Tag Archives: Space fighter

Black Viper

The clean, conventional lines of the Colonial Viper are most unBlacktron, really. However, having built a Cylon Raider (1980s version) in Futuron colours, a Blacktron Viper does complete the symmetry.

This isn’t a straight copy of the Colonial Viper, either the original version or the reboot, but like my Futuron Raider, it’s definitely in the “inspired by” category.

Blacktron I hardware tends either toward the sleek and streamlined (like the Battrax) or the nastily unconventional (cue the asymmetricity of the Renegade); and while this is smooth, the shape doesn’t give quite the impression of sleekness and is certainly a very conventional, hero-type design.

However.

As I’ve been mentioning on this blog, in these parts at the moment the Blacktron movement is a heroic rebel Alliance rising up against the brightly-coloured tyranny of the System and its shiny Classic astronauts (frowny faces punishable by Disappearance). And in that inverse version of the Classic Space/Futuron/Blacktron shared universe, the conventionality of the Viper-esque lines make a certain amount of objective sense.

Or it’s a sophisticated visual irony and the Blacktron are their usual bad selves.

Either way, I built a Blacktron Viper to go with my Futuron Raider. And of course, I had to take a pic of them facing off.

I think that with this creation I’m done with this mini Classic-Space-meets-‘80s-Battlestar-Galactica kick. Though I do wonder whether a Blacktron Battlestar would work…?

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By Your Command

Apparently I’m in ‘80s Battlestar Galactica mode or something.

Futuron Raider

Normally we might expect that if we’re building a Futuron interpretation of a 1980s Battlestar Galactica ship, it would be the Colonial Viper, leaving the Cylon Raider for the Blacktron. However, in this part of the universe we run on an inverted, mirror-dimension sort of setup in which the Blacktron Alliance are the good guys and the Classic Space/Futuron/Space Police triad represent an oppressive megacorporate System. So it’s the Futuron that get the Cylon Raider.

Cylon Raider (original 1980s version)

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The Colonial Raider-class transatmospheric fightercraft is a tailless flying-wing design space fighter with twin nuclear engines. The configuration is inherently unstable for unpowered atmospheric operation, but it is considered unlikely that any fighter would have to make an atmospheric flight without power. The weapons systems of 24th-Century combat tend towards utter destruction of a struck vessel of this size rather than any survivable hit.

The Raider includes twin wingtip-mounted lasers and a pair of plasma cannon mounted in the nosecone. The cockpit is large and spacious for a single pilot, and the command variant includes a second seat in tandem with the first for no increase in overall size.

Planet Futuro’s colonists are a mixed bag of allegiants of most of the major System transcorporations, and their white-with-black livery is a departure from the older blue-and-grey livery of the System, selected initially as warning colouration to make astronauts aware that the vessels are interstellar-capable and include antimatter power plants.

Since almost everything moved into the Tau Ceti system that includes Planet Futuro was powered by antimatter, the livery has become associated with the “Futuron” colonists.

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Now, how about a Blacktron version of the Colonial Viper…?

Original Colonial Vipers

NCS’ Wingèd Chariot

Auriga-class Heavy Fighter

The Auriga-class heavy fighter is a transatmostpheric attack craft of the Galactic Federation. Named after the ancient Terrestrial constellation depicting a charioteer, one of the distinguishing visual identifiers of the Auriga is the pair of disclike force shield generators located aft.

It is not every Federation fightercraft that is large enough and has a powerful enough energy plant to operate a force shield generator of this size, let alone mount two of them, and it is this dual shield and its power requirements which make the Auriga so comparatively large a fightercraft. Indeed, Hoplite was considered as a class name, but this would have broken with Federation tradition of naming fightercraft after Old Earth constellations.

The Auriga-class is sparsely armed for all its well-protected nature, but the weapons it does possess are relatively powerful. A pair of 10cm laser cannons form the primary weapon system; these are considerably more powerful than the 5cm mounts usually found on fightercraft, but there are only two of them. Backing these up are up to four standard small-craft torpedoes, usually Mark 7s with proximity-fused plasma warheads or bomb-pumped laser warheads, though occasionally a mix of Mark 7s and Mark 11 Electronic Warfare torpedoes are carried.

The Auriga-class is less manoeuvrable than many pure-space fightercraft designs, but has the advantage that it can freely enter the atmosphere. Auriga squadrons have been known to take advantage of this by entering the outer atmospheric layers of gas giant worlds to hide and ambush aggressors like space pirates or the Blacktron Alliance.

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Something of an homage to the old Minbari Transport from 1990s TV show Babylon 5, my Neoclassic Space version is necessarily smaller but has the same sort of overall shape.

I liked Babylon 5, and I remember the Minbari ships in particular with much fondness. Their transport was almost pedestrian-looking beside their vertically-oriented angelfish-like cruisers and trilaterally symmetrical space fighters, but it still had the same sweeping curves and flowing grace. Compared to the ugly box ships that the human race flew, the Minbari showed you how it’s supposed to be done.

There are some obvious differences, notably the prominent trans yellow windscreen and general Classic Spaceity, but that was the original source of inspiration. I hope you like my adaptation of the basic configuration.

Just A Cockpit With Engines

Balancing out my last Blacktron space fighter, I decided to build another one in the Classic Space prototheme’s secondary palette.

XK-7 Space Fighter

Then, too, I had some ideas for a double-cockpit fighter with a rear-facing tailgunner, like the Star Wars Rebel snowspeeder.

The execution of the cockpit is fairly old-school and simplistic. I’ll admit it could be better done, but I didn’t realise when I started building how many of the household’s white bricks were in use on a model of the head of a some web-comic character made by one or other of my daughters. I could have gone with regular Classic Space colours, but I don’t have two matching trans yellow windshield elements of any type I wanted to use, so I decided to go ahead and build in white anyway. It doesn’t make that much of a difference.

The mass of cockpit area is pretty extreme on a ship this small, so I’ve tried to go for broke on the cockpit interiors, with actual pilot’s chairs, a rack for the airtanks, fancy controls and computer support. I’m not often this detailed in my cockpit modeling, but with so much of the model the otherwise blandly conventional blue windscreen cockpits, I really had to.

The other place I’ve been really experimental is with the engines. The ship is practically nothing but a cockpit with engines, so there isn’t a lot of other place to do anything, but the twin drives show some semi-experimental down-side-out technique that is a bit fragile but which I rather like the look of.

The wings, similarly, are diifcult to keep in place when swooshing, but I like the way they look.

The undercarriage was a necessity because of the way the engines hang down below the bottom of the cockpit section. It’s a little primitive in front, and a little weird in back, but it does the job of raising the engines off the deck.

All in all, while I’m not quite as satisfied with this as I am with the Black Horus, I’m viewing this as a fairly successful technique testbed.

Unusually for me, it doesn’t have a name. I’m out of inspiration for names (a rarity for me), so this is the XK-7 space fighter. Long live meaningless numbers!

Black Horus

Blacktron Black Horus-class heavy fighter

The Blacktron Alliance space fighter designated the Black Horus-class is a jump-capable heavy fighter designed for long-range combat operations without carrier support.

Quite a large vessel for a single pilot, the Black Horus‘ mass is considerably less than it appears from the ship’s dimensions, due to the open-framed, near-hollow design. The design is in part a reaction to Federation targeting software, which tends to target the visual centre of a detected spacecraft; in the case of the Black Horus this can result in the beam passing right through without impinging on the physical structure.

The class is well-armed, with twin heavy lasers forward and a pair of large antimatter accelerators at the wingtips. A small bomb bay containing fist-sized neutron detonators allows planetary strafing runs, sometimes earning the Black Horus a “space bomber” designation.

Much of the craft’s mass is concentrated aft between the four curved wings. This centre of mass includes the plasmatic realspace drives, a small jump engine and galactic coordinate calculator, as well as antimatter reactors and reaction mass. The antimatter accelerators at the wings contain their own self-contained antimatter sources for firing; they do not use general reaction mass.

The forward cockpit contains control systems and life support, as well as a set of small manoeuvring thrusters allowing a severed cockpit section to function as an emergency life pod.

The pilots of the Blacktron Alliance’s Space Flight Corps tend to view Black Horus flight crew as unimaginative plodders, and certainly the craft are not as agile or sexy as the lighter Nighthawk space superiority fighters. However, the Horuses‘ combination of strengths together with their individual jump drives give the craft something of a following in the Space Fight Corps, and Black Horus pilots tend to view their Nighthawk counterparts as hyperactive adrenalin-junkies.

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It seems like a while since I built a minifigure-scale Blacktron space fighter, but this blog’s post history shows that it was only a month or so back. Nonetheless, I got inspired for a space fighter. What’s the point of having Blacktron astronauts if I never build anything at minifig scale?

Obviously, there’s a lot of TNG-era Romulan Warbird in this ship’s design inspiration, but the D’deridex (stupid name)-class Warbird is one of the best-looking ships from the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe.

The general configuration seems to work just as well scaled down to space fighter size as it does in a massive (for Trek) war cruiser, and even though I initially intended a rounded cockpit shield I rather like the more sharklike, aggressive angular windscreen.

With that much Warbird in its ancestry, it needed an avian sort of name, but every raptorial name I tried on it didn’t seem to fit. It doesn’t look like an Eagle, a Goshawk, a Peregrine or a Kestrel. Vulture didn’t seem right, and neither did Osprey. Black Horus, though, seems to fit. Named after the hawk-headed Egyptian god of the morning sun, its solar, light-referencing background seems at odds with Blacktron darkness, but this is the Black Horus.

The ship has undercarriage which sort of retracts. The front undercarriage pads fold down sideways, while the single rear landing leg retracts into a recess in the hull. It’s not the best undercarriage in the world, and it makes the ship sit at a slightly odd sloped angle, but it technically has retractable undercarriage.

Likewise, the Blacktron insignia may be a little wonky-looking, but it’s sort of home-made. They are a couple of element 4297079 (the triangular sign with clip) that I’ve added black triangles to with a dry-erase marker. Which is about what I bought those for, and no permanent damage to the bricks.

Beowulf’s Bane

Grendel-class Interceptor

A strangely-shaped little space fighter needs a strangely-shaped name, and the monster from the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf seemed to fit the bill. Best of all, with that name it can then be based off a space carrier mothership called Grendel’s Mother.

I’ve been concentrating on microscale ships like the Thunderbolt and the Zycon-IX recently, and it seems like I haven’t built a minifigure-scale space fighter for some time.

The Grendel-class interceptor came about almost accidentally as I played around with a triangular cockpit design. I liked the emerging result enough to put some engines and descending wings on it, and the final ship is as you see.

Though it has a Classic Space astronaut for a pilot, it’s obviously not a Classic Space creation, but that’s ok.

I envisage this as a fast orbital-based interceptor, able to dip down into the atmospheres of planets but designed to dock rather than land. With those big engines out at the craft’s extremities, I imagine it’s quite agile, but it gives the impression of not being a very forgiving craft for rookie pilots trying to manoeuvre.

I don’t have much else to say about this, but I find its unusual shape and verticality quite pleasing.

Hammer Time

Apparently I didn’t need much of a break to be able to bounce right back into space mode. I’m calling this rather swooshy space fighter the Thor-class fighter, due to its vague resemblance to the Buck Rogers “Thunderfighter”.

It’s in many ways a pretty generic SNOT-built Classic Space space fighter, but I’m rather pleased with the variable-angle wings and the overall shape and heft of it.

There are no major greebly areas or incredible new techniques, but I just like the combination of those aggressive forward-jutting wing prongs and the smooth-yet-layered solidity of the back section behind the cockpit. I could see the Classic Space equivalent of Buck Rogers being quite happy with a ship like this.

Obviously, I don’t have a lot to say about this, but here it is. Enjoy!