DIY hovercraft guide - 1 : 34 Gus class ("проекта 1205 Скат")

DIY hovercraft - 1 : 34 Gus class ("проекта 1205 Скат")

The last Gus Class hovercraft ("проекта 1205 Скат", "project 1205 Skat") exposed in Moscow. I do not own this picture, all rights and credit to its owner - original picture can be found here.

The model as it was in 2008

The Gus (pronounce "Goose") was the first hovercraft used by the Soviet Navy, from 1969 to 1990s. It was an alternative to landing barges: on each round trip between a ship and a beach, the Gus could unload 25 men or 4 tons of equipment. It was also used to patrol in harsh environments (especially on the Amur River, at the border between USSR and China). Two Gus were used for the recovery of Soviet cosmonauts who accidentally landed in a sea or in a lake, as it was the case for Soyuz 23 in 1976, and another one was used as a mobile surgical room. A total of 30 Gus were used by the USSR and then by Russia until the end of the 1990s. After military use, they were converted into ferries before being scrapped. In the meantime, from 1970 to 1990, the USSR designed five other increasingly large military hovercrafts - the Zubr is the last hovercraft of the series.

Making a model of the Gus Class was a long-standing project for Mr Raynal. He had already made a first prototype with a polypropylene hull (see the video above), then realized that the structure would not be strong enough. The model was waiting to be remade with balsa. Mr Raynal suggests that I finish it. Having little experience in model making, zero experience with balsa, and no support from a model club (the local model club was closed for a long time because of the Covid-19 pandemic), I kept in mind that it would not be easy and that I would have to learn a lot by myself.

DIY hovercraft - 1 : 34 Gus class ("проекта 1205 Скат")
DIY hovercraft - 1 : 34 Gus class ("проекта 1205 Скат")
DIY hovercraft - 1 : 34 Gus class ("проекта 1205 Скат")

Fortunately, I did not go into the unknown without having anything to help me: I had pictures of the prototype, the blueprint, the second version of the skirt you can see just above (skirt inflation is already perfectly working), and a papercraft model of the Gus, which I was very lucky to find. It is likely to simplify my work.

Here you can see a few parts of this papercraft model, which helped me a lot to cut the balsa pieces.

I do not own this papercraft model, all rights and credit to its creator. The model can be found here.

DIY hovercraft - 1 : 34 Gus class ("проекта 1205 Скат")

Keen to learn, without wasting too much balsa if I made a mistake, I decided to start with small parts: the upper deck will do the trick for my first balsa cutouts and assemblies. The procedure is actually quite easy thanks to the papercraft model: I just have to print the upper deck at the right scale and position the pieces of paper on a balsa sheet.

DIY hovercraft - 1 : 34 Gus class ("проекта 1205 Скат")

At this point the work seems to be pretty straightforward, I cut a lot of balsa pieces this way...

DIY hovercraft - 1 : 34 Gus class ("проекта 1205 Скат")

On the left is a part of the papercraft model. We see the cockpit on the top and the passenger compartment below. The rear contains the lift turbine and certainly the engine room.

These parts are much more impressive when cut at 1 : 34 scale.

Here is the biggest part of the model which measures 62 cm long by 30.5 cm wide. later, it will be necessary to drill four openings, one to let the lift turbine pass, another to access the battery compartment, and two at the rear to let the two motor supports pass.

This model is still under construction. This page will be completed over time.

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