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Ictineo II - World's First Steam Powered Submarine (1864)


  • Kit Manufacturer: Anfora Model Kits, S.I. (Spain)
  • Major Material: Wood, Cast Metal
  • Model Specifications: 1:24 Scale
  • Work Experience: This kit is without doubt a challenge to me. Firstly, the instruction "manual" consists of only two A4 size sheets of information, which virtually doesn't offer much help for building the kit. Although it also comes with three full scale plans for placing the mechanisms inside the inner hull, however there were a number of inconsistencies in the drawings, and there is no plan for the fittings of the outer hull at all. Fortunately, by searching the internet, I've found several pictures of an 1:1 replica of the submarine displayed at the waterfront of Barcelona, Spain, and the original drawing of the vertical and horizontal section plans. These pictures and drawings were served as additional guides for fitting both the outer and inner hulls. Secondly, most of the metal parts of the kit were badly casted and were made by cast iron, which is a vary brittle material and hence vary difficult to work with. The only good feature of this material, in my opinion, is that it adhered well with instant (Cyanoacrylate) glue. Almost all of these cast iron parts need to be reshaped or adjusted to fit well, and some of them have to be broken down into pieces and then rejoined by using putty or filler to fill up the gaps. Therefore, in addition to the Unimat 1 module power tool system, a good belt/disc sander and a bench top drill press are also essential tools for building this kit, as the edges/surfaces of the metal parts have to be sanded to straighten, and when joining two parts together, small holes should be drilled on both parts for inserting brass or copper wires to reinforce the joint. A soldering torch is also needed, I've tried to solder the pipe circuits by using ordinary soldering irons (40 and 100 watts) as suggested by the manufacturer, but they just don't work. One thing that disappointed me the most about this kit is that all of the mechanisms were fixed, none of them can actually be moved or turned, and which I was unable to change, as it would require to rebuild all of the mechanical parts (including the gears) from scratch. The best that I can do is to make sure that the dimensions and the assembly of the parts in the mechanisms are correct to allow smooth operation, as if that they were workable. I have also intended to finish this kit with an "antique" appearance, so it would look more like a museum quality model. It took me about one and a half month to build this model, on the basis of six to eight working hours per day. By looking at the final product that I've achieved, I would say it is a worthwhile experience after all.



Historical Notes: The Ictineo II is the first steam powered submarine in the world. It was invented and built by Narcis Monturiol, an engineer born in Figueres (Girona, Spain) on September 28, 1819. Besides he studied Law and wrote about Geography, Physics and Natural History.

He first conceived the Ictineo to help coral fishermen in their rough job. He started to build the submarine on February 10, 1862, it was 17 meter long and 65 tons of weight, and was launched on October 2, 1864. In the beginning it worked with a propeller operated by sixteen men, but owe to its poor performance he decided to change the human power for a 6 Hp steam engine. The re-launching took place on October 22, 1867, once the difficulties were defeated. The submarine did thirteen immersions to as much as to 30 meters deep and the longest one lasted for seven and a half hours, while underwater it was propelled by a one-cylinder machine set on the ship's stern.

Narcis Monturiol was ahead of his time and amongst other things, he invented the double hull as well as the bulb-shaped bow, still being used nowadays in modern vessels.

In 1868 because of financial problems the Ictineo II was seized by creditors, broken up and sold as scrap metal. Narcis Monturiol died on September 6, 1885.

(From Anfora Model Kits, S.I.)

| Outer Hull Viewed from Stem |  Inner Section Viewed from Stem |  Inner Section Viewed from Stern | 
| Fore-half Section |  Aft-half Section |  Crank Shaft and Steam Pumps | 

Recommended References:

  1. Monturiol's Dream : The Extraordinary Story of the Submarine Inventor Who Wanted to Save the World

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