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Group feedback wanted. What would you like to see?

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  • Group feedback wanted. What would you like to see?

    Hello, everyone!

    Now that some of the teething pains from the transition are over with, I'm starting to put more thought into what the ideal scope of products and services should look like for the Drydocks. Despite my 15+ years in the hobby, I am not so naive as to believe I know what everyone wants or needs.

    On that topic, I thought I'd put up this thread as a bit of a wish list for products and services that everyone would like to see continued or added to our offerings. I can't, of course, guarantee that I can make it happen, but if there is a call, I'll do my earnest best to make it come into fruition.

    Now, please understand that while having a submarine one stop shop would be very convenient, I also want you to understand that I am not going to even attempt to compete or carry commodity products like batteries, servos, connectors or any of the other myriad of products that can be purchased from any number of online hobby vendors at rock bottom prices. It's just not feasible for me to allocate my time, unfortunately. What I'm envisioning, at least until you guys tell me otherwise, is a place to get our hobby-specific or hard to find products, tailored specifically for RC subs.

    Here is where I'll start things :

    watertight cylinders
    conversion kits
    submarine electronics
    75mhz radios
    submarine kits
    buildup services

    What else would you like to see?

  • #2
    Your list pretty much includes the Lions share of what we need Bob. However for me personally, what is outstandingly important is submarine kits or at least , submarine hulls. In order to convince the guy who has quite a few of them already, to buy another one and all the parts needed to convert it to RC, there needs to be a great variety of hulls in the different sizes in order to peak his interest. I know that's hard to do in a market where RC submarines are almost an unknown. Quite a challenge to say the least.


    • #3
      One of the things I like about you and Dave is that your not just business men pushing somebodys product. You actually BUILD and provide pictures and videos of the product going together. You also review different hulls and kits and can supply some of them. Do you think that I would have ordered an ARKMODEL kit after the bad delivery Rapsheet that he has built up? NO WAY!!! But you showed us the kit going together and even brought up the kits short comings and even had some in stock. That made it much easier for me.


      • #4
        Bob, I agree that your list is the lion's share.
        Having a RTR sub, like the Neptune would be helpful, but a slow mover. If there was an RTR in the $300 - $500 for beginners that would be cool. Hmm I might need to work on that one.
        there are some bubbleheads out there working on 75MHz receivers plus other fun things. Finding variety of sources will be helpful.
        I think the thing that would kick it up a notch is a video of each item getting installed. It would be an incredible resource, but also cut down on questions. As an example, demonstrate how to set up a ADF2 or the keyless on/off. Being a resource for answers, like David has done is the best salesperson there is.
        Having things like brass or SS, screws or rods and such would be a help if someone wants a one stop shop. My Gato build was frustrating because there was not a complete list of items I needed to build the sub. I kept running to various stores to find parts including online. If Mike had it even if it was not the cheapest, I would have bought it from him for convenience. On the flip side some of Mike's pricing was over the top (admittedly ignorant of the market). So, you may be right it might not make sense. Especially since you do not want to tie up a lot of money in an inventory that does not move. This is a tough one for me to answer, there are so many options, but not enough knowledge.
        The final suggestion for improvement of sales is repair the rift between Sub-Driver and SubCommittee. Maybe make David go to some of the fun runs (I am going to get my butt reamed by You Know His Name). LOL! Unifying groups together will say a lot of what your heart desires. Now the flip side. This site has people that are building and making things happen. SC has slowed down in its substance. That is where you come in, do builds there. Do articles to submit. People will come to your site without having to do a sales pitch or market to them. I will criticize Mike, but know that I have such a respect for him, I am pointing out an obvious thing here, the majority of posts did on SC was advertising his site. That did not settle well with some.
        If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.


        • #5
          "Maybe make David go to some of the fun runs (I am going to get my butt reamed by You Know His Name). LOL! Unifying groups together will say a lot of what your heart desires. Now the flip side. This site has people that are building and making things happen. SC has slowed down in its substance."

          The SubCommittee slow death was a self inflicted wound buy the people running it. It was the senior staff of the SC that shunned Dave so he left. I and my friend Phil left because we got tired of the "Click Politics" & PC attitude instead of modeling going on at the SC. It has been years since I have been to any SC event. So I do not know who is in SC management now. But I would say it is the SC who should make efforts at olive branches to those they have drove out.

          My Question; Who is the staff running the SC now?
          If the attitude of the staff has not changed, the down hill trajectory will not stop.

          My thoughts regarding the current situation with the SC as a former member.



          • #6
            i am not saying the SC is perfect and does not have it's share of warts. I'm not saying the SC does not need to make reaching out to members they have lost a priority. I am more thinking getting the Sub-Driver line back into the SC community and tear down some of the walls. Personally as a member and friend (and know the ins and outs of what happened), I am tired of the division. Now me joking that David should go to the Fun Runs, that was a joke, but if he is available to fly to LA on the 14th, I would love to see him.
            If you can cut, drill, saw, hit things and swear a lot, you're well on the way to building a working model sub.


            • #7
              I think avoiding stocking non-sub related electronics and batteries is a sound move, as they are expensive items to hold in stock, plus things like batteries tend to degrade over time left on the shelf, so better left to the high volume suppliers. You may want to consider providing details of recommended suppliers for those items, and ensure the details are regularly updated, so it's easy for the customer to find the items they need to complete their project.

              Regarding RTR boats, or at least as an entry level kit, as you've previously dealt with Ark model, perhaps their Red Shark is something to consider stocking on a batch order basis e.g. order ten kits, with eight or so discounted pre-orders, leaving one or two in stock. The Red Shark looks to me like the closest thing to the discontinued Robbe Seawolf kit, which was very popular with European modellers.

              Like the Seawolf, the hull of revolution shape lends itself well to adaption, so for the less analytical modeller, they could easily adapt the profile to something else. Perhaps this is something Dave could do, e.g. customizing/adaption kits, with say US and Russian nuke style sails and appendages to turn the boat into something that more resembles say an Akula or a Sturgeon class.

              Brushless motors are increasingly popular, so you may wish to add that as an option on the WTC range. 28mm-35mm outrunners are powerful enough for pretty much all boats of small to medium size, just need to vary the KV for different props. The Roxxy range of brushless motors, which used to be distributed by Robbe, but are now distributed by Multiplex are consistent and come in a very wide range of KV's.
              DIVE IN! Go on, go on, go on, go on, GO ON!


              • #8
                Multiple hulls for a single WTC. Im not sure how the new ex SWM kits pan out, but if someone could have a single WTC that covers multiple hulls, it would be a good progression for them. Going back to the starter kit. Standard hull with simple shape which could be upgraded. But ultimately you could move to a real prototype, and then more hulls to suit a single wtc.
                Next time someone points out it takes 42 muscles to frown, point out it will only take 4 muscles to b1tch slap them if they tell you how mnay muscles you need to smile:pop


                • #9
                  Great input everyone! Thanks so much for taking the time to chime in.

                  A few thoughts:

                  1. SC / SubDriver gulf:
                  I'm actually on good terms with the crew at the SC. Your ideas about posting builds to generate interest in the Drydocks market and even our forums here is a great idea. I made a promise to myself to post up my builds here and there, but time is in such short supply that I fight to do a good job at it. Perhaps that will be my 2017 resolution!

                  2. Hull line:
                  With the Caswell purchase came a host of SWM hulls that I'm in the process of reincarnating, along with Tim Cobb's subs that Loyalhanna now owns. I agree that a comprenhesive scope of hulls is imperative to keep interest going. Here is what I have in the pipeline thus far:

                  -1/32 Type XXVI
                  -1/48 Type VII
                  -1/72 Alfa
                  -1/72 Charlie I
                  -1/96 Delta
                  -1/72 Sierra
                  -1/72 Surcouf
                  -1/96 Trenchant
                  -1/96 Kilo
                  -1/96 Blueback

                  I am also carrying OTW's full line of hulls and cylinders. I make virtually nothing on those products, but I just love them so much I wanted to carry them.

                  3. 75MHz receivers:
                  Does anyone have any info on the people working on developing replacement receivers? I haven't caught a whiff of this yet and I'd love to connect with them to see if I can help with development

                  4. Beginner Sub:
                  Great idea on the Red Shark from Arkmodel. I'll take a closer look and see if I agree with their methodology on that one. For an entry-level boat, simplicity is the key rather than cost. It needs to be absolutely rock-solid and reliable, easy to assemble and perform well. This is an expensive hobby and in my experience the people looking to get into it understand that aspect. What they don't have is experience and knowledge. An easy to assemble boat gets them that safely.
                  Last edited by SubHuman; 01-12-2017, 04:10 PM.


                  • #10
                    Hi Tom,
                    I understand what you want to do and as a former member would like to see the SC succeed, but am aware of what caused the problems and for SC to succeed those that caused the problems need to change their attitudes and behavior or leave, for the SC to succeed. If I recall correctly, the SC has lost about half of it's members since Dave left. (You may correct me if I do no have those numbers correct)

                    Also, the location that the SC has events is far from me Yorktown, VA. and unless the SC has substantial changes, I am not traveling those great distances. I have been invading (so to speak) r/c surface warship modeler events with submarines. The one I have been going to several years now is in October in Rocky Mount, NC. Now this event is 1/96 & 1/100 scale only (and is is strictly those scales only event) but it draws modelers from across the US. People drive from; California with 2 Iowa class battleships, Florida with a Nimitz carrier, ect. They have a 3 day event that draws over 60 large scale warships. From memory they had 8 battleships 3 aircraft carriers, various; cruisers , destroyers, frigates, and submarines.

                    I agree with your thoughts regarding an easy to build or ARR and affordable entry submarine for the hobby for new people to get started.
                    I think Dave's work into converting Styrene static kits with his cylinders is a good step in that direction.


                    • #11
                      Adding to a statement "greenman407" said about expanding the market. The r/c sub guys should look at events that are not just subs. In the past the Subcommittee had some nice events like at Carmel, IN but as a hobby we should look at events not just submarines only. To expand the hobby we need to attend events that are more open to r/c ships and more public events so more people see the submarines and than can get interested. The local model club I am a member of is the "The Elite Fleet" model boat club and we do allot of public events. Having more variety of subs so people may want more to add to their collection is true, but we need to get more people into the hobby also. It is tough to justify the cost of product development if it is to a small group.

                      My suggestions to Nautilus Drydocks; yes keep open relations with SC but also look at other r/c submarine groups and non submarine specific groups that do r/c ships. Be careful not to invest to much into large submarines. Boats over 48 inches are harder to store, transport, and have water big enough to run. 1/96 & 1/144 scales for SSNs have more logistical appeal than 1/32, 1/48, & 1/72. 1/96: USNs like Blueback, Skipjack, Permit, Sturgeon. 1/144 Seawolf, Kilo, ect. are small enough and maneuverable enough they can run in large pools or small ponds. More people have access to small & medium sized bodies of water than large lakes.


                      • #12
                        I'm working on the 1/77 scale Nautilus model right now. This is the biggest model I have ever had and I'm finding I really enjoy the larger models as it give me a chance to work with more detail. The last model I built was a type 7c Uboat( I'm not sure what scale but it's about 18 inches long) and to be honest it's kind of ho-hum. Sure you can put alot of detail into them but if you need a microscope to see it - so what. I'd see myself going for the larger models and I would like to see some models from the Holland into WW1 - more historical models. I have seen some British models Of Victorian battleships that would look awful nice if they are out there as larger kits.


                        • #13
                          I think your list is pretty comprehensive, Bob.
                          I do know this; after a bunch of years building subs, and a long hiatus, I'm coming back to build a new boat or two. So much has changed. Gone are the technologies I was used to; new radio technology, new electronics, the explosion of using things like magnets for couplers and fittings, motor technologies, etc.
                          if you're primarily carrying the radios, ballast systems, electronics, you're carrying the stuff that most people would want to source together to get started.
                          I see you're already providing links to some other resources. If you could also provide links to places that supply batteries, magnets and such; things that help someone finish off what they start, I think that would be helpful.


                          • #14
                            Perhaps you could persuade your son to build a red shark and include it on a Youtube video diary? If he gets stuck at any stage, note at what points and consider that other modellers could find difficulties there too.

                            With regards to the SC, I would say that where things have got controversial, it's usually been caused by discussion on subjects unrelated to model submarines.

                            I don't know what other model submarine organisations you have over there in the USA, but the SC is the only one I know of.
                            DIVE IN! Go on, go on, go on, go on, GO ON!


                            • #15
                              That's a great idea, Andy. I have put an inquiry into my contacts at Arkmodel to get one of the Dragon shark II kits to get sent with my next Type 7 stocking order. I'll take a look at the kit and determine whether or not it's something that I feel comfortable offering as a beginner option.

                              The Red Shark kits are not static diving. I don't think people looking to get into this hobby would be satisfied with a dynamic diver. The cost difference is not massively significant.