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Scratch Build Project 685 Plavnik K-278 Komsomolets NATO: Mike

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  • Scratch Build Project 685 Plavnik K-278 Komsomolets NATO: Mike

    Wow what a mouthful of a name.

    It's only been 6 months approximately that I finished building the Resolution class SSBN and once again the building urge has struck and once again I have an affliction for the less well known (read hard to get info on) type of boats. Well this one is in that category. She didn't even see the fall of communism. Currently dock.: Bottom of the Norwegian sea.

    It's been about 15 years since I built a Russian Boat. I built an Akula from scratch when I was just starting and didn't really know what I was doing. I have a better idea now.
    I always though that If I were going to do a Russian boat it would be something a bit different. Every one seems to do Akulas, typhoons, Alfas, Oscars and the odd kilo. I thought I would buck the trend. actually this boat is probably easier from an overall shape viewpoint. Her hull is a consistent diameter for a large percentage of it. It's almost an American thing. However that's where the easy bit finishes, Being a one off boat and one that only ever operated under communism meant that info is a little scant.

    So anyone out there more pics than the ones that come up on the internet all the time would be great. I'm sure that there is a dilapidated old filing cabinet in Severodvinsk in some restricted naval building with a treasure trove of photos of this boat. You would think that with the fall of communism in 1991 that getting hold of pre- 1989 pics of this boat would be a bit more common. There must be construction photo's somewhere?


    Anyway I've got some good plans and made a start. I have turned up the bow and stern sections on a lathe and have stuck them to a pvc pipe. As mentioned earlier this sub has a consistent diameter for most of its length, this makes it easier. Not a body of evolution like Skipjack, Alfa, Albacore or Akula. More like Los Angeles actually. This boat should not be as complex as the Resolution class. there is no missile deck and there is no complex bow section like the R class that was very subtle and was make or break for the model. I am anticipating that this boat should be a faster build but I will take my time once again and use it as a learning exercise to improve the art.

    Enough for now. I will go into more detail on starting the masters soon and the slow build up.

    Standing by for Tirade about wood from that 'Jorgensen' bloke.

    david h

  • #2
    Thats really Good news David. I will be watching in AWE! You do Great work! Unfortunatly, as you said, pictures are limited. And with our new Format, they will be tiny. That Stinks


    • #3
      Hi i do have some plans and picīs send me your emailadress thank you.
      Regards Gantu


      • #4

        The project 685 Plavnik or ‘fin’ was initially conceived in the 1960’s but seen as a successor of sorts to the project 705 Lira (alfa). The ship was designed as a testbed for up to 12 advanced new technologies which to the best of my knowledge the Russians have not declassified. Only one boat of the class was built however there were projections for more and a second hull was laid down then scrapped.

        Design work was concluded by 1974 at the Rubin design bureau however it was not until 22nd April 1978 that the Keel was laid at Severodvinsk. Construction proceeded and the ship was finally launched on the 9th May 1983. There is some grainy black and white footage of her launch. The launch looked bleak and the politbureau officials almost look bored.

        Like the Alfa class boats she had a Titanium pressure hull and this is what gave her the still standing world record of the deepest diving military nuclear submarine, with a recorded depth of 1,020 metres (3,350 ft) on the 4th August 1984. She spent the next several years being tested by her crew and testing various systems on board. She did not comment her first actual ‘patrol’ as such until much later. She did so with a different crew and this is where the problems started on a cruise off the Norwegian coast in April 1989.

        As mentioned earlier I see to gravitate towards models that seem to have scant documentation. My last project was the RN Resolution Class SSBN of which all four boats are still around. I walked across the fourth road bridge in Scotland. So close yet so far. It is astonishing how little info there is on these 4 submarines that have been decommissioned for 25 years. There seems to be better drawings available of the Mike Class, the ones of Resolution are poor by comparison. However Komsomolets suffers a dearth of good photos. There are about 10 photos that I have managed to find, including two scratchy dry dock pics. As mentioned earlier there would be hundreds of photos of this sub in some vault somewhere. With the wealth of photos now available of Russian boats in dry dock you would think that these would come to light.

        The build.

        As mentioned this boat has a reasonably straightforward hull design. It is a continuous diametre and shape for most of its length. The front is really spherical and the back is really conical. Simple shape compared to resolution.
        So an afternoon on the lathe after the last classes were done would be the order. A couple of days of having some of the year 12 students working on their major projects and looking over my shoulder asking ‘are you building another submarine?’ I made some profile cut outs to get the curve of the bow and stern profile about right.
        With the rear section the profile altered somewhat between drawings of the Komsomolets. One some drawings the stern tapers in a consistent gradient towards the propellers, and on other drawings there is a noticeable curve in the rear hull profile. Which to follow? I decided to develop a subtle curve and try to go for a profile in between so to speak.
        Turning involved cutting a section of about 20mm long that would insert into the 90mm dia PVC pipe. This would be a snug fit and ideally would be secured by small screws that could be removed later if necessary.
        The other major question that I would have to decide upon would be the nature of the top deck. This would require looking closely at drawings and especially at the few photos available. Was the deck mounted well above the circumference of the hull and there could simple be achieved by placing a flat board on top of the tube and simply filling the sides or more intricately, was it a case of the flat deck section is actually achieved by slicing a flat section into the hull? Turns out that the latter was how the hull was designed. This would require me cutting out a rectangular section of the tup hull and fixing a flat section within and flush with the curve of the hull as it comes up to meet the deck. This would require some extra fabrication in the form of circular disks placed at regular intervals within hull that would support the flat strip. To make sure that this flat deck would not flex or sag between supports I have glued a vertical strip underneath to create "T" section.
        Most of the photo’s attached are dealing with the support structure and the placing of the deck strip flush with a cut out in the PVC.

        Then filling and sanding. Pretty quickly the overall shape of the boat has started to emerge.

        Once again any pictures of additional info on this elusive ship would be greatly appreciated!

        david h.

        The tirade about wood from HWSNBN a.k.a that 'Jorgensen bloke" has not eventuated....yet..

        Click image for larger version

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        Attached Files


        • #5
          You answered my question that I wanted to ask, 10 pictures.

          I just spent 3hr on the WWW to find stuff from Project's indeed a difficult little bugger.
          As from today I started to upload my collection of pictures in "my profile" under the "media" tab.
          I just added the MIKE pictures, they are not all usable, but I found 70 pc, you will note that a lot of them are from video screenshots, maybe you can try to find those on the WWW.


          Practical wisdom is only to be learned in the school of experience.
          "Samuel Smiles"


          • #6
            Thanks Bart,

            Yes I recognise the video you took the screen shots from. There is a photo taken from the rear of Komsomolets whilst on the building ramp with the screw covered and some other bits covered but you get a reasonably good look at the vertical rudders.

            Thanks for getting back to me.

            David h


            • #7
              Your welcome David.....I found the screenshots on the www, not my work.

              Last edited by bwi 971; 08-01-2015, 01:38 PM.
              Practical wisdom is only to be learned in the school of experience.
              "Samuel Smiles"


              • #8
                David you got my stuff ??
                Regards Gantu


                • #9
                  Regards Gantu


                  • #10
                    Hello Gantu,

                    No I haven't received anything yet. However if you have more pictures like the one you have just posted, then I am very interested..



                    • #11
                      Hi David i send you an link fromdropbox so a file you can then download????
                      Regards Gantu


                      • #12
                        Regards Gantu


                        • #13
                          O.K Gantu, I haven't seen anything yet but that's because I'm still trying to work out how to use dropbox.

                          Hello all,

                          Since the last instalment it has simply been a case of sanding and filling. Getting the deck nice and square has also been occupying my time. It is now level and pretty much straight. It looks pretty good as far as I can see.
                          Attacking the bow is a more tedious effort. The bow profile is quite subtle, There are effectively two radii with the curve of the bow beneath the axis line is sharper and more defined. Above the axis line the hull more gradually slopes up to meet the casing. It is there that it will also meet the slightly raised front section where it transforms into the forward planes housing. This has required a fair amount of filler and then a lot of sanding. This will take a while to do and numerous templates to get right. Then I can also concentrate on getting the gradual slope up to the forward deck, under control.
                          I have also spent a bit of time filling the odd divit in the stern end or bow. Making sure that the profile is exactly consistent the whole way around will be the challenge.

                          The next major piece of detail on the hull and the first part that I have done that is not just the hull itself is the filleting around the base of the fin. The Komsomolets has a widened section that curves the deck out side ways as it runs along the length of the deck to accommodate the width of the fin. This is common on numerous submarines. The filleting on the Komsomolets is quite subtle. It isn't pronounced and it is dead flat with the deck. The sail starts just a little back from the start of the fillet and continues , ending just a little aft of it.

                          I simply sculpted two pieces of fig that I found in the workshop, seasoned from a tree felled in my mates backyard a year or so ago. They were really no more than slivers and I greatly tapered the bottom so that they could be glued either side of the deck , flush with the deck and aligned with each other. Then I added filler along the gap between the fillet and the deck and also underneath the fillet so that it meets the angled hull as it rises up to meet the fillet. I shot of primer shows imperfections and more sanding. I have also realised that the curves of both fillets to not match exactly so I will make a profile template to make sure they are symmetrical.

                          Anyway enough for now. Please feel free to reply.

                          David h

                          Gantu, even if you were to email me the pics or just post them here that would be great.


                          • #14
                            Great looking David. The more Ruskie Nukes the better in my opinion.

                            Out of interest what were your issues with the resolution plans, I have a lot of concerns about the upper hull forward of the sail.

                            Aren't a lot of these pics and the bridge one especially of Akulas? And some of Vic IIIs and Charlies

                            Last edited by Peter W; 07-08-2015, 05:08 AM. Reason: I am an idiot


                            • #15
                              Hi peter,

                              My issue with the Resolution was that if you look at the foreplanes, they seem to have evolved their mounting design over what looks like three distinct phases. The original design has the shafts of the planes exposed. The second has them housed in a blended profile that matches the foil of the plane and the final design features an enclosed block section with planes that look like the are not able to be folded upwards.
                              I do not know when each of these changes were introduced. When these were included in refits is info I simply can't get my hands on.
                              I wrote to several of the Resolution class boat associations and got next to no help. There weren't alot of drawings of resolution around . Beneath the waterline, forget it.
                              The bow has really subtle evolution from the missile deck down to the humpback whale type bow. It's a bit deceptive there aren't alot of complex changes but getting it right was still a challenge and took me a couple of months.
                              Yes the photos Gantu has sent do look mainly of akulas and vics.

                              Dave h