Introducing the Shrike-class Interceptor. As what may be a first for me, I’m posting it here first before I show it on LEGO.com.
The Shrike is a two-seater high-performance spacecraft of the Federation, used by both Space Fleet and the Space Police. Its distinctive angled, semicircular wing configuration makes it fairly recogniseable, and whether they are dealing with the Fleet version or the Police version, enemies of the Federation find it one of the most formidable small- to medium-sized ships in space.
Two powerful engines drive the ship through space at high velocities, and though its agility is merely respectable, the Shrike’s high burst speed and capability of high sustained speeds (due to its high-capacity fuel tank) make it an excellent pursuit craft. Indeed, the Space Police typically refer to Shrikes simply as “Pursuit Ships”.
The Federation bureaucracy is not always very imaginative when it comes to the naming of ships, and the Shrike-class is one of the worst offenders. Its official designation is the bureaucratically bland “Two-Man Fast Orbiter”, though even on official Federal documentation it is typically known by its common name of “Shrike-class Interceptor”.
The vessel is armed with a pair of powerful beam lasers (occasional refits may use proton cannons) in the downward-angled wing sections. The standard laser armament is powerful enough to deal with most threats, whether Blacktron strike craft or large rogue asteroids.
High-powered particle screens prevent impact damage from micrometeorite strikes and other small space debris; these are stronger than on most ships this size and add to the craft’s high velocity envelope.
The cockpit seats two crewmembers in relative comfort; a plus for the extended patrols and pursuits sometimes flown by the Space Police. The seats are staggered, with the forward crewmember seated lower than the rear crewmember. This allows both pilots excellent visibility, and allows the ship to be effectively piloted from either position.
Behind the cockpit section, the Shrike includes a small cargo area accessed via a dorsal hatch. Though too small for a prisoner without constituting Cruel and Unusual Punishment, it can be used to stow a variety of mission gear or tools and supplies.
The Shrike‘s main drawback is that the high-performance nature of the craft requires frequent maintenance, making the craft unsuitable for exploration missions beyond the limits of proper Fleet and Police basing.
This ship is something of a personal milestone for me.
Up to this point I’ve never really liked or got into the Space Police. I remember them from my youth as the guys that more or less ended LEGO Space as I knew it. As a kid, I wanted interstellar (or at the very least interplanetary) adventures on distant worlds, seeking out new life and new civilisations, not some kind of galactic law enforcement. If you wanted to play police, that’s what Town was for. Bringing in Space Police seemed like it was taking everything I loved about the Space theme and junking it to make it more like Town.
Also, it was with the advent of the Space Police that the awesome first-generation Blacktron fleet went from intriguing second human presence in space to cookie-cutter bad guy. I liked them “different but not necessarily opposed”.
It’s taken me until now to get over that initial rejection of the idea of Space Police, but apparently I’m over it now to the point where I’m willing to make a Space Police model, even if it’s just a recoloured version of the Classic Space one.
And it looks so handsome in that blue-and-black livery with its transparent red windows that I might just make some more Space Police stuff.
Though what I’d really like to do is make the Classic Space Shrike in real bricks. I’ll have to price it up and investigate…