Russian Akula in 1/90 scale

This model was purchased from a local friend in Victoria, BC. I have always been impressed with the Engel submarine kits, and I was anxious to get my hands on one to see for myself how they were in real life. This kit was purchased along with the Sturgeon kit featured elsewhere on my site. The kit is 1/90 scale and measures almost exactly 48" in length. Engel claims a maximum submerged speed of 6.5mph!

Crew: 73
Surfaced displacement 8,140 tons
Displacement submerged 12,770 tons
Overall length 11 0.3 metres
Diving depth 600 metres
Run speed surfaced 10 knots
Run speed submerged 33 knots

Akula is the designation given to the newest and most technologically advanced attack submarine of the Russian Navy. The Akula class submarine is Russia’s answer to the American Los Angeles class fast attack subs. Common opinion holds that Russian submarines are noisy and technologically inferior to their American and British counterparts. Expert opinion, however, knows what lies behind the traditional Russian veil of secrecy. With the Akula, the former Soviet Union has caught the US in the undersea arms race.

View most recent update

June 10, 2008

I haven't had a lot of time to take a really close look at things, but I can already tell that this model will need work to get working properly. The periscope system is completely seized, and will need to be cleaned with brake cleaner to remove a buildup of paint along the sliding shafts that keep the assembly aligned. Additionally, the TAES dive module, a benchmark of engineering that Engel developed that allows static diving to a maximum of 1.8m and allows the model to hover at any depth, is not connected or functioning. Diagnostics will need to be employed to see if the board is fried or if it is a wiring issue.

In the meantime, I'll play with getting things cleaned up and learning how the model works. There are a lot of electronics in there....

October 27, 2008

I haven't updated this page in a long time, but I'm happy to say that I've made enormous progress on getting this model operational, and it is now ready for duty!

I have done a lot of work to it in the last few weeks including:

* Install reversing switch for periscope system
* Installation of external power switch for main power and receiver
* Test trim, install flotation foam and ballast
* Correct kinked ballast tank hose for forward tank (this was a huge job!)
* Install ballast control board (TAE)
* Adjust linkages

I've had the model in the pool and its working perfectly. The chlorine content of my pool and its (relatively) small size made full testing hard, but as far as I'm able to gauge, its working great and its a really impressive model! Check out the videos and photos below!

March 18, 2009

I've been playing with this model on and off for a while now, and I'm glad to say that the odyssey is nearing an end. I had huge issues getting everything to work properly. The Engel kit is very complicated, with many redundant fail safes. In the end, it turned out that old batteries were the culprit for a lot of my issues. A kinked ballast hose was replaced along with all three batteries. A battery eliminator was installed so that no separate receiver battery needed to be used. All that is left now is final testing in my local pond and I hope to have that done this week. Stay tuned!

March 23, 2009

I've run the Akula in the beautiful fountain pool at the entrance to my community here in Naples, FL. The water is shallow and mucky, and the water is full of weeds, however I did get the chance to get the sub out and play with it for a few minutes before a popped fuse resulting from sucking in algae to my ballast system forced an early return to the Drydocks. The sub is working really well, and has now found its way to her new owner.