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This model is USS Becuna, SS 319, after conversion to GUPPY IA configuration.  The early Cold War Guppy program (Greater Underwater Propulsive Power) modified existing WWII fleet submarines for increased speed, more advanced sonar and added a snorkel.   Lessons from the advanced, streamlined German Type XXI class were studied and adapted. This was a response to the Soviet Union’s postwar submarine building program (Project 613, NATO Whiskey class).  The WWII Balao & Tench class conning towers  were enclosed by a streamlined sail covering, having a bridge on the lower level and enclosing the various masts in the upper level.  Included among the masts was a snorkel  allowing the batteries to be recharged while submerged as a shallow depth.  In the Guppy II program, new batteries with more plates were also installed, and the lower areas rearranged to accommodate 512 battery cells, vs the WWII 256 cells.  Becuna as a Guppy IA, instead retained the number of batteries, but received the improved Sargo batteries.  The bow was modified from the World War II  “bull nose” to a more rounded bow that handled better in rough waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. On Becuna, this is the Electric Boat “step sail” design.  A somewhat different “step sail” design by Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard was also employed.  Various streamlined coverings were placed over deck sonar equipment, and a BQR-2 “chin” sonar added later in the program.   Configurations varied over time as new equipment was developed.  Various modifications of these Guppy submarine “smoke boats” carried the deployment load until the mid to late 1960’s, when the growing numbers of nuclear powered SSNs could gradually assume these duties.  Becuna is preserved as a museum boat, and can be visited at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, Pa..

 

This construction is a hybrid of the accurate Yankee Models resin Guppy hull combined with the more accurate Tom’s Modelworks resin Electric boat sail.  The BQR-2 chin sonar was built up from Milliput and sanded to shape.  Various domes were also employing Milliput sanded to shape.  I sanded off the molded sail rails and added wire hand rails to the sail.  The 5 bladed propeller employed on Guppy submarines was included in the Yankee Models kit.  After painting by priming with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and airbrushing Badger acrylics, I outlined the deck safety rail with a fine tip silver pencil.  Pastels were employed to make diesel exhaust smudges.  I mount my models on home made oak bases with brass rods.

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Edited by TomDougherty
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Beautiful work! I remember seeing the real one when we visited Philly back in '07. I couldn't identify it but this makes all clear. Way to go!

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Thanks!  
These modified submarines were overshadowed by the emerging nuclear powered submarines in the late 1950’s-early 1960’s.  In fact, it would take more than ten years to build enough nuclear powered attack (SSN) submarines to fill the numerical gap that the Guppy boats filled in the early postwar era.  
 

I have one more Yankee ModelWorks/Tom’s kit of the heavily modified Guppy III class to build.  This is a model of Clamagore, a Guppy III museum ship at Patriots Point, SC. 

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