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O16 Submarine by Piet - PacificCrossRoads - scale 1:350 - Royal Navy Netherlands - 1936-1941 - PLASTIC

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Hello friends,


It has been quite some time sins my last build log and my work on the VOC ship Surabaya.  Many things have come in between but I am trying to spend a few hours so once in  a while on a build.

I recently obtained a plastic kit of a Dutch WW II submarine that was active during the very beginning stages of the war against the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJP).  This particular boat was rather unique in that it had two important new innovations. One was that about 49 % percent of the traditional riveting was replaced with a new welding technique and that a new steel alloy was used for the pressure hull allowing her to dive to a greater depth.  After trials proved successful the Koninklijke Marine (KM) or Royal Navy, carried these innovations over to their later build submarines.  This included of course by father's submarine, the O19.


The kit builder of the O16 is Boris Mulenko who started up PacificCrossRoads and his work can be seen at www.pacificcrossroads.net.  Boris is also a member of MSW. Right off the bet I must say that I have no financial interests in his company, other then a mutual respect for the men who fought heroically and gallantly against a determined better trained and equipped foe.  His plan is to produce kits of all the ships involved in South-East Asia of the so called ABDA fleet.  Abda is the acronym for America, British, Dutch and Australia.


Obviously, my interest is not just for the sake of building a model.  I was indirectly involved due to my father's service in the KM.  He was killed in action during the last major battle on the Java Sea about one year after the O16 was lost in the Gulf of Siam, north of the Malay coast. I heard my father cussing the Japanese for the loss of his comrades.  Before my father was promoted in rank to Adjudant he served on the submarines and knew most of the men in that service.  The submarine service is like a close-knit family as our submariner member can attest to.  In any case, I was then only 7 years old but keenly aware of the coming events that would change my life forever.  You can read about my background on the intro pages of the O19 build log.


Let me stop here and continue in a day or so.  I can then give you all the history of this boat with her war log before proceeding to the actual build of the kit.




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Thanks to all who looked in and clicked the like button, much appreciated.


Hello Denis and thanks for dropping in.  The answer is no, this boat was build a few years earlier and was a class of one, rather unique I'd say.  The Royal Navy was constantly trying to improve their submarine designs which resulted in better boats at the cost of low production.  That last one did not seem to be important.  


Hello Vivian, good seeing you here in my humble little shipyard. This model is being constructed on my drafting table in my studio - it's rather small you see and more comfortable temp wise then in the garage with 32 to 35 degrees C.


Cheers to all,

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Piet, I'll join you for this one. The start of the Pacific chapter of WWII was a sorry one. I've read a few histories, but in depth accounts are rare. The few ships the Allies had in the area seemed to be frittered away. Commemorating these folks via well researched and built models goes a ways to remembering them.

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Hi Ken, good seeing you here as well. Yes, indeed it was a sorry state of affairs. Obviously I have done some research, most though is from written data done by others due to lack of time and resources on my side. Boris Mulenko too has done a lot of research and has dedicated his time to make history know by making models available of the ships involved with their historical data. One of the best books available is "Rising Sun, Falling Skies. The disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World arr II" by Jeffrey R. Cox. This book is rather current, 2014, with hitherto unpublished information from several war archives, including Japan.


Also unfortunate is that with the change in MSW format all the links in my signature area are either not working and removed, like the link to my build log of my father's submarine the O19. There is a lot of very personal info there. So far I have not been able to fix that problem.



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Hi Ken, you are quite welcome.  PacificCrossRoads has also completed Hr. Ms. Tromp, a Dutch light cruiser.  That ship has quite some interesting history. He is currently working on Hr. Ms. Java, a Dutch light cruiser. This is the ship my father was killed on when it got hit by one of those long range torpedoes. After my father was promoted he had to be transferred to a surface ship because that rank was not on the subs, pity that. All his scales are in 1:350. He was also thinking about adding kits of the airplanes involved. 


Hello CDW in Tempa, welcome to my dockyard. By what name can I  address you?


Hey John, good seeing you here too.  I hope to make this log a little more interesting by adding some history to it. At least it's history in living memory, for a few that is. 

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Hi Craig, good having another Floridian in the dockyard. I have been in Tampa several times, vacation and work. Also Clearwater and Indian Trails, nice area.


Hey Old, good having you here as well. Make yourself comfortable because there will be some history being told.


And here is my old buddy Carl. No worry mate, plenty of first row seats. Well, these deft fingers will get a real workout on this one, just as trying as my topsail schooner diorama. I sure hope to do this model justice.



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Hello everyone,


Traditionally we show what's in the kit we received. So today I like to I like to do just that. Here are a few pics of what came in the box from PaccificCrossRoads for the O16 kit.


The Kit Box


Little box (110 X 80 mm or 3.4 X 3/1/8 inch) of all the small parts and pieces.


Kit included 2 identical PE


Assembly instructions



Instructions for the periscopes and transmit anttenna


Detail photos with pre war paint scheme


All the parts and pieces in the kit. #1) trim planes, #2) deck piece above the deck torpedoes, #3) Deck torpedoes, #4) 88MM/3.4 inch deck gun, #5) 40 mm AA guns, #6) Conning tower, #7) AA gun retract bun lids, #8) Propeller shaft housing with propellers and attaching braces, #9) Dive planes, #10) Rudder, #11) Brass cannon barrel, #12) Dutch National flag, #13) the double PE.



Close-up of the deck gun, side launch torpedoes and deck piece



Close-up of conning tower



Continue on next post.






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Kit intro continued:


Close-up of the two 40 mm AA guns



Close-up of propeller, shaft housing and attaching braces



Close-up of dive planes



Close-up of the Dutch National flag , brass deck gun and name plate



This may not look like a lot of parts for such a complicated boat. For those not familiar with submarines, they have been and are called boats, not ships. This will also be a new adventure for me because of the PE. I never had the pleasure working with it, specially not at this scale of 1:350.  Also the plastic is from molded resin and softer then the plastic found in kits. As you can see the hull and conning tower are solid molds.


So, naturally I was excited like a little boy unpacking his birthday present and could not wait examining all the parts and pieces.  I found the quality EXTREMELHY high! There should VERY little or no dressing up work to do. The only dressing necessary seem to be the removal of where the part is attached to mold pour. Looking at the propeller blade I made a mental note to be extra careful with them. Just gently touching them they gave was ever so slightly and can not handle any pressure. The PE also was extremely well done. Here too I noticed that some of the parts are extremely tiny. The dressing off of the attaching tits should prove a real challenge for my eyes and hands.


I for one want to give Boris Mulenko, the designer and producer of this kit, a heartfelt BRAVO.


Okay folks, the next post we'll start with putting this kit together and let all y'all know how it's all working out. I also like to include the history, life and death of the O16 and to honor the gallant crew. As I have mentioned before this is living history with a personal involvement through my father and having been the innocent victim of the aftermath. Sure hope you don't mind.





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Hello friends,


Thanks to all who clicked the like button and hi to Denis, Ken and Carl.

Yes, Denis, Ken is correct. Boris didn't get started till a few years ago. He also followed my O19 build and wanted to make a resin kit of her in the 1:350 scale. He wanted to wait till I was done with the build, in not wanting to be a distraction. But he's so busy with the Java now that the O19 may come much later.  The O16 and O19 are entirely different and requires a new mold system. Oh, some things are identical but knowing Boris he is a stickler for details and accuracy.


Yeah Ken, just handling these small parts gives me the shivers specially never having worked with PE. The scale doesn't worry me too much though, not after having made a diorama in 1:2000 scale. My hands are still firm enough and eye sight is pretty good after a double cataract operation, that I can handle these small parts okay. Next small project is the Young America diorama in 1:3000 scale.


Yeah Carl, she'll be a nice project for you or wait till he has the O19 done or do both. If Boris is planning to make kits of all the ships that were involved in Java Sea campaign then you have ample choice. In the meantime you are rather busy with your giant Japanese battle ship.



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Okay, I guess it's about time now to introduce you to the O16 and her crew. I'm still translating some of the historical data and sorting things out. If I know how link you to a few YouTube videos you can then also see and hear the discussions about the search of the O16 and her compatriot, the KXVII, on that fateful day in December of 1941.

If I have some time left over this evening I can try to add the first steps in the build.


First a few photos of the boat, I may add a few more as the build progresses.


Here you see the O16 being readied for launch on January 27, 1936, at the Koninklijke Maatschappij "De Schelde" in Vlissingen (Flushing), The Netherlands. The keel was laid down on December 28, 1933 and commissioned October 26, 1936.


The O16 first time in the water after a successful launch.



A photo of the crew, most likely done in 1937 when the O16 sailed across the Atlantic to visit Bermuda and Washington, DC. The civilian gent is Professor Dr. F. A. Vening Meinz; B.Sc who accompanied the O16 to conduct gravity measurements. May they rest in peace.


Luitenant ter zee der 1ste Classe (Lieutenant Commander) Antonie (Anton) Jacobus Bussemaker - February 1, 1900 - - December 15, 1941. May he rest in peace.


The only survivor of the crew after the O16 ran into a minefield on December 15, 1941, after a very successful patrol.


The list of the crew that was lost on December 15, 1941.


Let me now get back to putting her history together before I add my first steps in actually putting this model together.





Kwarrtiermeester de Wolf copy.jpg

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Hello all, and thank you Denis and JesseLee for dropping in. I sure hope all y'all don't mind me adding some history to this build, it's kinda personal you know. In any case I like to start with actually putting this model together. It may be a small model with few parts but it looks like I'll have a few challenges with it.


I started with removing the hull from the mold entry and cleaning it up from the attaching lugs. I then carefully inspected the rest of the hull for any imperfections in the mold. As mentioned in my intro, few were found. There were a few spots at the edges of the deck torpedo cutout at the deck slats that I could remove with a knife-edge file.

I then sanded the outside of the hull with some 360 grit sandpaper using a very light touch.


I also had to sand the keel area to make the boat lay level on the my drafting table. I used a long strip of 180 grit and moved the hull length wise back and forth, checking for lateral level. The actual construction of the keel is a whole other story I won't bother you with here.  Whenever my link to the O19 build log is reestablished you could go there and see. Or try dadodude O19 submarine - or something like that.


I also decided to make myself a build plate for the future display base. I took a piece of 1/4 inch poplar 1 1/2 wide by 10 inches long. I thought of placing the finished model on two brass bollards and pinned to the base with bamboo pins. You can see my sketch in the photos.


Next I cleaned the deck torpedo launcher and the deck piece. Not much was needed. Trying to place the launcher on the intended place didn't work too well so I had to file the little raised round mounting spot. It was also a little too high for the deck piece to fit properly and not level.

After all that was done and now trying to cement the launcher and the deck piece with regular plastic kit cement didn't work for me.

So, I reverted to medium thick CA and had good results. It allowed me some time fitting it and holding with a pair of tweezers. All this took a few hours and had to close the dockyard for a belated lunch and other chores.


Here are few pics and I included a few from the actual construction photos as well as as from my O19 build for added clarification.






The actual deck torpedo launcher assembly at the shipyard waiting to be installed


This is the deck torpedo launcher I fabricated for my O19 model


My O19 launcher installed in my O19 build



The deck torpedo launcher aiming, calculating and trigger mechanism called "kerstboom" by the Dutch and meaning  Christmas tree. This was located in the crew compartment.



This shows the deck torpedo launcher and the deck piece installed on the model of the O16



Here is a photo of the O16 being build showing the section of the hull where the deck torpedo launcher will be placed. As a note of interest, this was an innovation developed by the French. The advantage was that the enemy would not find the sub by tracing the bubble track, the sub would simply move ahead and away from the lunch source. The disadvantage was that it was prone to leak and difficult to use, complicated arithmetic. The bow is to the left in this photo.



Hope youns like it.




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Hello Jan, good seeing you here and in the meantime I have changed my login name to Piet. I have to apologize to you. Remember you asked me the question if they welded the pressure hull on the O19? My answer was a shot from the hip without any research in responding that 'they were not advanced enough in the welding technique.' Well, I was wrong by assuming that.

In doing the research in the O16 I found out that the O16 was a unique prototype by employing a few new techniques. The main one was a new steel alloy called St52-3, which is now S355. They reduced the carbon content to 1/4% and added 1.6% manganese.  This made the steel more malleable, improved cold forming and weldable. It was also stronger allowing for a greater max dive depth.  As a metallurgist, among other things, I am familiar with the different steels and aluminum alloys.  S355 has now been superseded by better materials but never the less it really was a step in the right direction.

So, long story short, because the O19 was designed by the same engineer and laid down not long after the O16 was laid down, I surmise that they must have used the same technique and also welded about 49% of the O19 pressure hull. That allowed the O19 to go to a unheard of depth of 100 meters.

We must remember that metals tend to get more brittle the colder they get and that was a great concern, and still is today. At a depth of 100 meters water is rather cold.  

When I worked for the US government as an airworthiness safety inspector I got acquainted with a non-destructive testing engineer from GE, who did the weld tests on the atomic subs. I asked him what the steel alloy was on the atomic subs they build - - - yeah, you guessed it, a big laugh. He could not tell me, it was classified, but rest assured it was rather special stuff.


Okay, I hope that clears that up :)





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Finally I found some time to show what has been accomplished in the last few days. I know, I know, it doesn't seem like there is a lot to on this model but in the meantime I had to do some research on the history of the O16. I found something that I had to edit which took some time. I also researched  that new type of steel they used on this boat, which peeked my interest, being a metallurgist and certified welder to boot. However, I am not yet going to post that historical log here but instead I'll show the next step in the assembly process.


I decided to put the rudder, propeller assembly and dive plane assemblies on. That way I can put the model on the proto display board for stability for the rest of the build and keep those delicate stern parts safe.


On the pics below, especially those from my O19 build, you can see where they all go.

First I cemented the rudder on, easy, peacy, no problem here.

Then I proceeded to the propeller assemblies. I first made a little dimple in the shaft fairing on the hull so I had a secure point to glue the prop shaft to while aligning attaching braces. It was best to lay the hull upside down, prep everything first like squeezing some CA on a piece of cardboard and a sewing pin handy.

Took the prop assembly in a pair of tweezers with my left hand, positioned the part as best as I could, looking from the stern and the side to make sure it aligned properly. Then, with the pin, I took a tiny drop of CA and first dabbed some on the attaching braces and then where the prop shaft goes into the hull. I lucked out, it looked okay to me so I did the same on the other side.


Next came the dive plane assemblies. Not so easy. They didn't seem to line up with with the vertical axis of the boat. With other words they were pointing more inboard at the rear. I checked with the O19 model sitting next to me on the shelf to see if I was locating it correctly. The dive plane outer frame is attached to the prop shaft bearing housing and when I held the part to where I figured they belong it didn't look right. What I should have done was curt a small piece off at the forward end of the frame. I also found that the dive planes did not have enough cut-out for the rudder swing.

Perhaps I got sidetracked by how I did it on the O19 and Boris had another idea I am not aware of.

Well, I did cut some material away for the rudder to swing and decided to cement it to the model anyhow and fix it by cementing a piece of very thin paper on top, cutting it to shape later.


So yes, I took a piece of thin copy paper, soaked in thin CA and after it had cured I made a rough outline of the whole assemble and cut it from the copy paper. Some fitting and trimming to come close to where everything lined up I cemented it to the dive planes. Hmmm, not too bad, he mumbled to himself. Now a little more trimming, a little grey paint and voila, done.


Sorry Boris, I screwed up but in the end it looks pretty good. I find that working on kit models is a lot more difficult then scratch building. But I do like a challenge and this model certainly is.


Okay, now for a few pics. I included a few from my O19 build and from the actual photo library of the shipyard. 


Here we see all the pertinent parts laid out at the stern of the model with a #11 blade to indicate size. Beware of the prop blades, they are extremely delicate!



This is a similar lay out from my O19 model.592630dabbb90_diveplanesandrudder.thumb.JPG.d26972b4d43673528cb6d9c68a00013b.JPG


This is the CA soaked paper I used for the fix.



Here the fix pieces are ready to be glued to the dive plane assemblies.



The fixit parts are now glued on and ready to be trimmed.



I brushed some dark grey paint on it to kill the white. At this point I did some more trimming for what I think the proper alignment should be.



This is a photo from the shipbuilder's archive and shows the "kingston" frame #1. It is the most aft pressure bulkhead with the propeller shaft bearing housing attached to it #6. The center arrow #5 points to the keel with the dive plane pivot shat bearing housing #3.  #2 are for the torpedo tubes and #4 is the rudder protective guard.



This is how I mounted all these parts to the O19 model.



Here we see the stern of the O19 in primer.DSCN0408.thumb.JPG.1804f95f66e548d59281a1150596549b.JPG


Another view of the dive planes on the O19 model



Here is the O19 model stern end completed and yes everything works, even the propellers rotate when blowing on them.






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