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Old 03-12-2009, 06:27 AM
OEM OEM is offline
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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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Old 03-12-2009, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Ooooh!

An ambitious project that I'll watch with great interest!

Keep going!
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:32 AM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Doesn't look like much was done since the earlier pictures taken, but with the various laminations of plastic, metal tape, and paint, let this one take some time to make sure no seams were going to pop out, etc. Much sealing, sanding, and shaping to get the hull smooth. The sail dimensions were measured from photos, framework laid out with mast-tubes in place, and laminated in the same way as the hull. The tailfins/rudders were cut from .060 styrene, laminated twice over, and shaped with files; steel rods were cut to pin the parts to the stern. Last photo is the keel-view. Still have to cut the propeller shafts apart and add clear discs to make 'spinning' screws. At this point, next step is to build up the bow with detail and dive-planes.
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Very nice work so far. Can't wait to see some color on this too.
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Old 06-12-2009, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Wow - what a cool idea! I'll be following along quietly too!
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Old 08-18-2011, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Brick Price of movie modeling fame had a limited run model magazine that had a article of building this sub using model kits, plastic strips and lots of putty if I remember correctly.
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Any chance you scanned some pages? Or know where to get a copy?

Project sort of went on hiatus, because I finally got my lathe back together and was also working on a non-fictional boat hull (more later), but will try to finish sometime soon.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Buried in my mess of stuff and I have a ton of stuff. Wonder if it's on the www?
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

I grabbed this at one point form a auction taking place. This is the actual conning tower diorama used in Ice Station Zebra...Orne, you probably already know this, it was used in Firefox as well. Anyway, not sure it has anything you could use, but just thought ya might like the pics anyhow, in case you hadn't grabbed em when the auction was going on.

Sincerely,
Will
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Thanx for the photos. The sail mock-up was used in both movies, but I'm using as much real-world hardware as fits my hybrid concept, so my boat sail is modeled off USS Ronquil used in ISZ surface scenes.

Scott, any chance we're thinking of the same thing, Greg Jein's article where he built a quickie nuke boat from a 747 and Titanic kitbash?
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Last edited by OEM; 08-26-2011 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

What became of this project?
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: "Ice Station Zebra" USS Tigerfish/SSN-509"

Still on hold because I've been busy completing some long-term projects, but it still screams at me to get her finished.
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Last edited by OEM; 08-28-2012 at 11:56 PM.
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