R/C Model Submarines


TK-20 Severstal 1/100 Scale LOA 68"



The Typhoon was designed under Project 941 Russian Akula Class, classified by Nato as the 'Typhoon' Class, during the late 1970's. The first of class 'TK-208' was launched in 1981. A total of 6 Typhoons were built; with the end of the cold war, the 7th was never completed. All except TK-208 and the TK-20 (the last of the 6) are being dismantled, under a US funded scheme. TK-208 under went a lenghty 10year refit to emerge in 2002 as the Dmitri Donskoy and now acts a test bed for the new Bulava-30 missile, to be fitted to Russia's next generation of Ballistic missle submarines. The Typhoon was brought to the public eye in Tom Clancy's first novel 'Hunt for Red October', and the subsequent film. These submarines, displacing nearly 50,000 tonnes - more than twice the size of the largest Western submarines, still are and probably always will be the largest submarines ever built.

Almost 4 years after a purchased my first one, I took delivery of my second Engel Typhoon in 1:100 scale. I sold my original before it ever saw any paint and had only been tank tested, for a fair price. It was the boat that got me back into this hobby after an 8 year absence, but this new boat has made the pain much easier to bear!


This latest version, is one of the so-called ‘Master Scale’ Series. The biggest difference between the two kits is the hull which is now fully scribed looks very impressive. The depth of the scribing of the acoustic tiles is just right IMHO that when it’s painted will look very realistic. It molded with a light grey, as apposed to white, gel coat. The tower is now made of resin and is about 20% lighter. The hull molding is now thinner and little more flexible compared to the rigid hull of the previous one. There are now a couple of reinforcements needed for the hull to keep its shape If nothing else this will mean that the volume of the material will now be less and it will be easier to achieve a scale waterline with the 1.65 litre ballast tanks. The front hull closing mechanism is improved and so is the manual, now with a few photographs on how to build the front dive plane retract system. I notice that Engel have changed some of the measurement on the construction plan, I know people have had trouble getting the planes to operate properly before using the old measurements. The manual now recommends the ‘Option’ of thrusters to help maneuvering the boat, though Engel don’t sell an upgrade for this at the moment. With the weight of this boat, I suspect any thrusters will be to aid docking maneuvers rather than help with the turning circle when under way, The optional periscope mechanism has been altered and the scopes themselves are more realistic, though some accurizing and repositioning will be necessary


Well second time round, having learned from some mistakes, and having gained a little more modeling experience, I have made some changes to the kit to improve scale appearance, performance, ease of maintenance, and to add some new working features. With the information I have gathered on the Typhoon over the years I will make this as ‘Scale’ as possible. I decided to build her as TK-20 in her 2002 guise.


Completed, this sub comes out at aprox 68” (1.72m) and weigh nearly 50lb (22Kg). I consider this to be a wet hull boat, its just that the pressure compartment is rather large and hence buoyant, so a lot of keel weight will be needed to balance it out. Still this will make the boat pretty stable and its momentum will allow it to plough through the roughest waves on the surface. Also there’s plenty of space for upgrades, modifications and such. Being such a large and heavy sub this is one that will not be used too frequently in the lake, so I hope to be able to convince the wife to allow it to be displayed in the corner of the lounge somewhere!


I ordered it direct from Germany, my credit card was only charged on the day of shipping after I received an email with tracking details, and it arrived 3 days later. Customer service was very good. At the time of writing the kit in this configuration is not yet for general sale, and the diving system (which takes 3 channels to operate properly) had to be built to order for me which took 2 weeks. Well this is what you get when you order. The long box (nearly 7 foot long !) contains the hull and plans and the smaller one, everything else.

The kit comes with, ready mounted twin drive motors and gear box with ball bearing supported shafts, the front plane retract gearbox and motor, 2x 825ml piston tanks and controller, 5kg of lead ballast and polyester lamination resin. The 3 large GRP moldings are the top and bottom hull and the pressure hull. There are two full size plan sheets and foam to trim the boat.The working periscope mechanism is an option which I purchased. The instructions are comprehensive, as always its worth reading thoroughly and digesting – as you’ll find that deviating from the recommended build order is beneficial. Power is from a 6v 12Ah lead acid battery and I will be running 2 ESC’s for the twin drive. I have used a throttle/ rudder mixer unit, rather that twin throttle sticks, and the turning circle is good for this type of boat.


I made plenty of changes to the hull an modified the access and internal, as well as building operational missile doors The full build thread is posted here http://www.subpirates.com/viewtopic.php?t=1344


It took a year of sparadic building and she sailed for the first time in August 2007. She is trimmed to be stern heavy when on the surface, to keep the props well below the water surface (just like the real thing) and level when under Below are videos of her in action as well as an image gallery of of original Typhoons.

First patrol

Underwater Video

Full Function Test

Start to finish photo sequence.

Full build thread located here