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Building the Zero Bubble Model Design 1/120 Mike SSN

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  • Building the Zero Bubble Model Design 1/120 Mike SSN

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    Hello fellow submarine modellers! My name is Jörg S. Happrich, i´m from Germany and i wanted to show to you my approach on building the 1/120 Komsomolets/ Mike SSN kit from David Hughes of Zero Bubble model design / Australia. To my knowledge, this is the only bigscale kit of that one-of-a-kind type of nuclear submarine and David put a lot of work in it to give us the opportunity to build it. It is very detailed but still leaves many options on how the finished boat will look like depending on your skills and intention. To me, it was clear i would make it R/C with slight additions to the hull details. I like my models to be functional, they should look like the original underway, maybe with some masts extended, but no unnecessary stuff that might get lost in the water and no tiny little details you would only recognize on display. Strictly speaking, i always try to capture the overall impression of the original. So lets begin...

    David`s shop:

    https://zerobubblemodeldesign.jimdo.com/

    You probably know him and his detailed build on the Mike SSN from this forum.

    https://forum.sub-driver.com/forum/b...lets-nato-mike

    First things first, this is my first model made from polyester resin, i am used to epoxy. Second, my usual models are single-hulled without the usage of a separate WTC, so i am still learning how to build such model. There were some obstacles to master, but altogether i am happy about the progress i made so far. So here we go...
    Last edited by JHapprich; 08-15-2018, 05:28 AM.

  • #2
    this is in essence how the kit arrived. standard airmail.
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    • #3
      I started by inspecting all parts. unfortunately, the upper hull had been forced into the lower one so it was not straight but twisted. i left it to return to shape, in the meantime i began to match the 3 parts of the sail and marked the areas that would need filling, added missing floddholes i would cut out later and the forward starbord plane flaps would need to be shifte upwards, they were scribed to low on the hull. also, the torpedo tube doors were not symmetric, so i would rescribe one side as well.
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      • #4
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        I continued with glueing the sail together and worked on the hull finish:

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        Last edited by JHapprich; 08-13-2018, 12:44 PM.

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        • #5
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          I am going to open all the floodholes.started with the lower hull by drilling holes into the scribed floodholes and shaping them with files afterwards. I will most likely use a mill and my drillpress with a crosstable to cut out the paired floodholes of the upper hull, for they originally have round edges, not square as on the model.
          Lower half:
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          Also opened the windows on the conning bridge.
          I will add plexiglass windows instead.
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          Last edited by JHapprich; 08-13-2018, 03:55 PM.

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          • #6
            Afterwards i wanted to match the hull halves.
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            made myself a nice dead-flat sanding board.marked the outline, sanded and sanded and sanded... and it happened:i removed too much!!!
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            This resulted in an increasing gap from stern to bow. Stupid me!
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            Last edited by JHapprich; 08-13-2018, 04:44 PM.

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            • #7
              I solved that by putting a proper tube corresponding to the inner hull diameter into the cylindric part of the hull to set it up. That way i could find the correct position of top and lower half. Attached then stripes of ABS on the inner edge of the lower hull. I decided to rebuilding the lower hull and keeping the upper half as-is. I applied usual zelluloid foil on the upper hull and then put the hulls together with tape and filled the gap with glassfibre-enhanced polyester filler. The inside would receive another layer of light glass and resin. Worked out well but would require more sanding.
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              Last edited by JHapprich; 08-13-2018, 05:06 PM.

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              • #8
                I commend your tenacity in bringing this kit to life! Many would have balked at the work involved, but you're soldiering onward! I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do with it!

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                • #9
                  Well done Jörg. I'm looking forward to seeing this too.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you, Bob and Scott! Actually it is a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun to build the Mike though i never had such issues before.
                    Back to business ( i am still writing on to catch up with my current progress):
                    After rebuilding the sides of the lower hull i had to sand back a lot surplus resin and glass to regain the original shape of the edges. I then performed the z-cut and glued the Bow segment to the upper hull with resin and some strips of glass.
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                    Next step would be constructing the indexing lips of the lower hull. At first, I planned to add some simple thin strips of ABS that would do the trick. As there were still uneven areas on both hulls inner edges, i added some resin and filler that i would then sand back. the lower hull needed further trimming. I performed that with my Proxxon Micromot and a sanding wheel.
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                    Next i pinned the ABS-Strips with some drops of Superglue and testet the overall fit.
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                    I then market the line of separation on the lower hull carefully with masking tape. I isolated the edge of the upper hull with ordinary clear bureau tape plus added some layers of PVA. mixed up resin and cut some strips of heavy glass to enhance the ABS-lips and to produce a good fit all along the hull`s line of separation. I let one layer cure, then added another one. Left it to cure and opened it the next day. Port side not that nice, starbord pretty good. i trimmed it down do shape provisionally as I was eger to put the model back together and see how it works.
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                    After cleanup, I could let the lower hull slide into the upper one without any friction, it would just sit in place. Hurra!
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                    Last edited by JHapprich; 08-14-2018, 08:53 AM.

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                    • #11
                      I must say, without reservation, that you took a very 'raw' kit and beat it into proper shape. Your work getting the hull edges straight and of uniform thickness is nothing less than heroic, sir. If you can build this thing and get it to look like a MIKE, you have my full respect.

                      You are a problem-solver of the First Order.

                      David
                      "... well, that takes care of Jorgenson's theory!"

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                      • #12
                        Thank you, David! Yes, that kit is very basic indeed, but i knew that when i bought it AND David Hughes wont let me down when i have questions but offers great support. The Komsomolets will be a nice addition to my fleet, when finished. I may also need to point out that using polyester instead of epoxy is rather time-saving. No need to tell you what you know already, but thats new to me now and I really enjoy being able do things faster than usual. Afterall, it is a great model, that probably no one will have got here in Germany!
                        Last edited by JHapprich; 08-14-2018, 01:09 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Weekend and the project continues. After adjusting the hull halves next thing to do is the stern assembly. I will use 2mm stainless steel shafts for the planes/rudders that will run through bearings made of simple pieces of thin brass tube that would further contribute to a strong connection to the hull. So i did a mockup of the planes
                          first to check the fit and then drilled the holes for the rudder shaft for provisional installation of the rudder parts. I noticed the small cubic supports on the plane's base were not centric and i wanted them to be symmetric so i cut them to shape. This made the identification of the corresponding later hull cut-off easier. I then took a look at the line drawings provided with the kit to measure the right horizontal position of the planes at the stern and then marked that on the hull. To make sure the shafts would meet at 90 degrees angle i made a small template of papercard. Marked the correct vertical position as well. I then used the Proxxon and small files to produce the openings for the shaft and the plane supports. Checked the setup that would look promising.however the plane bases would need further carving-out to achieve a good contact surface.
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                          • #14
                            Those are some rough sections of hull, but with some staunch determination, you are hammering them into something that the motherland can truly be proud of. You're a far braver man than I, sir!

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                            Well done.

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                            • #15
                              What he said! Great work!

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