How it all started
In the eighties as a youngster (1980's) I was into RC boats with my father. He once made an attempt to build a type VII but failed to get it done…..but it was too late I got bitten by the microbe.
I left the hobby to explore the world as a Ship Engineer, but RC submarines were always at the back of my mind.
In the nineties some names were all over the web in relation with RC-submarines, David Merriman was such a name. David Merriman, Jr. is a professional independent model builder, who, since the 1970s, operated an one-man business, building models on a commission basis for museums, collectors, defense contractors and for movie, and television productions. He shared his methods and techniques on the WWW, which I almost learned by heart
In 1997 I ordered Akula plans from Deep Sea Designs (Greg Sharpe) and put them safely in a drawer.
In 2010 I finally started to scratch build a Russian AKULA submarine. Using the techniques of David Merrimen which I absorbed almost a decade before. I wanted to share my experience with others so I posted my build report on several forums. I got a message from David Merriman if I wanted to post my build experience on the forum where he is active so I did, he pushed me to my limits as an modeler but it resulted in a highly detailed model of an AKULA, and I got some 16.000 + views.
Next milestone was that the “Internationaler Modell U-Boot Verein Sonar e.V” (AKA SONAR) asked me to publish my build report in their quadrennial magazine spread over several issues, I was very honored to be asked by them.
What was up next
When my AKULA was finished people approached me asking to make replicas of the sub for them. I wanted to but I did not design the mouldings with making replicas in mind, the scribing lines for instance were not integrated in them.
If I wanted to deliver a HIGHLY detailed submarine as the one I made for myself it would cost me a huge amount of time. I have a full-time job, I have a family and besides the hobby I like doing nothing sometimes. Another thing was the fact that people would pay money for it and I did not want to upset the general administration of taxes in Belgium.
I pondered over it some time and came to the conclusion that in order to help people out in the future, my next submarine mouldings should be developed with all the details included. To sell them in a legal manner, I had to start a small business beside my full time job. Just me myself and I........and a basement as a workshop.
The business model I stand for is developing highly detailed ARTR submarine kits which can be assembled with the minimum effort, the beginning modeler in mind.
Am I in to this to get rich? To answer that let me explain the process of scratch building: before I begin the actual build of the VICTOR III, I will have spent between 150 and 200 hrs on research and you can triple that for the build itself. I will NEVER get the return for the effort expended; So NO I’m not into this to get rich.
To make submarine kits commercially is impossible IMO. Most of us do it because we love the hobby and the community of RC-submarine nuts, to help eachother out and keep this extraordinary niche in the world of RC modeling alive.