Ohio Class, Ballistic Missile Nuclear Powered Submarine, USS Kentucky SSBN737

Engraving the hull, fitting the closing mechanism:

Detailing the hull is a quite time consuming task. First, you got to have the right tools for this, and the right plan.
I started out using my Dremmel tool, but it proved too heavy, so I had to go and get a real engraving too, and Proxon had one just for this!
The tip selected was a small ball shaped one, and after a little practice, I was ready to go.
Remember that these details will later be painted over, leaving only the contours / outlines.

First the sonar dome was engraved. The outline of this will later serve as the cutting track when Z-cutting the hull, but for now, the outline is just left as just a line all around the hull nose.

After splitting the hull, then the torpedo doors was engraved. The reason for waiting with the engraving of the torpedo doors till after the hull was split, is to ensure a correct location of these doors.

The strange shape when seen from the side, actually forms an almost round door when seen from the front.

Then it was time for the missile deck, where the vast majority of the details are located. First, the sail cutout.
Using a regular pencil, and a number of support lines, I marked the orientation of the sail. Then, by drilling a few large holes, I filed by hand to perfection.

The sail should not be fitted until after the missile deck has been fitted to the top of the sub, just to make sure that the sail is fitted 100% straight and correct.

Copying the details from the blueprints took a while. The engraving following the pencil marks was pretty easy, when using something to guide the tool. Do not try to engrave straight lines by hand. Use a ruler, or some thing else that the shaft of the engraving tip can slide on.

I discovered that a piece of printed circuit board was perfect for this....

After all the tiny details, such as hatches, vents, cleats and lockers etc. had been engraved, I moved on to the guard rail that extents all the way down the top side of the missile deck.

On my submarine, this will be shown on the stowed position.

Nice top side view of the missile hatch section.

The tiny holes on the middle is for venting purposes only, as I have to allow the air trapped within the missile deck to escape, when diving.

Nice view of the middle hatch, rescue rafts storage (big doors aft of the personnel hatch), and rear most missile hatches.

Over view of the fore most hatch, right in front of the sail.

The rectangular shaped outlines just in front of the personnel hatch are the cleats. This is where the cleats (bollards) them self goes later on. Please see the chapter about hull fittings for details. 

Side vents, as copied from the blueprints. I'll leave these unconnected, as I'll have plenty of venting.

A look down the side, right at the missile hatches.

It was quite a challenge getting the 24 missile hatche
s to look alike, but using a few support tools, such as an aluminum bar bend to match the curved edge of the missile deck, made it possible.

Closing Mechanism:

These blocks will hold the top and bottom half together in a secure, and strong fix.

A set was made in resin, and a mold was setup. Then it was easy to create replicas, that was 100% alike.

One block will be glued on the lower half, and the alu bar incl. the nut will stick up past the center line.
The other block will go in the upper half, and when the upper half is fitted in place, the alu bar will slide into the grove in the upper half's block. A bolt, screwed in from the outside, will catch the nut, thus locking the upper and lower half in place within fractions of an inch. Both the horizontal and vertical fix will then be correct.

Now the alu bar has been fitted, edges rounded, and the entire bottom half of the closing mechanism is ready to glue in. As always, thickened epoxy is the glue to use.

This shows how the top will lock into place, once the top half of the closing mechanism has been fitted inside the top half of the sub. The top half of the mechanism will remain where it is in the picture while gluing with epoxy to ensure a 100% fit on all four closing mechanisms in one move.

Little holes in the top half will allow the bolt to be removed once the epoxy has cured. The head of the bolt will be covered with candle wax so the resin will not glue the bolt. Quite important...

Here's a slightly different view of the pre-fitted mechanism. Notice the rounded edges of the alu parts. That should ease the operation, and help centering when fitting the top half of the sub later on.

Now let's go ahead and fit the top half of the sub.

Here's the inverted top, and the top half of the closing mechanism after the resin was allowed to cure over night.

This is the hole for the screw that goes all the way through and into the nut in the alu bar. Later, this hole will be drilled to match the screws that will be used.

A little view just before paint to see how the top fits after mounting the closing mechanism.

A little view just before paint to see how the top fits after mounting the closing mechanism.

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