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Author Topic: Buying second hand : caveat emptor...of what?  (Read 2168 times)

g4yvm

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Buying second hand : caveat emptor...of what?
« on: June 01, 2011, 06:59:12 PM »

There's a Gato sub on fleabay at the moment (d'oh! Now you'll all be chasing it), its an older Engels by the look of it (it IS engels, it looks older) and is equipped with what seems to be Auto Stop tanks (as opposed to auto trim or propo tanks, just by the age of them and the looks of the switching unit).

I am keen to buy it, even though its neither an exciting U Boat nor an historical T or A Class, however, what can be the awful problems with second hand? It has never seen water.   Lets assume the worst; presumably the tanks will be okay ?  If the switching unit is dead, and I cant see why it should be, it can be replaced by Engels or A N Other I imagine.  The motors seem to be standard S400 type (why not brushless and avoid the drain and the noise??).  Duff radio is not an issue, I have enough radio to gear to start a shop.

It seems to me that the WORST case is that the electric guts need binning and starting again.  Given that this is unlikely I might just have bought a good project boat.

Anything I am missing?

David
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Roadrunner

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Re: Buying second hand : caveat emptor...of what?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 01:17:42 AM »

as with everything you buy on ebay 2nd hand you take a chance and hope for the best, i've had some rubbish and i've had some bargains, either way ebays a gamble with anything you buy 2nd hand!
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Brooks

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Re: Buying second hand : caveat emptor...of what?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2011, 01:55:52 AM »

Seems to me, the worst case scenario is having to fix/replace something, but being unable to get to the bad bits w/o destroying the hull, wtc, etc. I've seen modeler boaters glue-in RC items (such as servos, with epoxy, yikes!), which become a royal pain to replace when they go bad, sigh.

Why has the sub never been wet? That might tell you something important about it's construction; for instance, maybe it developed a crack that is impossible to fix w/o destroying the looks.

Examine what you are attempting to achieve with this purchase before plunking down the money. That is, what will this "pig in a poke" be doing for you that you could not do better yourself?

This boat may perfectly fit your goals; since I don't know what they are, I can't comment on that :-) It's certainly tempting, to me, to obtain a boat that is mostly built and I have to just fiddle a bit with it....if you are a beginner submariner, though, fiddling may prove very frustrating - do you have a nearby sub club whose members could give you assistance?

Good luck, whatever your decision. You'll certainly learn lots, good and maybe bad, but that's all part of the game, I guess.
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g4yvm

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Re: Buying second hand : caveat emptor...of what?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2011, 07:09:56 AM »

Thanks guys.
Well the seller says it hasn't been in the water because the bath wasn't big enough to test it. Now, having spent a small fortune on the kit that's a laughable reason. He says it was built by his son and the artwork seems to substantiate this, so id need to fully repaint it. Fiddly !
I've seen a lot of pictures from the seller and it's full of dust and some motor case rusting is evident: it looks like it's been in a garage for a long time. Trouble is Its a loooong way from me so even if I went just to check it out it's a six hour round trip. Alaaaaarrrrrmmm!

My objective is to get a project for my sons and me for the school hols this summer, we have a modelling workshop and they aer pretty adept at the usual skills including the lathe etc so I think they'll manage it ok.

With this eb ay job the thought of a cheap engels hull is tempting, but you may be right...If you spend that much there has to be a hood reason not to sail it, better than the wrong size bath anyway.
David
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Subculture

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Re: Buying second hand : caveat emptor...of what?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2011, 10:19:08 AM »

If it's been laid up for a long time, the main items that are likely to have deteriorated are the rubber seals, including hatch seal, piston tank seals, shaft and linkage seals. These are the items that will need a good inspection. They may well be fine, but it's important they're checked.

Also worth pointing out that Engel appear to have changed the specification of their piston tanks over the years, therefore if it's a very early kit, and the piston tank seals are shot, you may have to make some new parts for the tank, or fit new tanks if you lack the equipment to fashion these parts or know someone who can.

As has already been said, a secondhand purchase is always risky, but all the more so when you can't actually check the thing out in person.

Andy

g4yvm

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Re: Buying second hand : caveat emptor...of what?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2011, 10:40:07 AM »

Thanks Andy.

The more I look at the problem the less interesting it becomes as I cant actually see the thing, and a six hour drive is a lot of petrol!

Ive just spoken to Models by Design (he's Andy too, thats not you is it?) and his hulls are likely to offer a much more interesting project inasmuch as they are scratch built.  Thus I can set my boys off making AA guns and periscopes etc which might not end up perfectly scale, but would help their skills develop and give them huge pride.  It would also mean we see the project through from inception to maiden voyage!

Just looking thru MBD website I can see a case for a Thetis developing.  I read the story of Thetis this last few months, and also of Affray.  Tragic losses caused by gash SOPs it seems to me.  The story of the submarine, like my own profession of the Airlines, is based on rules written in blood of our predecessors.  Maybe a MBD Thetis will be  fitting.  Has anyone experience of MBD subs?  I see their surface ships have a good write up.

Thanks for the advice.  

David
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Re: Buying second hand : caveat emptor...of what?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 07:11:04 PM »

Ive just spoken to Models by Design (he's Andy too, thats not you is it?)

No, different chappy.  MBD took on all the old John Darnell tooling. They're definitely builders models, giving you a good base to start with.
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