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Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

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Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:12 pm

I am going to document the work I did to my Thor Design 637 class fast boat. Below is a few pictures of how I received the model when I bought it from a fellow Subron 4 member.

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Many of you may be asking yourselves what is he talking about? The man is crazy, the model looks great as is! I built the oak stand that you see in the picture, and the boat was originally put together by Kevin Price (aka Nuke power, aka Rogue Sub). He did a great job of it, his work is top notch. Hey Kev, Pogy STILL runs great! Thanks for the oportunity again.

After running it for 6 or 8 months, I wanted more detail. Kevin had provided the original cast resin masts with the kit and I wanted to add at least some of them to the model. I also had aquired a Jeff Larue 1/96 US Nuke boat PE set, and I wanted to add those details also.
Last edited by SubICman on Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby Thor » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:38 pm

Wow. That sure is pretty! I need to make a new Sturgeon. That was my all time favorite Nuke. She drove better than any other boat.
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:57 pm

Alright, all of this work was done in the past, so these posts are going to be quick. I did take pictures as I went, and I have a set of notes that I took, so that I could do this when I could get around to it :) As most of you know, I am an Active duty Submariner, and I am currently serving onboard a Virginia Class Submarine USS New Mexico.

So back to the work, FIrst things first. I contacted Matt Thor and after a few discussions with him, he provided me with a new sail casting for my model. I didn't need a new one, but I want to eventually end up with a slick sail version as seen in the pictures above, and a PD raised mast version.

I started to strip away the paint on my old sail casting, and somehow I broke the cast piece for the top of the sail, so I changed the plan a little, I decided to go with one scope up, the esm mast, and the comms mast.

I ended up grafting together three piecees for the top, the forward section with the BLA-4 mast hole opened up, the mid section with all the mast sections and the bridge closed, and the aft section with the BRA-9, #2 Scope, and IEM mast open to accept masts. I also drilled out the #1 scope hole.

Here is after I have grafted on the new top and have started to fit the masts. I bent all of the ladder rungs on the sail from .020 brass rod and super glued them in. That step alone took me three days.

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I Don't use any exprensive paints, glues or anything elseb facy. I know that other people elsewhere profess that you cannot be a serious rc submarine modeler if you don't use the finest automobile laquers and specific body fillers. I find that the professional grade bondo products work just fine, and my primer is plain old Rust-o-loem wet sandable automobile primer in a can. for attachment, I use Gorrilla super glue, and my epoxies are the small repair kits I get at West Marine for 20 dollars.
Last edited by SubICman on Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:59 pm

Thor wrote:Wow. That sure is pretty! I need to make a new Sturgeon. That was my all time favorite Nuke. She drove better than any other boat.


Matt,

Anytime you want to, let me know, I already have the set of plans 80% drawn up and they already have the Precision Pattern and Silver Dolphin Designs logos on them. I love this boat Matt. Can't wait to finish my other Thor Design hull. Gonna post that one when done too.

Tim
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:07 pm

Some of the other things that I did were too drill out the diesel exhaust vents, drill a floating wire array tube in the sail, and I also started to fashion an under ice version of the WLR-9 hydrophone at the front of the sail. My original intent was to extend my actual RC antenna out the sail like a FWA, but finding neutrally bouyant wire is next to impossible. You can see the black wire i was going to use in the picture above with the two sails in front of my keyboard.

I also made out of a piece of flat brass a toenail fairing cover for the BLA-4 esm antenna.


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When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:26 pm

Now for a little history lesson.

In the last picture you can see the distinctive leopard spots on the two masts I have installed for fitting up. A lot of people ask on these forums ask what the standard was for those spots. I am gonna let you in on a secret, there was none.

I worked in the fiberglass repair shop onboard the USS Emory S. Land AS-39 from 1995 to 1997. My job there was to perform fiberglass repairs to the mast fairings and ice caps, and finally refinishing the masts with a new paint job when done. Up until 1997 the leopard spots was the standard color scheme (with a few exceptions hull by hull), and then after that it was straight black. I guess that the idea that the spots would camoflage the mast in a haze turned out to be not as effective as everyone thought.

The "standard" for the spots was that they had to be black, the placement, size and general shape was left up to the craftsman. The base color was epoxy polyamide paint (2 part bilge grey), and the spots were the same except the color (2 part black). The green portion of the antenna's was 2 part epoxy polyamide primer. There are specific formula numbers for these, but I always get them mixed up. They are like formula 150, 151, 152. They are also known as Mare Island paints. The dull look come from the fact that after we would spray the mast and let the paint cure for 3 days, we would do a light sand on the fresh paint job, not because it was a flat paint.

I hope that answers a few questions that have been out there in the past.
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:42 pm

Here is a couple of the pictures I used for a reference while doing the masts.


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The second one is the actual Pogy, as far as I know and can confirm.
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby JWLaRue » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:08 am

Tim,

Great write-up! It's always interesting to see the sometimes subtle differences that each of us brings to this hobby. Adding the backgrounhd, personal content is icing on the proverbial cake!

.....any chance we can get you to pull this together into an article for the SCR? :wink:

-tnx,

Jeff
Rohr 1.....Los!
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:48 pm

So, as I was working on the sail, I was also evaluating how to install the Larue PE set onto the hull. The hard part is that the holes were already drilled into the hull for the MBT vents and the Main and Auxiliary seawater suction and discharge strainers.

I had a couple of options, 1.) I could fill in the existing holes and re-drill them, or 2.) I could modify the existing ones to accept the PE pieces fairly flush to the hull. Not feeling up up to filling in the holes and then sanding and drilling, I chose method 2.

I started by finding in my vast collection of twist drills the one drill bit that was the same size as the PE. I measured it out and found that the PE pieces are .191 in diameter, making it a number 11 drill bit. Alot of guys say that they use a small forstner bit to do this, but I personnally haven't found one this small so I used a standard twist drill. I then reamed each vent hole by hand and test fitted each vent into it's place. I have to apologize at this point because I looked for my pictures of this part, and I cannot find them. I do have the final pictures tho and I think that they illustrate what was required to get the job done.


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In the above picture you may notice a hole under where there rudder, if centered, would be to hide it. I wasn't happy with how the air was getting trapped back in the tail cone, so I fixed it. I find that this hole allows for a better air escape than just the vents alone, and its fairly camofluaged.

I used the same method the determine the size of the MSW and ASW suction and discharge strainers.

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I attached the PE using Gorilla Super Glue using Paul Crozier's method of applying it from the inside of the hull and letting it wick in between the hull and the PE. Paul details this method in his excellent assembly instructions he wrote for the Precision Patterns 1/96 Permit Class Submarine (594). For those who haven't been in the hobby for a long time Precision Patterns is Matt Thor's new website offering kits and other services.
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
SC #3116
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:45 pm

Paint. A controversial subject to say the least. I like to use Floquil railroad colors and Polly Scale. I find that the Floquil weathered black makes an excellent scale color for a nuke boat. Steam power black is also a great color to use.

US Nuclear submarines are only truely black for about a week after they have been painted. Take her to sea for just a couple of days, or sit next to the pier with the sun beating down on her, the black paint fades out to a dark gray. One thing that I do have to say is that take a US boat with her worst paint job, and stick her next to a Brit boat, and the US Boat will win the bueaty contest hands down. The Brit boats look like they have been rode hard, rolled up wet, and then stomped on.

I have a Badger double action airbrush, and I do all of my detail and finish painting using this and a small 1/2 gallon Testor's air compressor. I spray my base coat on, usually three or four passes. I painted the masts with base coat primer, and hand painted spots using steam power black. After it all drys, I begin weathering the sail. I use rust, oily black, and dust. I water down the rust colored paint and dry brush it across the edges. The oily black I water down and then using a really wet brush, just touch it to the sail by the diesel exhaust louvers and let it run down the sail. The is all followed up by a light pass of undiluted Dust, which I find simulates a salt spray coating.


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All of the masts in these pictures are the original cast resin masts. I made the scope barrel by filing a 3/64 brass rod to look like a scope head. I didn't paint it at first because i was trying to find something that would truely represent the metal used in scale. In the second picture, you will notice that the green antenna portion of the BRA-9 is not there. This is a repeating theme with that mast, and one of the key deciding factors that led me down the next path of upgrades.
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
SC #3116
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:07 pm

After I made these upgrades to my Pogy, I ran her a few times at the local pond and with the guys working out ballasting and control linkage problems. During these time frames, I had to have broken the BRA-9 antenna at least 16 times, and the scope and IEM mast where not exactly straight. Talking it over with the guys in my group one day, my Buddy Don (Boss Subfixer) said, "make them outa brass". And then he told me about the K&S Streamline brass tube. This stuff looks like an Airfoil and is almost identical to the real shape of the mast fairings.


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I found that the medium streamline tube from K&S, is almost (Oh my god, it's not EXACTLY scale, the world is going to end :lol: ) scale for 1/96. Unless you have calibrated eyeballs, you will never notice the difference. I get it at my local hobby store for $1.99 a piece. I bought 3 pieces and proceeded to butcher them with my hobby saw. This is before I went to harbour freight and spent the best $24 dollars of my life to get this.

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I am showing it modified with a blade to cut Stainless steel, but the blade that comes with it eats through brass like butter.
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
SC #3116
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby Tommydeen » Wed Aug 17, 2011 10:28 pm

very cool .....i have a question. were did you get your towed aray? did you make it? I have been looking for one for a while
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby Boss subfixer » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:13 am

Tommydeen wrote:very cool .....i have a question. were did you get your towed aray? did you make it? I have been looking for one for a while


If I remember correctly there are four 637's in subron4, all of the towed arrays were scratch built. I don't believe any of us made any molds though at one time Kevin Price had a jig of some sort.
The hardest part was the aft end, it's not shown on the Greg Sharp plans. Thanks to our fearless leader, Bill Lambing, we were able to measure and copy what he did with his. Information on the beaver tail as Bill calls it is extremely scarce.
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Put your heart into it, well done is better than well said... Ben Franklin
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby Tommydeen » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:53 am

sounds like the "beaver tail" is classified info? still..... could you post a good detail pic of your model? with a ruler next to the part in question....
thanks Tom
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Re: Upgrading a Thor Design's 637

Postby SubICman » Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:41 am

Sorry about the delay, Had duty the other day and was busy finalizing maintenace on the boat yesterday. I will post some more later today, and I will get a good picture of the rear of the boat.

Tim
When surfaced, the bridge access hatch can be optionally open or shut, however, when submerged it is required to be shut. (Really a no s***t precaution from a procedure in use in the sub fleet today.)
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