CJB Boatyard

contact us at: [email protected]



Mclaren Clockwork Submarines

This section of the site is all about our beautiful Mclaren Clockwork Submarine. These subs are hand made by Neil Mclaren using alarm clock mechanisms and recycled sheet steel (e.g. from old fridges or washing machines). They are clearly inspired by the subs made by Sutcliffe Pressings from 1935 to 1984, but Neil has taken the art of clockwork submarines to a new level!  As Neville Shute said on a number of occasions, 'It has been said that an engineer is a man who can do for five shillings what any fool can do for a pound'. Neil is most definately an engineer and J.W. Sutcliffe would have been very impressed.


We are lucky enough to have the prototype of U10 in our collection; so this page is all about that particular boat.


Behold U10! Complete with deck mounted gun and external torpedo tubes (working of course!)

The resemblance to an Unda Wunda is clear, but the U10 us much bigger; 21.5" to Unda Wunda's 9".  U10 is wound through a hole in the top of the hull, which is stopped with a rubber bung/persicope, rather like its Sutcliffe grandfather. It also has fore and aft vanes, but unlike the Sutcliffe, these can be adjusted; this allows the budding U-boat commander to either motor on the surface, or dive dive dive!!


The family resemblance is clear! (The dwarfed Sutcliffe sub is an early post war UNDA WUNDA, circa 1948)

One of the key differences between the Sutcliffe and the Mclaren though, is the means by which the buoyancy of the boat is controlled. On the Sutcliffe, this was set at the factory by adding weights to the keel; this was famously done 'by hand' for each boat and we have examples with a single weight, and one with 5 weights!  (Yes 5... the keel channel only has space for 4 so one was soldered on the other side!)


The Mclaren differs in that it has ballast tanks! Yes, it has two internal tanks, one fore and one aft, that can be filled with water to adjust the buoyancy of the boat. Impressive eh?!

It can be seen that the conning tower (a minor masterpiece in its own right) has two additional tubes with rubber caps on them. These are the ballast tank vent tubes, and when 'opened' (by pulling off the rubber cap) allow the tanks to fill from below (note the tube exit aft of the keel).


Having two tanks allows the pitch of the boat to be controlled; this coupled with adjustable fore and aft vanes, allows an almost infinite range of adjustment..

Image Image 1

We also have a copy of the specification and 'blueprints' for the boat (although they are not blue!)

Ice on your pond? No problem!!

This picture shows the port torpedo tube loaded and primed. You need to be careful'll 'have your eye out'!

Image 2

If you would like one of these masterpieces, or want to find out about other subs in the Mclaren range, contact Neil directly at [email protected]  He is also working on all sorts of new ideas; get in touch to see what is in the Mclaren boatyard!

Image 4 Image 5 Image 3