I-400 Status

Discussion in 'North Atlantic Treaty Combat Fleet' started by Bob Pottle, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    Last night I finished sanding the starboard half of the I-400's lower hull mold and it turned out quite well. As sanding of the port side of the mold began it was clear it wasn't as good as the starboard half.
    A summer-long sojourn at a cottage in humid weather caused plug damage from swollen ribs. Unfortunately my attempted repairs failed to completely restore the plug to its original smooth contours. I missed some dips between the rib locations on the port side, and there are a couple of faults from molding where the gelcoat hadn't adhered to the plug surface and lifted 1-1.5mm.
    That doesn't sound like much but those areas are visible as shallow oval shaped bumps and depressions, which would appear as their opposites on hulls. After much sanding I couldn't eliminate the depressions and was almost through the extra thick layer of gelcoat applied in expectation of having to sand out minor defects.
    The depressed areas will have to be coarse sanded, filled with a skim coat of gelcoat, then resanded. It's a lot of work to correct relatively minor flaws, but I plan to sell the molds after making four I-400 hulls and the port half needs to be smoother. I'm also trying to correct a few flaws along one edge of the box keel where a belt sander was used instead of careful hand sanding. I was unable to correct that on the plug but might be able to fix it on the mold with fine files.
    I doubt that I'll finish the repairs before the end of March so there will be no I-400 hull to display at the Shearwater or Maritime Museum model shows.
    Bob
     
  2. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    Kim's out of the house for most of the day for the next 2 weeks due to play rehearsals, and overnight temps will soon be above freezing. That'll give me time in the evenings to apply gelcoat to the mold defects, put the mold ouside to cure and ventilate the fumes before she returns. If the weather cooperates the lower hull mold gelcoat defects should be fixed by the end of March.
    The upper hull mold and conning tower mold are fine. The hangar mold still needs a little fine tuning at the forward AA gun position where a gelcoat defect is being repaired. the repair may not be perfect; if so I'll make the edge of the AA platform a little over-size and apply extra gelcoat at that spot when making the hangars so it can be filed/sanded to a perfect circle.
    Bob
     
  3. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    I was overly optimistic in March. It took another 9 weeks before I got around to filling and sanding the gelcoat defects in the lower hull mold and a number of tiny bubbles in the gelcoat elsewhere. The I-400 molds are ready to wax and production may start this weekend. I have 4 orders so far. If Dave and Steve Hill don't want hulls prodcution will stop at 5 (giving me one spare) and the molds will be sold.
    Cost is $80 for the those who contributed to the early stages of the I-400 project (Jay, Dave and Steve) and $120 for everyone else, plus shipping. The hull is short enough to ship by Canada Post which is much cheaper than UPS or Fed Ex.
    The next hull project will be for the fast minelayers HMS Abdiel, Manxman and 4 sisters, expected to be completed by November. I think these are the fastest ships in IRCWCC, MWC and Washington Treaty combat.
    Bob
     
  4. djranier

    djranier Well-Known Member

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    You still talking Canada only Bob?
     
  5. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    By making hulls no longer than 460' in 1/144 scale I can ship them anywhere by Canada Post Air Mail. That way I don't have to deal with the courier companies and lack of insurance on cross-border items.
    Bob
     
  6. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    The first I-400 hull should be finished on Saturday. The molds were gelcoated last weekend but I didn't have enough resin to do the fiberglassing. I hope to the lay-up the lower hull tonight and the upper hull and conning tower tomorrow.
    Kim's leaving for the U.S. a week earlier so I can start making I-400 hulls in the basement (much faster than working on the porch between rain storms) on June 3. They are difficult to lay-up due to the narrow slots for catapult and box keel. I no longer enjoy making hulls - there's limited time available for hobby activities and I'd rather be building and battling new combat models - so the plan is to sell the molds after I make 3-4 for people who contributed to the project and fill orders for 3 more.
    Bob
     
  7. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    No hulls done yet. On Saturday the weather was perfect for molding but the 'honey-do' list prevented fiberglassing, then it was too wet Sunday, too cold Monday, and torrential rain and wind yesterday that soaked the roofed front deck where I work.
    Kim left for a few days in NB so I can start the glassing tonight, in the basement if necessary. The plan is to do the lower hull tonight, the conning tower and upper hull tomorrow night and trim the parts Friday. Because this is the first hull I have to figure out the best way to pre-cut the fiberglass matt to conform to the mold; later hulls will be laid up faster. I hope I can finish repairing the hangar mold by the weekend and start molding the hangars.
    Kim's back from June 5th to 9th, then away for a 4 week course. While she's in the U.S. I'll try to complete the first run of 6 hulls, then decide whether to sell the molds or not.
    Bob
     
  8. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    Things rarely go as planned! I still haven't glassed the first I-400 hull. Kim leaves tomorrow for 4 weeks in the US so I can glass in the basement if rain prevents work on our open-sided porch, as it did all last week.
    Ralph dropped by last week and gave advice on how to lay-up the difficult-to-glass slots for the aircraft catapult and box keel. Tomorrow evening I'll glass the lower hull, then the upper and conning tower Friday night, and we'll see what the first of the new I-400 hulls looks like.
    Bob.
     
  9. froggyfrenchman

    froggyfrenchman Well-Known Member

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    I am looking forward to seeing how it comes out.
    Vance has decided that he wants to build a submarine.
    And although I would rather build a Surcouf, the hull of the I-400 would be much easier,
    due to the simpler hull lines.
    Mikey
     
  10. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mikey,
    I stayed up until 1 am this morning and finished repairing some gelcoat defects in the 2002 I-400 hangar mold. The hangar mold is waxed and ready for gelcoating tonight. Kim decided to meet with the contractors at the cottage en route to her course in Syracuse NY so I can stay in Nova Scotia this weekend and finish molding the first of the new I-400s. Jay Jennings will get that one and is keen to get the internals designed using his skills as a real-life naval submariner.
    With a deeper hull than the BC version and other measures to lower the center of gravity we expect this version will be more stable than the one I experimented with (modified BC hull) from 2003- 2007. It will have bow and stern ballast tanks instead of the amidships saddle tanks on my previous I-400. Those took up too much space at the widest point in the hull, limiting battery size, and required the battery (a Panasonic 6V1.2Ah) to be placed upright, which significantly raised the CoG and was a major contributing factor to the instability.
    If Vance wants an I-400 have him contact me. I have orders for 4 which should be finished by early July. After that Kim's back from the US, which will restrict production to warm, dry days when I can work outside.
    Bob
     
  11. Jay Jennings

    Jay Jennings Well-Known Member

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    Pics have been posted in the 'Warship Build' thread of the completed hull.
    J
     
  12. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    In the two months since Jay's post I've made three I-400s (for me, Jay and Steve) and Ralph Coles took over production to make and sell the last five ordered.
    Unfortunately since June I've had to spend nearly every weekend I wasn't on call in NB and didn't get to do any battling or building. I hope Jay and I will be collaborating on our I-400s over the winter.
    Bob
     
  13. Jay Jennings

    Jay Jennings Well-Known Member

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    I am all in for that Bob. We should get together soon for an initial planning conference and figure out a game plan.
    I haven't gotten too much building or battling either, renos are a killer!!!
    J
     
  14. djranier

    djranier Well-Known Member

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    Ralph got my 2 sent out today, so I should have them next week some time.
     
  15. Bob Pottle

    Bob Pottle Well-Known Member

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    I know what you mean J. We had the cottage raised 5' and a small island of crushed rock built around it above maximum historical St. John River flood level. The heavy equipment wrecked the lawns so we've been landscaping all summer, doing electrical work in the new basement and had the entire plumbing system replaced. As of last weekend I think we're finished.
    I dusted off the IJN Ibuki this week and will be resuming construction soon. The I-400 will be on the back burner until about December. I plan to make a temporary 1-2 use balsa mold for the deck and hatch openings like I did for my first I-400 from Battlers.
    Bob