I have always greatly admired the work that Skip Asay did on the beautiful 1/35th scale Marlin kit. It is a wonderful blend of old submarine architecture with the next generation of electronics and a bit of improved hydrodynamics. I was VERY lucky to be able to purchase the manufacturing rights to the 1/60th Albacore kit and the 1/35th Marlin kit from Dave Keogh of SubTech. Both kits are going to be turned into fully tricked out kits with all of the detail you would hope for. The boats will now be produced in Epoxy glass. The Marlin will be the first to be released, which will be mid-summer of 2011. The Albacore is on schedule for a late fall 2011 release. These boats are perfect subjects to work on inside during the cold winter months. Being plastic, they produce little dust and no smell. Due to the cold, my shop is shut down for a while. This allows me to work on these subjects to get them ready for the upcoming sailing season.
To convert a vacuum formed kit over to an epoxy based kit you have to remaster the tooling. I am in the process of doing that right now. I will post the progress of the Marlin over the next few months, along with the new ballast system that is being developed for use in the Marlin, Albacore, and several of our upcoming kits such as SSN 571.
I first saw this very unique boat at a SubComEast fun run in the late 1990s. The boat has real character. Skip has always kidded me about my first line of kits being nothing more than a bunch of "Black sewer pipe with a sail". Well, I have to grudgingly admit Skip was right. Nukes are hard to tell apart at a distance. They are easy to model and build, but they don't have the character of a U-Boat, Fleetboat, or the Marlin.
I complemented Skip on his boat. He spun around and handed me the transmitter with a smile on his face. It was not what I had expected. This boat did not wallow around. Like all of Skip's boats, it drove like it was on rails. You can hold periscope depth all the way across the pond with almost zero stick input. Of course, a great deal of that is due to Skip's skill in building and trimming, but this boat is rock solid in every way. I was hooked! I had to have one.....the big problem being I had too many projects and not enough time. But, I always kept my eye on the kit waiting for the day when I would get the chance to pick one up and make it my own.
Several years ago Skip sold his business, SubTech, to Dave Keogh, of Pandan Model Boats, UK. Dave picked up where Skip had left off. A couple of distributors began to handle the SubTech brand. The availability of the Marlin kit slowly dried up as many changes occurred with SubTech over the next few years. I became occupied with several other projects allowing my "itch" for a Marlin to fade to the back of my memory.
That "itch" was immediatly brought back on the first day of the 2010 SubRegatta in Carmel. Skip walked up to me with a smile on his face and dropped that same Marlin into the pool right in front of me. I made the comment that I wish I could get a hold of that kit and bring it back to production. Skip was playing with the trim of his Marlin at the time while I looked on in admiration. He shot a look up at me and said is his usual, straight-forward tone "So what is stopping you?" He gave me the contact information for Dave Keogh and told me to get to work.
Of course, not wanting to blow a golden opportunity to finally get my hands not only on a Marlin kit, but the actual production rights I wasted no time in calling Dave Keogh. Wanting to re-focus his company on core products, Dave was very open to talking. After a few days of talking back and forth we arrived an agreement. Not only was Marlin my kit now, so was the famous Albacore!
I reflected for several weeks on how to re-introduce the kits. I finally settled on the standard format that I am known for producing. The kits will both be retooled to epoxy glass and multi media production. I realized that this was going to be a tremendous amount of work, but it was worth it. These two kits are classics!
So...here we go with the process of converting the Marlin over to epoxy glass production. My goal being the re-introduction of this kit at the 2011 SubRegatta in Carmel....I have a lot to work to do and not a lot of time for an effort like this....
Here is the updated drawing for the boat. Matt Munger originally drafted this beautiful piece up for Skip's original kit. I have updated it with a little bit more deck information towards the bow. The Marlin is going to have a superbly detailed photo etched .010" stainless steel deck that will drop into a nice little recess on the upper deck making it a perfect fit and self aligning.
An early Marlin being trimmed out in the pool...
A few shots of the hand made deck by Skip on his original Marlin model
Skip's Marlin posing for a nice surface shot at Carmel during SubRegatta 2010. Matt Munger took this neat photo. Thanks, Matt!
The Marlin was originally produced as a vacuum formed kit. Unfortunately, that means that there is no pattern for the boat in exsitence for me to work from. The original pattern is made undersize to accomodate the plastic thickness being pulled over the mold during the production process. The pattern is cut up into its respective production parts and used to generate high temperature aluminum filled epoxy plugs that the hot plastic is pulled over during forming.....
Of course that means that I have to produce a new, detailed pattern from which the molds will be patterned from. The best way to do this is to seek out a kit that has not been built yet and work it into a new pattern. The search began and one was soon located in the hands of Steve Fisher from Denver. He was very kind to place it in my hands knowing that it was going to be turned into a new production pattern for the new kit of the Marlin.
That brings us to where we are now. I have cut the excess material from the hull and conning tower halves. I have glued the conning tower halves together and they currently set in the soft jaw vise under compression until the cement cures.