Tag Archives: Microscale

Not the Librarian-class…

Blacktron Liburnian-class battlecruiser: front aspect

Liburnian: (n) a light galley-type warship of the Roman Empire.

Having the Blacktron Alliance name one of their ship classes after something Roman is probably wrong. Even in my “Brightly Coloured Tyranny” alternate universe in which the Blacktron are the good guys and the Classic Space/Futuron Federation are the bad guys, the Blacktron represent the forces of freedom from tyranny, and more usually they are interpreted as forces of chaos and revolution.

Given that the Romans were the people that built Hadrian’s Wall with a castle gatehouse exactly every Roman mile whether or not it actually made sense with the terrain, the Blacktron are about as un-Roman as it gets. So maybe the name is a sophisticated irony, given that it’s named after a Roman ship type and the Romans were notoriously poor sailors.

Anyway, this is a microscale Blacktron battlecruiser of the kind I build when I’m not worrying about stud length and trying to build a SHIP. The bifurcated prow put me in mind of a pair of triremes or Ancient Greek warships mated top-to-top with the rams outward, and that’s how it got stuck with Liburnian as a class name.

Still, more aggressive-sounding than Librarian-class, right?

Blacktron Liburnian-class: front/side aspect

I don’t have a huge amount to say about this. It mirror-images almost completely top-to-bottom as well as left-to-right, which helps to give the idea that it’s designed for operating in zero-gravity. It has its armament of lasers and other cannons. I believe the twin red cones in front are spinal-mounted laser cannons, so I guess that makes the side mounts broadside guns. There are twelve smaller laser cannons mounted in four banks of three amidships, and there are four guns or missile tubes of some sort that have a rear firing arc.

That’s quite a lot of engines, and really I’d have preferred four larger ones using 2×2 dish elements in trans red, but I only have two of those and they’re being employed as sensor dishes, or perhaps something to do with the hyperdrive.

Not a massive model, but it looks pretty cool.

Motley Devil

Arrr! Avast, ye scurvy spacedogs!

Space navies aren’t always the only agencies to field armed starships. The Star Wars universe has its smugglers with their armed freighters, and many other universes have mercenaries, privateers and outright pirates.

The inspiration for this spacegoing privateer came from me trying out different combinations of my dark blue and dark red curved shell elements, looking for different ways I might use both together. Combining them in chequered fashion, I was put in mind of a Mediaeval jester’s motley, and I thought the combination had definite possibilities.

Of course, there are very few official space navies that are going to use chequered blue and red as livery colours. Even a putative Croatian Space Service would use red and white, not blue and red. And even fewer would put up with having a warship named Motley Devil.

Therefore, a privateer.

I’m not sure whether this baby is part of a mercenary fleet, a lone-wolf privateer or an out-and-out pirate, but I’m happy to leave that much open to interpretation.

Motley Devil‘s another large vessel. What is it with me and these huge vessels? She’s not as long as Liberator, at a mere 60 studs’ length, but even if she doesn’t remotely qualify for SHIP status she’s got a more satisfyingly interesting shape.

I think my favourite part of Motley Devil is the octagonally-arranged rear hull. Combining the ring of 45-degree angle plates with the central spine was not as easy as it might have been, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out.

Another favourite part is the jaunty skull decoration on the upper hull. It serves no discernible purpose other than to look cool, but who’s to say a band of privateers wouldn’t individualise the starship that is their home?

Motley Devil is relatively well armed for a privateer; perhaps she’s more of a mercenary than a pirate. I’ve reused those cool ball mounts for the main forward guns, and utilised most of the new elements I bought with SHIP construction in mind.

Those 45-degree angle plates really aren’t designed to have anything connected through the centre of the ring like I have, so there’s a major structural weakness, and it’s an unavoidable one. Still, it makes for a cool-looking ship.

Anyway, enjoy!

The Viper, Victorious

I said I was going to build a cruiser in the Vic Viper configuration, and here it is, more or less.

Another corner build using my lone Blacktron quarter panel (I need to get another one of those so that it can become a by-choice deal rather than a by-necessity), it has all the features required for a proper Vic Viper, but in a cruiser format.

The single vertical tail fin becomes a bridge sail section, the twin prongs are in place, and the wings curl upwards because of my decision to use Castle turret top elements.

I’ve been far more sparing with yellow bricks than even my usual approach to the Blacktron; something that many people seem to get wrong is that they put too much yellow in a Blacktron creation, with the result that it looks like construction hazard striping. The Victorious-class goes to almost the opposite extreme. It’s a major light sink, and wouldn’t be easy to spot using optical sensors against the blackness of space.

Thankfully for those viewing, I’m sure, I’ve shot my photos against a white background so that the details are more visible. That’s the problem with black ships and vessels: they’re hard to photograph well, especially with the primitive handheld camera setup I have.

As befits a cruiser of the more militarily-inclined Blacktron Alliance, the Victorious is fairly well-armed, with heavy spinal lasers, lighter defensive pulse turrets and intermediate-size long guns. Much of the armament is exclusively forward-firing, which may be a weak point of the design, but in my “Brightly-Coloured Tyranny” Classic Space alternate universe the Blacktron are a rebel alliance or resistance movement opposed to the corrupt Federation government and its oppressive Space Police. They aren’t necessarily going to have the experience to make perfect combat designs right off the bat.

Anyway, here she is, the Blacktron Victorious-class Cruiser, ready to oppose the Federation and do some damage to as many Space Police ships as possible.

Sanctuary Moon

A break from the Classic Space and Blacktron modes, but not from sci-fi, this Star Wars Original Trilogy build is unusual for me on several counts.

Number one, it’s vegetation. I’m not a great builder of vegetation; my trees are pretty simplistic and I don’t have a huge amount of the various leafy green elements that make good cround cover. This build used about 90% of my inventory.

I always feel like to get good at vegetation I need more plant parts and elements that would be good treetrunk and so on, but because I so seldom build very much with vegetation I never actually purchase any more. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

Anyway, Endor is a forested moon, and needs lots of vegetation even at microscale. I’m satisfied, at least, with how it’s turned out.

Number two, it’s microscale with actual human figures, a first for me.

I’ve never really liked the “stack of 1×1 round bricks = human” approach; it’s about the best possible approach at that scale but part of my mind always rebels at it.

This time, though, I’ve used it myself for Luke and Leia in the foreground.

Number three, it uses a technically “illegal” technique, also a rarity for me. The scout troopers’ heads are not properly attached, just jammed onto the ends of the black barbs forming the necks. It’s not that I don’t approve of “illegal” (ie “you’ll never see this done in an official set”) techniques, but I just seldom think of them in building context. A lot of the techniques seriously stress or deform the element, and I don’t have the inventory to sacrifice to the resultant breakages. I’ll need those bricks later.

This creation began as something else entirely. I was haphazardly putting bricks together to build a microscale space fighter when my visiting nephew said “that looks like an X-Wing”. A flurry of “Build a TIE Fighter!”, “Build a Star Destroyer!” followed, and I found myself putting bricks together for a microscale speeder bike.

The white clip elements from the “Mighty Dinosaurs” Creator set seemed like perfect Scout Trooper bodies, but I had to try several different things before I came up with this design for the heads.

And then an Endor scene just naturally followed, with a second speeder bike and a massive tree and underbrush. Putting in Luke and Leia just completed the Return of the Jedi scene.  The giant mushroom in the back isn’t official canon, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Tiny Giant

Microscale is fun.

I particularly like the very tiny creations that repurpose the smallest elements as something huge.

This is something along those lines. An immense building-sized monster mech attacking the city, battling a pair of valiant tanks defending. All rendered in tiny elements and resulting in a creation that can fit in the palm of a hand.

As a mech, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

As an exploration of scale, it’s doubly amusing.

Galactic Fleet Voyaging

LL206 Diomedes and her squadron

Apparently Neoclassic creations are like buses: you wait all day and then two come along at once.

I built the big one of these first, aiming for a vessel that would be of substantial size even if not actually the biggest I could build.

At a mere 50 studs in length, this is no Seriously Huge Investment in Pieces, but it represents my largest Neoclassic microship to date, and I think my largest microscale creation of any kind. Which is pretty pitiful beside some of the monster vessels which grace the Internet, but I hold this truth in reserve: I could actually build something bigger, and in Classic Space livery colours, too.

It’s helped in its size achievement by being mostly conventionally-built (SNOT construction is brick-intensive), but for all its largely old-fashioned technique it looks pretty good. At least from the top.

“Goose-necked” ships like this have a long pedigree in LEGO, going back all the way to the Starfleet Voyager of 1980 and rising up through the Galaxy Commander, FT Laser Craft and so on. I guess it’s a cost-effective way to make a ship that looks suitably large and impressive.

The overall configuration of this is vaguely reminiscent of the old Starfleet Voyager (though the twin-pronged bow section is more like the Galaxy Commander). It wasn’t built as a deliberate echo or homage, but apparently there are only so many basic ship configurations out there.

Still, the name of the Starfleet Voyager might provide something like a decent derivation for a class name.

The smaller escorting vessel was built afterwards, as I looked at the pile of blue, grey and trans yellow leftovers and thought “I could have built bigger after all”.

I’ve maintained a similar design ethos so that the two ships feel like they’re part of a unified fleet with common basic features, and it was rather fun to build a “similar but different” vessel like this. And then I went smaller again for the corvettes.

As far as scale goes, I’m thinking this is a decent-sized vessel. I’m using a rough scale of one plate thickness per storey, so with a 3.5m storey height including between-decks space for power conduits and ducts and so on, that makes each stud length 8.75m long. This gives a total vessel length of 437.5m, or 1435ft.

~

The Voyager-class star cruiser LL206 Diomedes is a member of the third flight of that class, named after heroes of the Trojan War, following on from the first of the fifth-flight ships, LL198 Odysseus. It is a medium-large vessel, one of the smallest to receive the designation of “capital ship”, though in truth it only fulfils this function in the outer colonies, where fleets are composed of smaller and more versatile vessels. In the full Federation wedge-of-battle, ships like the Diomedes are more like heavy screening elements beside behemoths like the Sovereign of Space-class dreadnought.

The third flight Voyagers replace the ventral pulse cannon turret with a twin-mounted penetrator cannon turret, adding to the two forward-firing penetrator cannons already mounted on the sides of the forward hull. The so-called “penetrator cannon” is an energy-intensive meson-decay weapon able to fire through an opponent’s shields. The rest of the primary armament remains unchanged from the second flight: three twin-mounted pulse cannon turrets and six capital missile tubes in broadsides of three apiece.

Diomedes and her sisters fire the XT-13 Werewolf capital missile, whose centrally-augmented fire control allows off-beam targeting to the extent that all six missile tubes may be fired at a single opponent even in front of or behind the ship.

For secondary weapons, the Voyager-class is well equipped, as befits the class’ colonial role where individual ships must often act alone and unsupported. The Diomedes‘ secondary antimissile lasers are invisible at this scale, but provide a good all-around defensive capability against fighters and missiles.

Like all Federation starships, the Diomedes maintains both interstellar hyperspace drives and sublight impellers. The physics of hyperspace field generation requires the Ilion field generators to be located at the ship’s broadest point perpendicular to the main axis, where they generate the ring-shaped gateway field which forms the entry-point into Ilion hyperspace.

Situated at the stern of the ship are the vessel’s sublight impellers. Though in form reminiscent of the ancient reaction thrusters by which Humanity made their first forays into space, the impeller drive is a reactionless pseudogravity-magnetic drive system requiring little actual fuel beyond that used for the ship’s main power reactors.

Diomedes‘ primary weakness is its limited integral small craft capacity. The main hangar ports are located ventrally on the after hull and mostly support the class’ various landing shuttles and pinnaces, but the ship does carry a half-squadron (six ships) of small one-man fightercraft, usually older designs like the Viper and Corsair.

Escorting the Diomedes here is LL3242 Scamander, a River-class light cruiser named after the principal of the seven rivers of Troy.

Doctrinally, the River-class are intended as fleet escorts, designed to screen larger capital vessels from attack by small fighters or missiles. Accordingly, while they bristle with light-calibre antimissile and antifighter lasers invisible at this scale, their sole primary armament is a pair of twin-mounted ion cannon turrets and a heavy laser cluster cannon located dorsally amidships.

With their designated role as fleet escorts, the River-class’ fire control system and sensor net are designed to be tied into that of the fleet, allowing them to provide coordinated missile defence to several capital ships.

Also flying in LL206 Diomedes‘ ad hoc squadron are two small Dagger-class corvettes, Falx and Shuriken, each armed with a single laser cluster turret. Corvettes are the smallest Federation vessels to bear an Ilion hyperdrive unit; their primary role is as light scouts or couriers.

Steam Wars

Microscale Star Wars steampunk. I love LEGO.

Steam AT-ST

Steam AT-ST

Stam AT-AT

Steam AT-AT

                          I started out just seeing if I could build a semidecent steamAT-ST at a scale at which the white ice-cream-ball elements work for steam clouds. This (to the left) was the result.

Ok, the feet are too big and the legs attach in the wrong place. Work with me here; it’s hard to model something that small and still end up with something vaguely realistic.

100_5569

Then I decided to build a steamAT-AT at the same sort of scale.

100_5588

They aren’t quite at the same scale as each other; the AT-ST would have to be about two thirds its present size for that. But the pairing sort of works.

SteamAT-ST feet would feel like a better visual fit, but the mechanics wouldn’t work with some of the structural decisions I made elsewhere in the model. But the whole looks suitably steampunky while remaining recognisably an AT-AT.

All-in-all, an enjoyable bit of microscale work.

100_5567

100_5566

100_5587

100_5586

100_5585