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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Wondering if anyone has any input on the following.

A little background, I was in the Submarine Service for 20 years and am now retired and building model railroad's. Anyway, I'm just getting started, but the main idea I had was to build a model railroad around some kind of submarine scene. So, I've found lots of resin based resources on YouTube and was heading strongly in that direction.

However, then I did the math. First, there are no HO scale nuclear submarines available, and some quick math proves it'd be over 7 feet long if there were. So, I've been thinking about a 3D printer to assist in making my own model. However, even shortening the model length, I still need to simulate 100' of water, which is about 14" in HO scale. The hull of the submarine is just under 6", with the length of about 24". So, basically we're talking about a ****-ton of resin. I may be able to find a way to reduce that size, but then I wonder how effective the diorama would be - you know if 90% of the thing is the black hull of the submarine - that doesn't seem to me to look very good.

I could put the sub on the surface and only show the parts above the water line - which would save a tremendous amount of resin, but is kind of a bummer as I was hoping for a submerged submarine scene.

I'm going to try to do a mock-up with the construction paper and whatnot to try to get an idea of what I'm looking at. But it seems to be getting out of hand quickly. Anyway, just wondering if anyone has any ideas - it seems that HO scale is a bit unreasonable for something like a nuclear submarine.


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Railroad Tycoon
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Depending on how much HO you have now, how about N scale?
Most likely you still would have to fabricate the submarine.
 

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I like the idea and just suggest scaling the sub down. I can't believe there aren't decent enough sub models on the market not quite to ho scale that maybe could fit into a clear box with some blue transparent material to give it a watery hue as a mock up. Or maybe even you know construction paper or something premade (pvc pipe, paper towel tubes, cardboard tubes...) for the sub... A kind of test bed to just get a feel for it.
 

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Most bodies of water aren’t very transparent, so I think you only need at most 6 scale feet of water depth. You probably know better than anyone else how much of the sub is above water when it’s at rest by the dock or moving along the surface. So you only need that much of the sub to be modeled. No need to model the entire hull. I‘ve seen a diorama of a WW2 U-boat coming to the surface that looked really nice. I think I saw it on YouTube. You might try a search and see what turns up.
 

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If you have a moderate amount of model-making experience...
The sail and missile superstructure, above-water bow, and topside deck area can be easily fashioned out of balsa or basswood.
The sail planes, top-rudder, and masting can be made with styrene.
Fashion a nice pier to tie it up to, and you'll have nice looking SubRon station.
This shouldn't be a big problem.

As far as realistic water is concerned, there are sundry products available, and most are instructionally represented on YouTube.
 

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Railroad Tycoon
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There are some for sale that are only the top portion.
First site I found, HO Scale Submarine Kits from Artmaster
A lot offered are from the WW11 era
But I think the OP wants a nuclear sub?
I don't think anyone sells that, I could be wrong?
 

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OK Chief, here's my wild idea... forced perspective?. A 1/350 Virginia class boat, set as for off-shore as your layout can stand.. A 1/350 lighthouse to aid the effect, some rocks, maybe a 1/350 DD for company...a slight downward curve to the horizon might accentuate the illusion of distance, I'm not sure. Maybe more artistry than modeling, but the notion might catch on... A dang seven foot boat... You could have a fleet tug just leaving the docks to pick her up?
 

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Here is a shot from the old GATSME HO layout taken in 2012 before they were forced to move. While the setting doesn't scale out for this one, maybe cid has a point. Go with an SSN (since they are shorter) instead of an SSBN.

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Discussion Starter #10
Depending on how much HO you have now, how about N scale?
Most likely you still would have to fabricate the submarine.
Yeah, I have - unfortunatly I've already kind of gone with HO. I already have 6 loco's and some stock in HO, so I'd have to just start over to go with N.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Most bodies of water aren’t very transparent, so I think you only need at most 6 scale feet of water depth. You probably know better than anyone else how much of the sub is above water when it’s at rest by the dock or moving along the surface. So you only need that much of the sub to be modeled. No need to model the entire hull. I‘ve seen a diorama of a WW2 U-boat coming to the surface that looked really nice. I think I saw it on YouTube. You might try a search and see what turns up.
Easily could - I just had it in my mind that it'd be a submerged sub on the edge of the layuit so I could do a cross-section view of the water. And yeah, I;ve seen the diamoram - kind of what gave me idea actually - there's another one of a WWII boat transiting a mine field submerged. But both of those are like 1:350. After doing the math on my idea, it'd be like 7 gallons of resin... imagine how heavy that'd be for one.
 

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OK Chief, here's my wild idea... forced perspective?. A 1/350 Virginia class boat, set as for off-shore as your layout can stand.. A 1/350 lighthouse to aid the effect, some rocks, maybe a 1/350 DD for company...a slight downward curve to the horizon might accentuate the illusion of distance, I'm not sure. Maybe more artistry than modeling, but the notion might catch on... A dang seven foot boat... You could have a fleet tug just leaving the docks to pick her up?
Yeah, my first boat, the Louisiana (SSBN 743), is 560 feet long, so 6.4' in HO...plus then you need to surrounding scene. The hull is 42' in diameter, periscope depth is 78'. So simulating 100' of water would still only provide a slight clearance beneath the sub at periscope depth. Third world problems huh? :)

I'm just thinking it's too big an object to display like I was thinking
 

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I like CID's idea of using forced perspective and making the sub smaller to make it look like its in the distance. Another approach may be to have the sub coming around a bend in the waterway where the back portion of the sub is hidden around the bend by rocks and/or trees. Then you only need space and the model for the front portion of the sub.
 

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Here is a shot from the old GATSME HO layout taken in 2012 before they were forced to move. While the setting doesn't scale out for this one, maybe cid has a point. Go with an SSN (since they are shorter) instead of an SSBN.

View attachment 543684
Man thank you - I really like this idea. It had occurred to me to just have the periscope sticking above the water line, but that felt kind of easy to me - anyone could glue a stick to lake and say "That's a periscope." :)

This would be kind of a cool idea. I think I could easily do either an SSN or SSBN sail in HO scale, maybe even do diesel exhaust, like they do those tank shot dioramas on YouTube. But yeah, snorkeling off the coast, thanks for the idea, I'll have to run the numbers, but these seems pretty good to me.
 

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Ok this not helpful scale wise but here's a cool sub model by moebius models. I built their battle star galactica Pegasus. Came out well and except the water decals, the fit was very good.


Now just a quick google search on sub models and I found quite a few at 1/144... And smaller. A lot are ww2 to be fair but there were some others. Many at 1/350 which is surely too small..
 

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You could put the sub along the edge of the table alongside a pier, probably need an area 1' by 7' max. Or put the sub nose-in to a drydock to the sail only cut off at the table edge. Then you could build an interior for the sub too...
 

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Ok this not helpful scale wise but here's a cool sub model by moebius models. I built their battle star galactica Pegasus. Came out well and except the water decals, the fit was very good.


Now just a quick google search on sub models and I found quite a few at 1/144... And smaller. A lot are ww2 to be fair but there were some others. Many at 1/350 which is surely too small..
Severn;

The USS skipjack model in your link says its 1/76th scale. That's pretty close to HO-scale at 1/87th Wouldn't that be close enough, especially with a little distance? The "quite a few" you found in 1/144th scale are close to N-scale at 1/160th. Six locomotives hardly locks you into HO-scale. If you simply want to model in HO, of course that's your choice. However people have switched scales with a lot more trains on their shelves, than what you say you have. If you want the sub scene to be the main focus of your layout, you could also go down to Z-scale. That would make the size of your sub smaller still.

Good Luck & Have Fun;

Traction Fan
 

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I believe the original poster said the nuclear sub he served on in ho scale would be 7' long. So I guess the idea is to put in some kind of sub motif in but not all 7' ft of it. I just happened to notice the skipjack model and think Mobius makes good models. It's probably all wrong for today's subs though.
 

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Yeah, no that's cool - 1/76 definitely isn't too far off from HO. Unfortunately, the Skipjack class of subs (while instrumental to what we do today) are all "razor blades" (loving Navy term for decommissioned units) by now. Since the Skipjack class, there have been many different classes, I believe the last Skipjack sub was decommissioned in the 70's - well before my time.

In my first years in the Navy, we had a new guy come to us from the last Sturgeon class submarine, the USS Mendel Rivers. Which from what I understand was an absolutely badass submarine class that I am personally unsure why we went away from - I just worked there :)

Anyway, the two main classes I dealt with were the Los Angeles Class and the Ohio Class, the Louisiana being my first boat. However, in my tenure I also served on a Seawolf class sub, and toured several of the new Virginia class, which for any history buffs, is the first submarine ever built without a periscope; it’s a fiber-optic rely that transmits on an LCD screen – crazy huh?

Anyway, the Ohio and LA class sails (That vertical structure that houses the periscope) are pretty darn similar – I really like Lehigh74s’ picture above – that would be fairly easy to do and avoid the scaling problem while meeting most of what I was thinking.

I still think it’d be really cool to do a submerged sub cross-section view. I wouldn’t think it would be unheard of either; what about something like shipwreck scene? But the depth of the water seems to limit the model to something other than resin (I was looking at $1,200 just for the resin) and a lot a space, not to mention weight.
 

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But you would mold that as a hollow shell, right? You could prolly get it 3d printed, maybe in sections... just ideas...
 
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