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1/32 French Arethuse

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  • 1/32 French Arethuse

    As much as I'd like to put a comprehensive build thread together for every project we do, I often find myself utterly slammed and unable to dedicate the time needed to do justice for you guys. Well, in this case, as the customer doesn't have reliable access to emailed photos, I need to find another way to communicate progress on his build, so therefore...

    Enter the Arethuse!

    Okay, background.

    S 635 FS Arethuse (1959)
    S 636 FS Argonaute (1958)
    S 639 FS Amazone (1959)
    S 640 FS Ariane

    Arsenal de Cherbourg, Normandy, France

    552 tons (surfaced) / 680 tons (submerged)
    Length: 49.6 meters (162 feet 9 inches)
    Beam: 5.8 m (19 ft)
    Draught: 4 m (13 ft 1 in)
    Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h) submerged / 12.5 knots (23 km/h) surfaced / 7 knots (13 km/h) snorkel
    Test depth: 200+ meters
    Range: ?
    Complement: 40

    2 x SEMT-Pielstick 12-cylinder Diesel Generators (790 kW / 1060 hp)
    1 x electric motor (970 kW / 1300 hp)
    1 shaft / 1 propeller


    4 x
    550mm torpedo tubes
    for 8 heavy torpedoes (4 + 4 reload)

    DUUA-1 sonar
    The Aréthuse class were submarines built for the French Navy in the 1950s. They were designed as attack submarines for anti-submarine warfare and were referred to as Sous-marins de Chasse by the French Navy. These submarines had advanced sensors and were very quiet. They were influenced by the World War II German Type XXIII U-boats. The Daphné class are an enlarged version built for the French, Pakistani, Portuguese, Spanish and South African navies.

    Designated Sous-marins de Chasse by the French Navy the Aréthuse class were designed as attack submarines specifically for operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The design was influenced by the German World War II Type XXIII U-boats, though were larger, with a heavier armament and faster when submerged but retained a small silhouette and great manoeverability. They had a standard displacement of 410 tonnes (400 long tons), 552 t (543 long tons) surfaced and 680 t (669 long tons) submerged. Vessels of the class were 49.6 metres (162 ft 9 in) long with a beam of 5.8 m (19 ft 0 in) and a draught of 4 m (13 ft 1 in). The Aréthuse class were the first French submarines to use a diesel-electric propulsion system and were powered by two 12-cylinder SEMT Pielstick diesel engines driving one shaft rated at 790 kilowatts (1,060 bhp) surfaced. They also mounted two electric generators that produced 337 kW (452 hp) connected to one electric motor for use while submerged rated at 970 kW (1,300 hp). The generators were placed on spring suspensions and the motor was attached directly to the shaft creating a near-silent operational environment while submerged. The submarines had a maximum speed of 12.5 knots (23.2 km/h; 14.4 mph) surfaced and 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph) submerged.

    Aréthuse-class submarines were armed with four torpedo tubes in the bow for four 550 mm (21.7 in) torpedoes. The submarines carried four reloads. They were designed primarily for ant-submarine warfare. They were equipped with DUUA I sonar. The Aréthuse-class submarines had a complement of 40 including 6 officers. By 1981, their sonar had been upgraded to one active DUUA II sonar, one passive DUUA II sonar, one passive ranging DUUX 2 sonar. They had a diving depth down to roughly 182.8 metres (600 ft).

  • #2
    This project was originally commissioned by this customer years ago, and I had to bail on him due to other commitments. After a year or two, he reached back out and found a hole, however small, in my build queue, and thus the project was re-engaged once more.

    Supplied to me were some excellent starts to some master patterns supplied by Matt Thor along with a prototype front dive plane assembly and a most completed fiberglass sail. Matt's work is exceptional, and the reference materials supplied by the customer are very good as well.

    The supplied hull masters were about 50% completed. As such, it was decided that we would make an attempt to 3D print this large boat based on the 3D files that Matt Thor had created to mill out the hull masters. Long story short, after a lot of modifications to the 3D files, I was able to print out the hull sections on my Anycubic Max3 resin printer. This is not filament, so the drawbacks of striations and post-processing are not present. The hull is also more proof against heat than standard PLA or PETG filament would be, though I would still strongly caution against leaving the boat out in the direct sun for too long.

    Hull sections were joined using rubber reinforced CA glue, and then a layer of 4oz fiberglass epoxy/cloth was laid up inside for strength.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      The resin parts sand exceptionally well, and after a course of coarse grit and fine grit paper wet-sanding, the hull is very smooth and free of any striations or faceting.

      After the hull was sanded, we taped the seam and applied body filler to create a razor-thin seam line between upper and lower hulls.
      Attached Files


      • #4
        The Arethuse has a lot of very unique characteristics including a non-conventional bow plane arrangement. Like the Type 209 submarines, it uses one forward dive plane to dive, and one to submerge, each pushing out perpendicular to the centerline of the boat to affect trim. This is going to prove problematic to implement as the planes are basically the entire width of the boat, making the creation of linkages very difficult. This will be an ongoing work for some time, I think.

        Also, the rudder is not a typical flat plane, but has a double wave shape with a central cone.

        Likewise, the propeller isn't just a prop... NOOOooooo. It has to be a low surface area five-bladed setup with some sort of cone coming off the hub. This hub mates with the rudder central cone to create a contoured line down the centerline of the boat.

        These pics show the rough parts in mockup.

        As of today, I've also got the propeller mounted and the rudder mounting frames created. The idea is that the rudder and rear planes will all be part of the lower hull. The upper hull will cover the entire assembly. The stern is very much like the German Type XXI for those of you familiar with the arrangement.

        I have to say, the flowing lines of the hull are growing on me, but the said takes a bit of getting used to....

        More soon.
        Attached Files


        • #5
          I like these Type XXI-derived french Submarine designes. My fav would have been Narval class boat, but Aretuhuse is fine as well. I'm happily following the progress....


          • #6
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            • #7
              Posting my research photo above here to Bob, as I fear he maybe not be receiving my emails. Posting here for you Bob & everyone else to see too. This should answer your question on extent of Bow plane extension.



              • #8
                Excellent. Thanks, Steve. I'm not getting your emails for some reason. But collecting everything here is a better solution anyway.