A Blacktron Shadow-Wasp swoops on two Federation troopers.
The BT4000 Shadow-Wasp is a single-pilot hoverbike-style combat skimmer used by the Blacktron Alliance. Armed with two antipersonnel-calibre laser cannons mounted on the fuselage and two energy lances at the wingtips, its relatively large size for a hoverbike gives it a power most such vehicles lack.
Beneath its space-black Alliance-livery cowling the SAMUKAI gravitic power plant is of a size more usually found in 2-4-crew patrol skimmers, though the Shadow-Wasp is optimised for speed and manoeuvre rather than patrol endurance. The SAMUKAI plant is a product of the notorious Nexo Power Labs of the Blacktron colony-world Stygian, responsible for the DRAKON power plant of the Invader modular space fighter. All that can be seen externally of the SAMUKAI power system, however, is a pair of particle exhaust regulators located one on each side of the forward fuselage above the laser cannons.
The Shadow-Wasp is typically flown from a standing position with space boots electromagnetically clamped to the pilot’s position for safety. All relevant controls are located on the twin joystick-style control levers for ease of operation; further options are accessed via datalink to the small onboard systems management computer.
The vastly overpowered gravitic engines of the Shadow-Wasp give the craft a linear flight speed twice that of most vehicles in its class, and its winglike gravitic deflection vanes allow manoeuvrability to match; however, the system suffers in terms of stealth, as there is no realistic way to shield or cloak the emissions of a power plant this size on so small a craft.
The twin lasers are able to be employed in either pulse or beam mode, though typically the rapid-firing pulse mode is preferred, with the energy lances providing the primary beam weapon. Energy lances are slower to fire than lasers, but do more damage, and are typically used against armoured targets.
My first Blacktron build of the year, and it’s basically a speeder bike.
I know some builders seem to specialise in speeder bikes, but I tend to gravitate more to vehicles with enclosed cockpits, and they’re rarer from me. But I think this might be one of my better ones.
Almost entirely SNOT construction, the only part of this Shadow-Wasp that disappoints me slightly is that I wasn’t able to employ the idea I have for making the pilot sit astride the vehicle. With the rest of the way it’s constructed it just wasn’t going to work. Next time, maybe. I did, however, manage to make a kneeling Federation astronaut: a much more finicky operation than I realised, needing the torso to be finely balanced on the disconnected leg beneath.
Kneeling minifig. A personal first, and surprisingly finicky to achieve.
The “Shadow-Wasp” name comes from my wife’s comment that the completed speeder “looks like a backwards-flying bumblebee”. “Bumblebee” itself seemed too friendly and Federation-y, but I kept within the same nomenclative region. It was nearly “Hornet”, but Hornet sounded like it needed more yellow, and putting too much yellow in the model is one of the most annoying ways people get neo-Blacktron builds wrong. For the record, the ratio of visible yellow to visible black should never really get above about 1:10. Blacktron II sets were more evenly split between black and white, but the first wave of Blacktron were overwhelmingly black, as is right and proper given their factional name.
I wanted to post this several days ago, but I haven’t been home in daylight to take decent pictures. Trying to photograph a black vehicle solely by living-room-quality artificial light is difficult. You either get this horrible grainy finish as the digital camera tries to cope with insufficient light, or you use flash and end up with a different kind of photographic disaster: an undifferentiated black blob with an ultrabright highlight on every single stud.
Yeah, I should invest in a light box, or at the very least some spotlights and diffusers. But on my limited budget it usually comes down to photography stuff or more LEGO bricks. And that’s no contest.
Until then, I have to wait for daylight, which means right after I get home from work on a Saturday, or Sunday afternoon, or a rain day if I get one. Hence the delay in posting and the fact that it’s now FebRovery and here I am with a speeder bike.