Planning and Preparation
The only real constraint that I had with this project was the size of the desk. I worked out the minimum cross-section diameter needed to fit in the largest of the PC components, which was the full ATX motherboard with the graphics card mounted. From that diameter I was able to determine a rough scale based on the Astute dimensions, however a compromise was needed as if it was kept to true scale the case would need to be over 2.8 m long, way too long for the desk, and in fact for the room! I had to therefore reduce the length, resulting in a 'fat' version of the Astute Class Submarine.
With the basic scales established I set about putting together a 3D model so I would be able to extract cross-sections across the full length in order to put together a skeletal structure for the submarine. I had the luxury of using a CAD program for this very task, which allowed me to produce a sweeping protrusion of a rough Astute shape and then extract various cross sections along the models length into a drawing. I then sent the drawings to be printed to full scale at A1 and A0 size (www.planprinting24.co.uk).
The only other preparation that I would recommend is plenty of research into the subject and create a file full of research, links and pictures before starting. I would say making sure that all the required tools are available and up for the job is essential as there is nothing more demoralising and frustrating than a build being halted because you haven't got the right tool or enough material. I made this mistake several times and given my remoteness I generally had to wait a few days for resupplies to arrive. Spending time upfront in the preparation will in the end save lots more time and energy during the build. There were points in the build where I was literally measuring the submarine up to see if it would fit in the bin, but I managed to persevere. The same goes for the skills needed, I watched plenty of YouTube videos and read as many books or 'how to' guides online until I was confident I knew what I was doing. There wasn't anything in particular that required a great deal of skill in the build, it just needed perseverance and patience but I did allot of research beforehand which would have eased the learning curve.