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Preparing for the Primer...


So now I have a stuck-together boat, there should be no further  impatience - right?  Wrong!!!  Now I want see what the thing looks like when it's all painted just one colour. I now want to see it under a coat of primer paint.  Before we can get there though there are one or two minor jobs to do.


Firstly the stern must be shaped correctly. As shown in the photo below, the stern of the casemate is not yet shaped to match the drawings, but now that the hull is glued securely I can use my little bench sander to round it off and blend the casemate and the pressure hull together.




Here's the result - not too bad.  It's possibly still a little too 'broad across the beam' but this is visually accentuated by the fact that the wooden copy is slightly closer to the camera than the drawings.  I might get keen and trim this down a bit finer yet, but overall I'm fairly happy with this, and besides, I'm impatient!



With the stern contoured, we can start using some automotive filler to start closing the gaps and filling out any bumps and scrapes along the hull and smoothing out the difficult contact between the saddle tanks and the pressure hull.



 Looks OK Here. Am also hiding the scars left by the dowels.



Onto the sanding... sanding, sanding, sanding. I actually don't mind this part of the work especially if I have access  to an old DVD player and a copy of 'Terminator 2' (nothing wrong with a bit of culture!).



Nowadays you can even buy 'sanding gloves'.  These are woodworking gloves with Velcro on their fingers onto which you can attach different grades of sandpaper. These aren't bad, but the submarine is probably a bit smaller than the work they are intended for.  The guy I bought them from was making carved rocking horses and he reckoned these gloves were ideal for smoothing out large contoured areas of wood like he was working on.



The stern cleaned up alright. 



And here she goes - all filled and sanded and ready for the first coat of primer.  It looks a bit flesh coloured in this view - but I think that that's only because the very fine automotive filler dust is a bit pinkish and gets spread about a bit by the sanding.



Next time my submarine will change colour again as the first coat of primer goes on. 


Best Regards,



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Moby Dick


I once read Herman Melville's Moby Dick, thinking it would be a stirring, thrilling, ripping yarn of adventure on the high sea.  Hmmmmm...note how I say I only read it once... and only then just got through it by the skin of my teeth.  Anyway, here's how I ended up with my own 'great white whale'.


Exactly the same Dulux '1 Step - primer, sealer & undercoat' as i used on the Mig 15 and chosen for exactly the same reason - it was in the shed at the time! I should add however that it actually worked really well on the Mig so there's some logic behind this selection.




Here's the big moment when the first primer goes on. I often have a bit of a weird feeling at this moment. After several months of looking at these assorted bits of wood and plastic I won't see them again - ever!   (Unless I look at the previous pages on Britmodeller of course). :penguin: 



I just slap this layer on really thick and fast as this layer is going to be heavily sanded and thick primer can help fill' small surface irregularities.  The only spot where I had to be a bit careful was on the side of the casemate, especially around the flood / vent holes.  This is wood primer so it's probably not a good idea to get too much on the plastic. 



Slap some on the conning tower. Technically it's probably too early in the build sequence for the conning tower to be primed as there's quite a bit of work to go here, but i want to see what the whole submarine looks like in one colour.  A logical build sequence must suffer for my impatience. My impatience to see... 



MOBY DICK! - "Thar she blows cap'n Ahab!...''



And here is Moby shown against a more flattering background - perhaps the Red sea?



Anyhow - from here things go back to the old routine - sanding, sanding, sanding.



Until we get this...



or this - if you prefer the stern view.



Interestingly enough - when AE1 and AE2 passed through the Suez Canal en-route to Australia on their delivery voyage, they were painted white in an attempt to reduce temperatures inside the boat. So this is actually a 'correct' colour scheme. 


Maybe I'll just post this in the RFI section and be done with it... :D  


Best Regards and thanks again for the interest shown.

Bandsaw Steve.


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15 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

or this - if you prefer the stern view.


I don't think you need to be that harsh.  :D



I think it's looking quite good considering it doesn't fly

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A credit to you Steve!   its looking great mate. Your hardwood is  a much finer grain than balsa wood, but an old aero modelling technique to fill wood grain is to mix in talcum powder with aero dope (thin varnish basically) until you have a smooth paste, the talc fills the grain and give  a perfect surface, it  might save your some sanding on your next project.  looking forward to seeing this one finished.

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Hi Prop-nut,

I have always had a serious aversion to using balsa; ‘ too soft, too weak, too furry, splits too easy, too expensive, only good quality is it’s low density which is irrelevant for static models’. 

However, I’m serously starting to re-think this! One of the very best modellers here in Perth (far better than me) uses balsa for just about everything and does wonders with the stuff. He swears by it.

Also some of the balsa work on these pages is outstanding. So I’m now seeing a possibility that I will make extensive use of it in future and tips such as this are of great interest. Can see me trying this out soon.


Thanks for the suggestion.


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Not much of boat person, hell, I get sick going to Rottnest. But I love a bit of woodworking.


Excellent work.



I would recommend a filler product made by Timber Mate. Bunnings love the stuff and I have used it for as many years as I can remember. Sands easier and it doesn't shrink. Automiotive putty is great stuff, love that too, just not on wood.

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OK, it’s a deal. I get to Bunnings most weekends, I’ll pick some up next time I’m there. Thanks for the tip.


Strange you you should mention the Rottnest ferry. It was only last week I was watching it sail from Elizabeth Quay and was thinking that it’s actually quite an attractive vessel, especially in the modern red and white colour scheme. 


I’ve nver seen a model of one... hmmmmm.... 🤔


Definitely no promises though! 😀

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Thanks David.

Some good stuff there including a couple of photos I have not seen before - I wish I had had the one in the dry-dock when I was working on the anchor locker. That’s the best shot of the port bow I’ve seen. 

The shot of AE1 at sea is also useful as it shows the bow wave and wake quite clearly. Sooner or later I will have to make the sea-scape for the sub to sit in and references like this are valuable.👍



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  • 2 weeks later...

A Fairly Minor Update


Early E-class submarines had a rather odd weapons fit:

  • One forward torpedo tube.
  • One aft torpedo tube.
  • Two 'beam' torpedo tubes - one to port and one to starboard.
  • No deck gun.

The inadequacy of this arrangement became evident very early in WW1 and relatively soon after AE2's misadventures all E-class boats were fitted with a deck gun. Mid-war Submarines were given an additional forward torpedo tube. The near-useless beam torpedo tubes remained throughout the class, although a small number (four I think) were built as dedicated minelayers and were constructed with mine storage and deployment gear replacing them.


So the only weapon fit that was not subject to a major revision was the stern torpedo tube - which up to now on this build I have completely ignored.


As you can see here, on my original draft I intentionally shaded the torpedo housing out so that it would not confuse me when cutting the shape of the pressure hull.



Now I need to make the thing - it tapers toward the front in side view as you can see.  This tapering was done with my new favourite - the bench sander.



And here is the bench sander shaping the wood to the correct plan view - this is too easy...



To get the correct rounded section I resorted to whittling. This is how I used to make entire aircraft fuselages when I was a kid, before I had a bandsaw.  Funny thing ‘muscle memory’. it all came back pretty quickly.



Here it is stuck in place with some PVA.



And a final attack with the bench sander to remove the stern overhang.



As promised to 'Crayons' I've purchased some Timber Mate from Bunnings and have used it for filling around the housing. This is good stuff - seems a bit more workable and finer grained than plastic wood, and it dries very quickly. Thanks for the tip!



After a bit of sanding and general faffing about we now have a submarine that can shoot backwards.


Sorry about this not being much of an update - but things have been hectic around here for a number of reasons and I've had relatively little time in my factory.  I fear that things aren't going to get much better between now and the madness of Christmas.


I'll try to keep some posts coming but I fear they are likely to only cover small incremental steps for a while to come.


Best Regards,




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I thought I'd better give this update a more exciting sound name than the last one...'a fairly minor update' doesn't exactly get the adrenaline rushing does it.


Those of you who have been silly enough to be following this thread over the (very) long term, might remember the photo below. It was taken to illustrate the gaps between the forward sections of the pressure-hull and the taper on the front of the casemate.


At the time I said I had a plan to fix this - and promptly forgot about it.





About 530 years later, or so it seems as this project advances at its glacial pace, I am confronted with these two persistent gaps.



Which look even worse from the front.



Now, there are two possible methods I can think of to deal with this - one would be to just fill the gaps with putty, but I want a nice curvy, sinuous, snake-like front to my submarine. So I'm going to try the second method...


Take a fine bladed fret saw and cut a series of slots that go about 90% of the way through each bit of the pressure-hull that's adjacent to the gaps.



Now the wood can be bent to match the taper of the casemate.



Having cut both sides this way,  I can now glue and clamp the front of the pressure-hull into the correct position and contour. 



Which makes this rather weird, white, snake-like looking thing.



After filling the kerfs and then sanding a bit  (it needs much more sanding) it looks like this. Good enough I reckon.



Despite the fact that this is a fairly small update it is a significant one. This is the last work on the fundamental shape of the hull (the conning tower still needs a bit more) but from here on, for the hull it's all surface work, panel lines, details and painting. 


Hope to post again soon,



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This thread has more twists and turns than a twisty turny thing going round an S bend! However a very elegant solution to the problem of fairing those tanks in. I shall continue to be silly enough to follow this fascinating thread. Wibble!



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A Conning Plan


With the hull sort of 'sorted' for now, my attention has turned to the conning tower. Here is where all three of my sets of plans are deficient.


As discussed earlier in this thread the 'master plans' are for a mid-war submarine - the configuration of an early-war submarine's conning tower is only represented as a small appendix in the bottom left hand corner of these plans. This appendix gives no details at all regarding the sides of the tower and it cuts off the tops of periscopes and masts. 




The plans from the RAN historical website show the conning tower as an empty square - so that helps me with the size, shape and position but that's all.



The 'random source-unknown' plans derived from a quick google search, give me this view (the lower of the two) which is actually pretty good. However, it's in conflict with the master plans for some of the fittings and has only a very rudimentary representation of surface details on the flanks of the tower. 



Now if I were to spend a few dollars and go for a visit to the W.A, Maritime museum in Fremantle (and if any of you are ever in Perth you simply must go!) I could view this full-size replica of AE2's conning tower.  As you can see, it's supposed to represent the submarine several years after the boat's scuttling - hence it's shown largely covered in marine life.  What is still clear, is that whoever made this showed a lot of surface detail on the tower. There are all sorts of inlets, outlets, rivets, steps and turnbuckles all over the thing.



This excellent period photograph confirms that the maritime museum's replica is bang-on!



So, in the absence of any adequate drawings, I'm going have a crack at making my own 'good-enough' set.

in this photo the basic shape has already been copied off the RAN website plans and now I'm drawing on the details by referring to both the 'google plans' and the photographs above.



Now I'm filling in the detail on the top of the tower (the bridge?) using the early-war section of the 'master plans'.



The missing tops of the periscopes are finished off using the details off the mid-war section of the plans.  So now I have my own set of plans for the conning tower. If these are wrong then the model will be wrong - but I reckon it won't be too far wrong.



I have decided that, within reason, making my own plans is far simpler than it appears. If a modeller is prepared to accept a certain amount of imperfection and 'interpretation' in the finished model then making your own plans has much potential to open up all kinds of future projects that might not be available otherwise. 


Now I have photocopied my new conning tower plans and am ready to go. I'm sure you can all guess where this is heading...



Best Regards and keep building stuff, it's good for the brain!

Bandsaw Steve B)


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18 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

I have decided that, within reason, making my own plans is far simpler than it appears. If a modeller is prepared to accept a certain amount of imperfection and 'interpretation' in the finished model then making your own plans has much potential to open up all kinds of future projects that might not be available otherwise. 

At the end of the day, you can only go by the information available at the time and I think you've down brilliantly to get this far. Carry on good sir.

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On ‎01‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 13:39, Bandsaw Steve said:


Which makes this rather weird, white, snake-like looking thing.


Makes for a different  elegant fix :cool:



18 hours ago, Bandsaw Steve said:

making my own plans is


a conning plan !!  :whistle:



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Now I know that you guys would realise that I'm the sort of cool 'James Dean' 'Rebel Without a Cause' kind of guy that frankly just doesn't give a damn about how many likes he has on britmodeller - but I couldn't help but glance down and notice this earlier today...





Any way - I don't care... Do you think George Clooney would care?  B)  Nope - neither would Bandsaw Steve - hardly noticed this at all in fact...




I think it was this guy - 'Courageous' that cast the one thousandth 'like...' it's fitting really - a submarine icon and all... Not that I really care... Do you think Humphrey Bogart would care? B)




It'd be pretty sad and uncool to go around just waiting to get 1000 likes on Britmodeller - pretty self absorbed and a bit nerdy really... It was just luck really that I noticed it...


Anyway - in passing I mentioned it to the tools out in the shed.  Now these guys don't get out much and they got pretty excited - so I let them throw a little party to celebrate. After all - they did a lot of work for this and they are square enough to care.  Not like me - I couldn't give a damn! B)



The party started as a little social get together - nice and orderly.



Once the sound system cranked up and they played 'Blondie's 'Call Me' the party started to come alive... 



Soon after this point the chisels went home and got a good night sleep - hand tools are sensible like that. Always looking after their cutting edges.



On the other hand, once you start the power tools they just don't know when to stop.  Here that flirty little Dremmel has taken some dance floor 'selfies' of herself with the bench sander. Shameless little thing!



More dance-floor selfies from the small hours of the morning - the party started getting out hand at this point. I went home expecting that there would be some noise complaints from the neighbours. By this stage they were cranking Meatloaf's 'Bat out of Hell' at well over 100 decibels. Power-tools eh... what can you do?



The following morning things were very shabby indeed.  I tried to have a talk with the bandsaw - told him he was supposed to be the leader of these tools and should have set an example.  He just told me to 'shut up and close the curtains'. 



Wonder what will happen if we ever get to 2000 likes.  Not that I really care...  B)


Steve...Bandsaw Steve



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