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Refitting a 1/96 SWM Lafayette

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Refitting a 1/96 SWM Lafayette

Postby eckloss » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:30 pm

hi again all...

ive got more free time on my hands while in between careers, and trying to ride the wave of momentum from getting the copeland los angeles running... so, project #2.

back in feb 2006 i purchased a small world models lafayette class boat, rtr, from tom carroll. unfortunately, for the past 2+ years its more or less sat in storage.

my brother in law served on the tecumseh, roughly the same class boat. ive always wanted to build a tecumseh, and finally have the time to refit this boat. so here goes...

this will be basically a photo commentary. descriptions are below each photo... feel free to bash me or offer suggestions...



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the lafayette as it was purchased. i did remove the rudders and prop for transportation purposes.


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the wtc that came with the boat. the radio and electronics were also included.


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i ripped the guts out of the original wtc to transfer to a merriman wtc 3.5


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luckily everything still worked fine, and made an easy transition to the new wtc. it also gave me something to do after halftime of the monday night green bay game :lol:


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ill be using 10 1.2v 3000mah c-sized batteries in a small wtc forward of the wtc3.5


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the saddles for the original wtc were made of bondo. they had to go....


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...so i had to chisel it all out, one painfully frustrating piece at a time :evil:


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can i PLEASE quit scraping crap outta the bottom hull yet? seriously..... my freakin' hands are bleeding....


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its all out and sanded down. ugh...


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this ones getting a new paint job right from the get go. starting with the the lower hull.


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red paint removed. its shiny because its wet...


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a first blast of primer. nitro stan touch up to follow.


enough for today. time to go play with the kid...



erich
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Postby eckloss » Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:27 pm

one thing that i have noticed is that the small world models boat does not have the towed sonar array that was added on some of the 41 for freedom boomers. im going to have to add this to my hull. it was present at some point on the tecumseh, as evidenced by these dry dock photos of the 628.

(you may notice that these photos are mirrored for some reason....the actual array was located on the starboard side)

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Postby eckloss » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:04 am

...so today was registration day at my daughters school. you know the routine...go in, fill out all the mundane paperwork, emergency contact forms, find out how many boxes of crayons and bottles of glue they need to take, etc. only today, i find out the school has raised tuition by two thousand dollars a year. um, ok, fine. who needs to buy gas or food these days anyways... :evil:

what better way to relieve stress than by working on a boat, right? ugh...

well, with money (or lack thereof) on my mind, it became obvious very quickly that this will have to be a cheap refit. im gonna have to recycle as much stuff as i can, and use whatever i have laying around to get this thing in the water. you'll understand what i mean in a minute....

anyways...

the stern section of this boat was originally made to be removable. it was held in place by 3 hex-head screws that mated with molded-in holes. nice idea, easy for access to linkages. but i dont want more seams than i have to have. so out go the screws and in comes the resin and cloth.

before permanently joining the stern section with the lower hull, i removed all the old paint and primer.

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next, a few small pieces of cloth and some resin, and the two sections are back together again.

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ok, so now comes my dollar store, poor-mans solution to making cradles for the wtc. i had some magnetic tape laying around, which is slightly less than 1/8" thick. its sticky on one side. also keep in mind that since my recent move, the only so called workshop i have available to me at the moment is a dozen square feet or so on the floor in front of my television. in other words, nowhere to set up most of my tools. so, rather than fight with some particleboard and a circle cutter to make the cradles, im going to use the magnetic tape i had stuffed in a drawer. you can cut it with a pair of scissors and can be layered to the desired thickness.

i laid down one strip of tape, with a bit of silicone to help keep it in place in the lower hull. i bent some 1/16" brass rod and crimped hooks in each end. this was sandwiched between the layers of magnet tape. i removed a strip 1/16" wide to provide a "ditch" for the brass rod to sit in. the subsequent layers of tape hold it all together. ghetto, but it works :wink:

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Postby eckloss » Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:44 pm

...not alot of time today but i was able to get the batteries installed...

using 10 1.2v 3000 mah batts for now. probably to replaced later with something a little better.

used a few small pieces of foam to keep the batt pack from flipping around in the forward wtc. everything else is pretty self explanatory...


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Postby eckloss » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:24 pm

getting back to the painting part....

first i needed to level out the gap left after rejoining the stern cone.

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live and learn. notice the red paint on the lower hull? after i stripped off the original i decided to give this new krylon fusion "that bonds with plastic without priming". yeah, um, no. goes on thick, and can scrape this junk off with a fingernail. spent a good while getting it all back off to. waste of time and money.

anyways...time to remove the paint from the upper hull...

heres the bow as it was originally painted:

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i love this shot. you can see the gel coat underneath, the primer layer, and paint layer...

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hull ready for primer

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upper hull during initial coats of primer

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getting set up for adding some fine details. ill be adding handrails, capstans, cleats, and a few other goodies. here im marking out the location for drill holes to accommodate the handrails...

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more to come. gotta hit the hobby store in the morning for some supplies so i can continue...
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Postby eckloss » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:07 pm

on to the handrails on the hull. sail handrails tomorrow...


i printed the pattern of drill holes needed on paper, backed it with masking tape, and placed several layers of scotch tape over it all to give it a little thickness. using a sharp tipped tool, i punched a pilot hole over each dot to help guide the drill bit.

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arranged and taped on the pre-punched pattern over the hull.

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using a 1/32 (yes, 1/32) inch drill bit i found in the dremel section at the hardware store, i carefully drilled out each railing hole.

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im using 1/32" steel rod for the railing. not 100% to scale, but its as close as i am going to get for now. i bent each railing piece around a rectangular brass rod to ensure consistency or each rail.

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not completely secured in place yet (i'm not going to permanently affix them inside the hull until after the final painting), and you have to ignore the red nitro stan that hasnt been fully smoothed down yet, but the test fit of the ladder rails turned out ok. completed both sides. sail handrails tomorrow.

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Postby spongjim » Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:42 pm

Very nice work so far . I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out. I have a SWM Laf class myself she was one of my first subs. This kit makes a really nice sub.


Jim
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Postby eckloss » Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:06 pm

thanks jim...

i put in a couple hours of work again today, but ran into some issues. working through them and should have the countermeasure tubes in place by the end of tomorrow. ill post more pics once its complete.

my brother-in-law stopped by today and gave me a few pointers on detail. he was an a-ganger on the tecumseh back in 85. hes gonna dig through his old photos and some, um, drawings ;) he still has.
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Postby eckloss » Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:54 pm

hi again....

today i was able to get the countermeasure tubes installed.


here are the photos im working from, showing the same class boat with the tubes. not all had them, but some did. my version of the tecumseh did in 1985, which is the configuration im shooting for in my finished model...

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using the photos and plans i determined where the tubes should be placed along the sides of the forward missile deck. turned the hull upside down and laid it flat on its deck. marked off the lines with a fine sharpie. so far as i could tell, the tubes are equidistant apart and split down the middle in relation to the forward edge of the sail....two tubes forward of the leading edge of the sail, 2 behind. also, they seem to exit at an apx 45 degree angle as if pointing forward from stern to bow. that comes into play later as youll see.

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for those with calculators in hand, the 5/32" od brass tubing may not be 100% to scale, but its damn close and works for me, so deal with it! :twisted:

i cut four 2" lengths of brass tube, and 3 3/4" lengths to use as spacers between them.

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i placed solid brass rod inside each section of tubing and laid everything out on a flat surface (although not seen in the picture, to ensure that all the rods and tubing lined up perfectly, i went so far as to place 1/32" strip between each placeholding rod to make up for the extra distance caused by the thickness of the tubing. you OCD type perfectionists will understand what i mean...) a quick solder job with silver solder and theyre all nice and happily joined together.

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i then soldered another length of tubing to the underside of the rig at a 45 degree angle relative to the bottom edge. this is a spacer that i will use to help affix this to the underside of the missile deck and will rest against the fiberglass. you'll see.....

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i bored out oversized oval openings in the hull with a dremel.

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on the inside of the upper hull i marked out a centerline and then the 45 degree angles i needed to follow. laid the rig inside with the ends of the tubes sticking out of the hull. (you can see the placeholder rod at the top...i just used silicone under that rod to tack everything in place while i worked, and to keep the rods level horizontally)

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the rest of the photos are pretty self explanatory. bondo in place. dremel off the excess rod sticking out of the hull. sand it all down flush. touch up putty. more sanding, etc. repeated process for the other side, obviously.

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more on sunday after football :lol:
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Postby petn7 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:29 pm

Neat stuff
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Postby eckloss » Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:41 pm

continuing on....

one of the most visible features of the 628 that i wanted to incorporate was the towed sonar array housing along the starboard side of the boat. it was not part of the original SWM lafayette configuration. the housing runs out of the rear of the missile deck, gently twists down along the stern, flows along the forward edge of the starboard dive plane and exits at the far rear edge of the plane (see drydock photos below).


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my first step was getting the bulk of the array installed. ill deal with the detail on the dive plane tomorrow.

marked out the centerline on a length of 3/8" hardwood dowel. using a sanding drum on a dremel, i removed half of the rod until i was left with a hemispherical rod.

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using the dremel again, i cut the rough contour and angles of the end where the housing will meet the superstructure.

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this dowel was stiff as could be, and was a real bitch to bend horizontally. so i drilled several small pilot holes through the rod and into the hull where needed as i bent and shaped it to the correct contours, placing finishing nails through at each key point to keep it all in place.

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once i was satisfied with the shape and contours, i used a different dremel tip to bore countersink holes for the finishing nails. i ended up keeping the nails in place and bondo'd over the depressed nail heads, then cut the remaining bit if nail within the underside of the upper hull.

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using a strong silicone adhesive, i joined the housing rod to the hull, kept to shape by the set nails, and kept close to the hull while the adhesive set simply using rubber bands.

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after a couple hours the adhesive was set. i filled in the nail depressions and the edges where the housing meets the hull with some bondo.

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after a bit of sanding and shaping, i think ive come pretty close to the result i wanted. ill water-seal the wood tomorrow, touch up any remaining imperfections, and shoot it with some primer.

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more tomorrow night, hopefully.
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Postby eckloss » Tue Aug 26, 2008 12:09 pm

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Postby eckloss » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:39 am

so its been a few days since ive posted an update. may not look like much, but there has been quite a bit more work on getting the tecumseh ready for sea.


first, there was the issue of a larger-than-id-like gap in areas where the hull halves come together. dont laugh, yes it looks sloppy and overdone, but it works. i spackled on a bunch of resin in about a 50/50 mix with microballoons, and slathered it over the gaps in the seam. once set, the piece came apart and the excess sanded down smooth.

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in going with the dock-side look, i installed the 10 sets of cleats, 2 capstans, and the bullnose on the bow. let me take a moments here and express the fact that, now and forever more, I HATE CLEATS! how many times was i getting snagged on them, or bending them, or in a couple of cases ripping one of completely, in which case i had to fashion a new one from some very thick solder and file it down to the correct shape. what a pain in the ass. also in the end, i snaded and smoothed over the detail of the retractable housings so that just the cleats themselves were visible out of the hull. long story, but it was either that or lose my mind trying to get every little seam 100% correct. ugh...2 days for 10 cleats. time to just give up and go the easy route!

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each missile hatch has a small grated opening, slightly off center. i needed more area for air to escape from under the missile deck, so i decided to open these up. i wanted perfect square openings, and so used square brass tube, cut to a short length, installed within the apx opening, filled in around the edges, and sanded down flush with the deck. as you will see in a later picture with some dark primer on the deck, it turned out great.

(a word to the wise - dont forget eyewear when cutting brass with a dremel. i spent the morning with a doctor trying to find the brass flakes lodged in my eyeball that have caused me to go blurry for a few days...)

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one other small detail i decided to add were the hinges on the missile hatch doors. these are clearly visible in many a photograph of this boat that i have from the era. each missile door had 4 hinges, 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom, making for a total of 64 total needed. the smallest workable steel wire i could find was 0.020". one by one they were put into place. and yes, theyre holding just fine....

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i also began a bit of work on the sail. in the pics, the orginal paint job has not yet been removed. i simply wanted to drill the pilot holes for the hand ladder rails. there is a vertical line of 12 going up each side of the sail, then one more forward of the top rung, and then 2 more leading from top sail down to the walkable area of the fairwater planes. i printed the pattern on paper, pre-punched the holes, taped it into position, and drilled them out with a 1/32" mini drill bit.

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more later

erich
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Postby raalst » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:53 am

Inspiring !
your way of creating holes in the hull is quite instructive for me.
Thanks and keep posting !
Regards,

Ronald van Aalst

--------------------------------------------
Just here to Learn
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Postby eckloss » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:12 pm

*sigh*

you guys are going to laugh your asses off at what i did to this poor boat today. im not going to post pictures until tues or wed, after this little part has been completed. but we're going to call the next section "the quest for the perfect seam between upper and lower hull halves".

holy crap, what a day....

more to come soon

das erich
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