The process of building a homemade submarine kit requires patience, a painstaking attention to detail, and a passionate commitment to seeing the project completed. The joy and incredible sense of satisfaction when launching your submarine for the first time make all that time and effort worth it.

Choosing the best kit to start with can be a daunting task with so many to choose from. There are Russian, German, and US models to be considered. They come in a range of scales from extra large 1:50 to tiny 1:350.

We’ve compiled the below list of the best homemade submarine kits to make getting to the starting point a little easier. We’ve also included links to each product, so you can do more research (should you wish to) and even make a purchase if you’re ready to buy one of these fun kits!

How We Chose Our Submarine Kits

The process of choosing the best homemade submarine kits is complicated by the fact that there are different categories of consumers for these products. So, we have organized our list into three categories: submarine kits for youths and submarine kits for adults.

We also consulted vendor information provided by The SubCommittee, a nonprofit organization comprised of members interested in modeling submarines.

Homemade Submarine Kits for the Youth

These submarine kits for children and young teens are geared toward simpler learning projects. With these, they can safely enjoy exploring their fascination with the sea and the machines used to explore it.

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While a serious modeler wouldn’t consider an item like this, a puzzle is a perfect way to make building a submarine accessible to small children. 

This particular puzzle is appropriate for kids ages 7 and up. The puzzle comes with a manageable 54 pieces and doesn’t require any scissors or glue.

The completed size is 28.7” long by 5.3” wide and 9” tall. The puzzle can be found on Amazon.

Quality
Price Range
Our Rating
$11 – $15

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This model kit is an excellent introductory model for older children or teens who are interested in starting to build model submarines. The kit includes both decals and painting instructions, so the builder can recreate it as authentically as possible.

This item can also be found on Amazon.

Quality
Price Range
Our Rating
$40 – $60

Submarine Kits for Adults

man assembling British Upholder Class Submarine

In looking at the best homemade submarine kits for adults, most of these come with the ability to be remote controlled, or they at least have the option to add these additional electronics.

Some of these may be also be suitable projects for an adult to do with a child, or for teenagers who are patient and enjoy this sort of project.

Seawolf V2 Submarine from Loyalhanna Dockyard

Seawolf V2 Submarine

This Seawolf V2 Submarine is a great entry-level model for the beginning adult modeler. According to the manufacturer, the finished size is 35.43” X 0.39” X 12.60” and a few of the included features listed on the website are as follows:

  • Kit includes electric motor, suppressors and cables
  • Kit includes Lead ballast
  • Removable radio control system installation plate
  • Diving depth regulation mechanism
  • Vacuum-molded upper hull sections

U.S.S. Albacore from Mike’s Subworks, LLC

uss albacore

This is another submarine kit that was designed for a beginner. According to the manufacturer, the U.S.S. Albacore the length is 40” and the beam is 5 3/8” when finished. There are three different versions of this kit, starting with the basic that includes everything needed to build the model.

Additional packages add the electronic controls or a 4-channel radio system. According to this page, the included parts in the basic kit are: hull, sail, and control surfaces, easy access pressure hull, complete drive system, and the complete ballast system.

Quality
Price Range
Our Rating
$400 – $800

Masterpiece Models 1/77th scale Disney Nautilus from the Nautilus Drydocks

scale disney nautilu

For those of you interested in a fantasy submarine, this is a wonderful option. This is a 31” replica of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus submarine as shown in the 1954 Disney movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

If you choose to purchase the deluxe version of this kit, it comes with the following extra accessories:

  • Salon detail kit
  • LED lighting kit
  • Raised breather set
  • Scale metal propeller
  • Motorized propeller assembly
  • Scale figure set
  • Open ballast grating set
Quality
Price Range 
Our Rating
$190 – $250

British Upholder Class Submarine in 1/50th scale from the Nautilus Drydocks

british upholder class submarine

This is certainly one of the best homemade submarine kits available for those who are more advanced. Be sure you have room to work because this British Upholder Class Submarine is 55” long when completed.

If interested, check out this video of someone putting together this kit from scratch. This kit includes the hull, deck, tower, vanes, and rudder. Additional detail packages can be purchased separately.

Quality
Price Range
Our Rating
$600 –$700

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The GATO SS212 is for truly serious modelers. The most expensive of the items we’ve reviewed, it is also the most complete kit. 

According to the product page, the following is a complete list of items included in the kit:

  • Hull unit consisting of lower hull, upper hull, middle deck (WTC), bulk head
  • Conning Tower cast in resin
  • Complete set of fittings cast in resin
  • Rudder and dive planes cast in resin
  • Main drive unit complete with two motors and gears, fully assembled with ball bearings
  • 4-blade propellers, couplings and shafts, all made of brass
  • All necessary accessories to built-up the model, such as screws, bolts, linkages, gaskets, tubings etc.
  • Ballast keel cast in metal (approx. 4.2kg)
  • 2 plans drawn 1:1 and instructions with drawings in 3-D (for conning tower and guns)
  • Diving System with two piston tanks type XP750 (with 750ml volume each) and the new electronic switch unit Tmax2.
Quality
Price Range
Our Rating
$35 – $50

U-47 Submarine from Loyalhanna Dockyard

U47 submarine

This particular homemade submarine kit results in a very large finished product at 66.92”. The U-47 submarine has been created with extremely detailed accuracy. And, even though it is larger than many other submarines, it is still easy to maneuver in the water.

According to the manufacturer’s description, one benefit of this kit is that they have pre-cut flooding slots in the outer skin of the submarine. This ensures that the user doesn’t have to machine or drill those slots. 

Here are a few of the promised elements in the kit:

  • Pressure vessel consisting of thick-walled plastic tube
  • O-rings and ready-made molded parts to seal the pressure vessel
  • Removable installation plate housing the radio control and power systems
  • Mechanical diving depth regulator
  • Rubber bellow seals
  • All parts for rudders and hydroplanes
  • Stern tubes, propeller shafts and propellers
  • Electric motors and suppressors
  • Vacuum-molded hull and conning tower components
Quality
Price
Our Rating
$600 – $700

Delta Submersible from Modell U-boat Spezialitaten

delta submersible

This submarine kit is sold by a German company as you can see by the company’s name. But, don’t worry, their website has pages in English. The Delta Submersible is based on a more recently built submarine originally created in 1983.

Once assembled, this kit can have a camera attached while in use under water. So, you can get a unique view and record your submarine’s journeys. This submarine can be purchased in 4 different kits ranging from basic to maxi plus.

According to the manufacturer, the basic kit includes 6 hull parts, milled PMMA windows, milled PS-parts, milled aluminum parts, motor assembly with watertight shaft, spacial prop, pushrod seals, servo mounts, small parts, stickers, plan, and English instructions.

Quality
Price
Our Rating
N/A

Germany Type VIIC Submarine from Arkmodel

viic submarine

Our final recommendation is a very high-quality kit. The Germany Type VIIC is unique because in addition to being available for you to construct, there is an option to have Arkmodel build it for you.

Many of the elements are sold separately, so pay close attention to the details on their website. The manufacturer indicates that the kit does include all plastic parts, metal parts, brass etching tablet, water stickers, specifications, and installation of the chamber components.

Quality
Price Range
Our Rating
$1,100 –$1,300

Buyer’s Guide

While we’ve compiled this list of what we believe are the 7 best homemade submarine kits, there are many more to choose from. You may want to do additional research and explore these additional options. When doing your own digging, you may want to consider exploring the R/C Sub School section of SubCommittee.com

In addition to providing information about vendors, they have compiled detailed facts about diving systems, ballast systems, electronics, radios, and what they call “hobbynomics.”

You will want to decide whether you want a “dry hull” or “wet hull” homemade submarine kit. Wet hull submarines have been available since the 1990’s and seem to be more popular in the United States. Dry hull kits are more preferred in Europe. You have many options to choose from in both styles.

Additional important elements to consider when choosing your submarine kit are the electronics. Items to look at include the pitch controller, electronic failsafe, automatic depth controller and x-tail mixer.

The SubComittee provides the following introduction about electronics: “When surfaced, radio-controlled model submarines use the same electronics any model boat would use: servos to move control surfaces; an Electronic Speed Control (ESC) to control the electric motor; a surface frequency radio and receiver to transmit commands. When submerged, however, several hobby-specific electronic components are advantageous to maximize operations. These include the pitch controller, failsafe, depth controller, and X-tail mixer.”

subcommittee frontpage

Have Fun with Your New Homemade Submarine Kit

The most important thing to remember is to have fun! Have fun when assembling your homemade submarine kit. Have fun when you show it off to your friends and family. Have fun when you first try submerging it in your bathtub.

And finally, have fun when you take it to a pool or a lake to try in public and see that it really works!

If you love to learn a new unique skill and have a great adventure underwater then you should also read about the 10 best spearguns on the market.

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