My 1/72 Revell build - Gato Class USS Cobia - RC Groups
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Nov 01, 2009, 12:08 PM
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My 1/72 Revell build - Gato Class USS Cobia

Hello everyone.

I am new to radio control subs. So I thought I would start a thread on my build from the start.

I got hold of a Revell 1/72 scale Sub kit on the cheap. I have decided to make it a static diver and I am planning to build as much from scratch as I can.
I know it would be easier to buy the WTC already built, but I like the challenge!

Spent a few evenings researching the USS Cobia. The sub the kit is 'loosely' based upon.

I have not decided whether to cut the hull in half to have full tub diameter available (really don't fancy that approach), or just to cut the top open and have narrower access.
The top access option is much less work, but may lead to problems getting enough ballast tank inside.

I have spent the afternoon re-shaping the bow torpedo doors into the square 'Balao' type doors and opening them up.
The spoon moulded kit torpedo doors are not correct for the Cobia.
They will open and close on a servo and space allowing... fire.
I am currently part way through fabricating a bow torpedo tube framework.

Anyone know any information on the rear torpedo tubes?

I am going to use as much of the kit as I possibly can. I would love to build a lovely set of etched brass decks but you can seriously batter some cash when you start doing that.

Going to cram as much 'working' equipment and features as I can on this sub, so that is why my ballast tank will need to be a pretty good size.
I basically going for as big as possible, and then dialling it in later.

Does anyone know how she ran? I am assuming the 4x diesel engines ran when she was on the surface and these ran the generators which charged a battery bank.
Then she ran on batteries when submerged.

Should keep me busy for a while!
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Nov 01, 2009, 12:49 PM
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jaguar75's Avatar

Discussion My 1/72 Revell build - Gato Class USS Cobia

Have you seen the Gato Class submarine?
Lots of room inside the hull.
Nov 01, 2009, 02:02 PM
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jaguar75's Avatar

Gato Gato Go !

Here is an unfinished hull by Scale Shipyard
Nov 01, 2009, 04:02 PM
Registered User
Too late for hull changes.... gotta stick with the Revell kit now.
Anyway, love a challenge...
Nov 01, 2009, 06:29 PM
expfcwintergreen's Avatar
Hey Steve,
If you are looking to build "something different", check out the conversion sets from Mario Grima at Iron Bottom Sound. Very nice upgrades, I have his fleet snorkel Portsmouth sail conversion set. Chuck (hermill) has the North Atlantic sail upgrade.

If you are looking for hints/tips on building a cylinder, check out my 1/96 Parche thread. Just use the search function to dig it up. Or PM me and I can send you some info.
Nov 01, 2009, 07:25 PM
Shanghai'd Expat
herrmill's Avatar
Steve, good to see your thread today. Other than marking frame locations on the hull for some oil canning, I've not started on mine yet until I get some "junk" out of the way.

I also plan to do the less invasive approach & cut only the upper hull under the deck. For ideas, look over Mario's Ling builds on the IBS gallery page or Al Nunci's thread on Caswell's forum.

Eduard offers a nice set of PE sets for the kit but I'm not using their upper hull kit after hearing how much fun (and weight) it adds to your build. Archer Transfer rivets will suffice for what detail I want on the hull.

Not sure how deep you're into the bow shutters but have you seen AMP's new resin kit?
Nov 01, 2009, 09:53 PM
Shanghai'd Expat
herrmill's Avatar
Here are a few examples of what Mario can do with Revell's Gato.
Nov 02, 2009, 02:55 PM
Registered User

Thanks for all the advice. Those Gato's look superb. Will be a happy bunny if mine comes out half as well!

I would love some photo-etch detailing, but I refuse to chuck a stupid amount of cash at that sort of thing. I am going to try and get as much detail into it as I can with what I have already.

Bow doors are coming on well. Not much room in that bow area! Just working on a cam system to open and close the doors.

The WTC is my main issue at the moment. I have no idea as to the volume I should be aiming for with my ballast tank. I know its supposed to offset the displacement of the hull above water and the such.... but how the hell do you work that out before you are finished.
Surely my 'biggest I can fit' approach will cover all angles.

I don't understand entirely all the different types of ballast systems. I have read up on them, but after a while, you start to go google eyed.

My system was going to be a centre ballast tank with holes in the bottom.
The waterproof areas either side are positive pressurised to start with.
When I want to surface, a servo operates a bike valve and fills the ballast tank with the positive air pressure from the side storage.
When I want to dive, I remove the air with a small air pump which switches off with a float switch once the tank is full (assuming I have not stopped it earlier).

Feel free to point fingers and laugh at my plan if its totally wrong!

My other issue is waterproof glands to allow my servo and driveshafts to exit the waterproof cylinder. Where do you guys get them, or can I make my own.

I will get some pictures up a soon as I get these bow doors built.

Thanks for the links by the way guys, although I did not know where to look for most of them!

Nov 02, 2009, 07:36 PM
Shanghai'd Expat
herrmill's Avatar
Regarding photo etch, I appreciate the way Eduard breaks down their Gato photoetch into 3 sets to allow more choice. I plan to use their #53023 detail kit when I get around to doing Bowfin (I have 2 kits). At $25, its certainly worth the added detail.

Here are a few photos Mario sent me of the new IBS sonar head kit installed on his USS Ling conversion.
Nov 03, 2009, 04:28 AM
Registered User
Do you have the link to Eduard please? I can't seem to find it.
I will have a look and see what is around.
I did not even know about the sonar setup.

Nov 03, 2009, 08:10 AM
I too built a gato conversion and did not want to split the hull in half i went the route of going through the top,my gato is dynamic and it works well and i even have working torps i built.My wtc is my own build and works great never a leak if you get a chance post some build pics i would like some pointers as are some pics of my sub still need to detail it.
Nov 03, 2009, 10:17 AM
Registered User
Nice work there Dave.
How does the torpedo system work then? Compressed air I assume.
Do you get much range?

These bow torpedo doors are proving to be a real mission. Fiddly, VERY tight for space and limited by materials you can use under water.

Hey.... never said it would be easy!

Still interested regards the questions I asked earlier... waterproofing drives and servo rods

Nov 03, 2009, 10:28 AM
expfcwintergreen's Avatar
I use the Subtech seals, the work just fine. Mikes Subworks sells them as does SubTech.
Nov 03, 2009, 10:52 AM


i use a soft push rod boot from my local hobby store they are used on rc for driveshafts i use a 3/32 rod and tube combo the rod just fits through the tube not sure its mearsurment. then i use grease to seal shafts seems to work good no water in wtc yet and ive taken sub out 10 times so far. and i get about 60 foot range on torps in air and about 30 or so in water lol and yea they are launched with compressed air
Nov 03, 2009, 11:31 AM


i will try to upload the vid of my torp if you want if i cant do it here i will do it under the video tab under boat vids ok it wont load here will try under boat vids ok its loaded and you can also see the push rod covers in the video if you have any questions or advice please let me know im new to this and can do with all the help i can get. lol im self taught so if i did something wrong point it out but so far everything works.
Last edited by POLARISDAVE; Nov 03, 2009 at 11:53 AM.

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