Mark 48: Torpedo in the Water!
I have been involved in consignment builds for a long time now. I tell my customers I will build them anything from Autos to Planes, as long as I can find it in kit form. One customer who had asked me to build every plane he had contact with in his USMC service had a unique request. After his USMC service he became an engineer for DOD working on the Mk.48 US Navy Torpedo. So I got this unique request…”Can you also make me a Mk. 48 Torpedo”? Well, I thought, I am not sure if there is a kit of a Mk.48 Torpedo? He said “Come on you can do it!” So I could not resist his challenge. 1st I thought I could scratch-build one based on its basic shapes…tubes, a prop, etc. Or, can I shape it from wood? I don’t have access to a lathe, not am I experienced in working with wood. So I just kept on searching the net looking for Mk.48s. Lot’s of pictures but no torpedo kits other then small scale versions that you would hang on a 1/72 aircraft, or 1/350 sub model. Way to small! I found a desk model of one on Ebay made from wood but my customer thought it to pricey for what he saw in the add. It looked like a mono-chromatic painted wood model on a stand. One day I hit on a 1/72 version on a 3-D printing vendor website “shapeways”. It was not overly detailed but the shape was right, but way to small for a desktop model. I had never ever worked with anything from a 3-D printer and it was not cheap considering the small size and lack of detail. Also if you selected the higher quality material it was even most costly. The material was advertised as smooth, glass like. So I tracked down the owner of the 3-D design being posted on this site. I asked him if he could scale up his 1 72 Mk.48 posted design. He responded with a “yes” and a price quote. It was pricey and as a result I did not select the most expensive material b/c based on material description I did think I needed it. I thought I could just sand it smooth. SO I ordered it and it came quickly. Shape was good, but very rough material…not smooth as advertised. I tried for days to sand it but it was so solid and material was hard and not sand-able. I contacted SHipways and expressed my concern. They responded quickly and refunded my cost allowing me to upgrade to better material. This arrived quickly and was much better. Not perfect but I could sand it better. After doing some more research on colors and details I was off to the workbench to build a Mk.48. I had to do some creative and advanced paint work to make it look realistic, metallic, and not mono-chromatic and toy-like. I needed to modify and add to the prop nozzle at the rear. I also needed to add some surface detail, such as scribed lines to indicate different sections of the body. This was a challenge but after some requests for help from my friends on the Facebook model groups I choose the “Pipe-Cutter” as a scribing tool and it worked perfectly. So, now you have it. A 1/32 Mk.48 Torpedo in active, armed, service colors. I know it may not float your boat but I thought it to be unique and weird enough to post. As well as, I learned a lot from the experience and wanted to share the 3-D printing experience with you, my fellow modelers. Comments welcomed. I hope you enjoy it!
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.