Tag Archives: Spaceship

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.

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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.

Making Strides Forward

For all that I love the Blacktron, Classic Space is still what first drew me to LEGO and really made me love it. I’d have enjoyed LEGO if the Space theme hadn’t existed (I’d have been a Castle fan instead) but the fact that it was spaceships and travel to other planets sealed the deal for me.

So naturally, coming back to LEGO as an adult, my first impulse is still to Build A Spaceship. Benny from the LEGO Movie strikes a chord with me; like him, I find that the answer to a lot of problems could well be “build a spaceship”. Need to get somewhere really fast? Build a really fast spaceship! Need to protect yourself? Build a really shooty armoured spaceship! Relationship trouble? Build a spaceship together! Building a spaceship makes you happy, and working together on something will help solve or alleviate the issue.

For all that, though, I still face limitations in my building. I’m not going to be building any Seriously Huge Investments in Pieces any time soon, unfortunately; though I might be able to technically pull something off it would be a really crappy looking Rainbow Warrior, and just no.

The problem is that while our household has a reasonable array of colours with which to build, the amount of bricks in any one colour is not huge, especially by AFOL standards. I’m nearer the low end of the economic ladder than the top, and I don’t feel I can reasonably justify laying out $200+ for any of the huge sets with the really large elements and numerous minifigures that are so useful for that sort of large-scale building. When I buy LEGO bricks, it’s not in the huge job lots I would need for vast SNOTwork landscapes or 100-stud-plus-long starships.

So this smallish space fighter represents my largest Neoclassic creation to date. Even at microscale it hasn’t really got any bigger than this yet.

The thing is, SNOT-type shipbuilding is more piece-intensive than conventional building, and while my collection of blue is growing, it’s in no way to be considered large. The decision to build this with all-SNOT construction was the right one artistically, but it did stretch my piece inventory (surprisingly, in the smallest bricks like 1×1 blue plates).

Still, it’s turned out rather nice. As AFOL-built Neoclassic ships go I guess it’s pretty vanilla, but as a stepping-stone to hopefully greater things it’ll certainly work.

After toying with several different names (it was nearly the Oberon-class or the Andromeda-class) I’m going with Telcontar-class Space Superiority Fighter. Bonus points if you can catch the reference!

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The Telcontar-class is a series of transatmospheric space superiority fighters of the Federation. On the larger side for the agile space superiority type, unlike many such vessel classes the Telcontar comes with wings and transatmospheric engines enabling operation from atmosphered planets as well as airless moons, starbases and space carriers.

Much of the “extra” mass, in fact, is concerned with such systems, particularly the extra reaction mass needed to attain escape velocity from planets with sufficient gravity to support an atmosphere.

This gives orbitally- and transorbitally-launched Telcontars an acceleration and/or range advantage over space fighters not designed to land, although most of those have a manoeuvre advantage over winged, atmosphere-capable ships.

The robust design, operational versatility and comparatively high armament ratio make the Telcontar-class a favourite with colonial space forces, and most Telcontars bear the blue and grey livery of the Federation’s Colonial Space Fleet rather than the black and blue of the centralised Space Police fleet or the predominantly white “Futuron Fleet” of the Federation Core Worlds.

The Telcontars’ primary armament of four heavy lasers and six secondary proton cannons (including two rear-facing) make it one of the few Colonial Fleet space fighters able to go toe-to-toe with Space Police Vipers; in inter-service wargame exercises, this fact has earned the “second class” Colonial Fleet a grudging respect.

Elemental Dragon of Classic Space

The completed Space Dragon

The completed Space Dragon

Dragon? Spaceship?

Yes.

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Combining my two favourite things to build into a single MOC, this is my “Elemental Dragon of Classic Space”. Apparently I have access to enough blue now to pull this sort of thing off.

We’ve seen “Elemental Dragons” of all manner of “elements”; I myself have built an Elemental Dragon of Steampunkery. LEGO likes elemental powers, and their list of elements is fairly extensive, with only tenuous connection to the various classical lists. I figure I’m on safe ground.

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Whether it’s a spaceship shaped like a dragon or a dragon with spaceship-like features, I think any Sir Benny would be pleased with the result. It probably doesn’t breathe fire, but it might breathe plasma. By the same token, it doesn’t have any obvious laser cannons (possibly those stubs under the wings?), but a plasmatic breath weapon is almost as good.

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I tried out two different versions of the legs. The first, directly above, here, was a more draconic version, definitely dragon legs rather than anything else, and rather begged the question of how the creature/vessel’s propulsion worked.  It also had a couple of other tweaks, particularly the placement of the horns.

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Then I decided that combination leg/thrusters was the way to go, abandoning the claws and slightly strange back feet for a quartet of engines. The resulting legs are a bit stubbier, and part of me is unsure about completely giving up on the claws, but it works better for being a spaceship and it’s still recogniseably a dragon.

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Besides, as the Elemental Dragon of Classic Space, it should have Classic Space features.

The wings are regrettably studded, but I used all of my available grey tiles to alleviate the problem and this was the best compromise I could manage between wings of an appropriate size and shape and total unwieldiness of weight. I’d have preferred a smoother finish, but you do what you can.

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Likewise, a red or white astronaut would have looked better, but according to some suit classification schemes the green suits are mech drivers, so that does sort of fit. And I still have yet to purchase Classic Space astronauts in those colours, so I’m stuck with green for the moment.

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Rahrr!

Rahrr!

A (Very Tiny) Rag-Tag Fleet

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Classic Space meets Battlestar Galactica in microscale.

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The original 1980s version would probably be more appropriate; this is Classic Space!  I started out with the two tiny ships, then built the smaller Galactica-esque ship and decided that it did look very Galactica-like.

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But I decided it was too small to really be a full-scale Battlestar, so I built the big ship, deliberately aping what I remember from the original show.  Colonial Vipers would be invisible at this scale, so I leave those to your imagination.  Here’s the big ship in all its glory:

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Ophiuchi-class Star Carrier

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Carriers were some of the earliest Bendix-drive military vessels. Due to the mass-intensive nature of the Bendix wormhole stardrive, the large interstellar jump-capable ships that both held Humanity together and made interstellar combat a possibility were massive, ungainly vessels with the manoeuvring ability of lead-armoured sloths.

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By contrast, a relatively powerful laser or particle pulse cannon could be installed fairly easily on a small single- or dual-seat space fighter, which by virtue of its small size was far more agile and less apt to be hit with gigawatt energy beams. Ergo the development and deployment of the space carrier in the Federation and its offshoot political entities.

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The Ophiuchi-class was one of the most successful Federation star carriers of the pre-gravitic drive era. Coupled with its squadrons of Rattlesnake– and Constrictor-class fighters, it provided the Federation with a way to take the fight to its enemies and strike at targets light-years away from any Fedearation system.

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As defensive weapons, the Ophiuchis featured nine defensive weapons turrets, each incorporating a pair of eight-barreled multi-megawatt antimissile/antifighter lasers. Rapid-firing and striking at lightspeed, these guns and others like them were one of the standard defensive weapons systems of the era.

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This is not really anything special as far as building or technique goes, but I find it a pleasing construction. I hope you find it so, too.

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This is about my idea of what a space carrier ought to look like, rather than the boxy HALO types that always look weird to me. You don’t like it, go make your own.

All Alone in the Night

Remember Babylon 5?

Star Trek‘s 1990s rival, in a completely different universe that featured, what a concept, spaceships that moved as if they were in zero-gee and vacuum.

I loved that show, loved the different tech levels of the different races, loved the fact that humans still acted like humans (I’m looking at you, Star Trek).

And I think my favourites among the various alien species were the Narns.

Ambassador G'Kar, the show's leading representative of the Narn Regime

Ambassador G’Kar, the show’s leading representative of the Narn Regime

Reptilian-looking but marsupial-like in their reproduction, the Narn Regime were the lowest-tech of the major races, but still dangerous for all that, particularly to the Centauri, against whom they held a specieswide grudge for the former Centauri domination of their homeworld.

Narn Frazi-class Heavy Fighter

Narn Frazi-class Heavy Fighter

This is one of their spacecraft – the Frazi-class heavy fighter that serves as the Narn Regime’s main space fighter. Armed with two pulse cannons, it is well-armoured but less manoeuvrable than some ships.

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The Frazi-class is crewed by a single Narn pilot.

I’m quite satisfied with how this turned out, even if it’s just a microscale. Managing the bidirectional up-and-down building in the way I did adds a new technique to my toolbox.

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The tail fins aren’t quite TV-accurate, but they’re as close as bricks will come at this scale. All in all, not a bad job.  And here’s the original, for comparison purposes:

Fanart reproduction of the Narn heavy fighter.

Fanart reproduction of the Narn heavy fighter.

 

Oh, Had I Wings…

100_5437The Eos-class is an advanced spatial flyer known for its variable-angle wings, foldable landing gear and agility in transatmospheric operations.

Named after the ancient Greek goddess of the dawn, the Eos-class’ wings give the craft utility in atmosphere as well as in vacuum, where the three magnetoplasmadynamic thrusters give it a high speed and excellent responsiveness.

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Some versions of the class are unarmed, but the most common version incorporates a quartet of proton cannons for asteroid cleanup and antipiracy work.

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The Eos is usually employed for scouting duties or as a transatmospheric superiority fighter, where its agility can be maximised to good effect.

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I think the part of this I’m most pleased with is the folding landing gear. The drop wings are nice, and the cockpit works well with the generally curvy look of it, but the landing gear? Mmm.

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I’m showcasing my new blue Classic Space logo element (I just bought three from Bricklink), so now I can make Classic Space ships with the appropriate emblem.

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I really ought to get some more trans yellow window elements, but they’re so darned expensive.