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S-51 Builders Log

R/C Submarine modelers

S-51 Builders Log

Postby Pipes » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:43 pm

Old timer making a comeback.

Twenty five years ago Skip Assey (Skip...Are you still out there?) helped me by long distance build up a 72 inch S-48 class boat when I was stationed in California.

I recently had an old friend send me one of the six hulls that was pulled from a mold made by Howard Johnson and Jack Elam of the Ship Modelers Association located in Calif.

This is going to the be builders log of my come back as I have not touched a sub in all that time.

I picked the S-51 as it is the most famous of the four in the class
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The Glass Hull

Postby Pipes » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:03 pm

The hull was laid up in 1985 at a print shop owned by Armand Veronico
in Los Angeles

It was done to a strange scale as the origial plug was to fit a requirment for Jack and Howard. They wanted a hull six feet long. This makes the model the wierd scale of 1/40.

The hull is in two halves needing to be joined on the centerline and then I will slice it at the water line to to make the upper free flood area removable.

I have long since lost all the photos of the origial two I built so I will be working from memory.

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The Subject

Postby Pipes » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:22 pm

The S-51 was the last of the S-48 Class and also the last of the S-Boats constructed. The S-48 class is unique in that it carried a stern tube.

The S-51 was not the last S boat in service though as it was sank in a collision with the "City of Rome" on 25 Sept. 1925. This collision and the salvage of the boat is covered in the book "On the Bottom".


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This photo of the hull after it was salvaged gives an idea of how fast it went down. Only three crewmembers survived.

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Postby JWLaRue » Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:34 pm

Glad to see you here on the SubCommittee forum! There are a number of us that really like the U.S. S-class boats. Getting to see one built into a running r/c model will be great!

I first fell in love with these boats when I first read Run Silent, Run Deep...eons ago. Not sure why, but I've been fascinated by them ever since. (That's where I also first encountered the backbone of the U.S. sub fleet....the Gato/Balao as well)

-Jeff
Rohr 1.....Los!
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Time Line

Postby Pipes » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:06 pm

Thanks, needless to say you had a little to do with dragging me back to the project

I will say right off the bat that this will be a lengthy project as I am not in a rush anymore and would like to detail it out where the early boats were just to run.

I will need a lot of help on what is available as to the systems today.

My first S Boat was a center ballast tank with fore and aft radio and motor compartments. The tank was an open bottomed tank with a solenoid opening a flapper valve on the top to flood down. The tank was blown using Freon (This was prior to the ban) from a tank inside the ballast tank. The valve was a 12volt propane unit for forklifts.

It was the first boat on the west coast to have a modified rate gyro on the stern planes to keep it level. Skip Assey from New Jersey mailed it out and helped me by mail to get it working. Depth was controled with the bow planes.

Second boat was in Denver and used the same configuration but used a free flood tank with a one way fuel pump from GM to pump out the tank with a freon back up should you nto be able to get the tower above water to clear the vent. I remember it also had two tubes inthe bow to shoot two torpedos that Mike Dorie made for it.

The second boat was never detailed out after the test runs and is now in a friends house in the Georgetown area of Colorado.


Until I make some progress I will continue to post photos from the Archives.


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Wrong Place

Postby Pipes » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:45 pm

Just noticed there is a different area for builders threads.

If you need to move this Jeff it is fine with me. I only put it here as it is RC.

I managed to rescale half of the plans that were in 1/48 to the 1/40 I needed. Aslo managed to print one at work prior to the plotter breaking down.

Have been unable to reduce to a viewable size for uploading to this site.

But will continue to upload National Archive Photos.


Image
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S-50 Conning Tower

Postby Pipes » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:58 pm

This is of a different boat in the class than I am building but shows a lot of detail


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Postby expfcwintergreen » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:26 pm

One of my fave subjects as well. Looking forward to this build. Thank you for sharing your reference material!
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Conning Tower

Postby Pipes » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:27 pm

Dug out the mold for the conning tower

The two molds have laid with parts in them since 1985 that were not trimmed when they were soft. As rough as the parts are I think I can use them instead of making new ones. Quite a lot of airbubbles to fill at the edges, but what the heck, Its modeling at its best.


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REgrets

Postby Pipes » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:39 pm

As I am getting started I am digging out old tools and finding a lack of supplies.

I did manage to get to the National Archives and make copies of the original 1/48 scale drawings and photos.

It has been 25 years since I messed with the subs and most of the piles of materiel were lost in moves. Along the way of my life I left or gave everything away that would have made this easer.

Will need to locate a plastics dealer over in huntsville or Decatur Al. Will also need to track down shaft materiel and a good set of props. The original props were rough casting from Coles in Calif.

Glass supplies will be easy as we have a lot of boating done in the area.

I realize I need to also pick over the new generations minds on how things have evolved.

Skip Asseys original modified gyro on the tail planes to keep it level was a mechanical gyro that has been out of production for years. What is being used these days in its place?

What replaced freon for blowing the tanks out and powering the torpedos?

Are Ping Pong balls still used to raise the scopes when diving?

Mike Dory, if you are reading this do you still have the schematic of the failsafe?
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More Photos

Postby Pipes » Wed Mar 04, 2009 11:46 pm

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Postby Warpatroller » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:08 am

Pipes,

This is a nice subject for a model boat, and its cool that its an older vintage hull! I'm also in the stages of gathering what I need to build up a kit that dates back to the same time frame as yours (in my case a 32nd Parallel XXIII).

My knowledge about RC subs pales to guys like Skip and Mike Dory, but I know I can at least answer a couple of your questions:

Current leveling devices for the tail planes are small and fully electronic. There is a Sub Tech unit called APC-4 (automatic pitch controller and I think Skip may have designed it..). A guy named Mike Caswell also sells one called an ADF (angle depth finder) which has a built in fail-safe circuit. These units cost between $70 to $80 and I plan to use one on my boat.

Freon has generally been replaced by canned air brush propellant. Although it was suggested to me, by Mike Dory, to use the canned air intended to be used for cleaning electronics, like "Super Duster". My kit has PVC pressure vessels for ballast and functional torpedoes. Mike said the air brush propellant has an added ingredient meant for lubricating the brushes that tends to soften the inside of the PVC, which can weaken it. The Super Duster air does not! He has a 50 year old RC U-Boat that still runs a PVC gas pressure vessel and he has had no problems with it (when you think about an RC sub that is half a century old...that is awesome, if that isn't legendary I don't know what is..). So it sure looks like I can use my stock gas cylinders instead of having to replace them with scratch built copper units. Bursting of the PVC cylinder should be a non issue do to the relatively low pressure of the canned air. Again Mike's sub, which is probably as old or older than most users of this forum is a testament to this. Mike, if your reading this it would be really cool to see a photo of the boat that I speak of here on the forum. :)

I've seen mast activation on here done by electric motors moving a mast platform up and down and by hydraulic pressure. My boat has a schnorkel in addition to a scope and I would like to try to get them moving possibly via a hydraulic set up. Believe it or not, I think there may even be some rather inexpensive Lego hydraulic systems that would work for this purpose. I need to investigate this area more myself, but a guy called Aqua Deep Dave on here, can probably provide more info on the Lego stuff. Ping pong balls or floats would be easier but don't allow you to raise and lower the masts at will when surfaced or submerged.

I like the photos you have posted and I will be watching your progress and comparing your notes with my own.

Steve
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More History

Postby Pipes » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:56 am

After it was salvaged and the remains of the crew removed, the S-51 was broken up for salvage.

I have also located the salvage report which pretty much covers the collision and raising. This report was used by Commander Elsburg to write his book.


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Sub Tech

Postby Pipes » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:59 am

Is Skip Assey and Sub Tech still out there anywhere. Skip has not responded to an E mail address I had
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Warpatroller

Postby Pipes » Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:40 pm

Warpatroller you say you are building the 32 Parallel Type XXIII.

Is it the older vacuformed hull?
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