View Full Version : USS Marlin SST-2

24 Nov 12,, 22:17
I thought I would post my build of the USS Marlin. This model is a styrene kit and will be RC. I started construction a few weeks before Thanksgiving 2011. It will be heavily modified with lots of additional detail of my own doing as I am not striving for 100% accuracy. There were two ships of this class, the Marlin and the Mackerel. They were used for training ASW crews and for testing purposes. The Mackerel at one time had wheels installed on the keel. If you want to see more detail than what I am presenting here, please visit the build thread on RCGroups. This site only allows five attachments per post so it while take a while to catch up to where I am now in the build. The pictures here will be the same as what is posted on RCGroups, just less of them.

Hope you enjoy... :) :)

Detailed build thread on RCGroups
USS Marlin build - RC Groups (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1539038)

24 Nov 12,, 22:29
And here is the beginning. I will not be going into great detail. If you have any question, please ask away. This is my first time working with styrene. It's not that bad to work with. The pictures may not be 100% in the correct order, but they are close enough.

I've had this kit sitting in my shop for a number of years. There are more modern ways of setting up the WTC with acrylic tubes, but I'll stick to most of the stock parts.

Pic#1 - Everything all laid out
Pic#2 - The WTC (water tight compartment) for the motors and electronics
Pic#3 - Tail cone assembly with tail surfaces
Pic#4 - Flood holes drilled and filed out. Took just over three hours to cut and file them to shape
Pic#5 - Adding some running hardware to the WTC

24 Nov 12,, 22:38
Pic#1 - Construction of the bow
Pic#2 - Bow again
Pic#3 - Cutting out the area of the deck aft of the conning tower in order to add planking. Planking the deck was not part of the kit construction. I purchased stock styrene strips to use as the deck planking
Pic#4 - Deck supports
Pic#5 - Aft desk all planked, just needs some sanding and trimming

24 Nov 12,, 22:42
Pic #1 - Cutting out the forward deck area
Pic #2 - All planked
Pic #3 - Underside
Pic #4 - Added grate which covered a messenger buoy. I will have the grate hinged so I can have access to an on-off switch
Pic #5 - Conning tower view

Gun Grape
25 Nov 12,, 18:41
Looking good.

What scale is this?

29 Nov 12,, 01:47
It's 1/35 scale. So a 6 foot tall person would be a hair over 2 inches. The length is 45 inches, beam 4.5 inches and keel to deck height 6 inches

Pic#1 - Added a brass hinge to the forward messenger buoy grate. Sonar antennae temporarily mounted. The original antennae was plastic and had a curve to it. As a replacement I soldered two pieces of brass and filed and sanded the replacement antennae to shape
Pic#2 - Mounted the bow section to the upper hull. The joint needs to be filled and sanded
Pic#3 - Layout for drilling vent holes in the forward deck area. I think they are 3/32 inches apart
Pic#4 - Each hole is 0.030
Pic#5 - Body work on the bow-hull joint

29 Nov 12,, 02:45
Pic#1 - Done with the body work. Gave it a coat of spray paint to check for imperfections. Port side
Pic#2 - Starboard side. The scratches are from sanding
Pic#3 - Underside of the aft deck. The brass tubing are I guess exhaust ports of some sort. The square silver thing is a magnet. There will be a stern light which will pop up with the press of a finger. The magnet will hold the light up
Pic#4 - This is a waterproof housing for a motor which turn the sonar at about 10 rpm
Pic#5 - Top view of pic#3. The triangular opening is for the stern light

29 Nov 12,, 02:52
Pic#1 - Another view of the forward deck area and the sonar. Cleats are mounted
Pic#2 - Bow deck hardware
Pic#3 - Overall picture before painting the upper deck
Pic#4 - Showing how the railing will look. The railing is small brass rod and tubing. The wire is 0.018 wire from a craft store

29 Nov 12,, 03:12
Here are a few pictures of the Marlin for comparison to the model.

29 Nov 12,, 03:15
A few more. There was a lot of work on the forward deck.

29 Nov 12,, 03:33
The hatch hardware-hinge was a solid piece of white metal. I cut the hinge up, drilled some holes, added some brass tubing and some wire to make the hinge a working hinge.

30 Nov 12,, 04:18
I used Krylon gray primer as the main color. I will use a clear flat as a protective coat.

30 Nov 12,, 04:30
Pic#1 - Taping off the area where the deck structure joins the pressure hull. Since there is no 'slot' in the hull, I painted this 'slot' to simulate this
Pic#2 - Taped of and painted
Pic#3 - Tape removed. Still need to sand everything down, add decals and clear coat
Pic#4 - Underside of the deck
Pic#5 - Added these square parts, whatever they are. AT this point the flat clear coat has been sprayed on

30 Nov 12,, 21:56
A few pictures with the decals on and clear coated. As you can see they do not have the black shading. These are dry transfer decals from Woodland Scenic.

30 Nov 12,, 21:57
And a few more...

01 Dec 12,, 18:29
I'm going to be moving over to the electronics portion at this point. The Water Tight Compartment (WTC) will hold and keep everything dry. The device here with the brass and copper is the Propel Backup Unit (PBU). It will be filled with the liquid from a Propel container used for airbrushes. The wires coming from the yellow solenoid will connect to a Fail Safe PCB (AFS). The tall threaded fitting is the fill and the other fitting connects to the bottom of the ballast tank which is in the WTC.

Pic#1 - The WTC, what you see is the cover
Pic#2 - All of the parts
Pic#3 - Soldering everything up
Pic#4 - Done with soldering
Pic#5 - Mounted in position in front of the WTC near the bow

01 Dec 12,, 22:53
Wish this was built as fast as I am posting it.

Here I am mounting the aft servos. The starboard servo will control the rudder. The port servo will control the aft dive planes.

The bow planes will operate on their own channel and will control whether the boat is diving or surfacing. The aft planes will operate independently in order to keep the boat level at all times. The aft planes servo will be controlled by a device called the UPC-1 which detects the fore and aft levelness of the model. If the model is bow down, the UPC will pitch the stern planes so the trailing edge of the planes are up, forcing the stern down to keep the boat level. If the bow is up, the UPC & servo will put the trailing edge of the aft planes down which force the stern up to level the boat.

Pic#1 - Empty area where the servos will mount
Pic#2 - Mounting brackets installed and ready for the servos. The mounts were not part of the kit
Pic#3 - Servos mounted in position. In the pictures, starboard is to the left
Pic#4 - The brass rod bent to shape and mounted to the servos. They exit the WTC with a seal to keep water out of the WTC
Pic#5 - Later on I will bend up the connecting rod that leads back to the rudder and dive plane

02 Dec 12,, 07:17
Here is the forward servo mounting which controls the forward dive planes.

Pic#1 - Servo will be mounted where the upper arrow points to. In the end a control rod will exit the front of the WTC
Pic#2 - Getting the curve of the surface down
Pic#3 - Cut to fit
Pic#4 - Painted and mounted
Pic#5 - Servo mounted and control rod bent to shape to exit the WTC through a seal

02 Dec 12,, 07:22
And here the control rod linkage to the bow plane control horn is completed. You can see the PBU in position as well with a rubber band to hold it in it's mount.

Is anyone following along? I see the views count going up a little but only had one comment so far. The other threads in this forum don't seem to have much activity.

Builder 2010
15 Feb 13,, 01:55
Yup! I'm following along... sorry for not commenting sooner. I have a bookmark that goes directly to my thread so I haven't backed up recently to see who else was posting. You build is beautiful, very precise, clean and well-thought out. Who makes the kit? How many channels will it ultimately be? What kind of sub is the Marllin? What kind of cements are you using? How do you keep water from incurring in the servo control rods? Aren't you sorry that you asked if anyone was watching. I find that a lot more people watch than comment.

16 Feb 13,, 23:00
Thanks for the compliments! A friend of mine started his own business years ago catering to the submarine guys, he has since sold everything. It was called Subtech. I had this sitting in my shop for years and just over a year ago started building it. They used the Marlin and the Mackerel in the 50's and 60's as small subs in the Carribean to hone the skills of the sub hunting vessels. It works on four channels, speed control, rudder, ballast tank and dive planes all contained in the water tight compartment (WTC). The area between the WTC and the hull is free flooding. The kit came with seals for any of the shafts or push rods exiting the WTC which keep the water out. Since the entire model is styrene, I just use the liquid styrene glue with a brush, and once in a while some CA. The real USS Marlin is on display in Omaha, her sister was scrapped. This kit was designed for new people to the hobby to get their feet wet with subs. But, I've gone overboard and detailed the hell out of it as close as I could to being realistic. I also deviated as I saw fit, who the hell would know anyway.

Besides the radio functions, the sonar on the deck will slowly rotate as well as the radar on the sail but at a slightly faster speed. Maybe 10rpm and about 35 rpm or so. The following lights will work, forward mast, port and starboard running lights, stern light and a blinking skeg warning light. All are 3mm LED's. The skeg light will blink with a 555 timer circuit.

There certainly seem to be more watchers than anything!

03 Oct 14,, 16:20
So I failed to keep updates going on this thread. The model is 99.8% complete and has been in the water. I'm not going to update progress here from where I left off, that can be seen on the RC Groups forum. I still have some details to add, some gadgets and electronics to update. The radio in the boat will be updated from 4 channels to 5+ so that I will have better control of the dive planes. In the video the aft planes dive the boat and are on a pitch controller. Diving the boat from aft causes the prop to breach. With the 5th channel and the forward planes working, I should not have the prop breaching.

With that said, I have a new video that is a compilation of the model build from beginning to end. It is a 1/2 hour long so grab a cup of coffee or a beer and relax. Click on the YouTube button to watch in a larger window on YouTube.


Builder 2010
03 Oct 14,, 22:52
That's a wonderful build. That's for sharing it with us. I looked at all the construction shots. You did a great job in all the perforations. I know that's very tedious work, but the results really pay off.

04 Oct 14,, 01:55
Thanks. I'm glad to see it at this point. I certainly know you know how tedious things can be.

20 Sep 15,, 16:37
On Sept 12th there was a gathering of model submariners at Submarine Base New London. I was there with my Marlin. We had the lake in the base from 10am until 10pm, we left about 6 due to weather. Posting a link to the video I made up. It's long, 46 minutes.


Builder 2010
20 Sep 15,, 19:59
I see that some are completely submerged without an antenna sticking out. How do they get radio reception? Is it difficult to track them when fully submerged? That titanic better watch out... there's some serious trouble sailing around nearby.

20 Sep 15,, 20:05
Everyone is on 75Mhz, the signal penetrates the water fine. It's clear treated water so easy to see them while under. You have to have an older 75Mhz radio to do this. The current ones on 2.4Ghz cannot be used for submarines as the signal will not penetrate the water at all.

13 Sep 16,, 01:25
We were back at the submarine base again. I borrowed a GoPro from a friend and mounted it on my fishing boat and followed around a few submarines. Here is the unedited video.


Also mounted it on my fast electric powerboat KAAMA. Also unedited. Watch at 17:00, I hit a buoy, no damage. No submarines to see in this video.


Fun, fun, fun!!!

Builder 2010
14 Sep 16,, 00:24
Very cool. We now know what Ken_NJ looks like. Also, that boat definitely was fast! I think I've been at that little lake before. I had a NJ friend in the 70s and 80s who was big into RC boats. I built all of them for him, and we did sail some on a small lake like that one. Where is this lake?

14 Sep 16,, 02:30
The lake is called North Lake and it is at the north end of the submarine base in Groton. The sub base is north of General Dynamics Electric Boat where they build the subs. I clocked the fast electric boat at 45 mph.