Volume I, Number 1 September 1982
Welcome to the first of what we hope will be a quarterly Newsletter to
cater for the interests of model submariners. You will appreciate that to
start a club with members all over the country whose common interests mean
that they are all model boating eccentrics is not the easiest of tasks.
However we have got to make a start somewhere and I hope that this Newsletter,
and your response to it from the article in September's issue of 'Model Boats',
will enable us all to get something going which will be of mutual interest
First of all let me say that I do not profess to be anything more than an
enthusiastic amateur. Many of you will have far more experience than I have
at model submarine making and sailing but having consulted editions of 'Model
Boats' and 'Model Shipright' over the last 10 years I find that little information
has been published to encourage our interest. This Newsletter therefore seeks
to bring together some of the experiences that we have all had in our hobby.
A monologue from me will soon bore you all, prove how little I know and run out
of 'steam' before the first year is out. So now it is up to you. If you
think there is a chance we can get something going on this basis then I need
your ideas, your letters, your articles and photographs.
I am enclosing with this Newsletter an application form for membership of
the Association of Model Submariners. You will see that it asks for details
of your particular interests and of models you have made or are proposing to
make. I know that you will appreciate that the Newsletter cannot be published,
packed and posted to you without cost. I am therefore asking for a subscription
of £3.00 per annum. This will include four future editions of the Newsletter,
published at quarterly intervals (the next edition is due in December 1982),
together with a cover and ring binder to be included with the first mailing.
( Now you know why there are funny slots down the side of this Newsletter! ). I
hope you will all feel that this cost is not unreasonable and will be prompt
in returning your application forms, together with your comments and any
articles that you feel may be of interest for future editions.
As you all know the Model Engineering Exhibition will be coming up in
January and if I find there is sufficient interest from you I will try to make
some sort of arrangement for us to meet at that time -details, hopefully,
in December's Newsletter.
Darnell Models, British T-class Submarine (1938-1946)
This new kit from Darnell measures 5' 8" overall and produces a
model of approximately 1:48 scale. The kit consists of a moulded G.R.P.
hull and deck assembly. The 6V 4 amp/hr battery supplied fits into a
G.R.P. watertight compartment, together with the main drive motor and a
motor pump assembly based on the Unit Steam Engines' single cylinder
engine. There is room within the watertight box for all the radio
equipment and servos, but only just. This means that careful planning
is needed to ensure that everything will fit in. A perspex cover plate
is supplied which needs to be drilled to match the 22 fixing nuts moulded
into the watertight box. This I found was no great problem providing
you ensure that you are viewing from directly above when marking the holes.
The deck and superstructure are marked with umpteen thousands of drilling
points for the deck perforations and Darnell suggests that the tedious job
of drilling these should be one of the first jobs to be done. Being
enthusiastic,immediately I received the kit I started on the soul destroying
job of drilling the holes and got them completed about about 4 hours'
work only to find on checking with photographs ofT-class vessels that
they do not have as many holes as this -so back to the drawing board.
The only way I could get it right was to refill all the holes I had drilled
with Isopon and start again (a doubly soul destroying job!). The conning
tower and periscope masts ·I felt were not up to the standard of the rest
of the kit and, whilst they are adequate to show the general line of this
class of boat, I think the enthusiastic scale modeller would prefer to
remake them, together with more accurate 4" and Oerlikon guns.
Now to making it work. After all the whole point of being a submariner
is tha t your boat submerges and actually comes back up again. John Darnell
has achieved the buoyancy change problem in a very neat and sophisticated
way. He supplies a large 'milk bottle' shaped G.R.P. airtight container
which is plumbed to the U.S.E. steam engine (acting as an air pump) and
then to a very strong bright orange buoyancy bag. The buoyancy principle
is based on adding just the right lead ballast to hold the submarine at
the correct surface level when the buoyanc y bag is inflated. To dive,
the pump is switched to empty the buoyancy bag into the G.R .P. tank, so
allowing water into the model to achieve negative buoyancy. When the pump
is reversed it pumps the air from the tank to the bag, expelling the water
and bringing the submarine back to the surface. This may sound a little
complicated but in practice works perfectly. I had my T-class sitting at
the bottom of a lake for periods of up to 15 minutes and then found no
diffi culty in bringing it back to the surface.
The drive system, as supplied, consists of an M.M. motor with a
double pulley driving via two belts to the twin screws set in the long
stern tubes. Modellers with engineering facilities may wish to replace
this drive system with a proper reversing drive gearbox, as I have done,
and may wish to shorten the stern tubes and build exposed A-frames to
support the props as on the full-size submarine.
So what do you get for your money? I would say that you get a fine
working submarine model at an unbelieveably reasonabe price. Remember
that the kit includes everything except the radio equipment, servos (3
required) and the speed controllers. Made up exactly as Darnell's
comprehensive instruction sheet the submarine will function most
satisfactorily. Enthusiastic modellers may wish to make some of the
changes that I have done. They may wish to add extra control surfaces
by making the front and rear hydroplanes op..ration al; they may wish to
change the drive motors to the more efficient Pile type where the planetary
gearbo x ensures greater torque and efficiency. All in all a very good buy
and a first class model.
Available from: Darnell Models, xx, xxxxxx, Leavesden, Watford,
Herts, Price: £98.00, including postage and packing.