Tag Archives: Spaceship

Sting Operations

LEGO Space Police.

Space Police 1 Mission Commander/Galactic Enforcer. Photo from Jangbricks.

It took me a while to make my peace with the idea of the Space Police, and to this day only Spyrius and M:Tron among the early (pre-UFO) LEGO Space themes have inspired fewer builds.

The first Space Police sets came in just as I was entering my personal Dark Ages, and while the Blacktron subtheme provoked admiration laced with confusion (who exactly were these dark knights of the spaceways?), the Space Police line provoked more of a confusion-laced disdain. At the time, I managed to completely miss the fact that those were Blacktron astronauts in the cells, that this was the first factional conflict in LEGO history, and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a spacegoing police force. If I’d wanted to play cops and robbers with my LEGO, I’d have been into Town sets. What did they think they were doing, mucking up my beloved Space theme and turning it into a Town clone? Space Police? Bah!

Coming back to LEGO a few years ago, it still took me a while to get past my youthful hangups. I had remembered the second-generation Space Police’s unattractive grey livery colours as belonging to Space Police I, and I couldn’t for the life of me imagine why such an unpromising-seeming subtheme should have spawned not one, but two iterations, especially when the awesome Ice Planet subtheme (which I do remember with fondness even though it happened in my Dark Ages) only got a single run of sets.

I know better now, but only having acquired a Space Police trooper relatively recently I haven’t done much with them in the way of building.

Space Police Stinger MOC

This, then is only my third or fourth Space Police build at all, and of course I’m gravitating to SP1, just as I prefer my Blacktrons to be first-generation rather than “Future Generation” Blacktron IIs. Given my penchant for inverting the moral polarity of the Classic Space universe – Blacktrons are the good guys of the rebel alliance, while the Classic Space/Futuron/Space Police triumvirate represents an oppressive, totalitarian System – SP1 colours have the most sinister appearance.

Though conceived and built as an update to the Space Police Striker, it’s a little smaller and doesn’t incorporate the light-up features of the original. In fact, it’s closer in size to the much smaller Galactic Peacekeeper, though its configuration is more like the Striker. I’m calling it the “Stinger”.

My prisoner transport pod design is far more cagelike than the original SP1 pod. I’m afraid I went rather overboard with the laser bars concept of the original, which it must be said are way cooler than the SP2’s pods managed. I’d have liked something a little more like the tubular pods of SP3 (though in red), but I don’t have any of those half-cylinder elements in trans red. What I’ve ended up with looks vaguely Mediaeval. Still, it works, and I have to say that the way those cylindrical pods were attached to SP3’s Galactic Enforcer was ugly.

Underside, showing undercarriage in retracted configuration

The Stinger is presumably something like an extended-range Galactic Peacekeeper or smaller and more agile Striker. Perfect for chasing those dastardly Blacktrons all over the cosmos.

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This Is Not The V-Wing You Are Looking For

LL588 V-Wing transatmospheric craft

When looking for a name for this NCS transatmospheric craft, it seemed that “V-Wing” was the only possible choice somehow.

However, there’s already a Clone Wars-era Star Wars ship (possibly two) by that name, so I was reluctant to add a third.

Still, with those long wings that fold vertically up for landing, it’s so much more V-shaped than the V-wing. Which I don’t actually like all that much as a fighter; too derivative of the Jedi Starfighter. And since the NCS universe in all its variants is normally separate from the Star Wars canon universe and I know of at least one non-Star Wars V-Wing, I think it’s okay to add another.

LL588 in landing configuration

I know it looks like an NCS homage to Kylo Ren’s command shuttle, but I was honestly more inspired by the Imperial shuttle Tydirium. It was only after I decided to dispense with the vertical fin that I realised how similar it looks to the First Order’s second-best original vehicle.

I’ve ranted before about how ugly a lot of the new trilogy’s new hardware is, but there are a few exceptions. I mean, the Resistance X-Wing and First Order TIE Fighter can barely be told from their originals, and a lot of the other hardware is so obviously derivative that I don’t count it as a new vehicle (First Order Star Destroyers, uglified AT-ATs, Resistance cruisers). And so what are we left with? The ugly sideways brick of the Resistance troop transport, the First Order’s slab-sided repulsorlift LST, the almost-as-ugly Resistance bomber and that transport pod. The Crait speeders are a partial exception but I’m not personally that fond of them, so the only two new ships out of two whole Star Wars movies that I actually like the designs of are the First Order command shuttle and the TIE Silencer.

For the Star Wars universe, that’s a pretty terrible record. The franchise made its name and reputation at least in part on its iconic and awesome ship designs, and even the Prequel Trilogy had a lot of gorgeous vehicles, like the vaguely-ancestral-to-an-X-Wing Naboo fighters or the sail-powered vessel of Count Dooku or the AT-TE. The present crop of hardware designers just don’t seem to cut it by comparison.

However, this is NCS, and owes little to the Star Wars canon apart from a tangential inspiration. My V-Wing actually looks like a V and not a letter H.

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The LL588 V-Wing is a class of transatmospheric scoutship used by the Federation. Its long wings make it perfect for in-atmosphere work as well as in vacuum, but its flight configuration is suboptimal for space carrier operations due to the amount of hangar space they take up.

Though some carrier designs experimented with vertical-stacking small craft bays, the fact is that humans evolved on the ground and prefer flat layouts.

The solution ever since the days of ancient wet-navy aircraft carriers has often been folding wing designs, and the V-Wing is no exception. When raised for landing, the wings do take up a considerable amount of height, but hangar bays are typically tall to facilitate takeoff/landing operations.

The LL588 V-Wing is not heavily armed for its size, though the pair of underslung particle cannons are of a calibre normally found on corvettes and small frigates as secondary or tertiary weapons. In addition, the V-Wing bears a pair of wingtip lasers.

The main thrusters are augmented by wing-mounted microjets to aid in extra-atmospheric manoeuvring.

Spirit of Christmas Future

…And a happy new galactic year!

Rudolph and company are all very well for Earthly Christmas travels.  All around the world on a sleigh pulled by eight to nine flying reindeer is doable when your distances are only thousands of miles.  But in the galactic future, the Big Red Guy is going to need an upgrade.

The idea of Santa calling on the aid of warp-dwelling transgalactic lifeforms such as Hyperspace Reindeer has a lot of awesome story potential but it’s difficult to build.  No, Father Christmas is going to need a spaceship.

Enter the Spirit of Christmas Future.

Santa drives a Vic Viper, obviously.  This is only my third or fourth Viper, and I’m pleased with how it’s turned out.  And this from the guy who built his first Vic Viper and said to himself “Right, done that now.  Can’t see myself building another one.”

Since in the spirit of goodwill to all men, Santa has to visit all the factions of the Classic Space universe, even the Spyrius, he can’t have a spaceship in any of those colour combinations.  White with green and red accents works great against a black background but when I combined it with my icy planetary backdrop I wished I’d gone with more green and red.

Storage compartment for presents

There’s even a storage compartment for presents in the back.  Unfortunately it won’t open any more than that because engines, but the thought is there.  I can’t rebuild to correct it because that would drastically mess up the overall profile of the ship, and I won’t change the engines for the same reason.  But there it is.

Alongside Santa’s spaceship, the scene was crying out for some Ice Planet goodness, so I built a little Krystovian Christmas scene adjunct to go with it.  Stockings hung by the reactor with care, the reactor itself having a lot of the look of a Christmas tree, presents, hot tea and Christmas cookies.  Sounds good to me, except I hope that reactor is properly shielded!

Old Obi-Wan makes a pretty good Commander Bear, and I followed through on the slight Star Wars subtext by using Rei and Finn’s heads as well.  Ice Planet needs at least a few black people, after all.

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.

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.