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Author Topic: The Delfim. A tribute to a retiring warship and her last garrison.  (Read 3288 times)


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    • Boats Modeling
The Delfim (Dolphin) Class Daphne

When I began to represent half hulls of tall ships, I never thought that one day I would be an enthusiast to model one of the last class of a Portuguese submarine, The Delfim. After her retirement from service, I decided to make several models of this veteran of service to our navy for more than 36 years.

                       The specifications.


Displacement at surface----------------------------869 tons
Displacement in immersion----------------------1.038 tons
Length----------------------------------------------57.78 meters
Maximum width------------------------------------6.75 meters

                             Propulsion and energy
                      2 Electric motors (450 KW each)
                      2 Diesel generators (800HP each)


           12 Torpedoes (anti-surface and anti-submarine)


       Maximum at surface--------------------------------13 knots
       Maximum in immersion------------------------------15 knots

       Note: one knot equal to 1.852 meters/hour

                                   7 Officers
                                 14 Sergeants
                                 32 Sailors 

Although anyone can appreciate the beauty of a wood hull, there is something about the black hulls of iron (submarines of course). And in remembering our youth, when we read the book by Jules Verne talking about the mysterious Nautilus, the first hypothetical (at the time) ship that can navigate under the sea!

Maybe the news about the new class of submarines to Portugal was responsible for my interest
concerning these special boats. Why not?

On the Internet I found two very different models.

But my choice was finished! The target - class Daphne, built in France.

Let us follow the first step to construct a scale model of this boat…
I contacted the office of the navy and was fortunate to have a meeting with the last commander of the Delfim. He gave me enough information to understand the exterior parts of this kind of boat and showed me the details, he was however rushed, as he was starting a training course about the new and modern U 209 PN which was still under construction (Deutschland).

I am very grateful and appreciative to him and his other colleagues, they helped me a lot.

I took them in 4/08/2005 for a better perception of the details.
As the real length is 57.78 meters I decided the scale 1/100. The length of the model will not exceed 58 centimetres, an excellent measure for this replica.


The  DELFIM  will be transformed into a floating museum berthed in Northern Portugal at the port of Viana do Castelo, a very nice town.

How I constructed the DELFIM’ model.

Where are the plans?  They are not sold in our Museum, which has only a one off replica built in their workshop and not touchable. That is a pity.

The Maritime Museum (Portuguese: Museu de Marinha) of Lisbon is dedicated to all aspects of the History of navigation in Portugal. The museum is administered by the Portuguese Navy and is located in the touristic district of Belém. It occupies part of the neo-Manueline Western wing of the Jerónimos Monastery (together with the National Museum of Archaeology) as well as a modern annex built to the North of the monastery.

The history of the museum is deeply related to King Luís I (1838-1889), who was a lover of oceanographic studies and an accomplished navigator himself. He created in 1863 a collection of items related to the preservation of maritime history of Portugal, a collection that was enlarged in the following decades, culminating in the inauguration of the Maritime Museum in 1963 in its present location.

The exhibits include historical paintings, archaeological items and many scale models of ships used in Portugal since the 15th century. It is one of the most visited Portuguese museums.

I was not discouraged. Some persistence gave me the solution. The sergeant  Rui Gomes a friend who is an artist offered me one mold and a little plan. Nice, very nice…I had something to begin with.

Following the small plan I made a silhouette in MDF (thickness 3 millimetres) and the half ribs in balsa. This item or structure was layered with laths, a usual procedure in modeling.

I received from another friend, plans of …maintenance. Very good and detailed but not useful for my job… Still I was very greatful to him for this gift. The intention was kind, but the plans gave a very good info concerning only the inside of the boat…pity indeed.

With this information why not draw my own plans to help me? So I did!

Using the same system from experience in my half hulls.

Other small pieces like propellers were hand made.

I stayed fascinated with the finished model which was not painted yet. I thought to leave it like this in the photo.

After I began two different models. One is a waterline the other is a complete replica.

Further details in the construction progress

Now they are ready. At 27th of March, 2006 The offer of the models was made. I put the names and the graduation of all members of the last crew.

It was to pay homage to these sailors. They gave me the opportunity for good moments in my life,
answering my questions about this war boat.

At 5th of April, 2006 I deliver this Half Hull to Commander Duarte Cantigas and Commander Salgado Frutuoso.

First and Second commanders of flotilla, Salgado Frutuoso and Farinha Alves.

Script of ship with a dedication to…me and a cap used by the crew finish the ceremony when I deliver my gift. Now I am one honorific member of the flotilla!

Here we can see the photos of all commanders, beginning with the command of the first Portuguese submarine, a long time ago…at 15 of April,1915

At 22th of June, 2007 it was a pleasure to me, offer to my friends of the navy the result of my Project. Today everybody has one little Delfim at home. Very easy, to maintain in good condition.

It is a long way but nothing compared with our age as nation, nearly 1000 years old.

The happy end

Please visit my website for more of my Half Hulls and Ship Models
« Last Edit: November 06, 2007, 07:00:31 PM by oliveira »

Sandra Oliveira

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Re: The Delfim. A tribute to a retiring warship and her last garrison.
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2007, 05:09:45 AM »
It is a pleasure to see that a Portuguese blog is known in America!
Many thanks for publishing this interesting work.
Best regards from the otherside of Atlantic Ocean,
Sandra Oliveira