Combat Subs (Seawolf/Torpedo) 1:350 USS Halibut
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“As Built” and modified to “Special Projects” version
By Tom Dougherty
I was contacted by members of the USS Halibut (SSGN 587), about the possibility of building models for their 2002 Reunion. The two models shown here were built and delivered for the 2002 USS Halibut Veteran’s Reunion in San Diego, Ca. (Oct. 10-13).  They were displayed for the three days of the reunion, and then raffled in a “Silent Auction” to raise funds for the next Halibut reunion. 
Halibut (SSGN 587) started out life as the one and only nuclear powered Regulus missile SSGN ever built. Commisioned in 1960, it was basically a Skate class SSN hull modified with a huge cylindrical watertight hanger angled down into the hull.  The cruise missile launching operation entailed surfacing the submarine, opening the huge hanger pressure door, and moving the Regulus out onto a rail-like launcher.  The launcher was elevated, the Regulus jet engine started and the missile fired by igniting two solid rocket boosters strapped onto the missile.  “Red” Regulus missiles were practice missiles, “Blue birds” were nuclear armed operational missiles. The Halibut’s hanger could store 5 of the Regulus I missiles.  The original plan was to progress to a more capable supersonic version of the missile, Regulus II.  The successful acceleration of the Polaris program quickly overshadowed the Regulus system, and further work on these submarines and the Regulus II was halted.
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Although it made a number of Regulus deterrence patrols in the rough waters off the Kamchatka pennisula, Halibut was by 1963 a boat without a mission.  The boat was redesignated an SSN, and selected for modifications to convert it into a “Special Projects” platform.  In this guise, the huge hanger was converted into an area used for support, operation, and deployment of the “fish”,  a set of remote controlled sonar and camera equipped devices that could inspect and possibly retrieve pieces from “objects of interest” on the ocean floor.  While Halibut cruised a few hundred feet deep, the “fish” could dive extremely deep, tethered to the submarine by over 35,000 ft of cable housed on a reel in the superstructure. The targets for these covert operations included Soviet missile warheads, naval cruise missiles, and at least one sunken Russian submarine, the Golf class K-129.  In the 1970’s Halibut also received a “DSRV Simulator” mounted near the stern.  This in fact was a special chamber in which divers would spend extended periods of  time, slowly changing the atmospheric composition and pressure to allow long term saturation diving to depths “in excess of 600 feet”, according to John Craven.  This chamber was used to house divers who tapped the Soviet Navy undersea communications cable in the Sea of Okhotsk.  Halibut was retired in 1976, and her mission assumed by the Sturgeon class submarine Parche.  Some of Halibut’s exploits are described in the book “Blind Man’s Bluff” by Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drews
The Models
The Halibut crewmembers sent photographs of the submarine in both configurations, along with some plans, to assist in my efforts.  The standard Regulus version of the model was essentially built “out of box”, although the kit does require some scratchbuilding of propeller struts and housing.  The “Special Projects” version was given a raised sail. This was achieved on the model by laminating styrene sheets cut to approximate shape and glued together. These were then attached to the existing sail to build it to the extended sail height, puttied, filed, and sanded to final shape.  A brass rod goes through the center of the laminates into the resin conning tower for reinforcement.  The “DSRV simulator” was built of Plastruct hollow rod, plastic hemisphere, I, L, and U beams, and a rocket nosecone shaped with sandpaper to the tapered tail piece while rotating on a Dremel tool used as a “mini-lathe”.   The bottom of the hull received a backward slanting tube under the hanger to represent the “fish” deployment tube. 
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Pictures of the reunion, including a tour of a 688 class submarine, are posted at:

Questions? Post them on the message board or email Tom Dougherty