German Type VII in 1/32 scale - OTW full R/C!

This is a project that I took over from another gentleman who lost the drive to complete it. From what I have seen so far, he did a great job on what has been completed so far and I'm really looking forward to seeing it completed.

Plans for this boat include a full static diving system with pump-style ballast (OTW) as well as both forward and rear operational torpedo launchers!

Some stats on the German Type VII submarines:

Displacement: 769 tonnes (757 long tons) surfaced 871 t (857 long tons) submerged[2]
Length: 67.1 m (220 ft 2 in)
Beam: 6.2 m (20 ft 4 in)
Height: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
Draft: 4.74 m (15 ft 7 in)
Propulsion: 2 × supercharged 6-cylinder 4-stroke diesel engines totaling 2,800–3,200 hp (2,100–2,400 kW). Max rpm: 470-490
Speed: 17.7 knots (32.8 km/h; 20.4 mph) surfaced, 7.6 knots (14.1 km/h; 8.7 mph) submerged
Range: 8,500 nautical miles (15,700 km; 9,800 mi) at 10 kn (19 km/h) surfaced
80 nautical miles (150 km; 92 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) submerged
Test depth: 230 m (750 ft)
Calculated crush depth: 250–295 m (820–968 ft)
Complement: 44-52 officers & ratings
Armament: 5 × 53.3 cm (21 in) torpedo tubes (4 bow, 1 stern)
14 × torpedoes or 26 TMA or 39 TMB mines
1 × 8.8 cm SK C/35 naval gun[3] with 220 rounds
Various anti-aircraft weaponry

View most recent update

February 12, 2014

Here are some photos of the model as I took possession of it. As you can see, a lot of work has been done and I would guess that it's at about 50% complete right now.

I will likely be re-doing the torpedo launchers to convert them to electric drive with compressed air launching, but we'll see once I get into it fully.

I was also sent a huge assortment of blueprints pertaining to the boat. The previous owner did a tremendous amount of research and the prints will prove most valuable when completing the build!

November 30, 2014

I'm very happy to say that this project has commenced in earnest!

To date, the only work that I've completed thus far has been the WTC dive module. The unit is now set up with twin 5200mAh batteries (10Ah total!), pump ballast system, four servos, as well as remotely controlled on/off functions (like a car alarm!).

I've also managed to repair the damaged deck railings. Other than that, however, it is as I received it... about 30% of the way done. Still lots to go, but I'm excited to get started.

December 8, 2014

Progress on the torpedo assembly in the bow. Check out the video below.

I've manufactured two torpedoes thus far with a grand total of 6 in the plan. The launcher that was included with the parts of the kit has been modified with more modifications in the works. I've also fabricated the rear breech for filling and launching the weapon.

January 12, 2015

Lots of progress!

I've now got reworked torpedoes finished. The original idea of going with a brass pressure vessel inside the aluminum body ended up a failure due to the torpedoes being just a hair too heavy to float. I have since re-designed them to use a single brass tube that also serves as the pressure vessel. They're still on the heavy side, but they float! Look for some torpedo testing video this week (hopefully).

The decking was also worked out and attaches magnetically using small button magnets. The mounting for the Dive Module is completed and lead ballast is now secured in the lower hull. LED lighting has been installed in the applicable locations around the boat.

I'm working on figuring out if I can add sounds and a smoke generator. Sounds seem to be pretty straightforward, but the smoke is going to be problematic at best. We'll see if I can figure it out.

In the meantime, enjoy the pics and video!

February 3, 2015

More progress!

-linkages installed (still need to do the torpedo launcher linkages)
-torpedoes tested
-new brass torpedo tube doors fabricated
-brass propshaft covers fabricated
-diesel sound module installed and tested
-new twin 4000mAh batteries purchased and installed
-bow thruster installed

Torpedo testing was a quasi-success. Two of the four weapons that I built worked well while the other two either sank due to weight issues (wha..?) or had a catastrophic leak in the soldered seams. They sealed and fired well, however their path was random (and frankly dangerous in some cases). I have new electric torpedoes in mind and hope to have that design worked out shortly.

In the meantime, enjoy the pics and video!

May 1, 2015

Wow.. a long time with no progress. I'm thoroughly embarassed! Work, unfortunately, has taken me out of the country for most of the last 30 days, but I'm very happy to say that I should be back now until at least the second week of June. Look for some serious progress in the coming weeks!

So, recap... the boat's drive system is complete. Linkages are complete. Sound system is installed. Torpedoes were a quasi-success.

Plan moving forward: work on finalizing the rear hull hold-downs to secure it to the center hull and then get a new set of electric torpedoes completed.

Take a look at the video link below to see where I'm at and what my plans are in the immediate future!

June 23, 2015

Progress! I've put the torpedoes on hold for the moment and focused on getting this boat painted!

I've elected to try something new and use some painting techniques I've never used before. In this case I'm talking about salt chipping. For this, you paint the model in a rusty color, we it thoroughly, then apply salt where you want paint chips to occur.

After I did that, I used some liquid masking tape and painted on larger areas where I wanted the rust to show through. That done, I hit the model with the dark gray paint of the lower hull, airbrushed on some panel highlights with dark gray, then washed it over very lightly with the same paint color to blend the highlights.

From here, I'm going to do the other side of the hull, then wash the entire model in water and scrub the finish until the salt and mask dissolves, leaving a random, chipped finish (theoretically!)

June 30, 2015

Heavy into the paint now!

The hull is about 90% complete now for her final, rusty finish! Here is the process I used (so far):

1.) Base coat of red primer
2.) Wet hull and apply rock salt. Let dry
3.) Base coat of appropriate gray colors
4.) wet hull and scrub salt off
5.) matte clear coat
6.) Grimey black/rust paint dilution wash over entire model
7.) matte clear coat
8.) apply acrylic rust solution with clear matte acrylic and chalk powders
9.) apply semi-gloss clear
10.)Final weathering with pastels, paint, etc.

From here, I need to trim out the final model for submerged operation, complete the torpedoes, and then test!

July 9, 2015

Painting is done!

The final paint and weather was completed this week. Be sure to check out the YouTube video for full, grisly details on how I accomplished it. The real secret, I think was in the acrylic solution of clear matte and chalks for the rust. I'm very happy with how that turned out.

Here are some pictures and the link to the video. I hope you enjoy!

July 14, 2015

Trimming is complete!

I've successfully trimmed out the boat over the weekend. I was very surprised that I actually ended up with more flotation than I needed, which was a very good thing as it's much easier to add weight or remove foam than it is to add foam if space is limited.

The boat has full surfaced trim at the correct waterline and submerges on a perfectly even keel. I'm very much looking forward to how it will perform during her maiden voyage which will likely take place on or about the 8th of next month (I'm leaving on a business trip this weekend for two weeks :(

Enjoy the video!

August 20, 2015

Maiden voyage!

The sub was taken out for her maiden voyage today. We started at a local shopping mall that had some great, clear water, however we were encouraged to leave by the security guard there who said that the mall owners didn't want us bothering the ducks. (lol)

From there we elected to retreat to the pond behind my house, which ended up working out well.

All in all, the boat performed beautifully. No leaks whatsoever and quite predicable behavior. I will say that she exhibits a tendency to submerge at the stern when in a turn and it needs to get some corrective dive planes in order to level her off. After a while, however, I had the knack and she was running exceptionally well.

Enjoy the video of the sub in action!

September 2, 2015

Torpedos LOS!

At the end of the day, I'm ashamed to admit that I actually ended up out of time to completely implement the functional torpedoes into this build, however I am very happy to say that I did manage to create the weapons themselves and they worked exceptionally well.

Originally thinking I'd go with a gas system, I also tried rubber band-powered torpedoes, which did not work out well at all, unfortunately. In the end, it was electric power to the rescue in conjunction with a 5 second timer that got me what I was after... a reliable and realistic weapon for the boat.