in the process of converting my boat into a wet hull design, with Art Broder's Recirculating Air Ballast System. The overall weight of the boat should be reduced by about fourty pounds. The fiberglass in the hull is very sturdy, if not real detailed. The boat would be a "stand off scale" if it were an airplane, but it looks good in the water and is strongly built. :cool:
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Postby Scott T » Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:38 pm

In these dry type hulls why couldn't water bags be introduced inside with tube and shutoff valves to weight the model down once at the water?
It seems this would let the models weigh less.
Pump the bags dry and hawl her out before you go home.
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Postby Bigdave » Thu Mar 04, 2004 7:40 pm

Hi Scott, As my friend Don said in his post you are not working with alot of room in these hulls. You are basically talking about a larger ballast tank. Filling the bags with water would create more pressure buildup inside the hull. I would worry as the Engel pump adds alot of pressure also. You may blow past the seals. Or the bag could rupture. Not a good thing. Dave.
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Postby 99-1073702857 » Thu Mar 04, 2004 8:57 pm

As Bigdave pointed out, there really isn't a lot of room in the hull of the Patrick Henry. The Engel design fills the hull, from bow to the rear bulkhead, which limits the possibility of adding a freeflood area. When coming to the decision to do a complete rebuild, I was forced to deal with the fact that the pistons are pretty old technology, but about the best that was widely available twenty years ago. There are now better ways to control ballast, or maybe Engel has come up with a more effecient use of the piston ballast tank system. No matter what they may do, the Engel ballast tanks still take up lots of room, use electricity, and are very expensive. They are cheap in Europe, but not in the U.S.
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Postby toneburst » Fri Mar 05, 2004 3:29 am

Hi guys,

first thanks for all advises so far. Some thinking about what to do here. I only have to do a small walk off about 0.2 mile to the nearest water, so it would be nice to just take the boat 'under the arm' and walk, so the weight is an issue. I have dropped the U19 as a potential project. After reading Thierry's post I did an extra search and found some similar comments on the German sub-forum. Besides this I found a lot of very positive comments on the Lafayette. Was wondering if any alterations of this model (working front dive plans, working periscopes etc.) might be possible. Maybe better to open a new thread for this modification-subject.
About the piston tanks. I don't have any experience with this product jet but for the pressure building up inside the WTC during use couldn't there be a simple solution? I use some pressured tanks from robart inside my U47 to get my tanks to blow (max 8 bar). Couldn't such a tank be used to store the air flowing from the piston tank when filling it with water (combined with some vents and such? Since the piston tanks have a max pressure of 7 bar the combination looks fine in theory. It's just a thought...

Jos.
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Postby WL Upshaw/Scale Shipyard » Fri Mar 05, 2004 4:32 am

Jos:

If your wanting a Lafayette class SSBN you may want to consider the model from Small World Models, this is a very good unit that is quite a bit more accurate that what I have seen of the Engel kit (Photos only)

The Small World Models Lafayette kit is in 1:96 scale and comes with a high degree of prefabrication already accomplished, and just about any sub modeler, weather an amature or a well experianced builder should have any trouble building and operating this sub.

This model is just under $1000.00. If I had to make a choice between the two, I would have no hesitation to go with the SWM SSBN-616 Check out the link below.

Dave Manly is one of the best modelers I know, he really did his research into this sub and his efforts show, along with his excellent workmanship, thisb is the sub to have.
I have no connection with SWM.

http://www.geocities.com/smallworldmodels/ssbn616/ssbn616.html

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Postby toneburst » Fri Mar 05, 2004 7:20 am

Thanks W.L.,

hadn't seen that one yet. Looks great. Some differences with the Engel Lafayette: no bayonet sealing of the hull, but much more space for mod's. Other disadvantage is financial: getting it to Holland will add another 19% on the price plus transportation costs (and 19% taxes on this too).... Getting a model in here from Germany costs about $25 to the price indicated on their website (incl.).

I don't know what foto's you found from the Engel version, but I have some here : http://home.planet.nl/~beast/lafayette1a.jpg and here: http://home.planet.nl/~beast/lafayette1b.jpg
Build by a modeller like all of us.

Thx,

Jos.
Bailed out aircrew please report here......
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Postby Silent Hunter » Sat Mar 06, 2004 5:08 am

From a mechanical standpoint, Engel's engineering is a bit "old school" and hence bulky, but the quality is high, and hull details from what I have seen are impressive. Size is definitley something you should consider. I wouldn't want to have to carry my Typhoon very far at 53 lbs. The piston tanks are OK, but are bulky and require some maintenance. Smaller models will really benefit from some of the other systems that are available. I am especially impressed with Art Broder's Recycled Air Ballast System, which uses an air pump and a elastic rubber air bladder (like a fish).

Overall, I am a supporter of Engel's products. The quality is very high, detailing excellent, customer service excellent, and prices reasonable.
The scale is fairly large so if you're looking for a small "pocket - sub" look elsewhere. If you want to impress all the people that see your 2 year project you've created. then the Engel sub may just be the way to go! You can view my construction project at:

http://bigbang.itsamac.com/typhoon/

Good luck!
Richard :)
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Postby ThierryC » Sat Mar 06, 2004 10:18 am

Richard, I greatly enjoyed looking at your pictures, but one of them is somewhat scaring me. It shows the batteries of the sub being recharged while they are still inside the boat and while the lid is still bolted down to the WTC. This is a big no no. If u notice, on the building instructions from Engel, it says that the warantie will be void of charge plugs are installed. That's because gel-cel batteries produce hydrogen gaz when they charge. This gas is highly explosive and will build up inside the WTC when you are charging the battery. Then when you turn on your boat and start running the engines, if a spark flies from the brushes it will ignite the gas and will destroy your model and possibly injure you if u are standing close enough. It has already happenned and caused the complete destructin of the model. I am sure that you would rather not lose in a blase of fire all the time and effort and money that you have put in this boat :D

When I was charging the gel cel for my typhoon I would always take it out of the WTC

I noticed on the picture that the charger is turned off, so it could just be there just for the picture, but better safe than sorry :)
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