Monthly Archives: June 2016

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Into Space We Go…

It’s been a while since I built a Classic Space ship, and I don’t think I’ve ever built an asteroid miner before.

LL364 Comstock Lode

LL364 Comstock Lode

This is the mining ship Comstock Lode, hull number LL373, a Motherlode-class asteroid miner designed to extract usable minerals from the countless asteroidal bodies of the Federation’s star systems.

A workaday industrial behemoth, it has none of the sleek elegance of ships like the LL928 Galaxy Explorer, but is clunky, functional and simply massive.


Large amounts of Federation Blue hull paint would be wasted on such a vessel, so the only concession to the Federation’s standard ship colour scheme is a small amount of blue, mostly around the living quarters and control deck areas, plus the ever-present “bumblebee” hazard striping on the wings.


The wide “mouth” of the vessel can swallow small to medium-sized asteroids for processing internally; these are manoeuvred into position with four grappling arms. These arms are actually larger than many classes of smaller Federation ship, though they appear tiny next to the bulk of the ship. Two large long-pulse mining lasers blast larger asteroids into manageable chunks. You can see an asteroid ready for processing within the maw; this is about as large a rock as the ship can handle.


Much of the internal area is taken up with processing equipment, smelters and holding areas. The amount of mined and smelted material that can be held internally is quite large, but relatively minor compared to the mass of ore processable by a Motherlode-class vessel over the course of even a few months. Mined material packets are typically encased in a covering of asteroidal nickel-iron and periodically accelerated off to a central depot using magnetic mass drivers.


Mining ships are fun to build. I hope I’ve conveyed the sense of a huge industrial vessel fairly well with all of the meaningless detail and greebles.


I’m pleased with the blocky, unsleek, heavy-functionality design, and the Classic Space colour scheme works well, I think. It usually does ;). About the only thing I “forgot” for fully authentic Classic Spacehood were the green-and-red running lights, but that fussy detail I’m going to claim is invisible at this scale.

I could easily rework the Federation Blue elements and bumblebee stripes in another colour, too, like red or yellow, and then it would just be a generic mining ship in whatever its company livery is.