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

The hull, general info, building or buying?:

The Ohio Class was selected due to the fact that itís the largest (at present) western sub, and because itís hull is not too complicated to recreate. This illustration shows the size of the Ohio compared to other known types, American and Russian:

Another way to get a picture of the real subís enormous dimensions, are by viewing it next to a normal American football field:

In real life, it HUGE!!! Our model will also be quite big, but for reasons that will mention later, this is necessary. I have those to build the model in as little metal as possible, metal is heavy, will rust, are difficult to handle, and hard to form.
Like other models, we want a result as close to the real sub as possible. 
I have no prior experience with building subs, and many of the solutions youíll see might already be there, but I want to make as much of it as I can, as this is the biggest challenge. Subs are quite different from normal boats, as is behaves differently under the surface than on the surface, and need to be able to dive, and still be in control.  Some of these control functions works automatic, leaving the worry out of my attention during operation.

Because the hull will hold batteries, pressurized air, mechanics, weights, dive tanks, a lot of electronics etc, then we need a considerable volume. The real sub is 560 ft. long, and when we reduce that to a length that we can handle, keeping the ratio between length and width, which is 1:13.335, we can find a size that suits ou
r needs, and temper.
The main hull is completely circular, so for the main section we can use a large plastic tube. The ends will join with the self  produced bow and aft sections. On top of the hull weíve got a long slim section (called the missile deck) that holds missile silos, and the sail. The bow and aft are build in epoxy / glass fiber, and these two parts are the hardest to build. They are large, very visible, and also need to have a certain strength. I have given a few suggestions on how to do these parts, mentioning the up- and down sides of each approach. All of these things are described in later chapters.

Detailed drawings can be bought on the Internet, and these are also in a scale that gives a model of the same length we have planned. Stop by Floating Dry Dock at http://www.floatingdrydock.com/ for further information, ordering and payment of the drawings.
These drawings are essential if you want to get all of the details in place, such as gatherings, vents, torpedo doors, missile hatches, markings and last but not least, the shape of the hull. Keep in mind that the bow and aft will need to be build in glass fiber, so you might want to make a few cardboard cut-outs of these sections from both top and side view. 

Please notice that the hull is flooded during operation, an air filled hull would be very hard to dive. This explains the series of holes along the very bottom that is described in detail under the section on main hull construction.

When I first started this project, I wanted to buy the completed hull from Thor Design (USA) or Sheerline Model Submarines (UK). They are the only ones that offered an Ohio hull in scale 1:96. Thor then got a lot of work unexpectedly, and therefore delayed it until further notice, just as I was ready to continue this project with the hull. The Sheerline sub proved too small, so I was stuck without a hull.
I then did extensive research on building in epoxy, and started to gather detailed photos to assist the 1:96 drawing I'd bought as well. Then, as I was working along with that, I thought: "Why not bring it a step up anyway? Let's scale it 1:81 instead!"
I fell over another scratch builder on the net, John's Typhoon. He inspired me to go ahead, and go for the ultimate do-it-yourself (DIY) pleasure in model building. Please read the chapter on building the hull from scratch for further details.
Click here!!


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