Tag Archives: Spaceship

Abugida Spaceport

Abugida Spaceport

From a relatively simple build of a Classic Space Y-Wing, this has grown considerably. The Y-Wing was the initial inspiration, though.

I have to say that the Y-Wing is one of my favourite Star Wars ships. Never mind the fact that it seems to exist only to get shot down by TIE fighters and you’d have to have a death wish to fly one, the heavy fighter component of the Rebel Alphabet Fleet is just as iconic in its way as the sexier and more famous X-Wing. It may have taken until Rogue One for the movies to show one actually shooting anything or doing some damage, but presumably they were doing that damage all along without getting any credit for it. And I’m a sucker for the underappreciated.

LL433 Ypsilon starfighter; ie NCS Y-Wing

This is the LL433 Ypsilon starfighter.

Initially I just did what’s conventional for me and built an angled display stand for it so I could show it in flight. It looks cool that way, but after a day or so of looking at it and anticipating the upcoming DFWLUG meet on the 14th, I thought to myself: “You know, this would be much more impressive with a whole spaceport around it.”

The upright fuel tank and floor grilles were the first things to be built, along with some actual undercarriage for the Y-Wing, then I progressed to a much simpler and smaller version of the back wall and the radar dish.

Placing minifigures around the scene (and I’m so glad I finally have enough of an astronaut corps to build more complex scenes like this) I realized that the pilot would have quite an awkward time of it trying to get into his cockpit.

Mobile staircase? Mobile staircase. This is actually one of my favourite parts of the whole scene, and marks the first time I’ve used those clips to hold a bar at an angle. Somehow I thought it would be a more finicky operation than it turned out to be – one of those AFOL techniques where you merely have to look heavily at it to send elements pinging off into the nether recesses of behind the bookcase. Not so; those clips actually seem to be designed with that usage in mind, and I have to say it looks awesome.

Both Star Wars and the NCS universe (whichever variant you’re in) employ droids for a lot of roles, so I decided my spaceport needed at least one. The tall, pseudo-wheeled robot I ended up with looks rather like the Kaminos had a hand in its design, but it’s more distinctive than the endless procession of armed turtles you sometimes get. No offence to Peter Reid; the turtle droid is a wonderful piece of hardware. But there are so many copies.

Yellow-suited astronaut and K-M1N0 class droid

From there, I decided I needed a refueling/resupply truck, so I built one of those, too, using the languishing trolley wheels element as its rear wheels. I tell you, every last wheel element I’ve used on this build is one I rarely or never (til now) employ on a MOC. For the record, the cylinders with the black stripes around the middle are either antimatter or fusion power cylinders (I can’t make up my mind what level of future tech I’m working with) that go into the rear of the LL433 behind that rear dish. Unfortunately making the dish into an opening door isn’t going to happen, so you’ll have to use that languishing faculty known as your imagination.

Lastly, the overhead crane, because it adds a more three-dimensional, less flat element to my rear wall. And it’s a vital part of any spaceport, even if the LL433 Ypsilon Y-Wing doesn’t have anything in the way of cargo space that would need loading or unloading.

I think one of the most satisfying features of this build for me is the amount of ethnic and gender diversity I’ve managed to incorporate. I need to get hold of some Black Panther sets so I can get some ethnically black female minifig heads, but I’ve got a pleasing array of skintones (including El Mustachio driving the mobile staircase) and more than one female, so I’m happy. The future is not ethnically monochrome.

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Komodo

Between single- and dual-crew space fighters and large frigate- and corvette-class vessels is a huge size range which in civilian vessels comprises the larger Courier- and smaller Trader-classes: small-to-medium vessels with between two and twelve crew. Military ships in this displacement bracket tend to have larger crews for their displacement, not having a lot of their tonnage allocated to cargo; the Gunship class bracket typically runs from around four to around twenty crew, which upper limit would typically be considered a small corvette.

The Komodo-class is a small example of the Gunship class, intended to accompany fighters and provide heavier fire support. This is typical of small Gunship design philosophy; larger Gunships act more like extremely light fleet screening elements, with heavy antifighter and antimissile armaments and maybe one or two larger-calibre guns.

The distinguishing feature of the Komodo-class is, of course, the jawlike frontal arrangement hiding the primary antiphoton beam cannon. The jaws are almost purely cosmetic, though the teeth are constructed of high-strength buckycarbon sheathed in titanium and honed to a monomolecular edge, and can be employed as an ultra-close-in weapon system to slice into or crush enemy ship hulls.

The cannon on either side of the “head” cockpit area are heavy plasma beam generators, providing the Komodo-class with its regular forward firepower.

Rear defensive cover is provided by a pair of laser cannon situated in the tail, but the Komodo-class’ primary defense is its manoeuvrability. Featuring a pair of dual-direction vectored thrust fusion drives, the class’ vessels can literaly turn on the spot or fly backwards or sideways at need, making the Komodos more manoeuvrable than many fighters. Indeed, some commands use squadrons of Komodo-class ships unsupported by lighter fightercraft in a fighterlike role; though the acceleration of smaller vessels is almost always greater.

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Okay, the chomping mouth makes no sense from a pure space combat perspective. It’s pure Rule of Cool and pretty in-your-face about it.

Still, it’s one of my favourite parts of this whole ship and provides a nice first use for all those recently-acquired Nexo shield elements.

This started out its life as a Classic Space-themed Komodo dragon mech, and while I was really pleased with the head, the more I looked at it the more I felt like the head was too big for the body and the body just wasn’t cool enough.

I could have reworked the body, but I was unconvinced I could do a good enough job to justify that head, and besides, even the clickstop universal joint hinge I used could barely support the weight.

I decided to take the head and rework it into a spaceship. The class name comes from there, but it was almost the Kronosaurus-class after the extinct marine reptile.

The engines are technically attached with an “illegal” connection: the Technic pin holes in the main hull are just a fraction out of line from the pins that go into them, meaning that the joints are stressed. But for once, I don’t care; the overall look is worth the minute amount of stress and I’ve stressed enough Technic axles with my usual design of “in-flight” model stand that I’m sort of getting inured to it.

Anyway, this is the Komodo. Enjoy.

LSS Cytherous

Dragon-carved star frigate of the Galactic League, LSS Cytherous is typical of the League’s design approach to spacegoing vessels.

The Galactic League is an ancient transstellar body of numerous sapient species, whose incredibly high technology masks the inherent reactionary conservatism of its members. Most member species advance technologically only at a glacial pace, and the few fast-paced galactic species like humans are considered disruptive and dangerous.

The League’s conservatism and high technological level manifests itself in a predilection for ornate design, and figureheaded starships are the rule rather than the exception.

Given the League’s ancientry and dislike of humans, it might be surprising that a human mythological creature would be used as a figurehead, but dragons and dragonlike creatures are common to the mythology of many Galactic worlds. The Cytherous is the form of draconid in the mythology of the Sthan Ka Ree, one of the eldest Galactic species – a pseudo-avian race who occupy many administrative positions within the League.

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Apparently I like the idea of dragon starships, because this isn’t my first. This 100-stud SHIP uses the head of Zane’s first ice dragon from the Ninjago theme as a figurehead. I’m also pleased with the incorporation of the Coruscant planet sphere elements like I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

Built in mostly studs-forward configuration, this could be thought of as SHIPtember practice, or simply as something I built because I wanted to. It’s also my first SHIP which I built without actually trying to get it to 100 studs. I just measured it afterwards and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it does actually measure the magic 31½ inches.

Space Sphinx

LL-817 Sphinx

No, not the mythological creature. Nor the Egyptian monument. I’ll explain.

The inspiration for this was simply to build a nice, solid Neoclassic Space transport ship, medium-to-large in terms of original set comparisons and carrying at least two crew.

Shape-wise, I had the Cayman somewhat in mind, though this is its own ship and not a stunted copy. Anyway, that’s where the broad-bodied, blunt-nosed look comes from. Enter the Sphinx.

The angled wings are what gave the Sphinx her name. A modern aeroplane with a diagonally-angled tailplane is said to have a “butterfly tail”, but the wide body and stubby wings put me in mind of a rather fat moth rather than a butterfly per se. Something like a hawkmoth, in fact.

The typal species of hawkmoth, the Poplar Hawkmoth (native to my homeland Britain), is in the genus Sphinx, so that’s where the name comes from.

The build itself is fairly conventional, but sometimes that achieves the right look perfectly well. I think perhaps an old-style 4x6x2 trans yellow windscreen element might have integrated better with the rear passenger section, but those things are expensive. I’ve recently upgraded to a better-paying job, so money isn’t quite as tight as previously, but I still have enough poor-person habits of mind that I rebel against the idea of paying upwards of $5 US for a single dinged-up windscreen element.

Look! Undercarriage! 😀

Still, I’m pleased with the overall shape and look of this, far more than the relatively conventional mostly-studs-up construction might suggest.  Possibly one of my better NCS ships, in fact.

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…?

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

Hydra Deep Space Probe

The Hydra deep space probe, LL-817

Well, it seems like I still haven’t got the elements for a full-scale Classic Space SHIP, but this does represent a substantial increase in size over my previous “largest Classic Spaceship”. At 25¼” long, it tops out at a smidge over 80 studs, which is 160% of my previous 50-stud Classic maximum.

This represents my first minifig-scale spaceship with a real interior rather than just a cockpit. The inside isn’t all that interesting, but there’s space for several astronauts to sit, stand or walk around. As built, it contains a red astronaut, a white astronaut, a blue astronaut, a green astronaut and my new yellow astronaut, so now I only need a black astronaut to have the full set of available colours.

It’s perhaps a little boxy and clunky, and those three fins give it something of a scaled-up Colonial Viper look, but as an experiment in “just how big can I build a Classic Spaceship these days?” I’m going to call it a success.

Engine section. Those half cones make a pretty good scaled-up Classic Space-style rocket nozzle.

As far as names go, with that obvious Colonial Viper ancestry, it needed some kind of scaled-up snake name, but nothing too predatory. It’s a probe ship rather than a combat craft, and the name should reflect that if possible.

After some thought, I went with “Hydra”, putatively after the constellation rather than the mythological monster, so this is the Hydra Deep Space Probe.