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 1:144 Scale Gato Class Submarine Diorama
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Author Topic Next Topic: O Scale Fishing Boat / Trawler (Round Stern)
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Frank Palmer

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  09:58:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Carl, itís information I just hope itís excellent.

Greg, I guess itís sea foam, in the bath tub itís bubbles.

Ted, well I may have met my match. Let me know on the next installment if it worked.

Rob, itís a simple kit but do watch the YouTube by Gary Brinker he points out a lot of flaws in the kit.

Dave, too FUNNY. I saw the oatmeal one too. No tampons will be used in the making of this bow wave.

Jim, thanks for the alcohol advice. It smelled like just that. There are several submarines around the world floating on grass.


Country: USA | Posts: 6080 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  10:27:38 AM  Show Profile  Send Guff an AOL message  Reply with Quote
That's is impressive modeling of rough water!

David Guffey

Country: USA | Posts: 2037 Go to Top of Page

Frank Palmer

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  12:08:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Thanks Dave, here's the rest of the story.


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Frank Palmer

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  12:18:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Okay, enough with the experimentation.

I searched the internet for pictures of Gato, Balao or Tench Class submarines underway. Those were the 3 classes of submarines built by the US during WWII. They were all built to a length of 311í- 9Ē with a beam of 27í- 3Ē. So anyone of those classes would fit the bill for my 1/144 Gato model. The main difference was the kind of steel used in the pressure hull and the superstructure configuration. The Gato Class had an operating depth of 300í while the Balao and Tench Classes operated at 400í but were known to go deeper.

I found a direct overhead view of the USS Chub Ė SS 329, a Balao Class Sub on sea trials during the summer of 1944. I drew lines quartering the deck so I could scale the sections to match the dimensions of the model. The length of the deck on the model was 24Ē, so each section is 6Ē long. That allowed me to print and tape the sections together to make a full size print. Iíll use this as a guide rather than a template to replicate the waves. Mine will differ with the photo as I want this one to have the bow shooting out through a wave.

USS Chub Ė SS 329

USS Caiman SS-323

Both of these pictures show water sheet flowing out from under the deck superstructure.

Once again I carved the waves from 2Ē insulation foam with a hot knife. I covered it with crumpled heavy duty aluminum foil as before. I applied spray glue to the foam and the back of the foil. For the first layer I tore ragged edge smaller pieces and covered the entire base. On the second top layer I used a single sheet. Once again both surfaces were sprayed with glue. Be careful since both surfaces are covered with glue getting it right the first time counts. You donít get much wiggle time itís like using contact cement. The base measures 27Ē x 11-1/2Ē.

I gave the foil base 2 coats of Gesso. Then I painted the crests of the waves with Tamiya X-25 Clear Green and X-23 Clear Blue. The sea was painted with XF-17 Sea Blue. All colors were thinned with Tamiya X-20A. This was the first time I used Tamiya paints and I wanted to keep it in the family.

The wave highs and lows are painted and at this point it looks freakish.

Iím over spraying with the Sea Blue blending as I go.

The entire base has been blended. The Sea Blue is a flat paint so it looks really dull.

I applied a couple of coats of Krylon Gloss Clear to bring up the glare on the ocean.


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Frank Palmer

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  12:41:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
After looking at several photos I decided to add a bow wave to the base. I cut away some of the foil and made a bow wave from foam and sanded it into a smooth configuration with the base. Then I added the plastic bottle spray pieces and trimmed them to fit. I covered the entire wave and spray with a layer of foil and repainted the area. Using colors straight from the bottle allows me to make repairs and match the paint scheme with no problem.

I thought my finished product had too much of a linear look of the Clear Blue and Clear Green highlights so I went back and applied more Sea Blue to disconnect the linear look. Then more Gloss Clear.

I laid out the wave pattern with strips of blue tape as I add the white caps I remove the strips. This gave me a barrier so I donít get carried away and go overboard making waves. At this point the conning tower is still a separate piece. Iíve covered the hull with thin plastic bag so I can work right up to the hull and not mess it up. When itís dry and Iím finished with the white water Iíll remove the hull, take off the bag, reinsert the hull and join it to the base. I didnít want to glue the sub to the base at this time just in case I mess up the base I donít want to ruin the model too.

The spray of the bow wave has received the first coat of white water. I want wave to have a ďcurlĒ to it and the gel/snow mixture needs to be added in layers. Doing it all at once would be too hard to control.

For the water flowing out of the limber holes and sheet flowing from under the raised portion of the deck superstructure I used cotton brushed with gel. By doing it on a sheet of plastic film it peels right off when dry. Youíll have to select certain parts and do some trimming to get the shape you want.


Edited by - Frank Palmer on 01/13/2021 7:07:17 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 6080 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  1:02:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow!! Nicely done Frank, and many thanks for the SBS!

in Michigan

Country: USA | Posts: 7457 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 01/13/2021 :  1:54:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Frank, that looks incredible!
Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this.
Your a master of the seas now.

Greg Shinnie

Country: Canada | Posts: 8932 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  2:27:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all the SBS's.

Country: USA | Posts: 24221 Go to Top of Page

George D

Premium Member

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  3:46:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great water effect, Frank. It's interesting to read how you're doing it.


Fly Army

Country: USA | Posts: 16583 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  6:06:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Phenomenal modeling skills on display! I'm switching to stamp collecting.


Take the red pill

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Michael Hohn

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  6:57:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very impressive, Frank, and beautifully rendered.

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Frank Palmer

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  7:04:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit Frank Palmer's Homepage  Reply with Quote


Pete, Rick, thanks and youíre welcome.

Greg, a Master Ė wow Ė thanks.

George, Fly Army Ė Go Air Force. Sorry it just came to me. Well this is the way that worked for me.

Jim, stamp collecting, thatís what we always say when we think about getting out of this hobby. But . . . nahhhhh.

Thanks Mike.


Country: USA | Posts: 6080 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/13/2021 :  9:24:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great work Frank!!


"And in the end, itís not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 13047 Go to Top of Page

robert goslin

Premium Member

Posted - 01/14/2021 :  12:40:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What can one say. Absolutely brilliant Frank. Can't believe this is first time you've tried this.
But then again, you are a master modeler, and nothing seems too hard for you to achieve.
The colour blending of the water is excellent.

I will going back over this many times and may have some more questions.

I hope you will post some more close up photos of the sub.
And you should be promoted to Captain now,

Regards Rob

My current build.

Country: Australia | Posts: 2649 Go to Top of Page

Tyson Rayles

Premium Member

Posted - 01/14/2021 :  08:12:37 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Edited by - Tyson Rayles on 01/14/2021 08:13:40 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 13393 Go to Top of Page
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