Radio-controlled model sharks!!
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I'm not the only one...

For years, I've had model sharks of all shapes and sizes - from little rubber ones, to even bigger rubber ones!

However, I've always wanted a model shark that could actually work - that is, a mechanical shark, like the ones used in the Jaws movies, but smaller!  A radio-controlled model was the answer - but that idea didn't come along until some years later (see 'Project "Bruce"')

Prior to knuckling down to do some serious research and enquiries, I scoured the internet to see what I could find on various radio-controlled sharks that might be out there. 

Here's what I discovered...

(Please note that I use these photos without prior consent - I merely picked them up on my internet "travels" and had not planned to use them except for reference.  If you would not like your photos displayed, or have some that you would like me to add, please drop me a line.)

Whitetip reef shark - Math Vos

The first (and best!) shark that I found belongs to one Math Vos, a native of Holland who has quite an interest in robotics, among other things (see his site for more of his robots, and the shark).

Math's shark is what I like to call a "prop and rudder" model - similar to the eventual concept for "Bruce", but rather than have an exposed propeller, Math's is contained in the rear of the body with a duct in the bottom.  The rear end of the shark is open, allowing water to go past the propeller and out the back (rather like an impeller on a jetski).  The tail acts as the rudder for steering, while pitch is controlled by the two pectoral fins on the sides.  The mouth even works!!

Math, can you please do a kit of this one?  Pretty, pretty please?!

Great White Shark - owner/builder unknown

The second shark I found is this one, a Great White Shark-styled model that was built more like a conventional model submarine, with the propeller at the extreme aft of the body, and pitch controlled by the two transparent planes on either side of the tail. 

It is a dynamic diver, like Math's shark; that is, it uses speed and deflection of its fins (the dive planes) in order to submerge, whereas a 'static-diving' model submarine is the kind that takes on ballast (water) in order to submerge and remain at a given depth. 

If anyone knows who owns this model, or can supply more information on it, please drop me a line.

Blacktip reef shark - owner/builder unknown

This image came to me from German model sub expert, Norbert Bruggen, after I saw a different image on his website (

Again, a dynamic diver, whose pitch control is via those two strange planes at the rear, alongside an equally strange-shaped tail.  Why the builder chose to use those and not the (more realistic) pectoral fins, I don't know, but it's not a bad looking model besides.

Dennis the Menace - Nick Burge

Wow!  This fella could almost be real, eh??

This is the most unusual shark model I've come across; unusual because it actually uses its tail for propulsion, and not a propeller!  It steers by using a water jet with a flap, which diverts the jet out through the gill slits which can just be seen on the side of the shark.  It is also a static diver, and once at the required depth, the pectoral fins can make it change pitch.

Construction of this model is fibreglass for the front section, with silicone covering the complex tail-operation mechanism.

You can read more about 'Dennis the Menace' in "Marine Modelling International", June 1997 issue.

RC Shark - builder/owner unkown, possibly a kit?

This image came from a member of the submarine contingent on the forums. 

Construction could either be of wood or plastic (I suspect the former, although I'm happy to be proved wrong).  Diving is again achieved by using the pectoral fins, but steering is via that strange rudder at the back.  The lack of a proper tail fin might be explained by the desire to just see the dorsal fin cutting through the surface - the shark "trademark".

I'm not sure if this is a kit - the background looks distinctly like that of a model shop!

"TinTin" shark sub - Norbert Bruggen

If this was real, that'd be one helluva big shark - "You're gonna need a bigger boat!"

It is in fact a model "interpretation" of the famous TinTin shark-sub used in one of the French comicbook hero's adventures, built by model sub expert Norbert Bruggen. 

Construction is similar to the Great White model seen above, but pitch control is, thankfully, by the pectoral fins.

Norbert, I'd love a kit of one of these - preferably without the cockpit on the back, though!

Assorted sea creature subs - Orca, Dolphin, and "TinTin" shark - Norbert Bruggen

German expert Norbert Bruggen certainly knows how to do it - just what is the man's secret?!

The Orca is, again, a prop and rudder model, using the flippers at the front to control pitch.  The horizontal tail doesn't move at all, so steering is done by a rudder beneath it.

The Dolphin, on the other hand, steers via its tail.  The opening on the side (right side only) is a duct for the propeller, and the tail is hinged to move from side to side for steering.  I'm considering a smaller shark that works like this.

Go to for more images of Norbert's creations.