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1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

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1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:25 pm

Hello Everyone! My name is Russ.

Welcome to the start of this build log of the USS Batfish (SS310) in 1/144 Scale. Unlike many models on this forum, it is not being built for RC. It is simply going to be a static display model. I considered not posting the log because I have no idea how long it will take to complete, or if I will ever complete it, but I decided that doing so would give me incentive to document the build process from start to finish, whenever that may be.

Why the Batfish?

Well, I have recently become interested in using AutoCad to make 3-D models. My first attempt at it was a 1/144 scale USS Greenling (SSN-614), a Permit class submarine that a friend of mine was on in the early 70’s. The first draft was recently “printed” on an SLA 3D printer, and I only received it this week. I haven’t started building it yet because I am not sure exactly what I am going to do. The picture below shows the parts in the first draft print. You may notice that a rudder is missing, that is because the guy that made them inadvertently forgot it. He is making (or has already made) another one, along with a couple of spare screws, but I don’t have them yet.

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A second draft, with much greater surface detail, has been designed and hopefully will be built in the near future. If you are interested, the compete build log for Greenling is available at: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=11272

In the meantime, I got interested in Batfish strictly because of geography. She is located in Muskogee at the “Muskogee War Memorial” (http://www.ussbatfish.com/) and I am in that area quite often. When I first found their website, I was intrigued by the shape and thought that it would provide a greater challenge than the circular hull of Greenling.

The weekend before last I had to go to Tahlequah and, on the way home, I stopped by the museum. I arrived right at closing time, and didn’t want to be rushed on the tour, so I didn’t get aboard her. I did pick up a brochure and had a good talk with the curator, who informed me that although they did not have plans for Batfish, plans for USS Pampanito (SS-383), another Balao class submarine, were available on-line. When I returned home, I quickly found the site and the plans (http://www.maritime.org/tech/drawings/index.htm).
When I discovered the plans, I decided to try to build her.

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The “build” will really consist of two builds, a “virtual build” using the plans and AutoCad to design a 3D model and create the STL files for printing on a 3D printer, and a “real build” when the model will be physically built. The beginning of the virtual build process is described below, and will continue in successive posts until the design is completed and ready to be printed. Descriptions of the real build will follow.

I began the design by importing some of the plan drawings available on the Pampanito site into AutoCad and scaling them to the proper size. I started with the “Body Plan – Outer Hull” plan sheet, and using polylines I traced the hull half-sections (or Frames) from the plans. I then mirrored and joined the polylines to form the various sections. The image below shows the stern and bow sections created in this process.

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Each Frame is numbered and the spacing of the frames is provided on both the “Body Plan – Outer Hull” and “Outboard Profile-Plate No. 3”plan sheets. Using the base line, I copied the Frames to their respective locations on the profile, rotated them 90o, and then lofted them. The hole in the forward edge of the bow was adlibbed, as I didn’t find any plans for it.

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The Conning Tower was made using the “Conning Tower Fairwater & Bridge, Elevations & Plans” sheet. The bridge was made using a combination of this sheet and the “Conning Tower Fairwater & Bridge – Molded Lines & Offsets” plan sheet. The completed assembly was then copied to the correct location on the hull.

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The next items to be completed were the bow planes, which were created using the “Bow Diving Gear Plane Details” sheet and pictures of Batfish. The pictures were required because the configuration in the pictures I have of Batfish is slightly different than the configuration on the plans.

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Below are some images of the ship up to this point. The bow plane is a separate piece and thus is colored orange. Also, I am uncertain about the upper hull attachment point, so at present it is still detached and colored magenta.

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The next thing I did was cut out the torpedo tubes. I did this by first tracing the outlines from the plans, extending them well past the outline of the ship.

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These rectangles were copied to the correct locations on the 3D hull, lofted and then subtracted. The remaining images on this post show the Batfish model as she currently stands.

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I will post more as I get it done.

CHEERS!!!
rdutnell
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby Scott T » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:26 pm

Great job. I am fairly sure I saw a drawing for the cast piece that makes the nose piece at the bow in
the Pampanito files. They have added alot more drawings since last I looked. The fairwater/bridge can be
seen to change over the life of the boat on web photos. I think drawing it like the plans and then tweaking
it to match the Batfish is a great way to accomplish this. I will check thru the drawings at the Pampanito site
for that nose piece.
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby salmon » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:34 pm

Russ,
Very nice start. I was at the Batfish this summer, here is a link to the photos I took. Maybe they might help you. http://s1089.beta.photobucket.com/user/t_chalfant/library/USS%20Batfish%20SS-310
Peace,
Tom
If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:50 pm

Thanks Scott and Tom!

I appreciate the compliments and the information. I spent a little bit of time looking through the drawings again, but didn't find the drawing you mentioned Scott. I found one that may have been it, but if so, it wasn't legible. Your pictures, Tom, couldn't have come at a more opportune time. I was just starting to trace the ballast holes (?) and noted on the plans that they weren’t uniform, and was starting to doubt the plans. Your pictures confirm that the holes are, in fact, not uniform.
I’m probably putting the cart before the horse again, since it would probably be smarter to go tour the ship and take a bunch of pictures BEFORE trying to build it, but what can I say? If, when I do go back up there, I find I need to redo it, then I will. I guess it all boils down to how detailed, and how accurate I want to make it.

HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY!!!

CHEERS!!!
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby Tom Dougherty » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:07 pm

Russ,
I realize you are greatly enjoying your CAD/CAM adventures. Before you get too far along, I just wanted to point out that there are two 1/144 scale fleet boat models on the market by Trumpeter. In addition, there are various conning tower fairwaters available for these kits from Nautilus Models. If you are doing this as a strict CAD/CAM exercise, then fire away! If you are looking for a 1/144 scale fleet boat model, there are other ways to go which would greatly reduce your work load. You should probably check out Nautilus Models (http://nautilusmodels.com/Gato/144Gato.htm) for some of the finer detail parts such as deck guns, radar, railings etc., which I think you would find impossible to do well with the methods you employed on your Greenling printed model.
Tom Dougherty
Researcher for Project Azorian
Project Azorian Documentary: http://www.projectjennifer.at/
Project Azorian Book: http://www.usni.org/store/catalog-fall-2012/project-azorian
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby Scott T » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:42 pm

Russ,

The drawing is for the bow eye is labeled:stem-casting-fairlead_basic386132_5400-02-0171.
It is the thirtenth file in the list.

Scott
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:22 am

Thanks Scott.

That’s the one that I thought might be it. My copy is really hard to read and I can’t make hide nor hair of it. (I wonder where that expression came from.) Even the parts that are legible don’t make sense to me and I’m fairly used to looking at plans. I think I will stick with what I have for now. If I later decide to change it, it will be easy to slice off and redo it.

And thanks once again Tom D. Your comments, as always, are spot on. I was going to search for, and ask about, the availability of 1/144 scale accessories at some point. From the moment I decided to build Batfish, I was hoping that I would be able to find the very features you mentioned. I knew that they were available in 1/350 and 1/700, and thought that they were probably available in 1/144 as well, but did not know for sure. This is great news!

I also did not know that there were 1/144 scale “fleet boat” models on the market. (Or that they were called fleet boats. Is that what they called the Gatos and Balaos of WWII? Why, because they were so numerous?) I didn’t know that models were available because I never looked. I had so much fun “building” Greenling in AutoCad, and it feels so cool to hold parts that you actually made yourself, and to see a “kit” laid before you that you made, knowing that you still get to put it together. And I don’t even have the detailed model yet. So, when I finished Greenling, I wanted to try another one, and I was driving by Muskogee and saw a sign for the Batfish museum. I looked it up on-line when I got home and was intrigued by the possibilities. When I got the plans, it was all over. I had to try it, even though I knew that it was going to be a completely different animal than Greenling.

At this point, having traced all of the sections and formed the main hull, I must say that I really like the architecture of these beautiful ships. They were more like ships that went under water than underwater ships, if you know what I mean.

Thanks again guys!
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Mon Mar 18, 2013 7:18 am

UPDATE 2

Good Morning All!

I didn’t get to spend much time on Batfish this weekend, but I did drill out the ballast vents (or whatever they are called). Once again, I traced the shapes on the plan sheet and then copied them to the correct locations on the 3D model. I then extruded them through the hull and subtracted them. In the photos below, the holes are green because that is the color that the extruded shapes were when I subtracted them. The torpedo tubes are red for the same reason.

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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby Tom Dougherty » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:58 pm

I also did not know that there were 1/144 scale “fleet boat” models on the market. (Or that they were called fleet boats. Is that what they called the Gatos and Balaos of WWII? Why, because they were so numerous?)


I suggest you check out SubCommittee report issues 53 & 54 for more on the fleet boats. They are called "fleet boats" because the original purpose was to accompany and scout ahead of the fleet (in the pre-radar & aircraft carrier days). In the event, their use in WWII was quite different, primarily attacking Japanese Merchant & Military ships, usually operating alone or in very small groups. There were three groups built primarily during the war, Gato, Balao & Tench classes. The later two had improvements not the least of which was increased diving depth over the Gato class. Also, some WWII subs, such as the very successful USS Tambor were of earlier classes of fleet submarines (pre-Gato).

What you are calling the "ballast tank vents" are actually the free flood limber holes. These allow air trapped between the flat deck and the pressure hull under it to escape during dives. The forward diving planes were modified during the war by being mounted with a slight downward cant and slightly enlarged to improve crash diving times. That is why they are different from your plans. Also modified during the war were the radar outfitting & antennas and the guns installed.

Some helpful resources: http://www.maritime.org/fleetsub/
http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/tnsubs.htm
http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/10idx.htm and in particular: http://navsource.org/archives/08/pdf/0829294.pdf Note that the conning tower fairwaters came in different configurations as the Balao class evolved.
Another plan set is here: http://www.hnsa.org/doc/plans/ss298.pdf Note: this is for a Cramp built submarine; generally used the US Government Portsmouth plans used for Batfish (as opposed to the Electric Boat plan set.)

The Trumpeter Gato subs are available at, for example,: https://store.spruebrothers.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=trumpeter+gato&Submit=Search

THE VERY BEST BOOK on the US Submarine Force in WWII is Clay Blair's "Silent Victory: The US Submarine War against Japan"
http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Victory-Submarine-Against-Japan/dp/155750217X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363633013&sr=1-1&keywords=silent+victory
Get a copy. Read it. There will be a quiz.
Tom Dougherty
Researcher for Project Azorian
Project Azorian Documentary: http://www.projectjennifer.at/
Project Azorian Book: http://www.usni.org/store/catalog-fall-2012/project-azorian
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:31 pm

Great stuff Tom!

My education continues. The sites you provided were great reading although I kind of blew off what I was going to do today.

I ordered the book too, so I will be ready for the quiz.

CHEERS!!!
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:08 am

Greetings everyone,

I don’t have an update today, but showing my ignorance of ships once again, I do have a question you can probably answer. It has to do with the bilge keel. Below are 3 images clipped from the plans I obtained from the Pampanito plans. The first id from the booklet of general plans and the location of the bilge keel is clearly visible. The location of the bilge keel is also visible on the second image that shows the outer hull plans. My question really deals with the third image that shows a clip of the Bilge Keels & Stringer plans. Was the bilge keel really just a plate of steel on some of the subs in the class? If I’m reading the plans right, it looks like only some of them had the 1-3/8” diameter bar on the ends. Is that correct?

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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:44 am

Good Morning Everyone!

Upon further thought, I think the answer to my question is yes, but it doesn’t really matter for two reasons. First, Batfish (SS310) had the rod on the end, but more importantly, at 1/144 scale 15” is about 0.1” and the plate would be about 0.003” thick. There is no way you can replicate that precisely at this scale. The base plate is 0.1” wide at 1/144 scale, so it seems that a triangle with a base of 0.1” and a height of 0.1” would be the best way to model this. A review of the Trumpeter Gato model that Tom mentioned, on modelwarships.com, has a picture of the hull that seems to confirm this idea.

http://www.modelwarships.com/reviews/sh ... ato-02.jpg

I think I’ll try that and see what it looks like.
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:55 am

UPDATE 3

Good Morning All!

After further thought, I decided not to use a triangle for the bilge keel. Instead I went for the shape shown below. The red line is the surface of the hull. At 1/144 scale, the base plate will be 0.08” wide and 0.007” thick. The “plate” starts at 0.04” wide and tapers to 0.025” wide. The “knob” on the end has a diameter of 0.033” and the length is 0.1”. Obviously it is not exactly to scale, but I think it will produce the desired effect and yet be strong enough (I hope) to not break off.

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After settling on the shape I was going to use, I drew circles on the intersections between some of the frames and the line of the bilge keel. I then moved the shape so that the center of the red line was at the center of the circle, and then rotated it so that the red line was more or less parallel with the surface at that point. At this point, I copied the shape using the base line and center line intersection as my copy point, to the correct frame on the profile. I then rotated the shape 90 degrees so that it was perpendicular to the center line of the hull. I repeated this for all of the circles, then lofted the shapes, and joined them together. The two images below show the circles and the shape on the body plan sheet. In the second image you can see the way the bridge keel rotates as it transverses the hull.

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The last thing I did was to round the edges at the starting and ending points of the bilge keel. After completing one side, I simply mirrored it to do the other side.

The images below show the finished product. In the first few images, the bilge keel is left Magenta, the color it was created in. In the latter images I have recolored the entire ship. Enjoy!

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rdutnell
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:18 pm

UPDATE 4

The next thing I decided to make is the shaft struts.

I started by tracing the hub on the “Shaft Struts” plan sheet.

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I then extruded both circles 41.5” (1/8” long, so sue me), and subtracted the interior cylinder from the exterior one.

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At this point I switched my attention to the strut. I started by drawing an ellipse (with pellipse set to 1), and trimmed it at the midpoint.

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I then drew the back part of the strut using an arc, and mirrored it.

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Then I joined all of the segments together to form a polyline.

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The next step was to copy the strut section onto the hub section centerline. The strut section was then rotated parallel to the centerline of the strut on the plan sheet.

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The strut section was then rotated again to be parallel with the centerline of the hub.

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I then moved the strut section up to the center of the hub.

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The strut section was moved one last time to the middle of the hub shell.

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At this point the strut section was extruded an unknown distance, but far enough to go into the hull.

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The strut was then copy/rotated to the centerline of the other strut on the plan sheet. It was also trimmed a bit, making sure to leave enough to go in the hull.

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To complete the shaft strut assembly, I joined the three pieces together to make one unit and recolored it.

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With the assembly completed, the next step was to put it on the model. Unfortunately the images showing the steps in the process got lost somehow, but I simply copied and pasted the assembly to the model drawing. I aligned the center of the hub with the center of the shaft mount on the hull and then positioned the assembly between Frames 126 and 127, as shown on the plans.
Once the assembly was positioned correctly, I mirrored it to the other side of the hull.

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The next step was to cut the holes out of the shaft mounts on the holes. This was done by extruding circles the diameter of the hole in the shaft strut hub into the hull, and subtracting them.

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At this point, a decision needed to be made as to whether to have the shaft strut assemblies be separate parts or attach them to the hull. My plan at the moment is to attach them, but in case I change my mind, I saved the file and renamed it before joining them to the hull.

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I think that since it is Spring Break,I will have a go at the rudder next.

CHEERS!!!
rdutnell
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Re: 1/144 Scale USS Batfish (SS310)

Postby rdutnell » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:26 am

UPDATE 5

GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!

Sorry, I had to do that. Anyway, I completed the rudder, and thought I would share the process.

The first thing I did was import the “Lines for Sternpost & Rudder” drawing file into a new AutoCad file and scale it to size. I then traced the sections for the upper part of the rudder. Note that I included an extra section at the top, which is just a copy of the one below it.

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I then rotated the sections 90 degrees and lofted them.

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The next step was to cut off the top. I did this by tracing the line on the plans with a polyline, extruding it to create a surface and then slicing the rudder using the created surface.

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The rounded end was created in a similar manner, as was the cutout for the attachment point to the sternpost.

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Having completed the upper part of the rudder, I did the lower in much the same way, starting with tracing the sections…

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…Followed by rotating and lofting them.

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The cutout for the attachment to the stenpost was created as before.

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I then joined the top to bottom part to the top part, and rounded the lower aft corner, that I had missed.

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I hope to work on it more later on the sternpost this afternoon or evening.

CHEERS!!!
rdutnell
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