Russian Akula in 1/96th scale

This project was handed over to me partially completed by the owner. It came with a D&E Miniatures WTC system. It looks to be a fairly straightforward buildup.

Here is some information on the Akula submarines:

The Akula incorporates a double hull system composed of an inner pressure hull and an outer "light" hull. This allows more freedom in the design of the exterior hull shape, resulting in a submarine with more reserve buoyancy than its western analogs.

The distinctive "bulb" or "can" seen on top of the Akula's rudder houses its towed sonar array. All Akulas are armed with four 533 mm torpedo tubes which can use Type 53 torpedoes or the SS-N-15 Starfish missile, and four 650 mm torpedo tubes which can use Type 65 torpedoes or the SS-N-16 Stallion missile. These torpedo tubes are arranged in two rows of four tubes each. Improved Akulas, Akula IIs have an additional six 533 mm torpedo tubes mounted externally, capable of launching possibly up to 6 decoys each. The external tubes are mounted outside the pressure hull in one row, above the torpedo tubes, and can only be reloaded in port or with the assistance of a submarine tender. The 650 mm tubes can be fitted with liners to use the 533 mm weaponry. The submarine is also able to use its torpedo tubes to deploy mines.

8,140 tons Akula I and Akula I Improved
8,450–8,470 tons Akula II and III
12,770 tons Akula I and Akula I Improved
13,400–13,800 tons Akula II and III

Length: 110.3 m (362 ft) for Akula I and Akula I Improved
113.3 m for Akula II and Akula III

Beam: 13.6 m

Draught: 9.7 m

Propulsion: one 190 MW OK-650B/OK-650M pressurized water nuclear reactor
1 OK-7 steam turbine 43,000 hp (32 MW)
2 OK-2 Turbogenerators producing 2,000 kW
1 seven-bladed propeller
2 OK-300 retractable electric propulsors for low-speed and quiet maneuvering at 5 knots (6 km/h)

Speed: 10 knots surfaced
28-35 knots submerged[2]

Endurance: 100 days[1]

Test depth: 480 m test depth for Akula I and Akula I Improved
520 m for Akula II and III
600 m maximum operating depth[3]

Complement: 73 for Akula I & Improved,[4] 62 (31 officers) for Akula II & III [5]

4 × 533mm torpedo tubes (28 torpedoes) and 4 × 650mm torpedo tubes (12 torpedoes). (K-152 Nerpa has 8 × 533mm torpedo tubes) 40 torpedoes total
1–3 × SA-N-10 Igla-M Surface-to-air missile launcher fired from sail (surface use only)
RK-55 Granat cruise missiles

The kit dimensions:

Scale: 1/96
Length: 1163mm (45.8”)
Beam: 141mm (5.5”)

View most recent update

January 12, 2015

I just got this boat into my shop a few days ago and haven't done much but unbox her. Unfortunately she is going to sit on the bench for a while as I finish up my Type VII build (see the project page!), but I hope to get at her within 30 days or so.

Theoretically speaking, it should be a pretty straightforward buildup. It has a 3" D&E cylinder with gas ballast. I'm aiming for a basic R/C build with no special features, so implementation should be fairly straightforward. There is an alignment issue with the upper and lower hulls. I will have to do some heating and forming to get the epoxy hull back into shape so that the two hull halves line up perfectly. You can see the issue in the picture of the bow below.

Enjoy the pics!

February 17, 2015

Well, I've decided to work at this in parallel to the Type VII project. I find it actually works well to have two projects going at the same time so that I have something to move to when paint is drying or glue setting up on the other one.

Most of my time thus far has been spent in trying to get the hull to mate nicely. It was really quite warped when it arrived, and I discovered that the bulkheads that were in it were not of the right size, which was distorting the whole thing. I tore them out and added my own, heated up the hull to get her straight, and just put some primer on this morning.

I have also worked on setting up the older version Dave Merriman cylinder with the guts that will make it go. The cylinder will feature a SubSafe failsafe that will automatically blow ballast with loss of signal, and it also features an automatic pitch controller.

February 19, 2015

I've managed to get the hull trued up to about 90% of where I'd like to see it. A bit of filler in some low spots and I think we'll be in good shape. I also finished up the cylinder this morning and everything is working perfectly. I've picked out an 11.1V, 5Ah battery to power the model, which should offer great running time and leave lots of room in the hull for flotation.

Next step is to fabricate mounting brackets to hold the cylinder in place and then run linkages...

March 3, 2015

I have been busy finishing up a quick static display project, but managed to get that completed this last weekend and now I'm onto the Akula in earnest.

Since last updates I have completed the WTC fully and selected a 5000mAh LiPo battery for it. I have also modified the hull with a "Z" cut to improve fitment and I am happy to say it turned out very well. A bit more adjustment to the side of the upper hull and I can say that the seams match up about as well as they'll ever get.

Next step will be running linkages, adding the hold down bulkheads for the cylinder, and adding a battery cradle in the lower hull.

Things should go quickly now!

March 30, 2015

Well, the hull is 95% complete. It has been completely painted and weathered with the exception of the periscopes, which still need some yellow and black paint, but otherwise the hull is ready.

From here, I need to install foam in the upper hull, weight in the keel and then we're on to trimming. I'm going to try and do up a video of that process as people have lots of questions about that aspect of sub building.

Stay tuned for more!

April 15, 2015

The boat is complete! Wet trials occurred in my local pond, which I've found is a great test bed for my boats.

No leaks. No problems, and I'm happy to say that the boat performed beautifully in the water. Pitch control was a breeze and I managed to hold periscope depth within an inch or so for extended periods of time with no issue.

The sub now has a Pelican case for transport and shipping, something that I think I am going to recommend to all of my customers in the future. Expensive, yes... but totally worth it.

Be sure to view the video link below where you'll get an overview of the finished boat, the transport case, and see the sub in action!

Thanks for watching!