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Old 03-12-2009, 05:27 AM
OEM OEM is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Default "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

This is a composite design based on the two very different submarines used to represent USS Tigerfish from 'Ice Station Zebra'. The surface shots with the in-service USS Ronquil / SS-396, a Guppy IIa converted diesel/electric boat commissioned during WWII, were filmed at dockside in San Diego and at sea off the California coast (sailors, marines, and everyone holding watch aboard one of the ships in the background were dressed in winter gear when it was actually August). The shots of Tigerfish at the edge of the Arctic ice flows, and below them, were models based on the Skate class nuclear boats. (The models, or stock footage from ISZ, and the full-scale sail stage-prop, would appear in a number of later movies - Assault on the Wayne, Grey Lady Down, and Firefox.)

The model is 1/144 scale, and I decided that it just had to be done as a split design; the surface running shots of the Ronquil have stayed with me since I first saw the movie, and despite having all the ref photos I needed of the Skate class sail/decks, and could build the exact design, I wanted a model that represented both real-world and movie-appearence. I've already drawn up the plans for a Guppy IIa sail and the deck, and will add to the hull I'm building now in the pictures. (The soundstage sail in the movie was based on the lengthened Guppy III design, and is close in appearance to the Skates also; have no idea if that's a real sail from a salvage yard or a builtup prop.)

The hull began as a 2" PVC pipe I had laying around. Nine inches was split at one end, with a narrow wedge cut out top and bottom, and glued together to form the blade-like bow. The length again was a composite of Ronquil (312') and Skate (267'@), and with the fins and tailplane added will be around 290' in scale. The stern was laminated/built up from curved sections from some bleach jugs. Because the pipe was too narrow for the scale beam of the Skate hull, I wrapped the tube in laminated layers of PVC plastic from the jugs also, plus several layers of aluminum metal duct-wrap tape. Some 1/4" spruce strips were added over the PVC wrapping in a tapered cruciform section to lengthen the stern for the fins; everything was blended into the main hull with bondo glaze. The styrene deck was built over more spruce strips, for support.
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