I don’t build a lot of Star Wars models, but when my son wanted to rebuild my little Republic Assault Cruiser/Clone Trooper/Coruscant planet set, I got inspired to build something similar.
Praetorian-class Assault Cruiser
I envisage this as a kind of larger brother and successor to the Republic Assault Cruiser, so I’ve made a similar display stand that will also showcase an Imperial stormtrooper of the classic variety.
Inspired by my success with the cruiser, I got creative for a follow-up microbuild of the classic Imperial shuttle.
The Imperial shuttle has to be one of the most elegant and stylish ships in the entire Star Wars universe. Kylo Ren’s command shuttle tries hard to echo it, but it’s ugly by comparison.
This is a serious problem with The Force Awakens, actually. Aside from the Millennium Falcon, which still rejoices in its “hunk-o-junk” status as one of the best-looking hunks-o-junk in the galaxy, and the second-generation X-wing and TIE fighter, which have to echo their iconic originals, all the ships in it are ugly. Disturbingly so, given the record of the Star Wars universe for producing beautifully iconic ships.
Kylo Ren’s shuttle is one of the better ones, but it’s a brutalist copy of the Empire’s Tydirium-class. The First Order landing craft are okay-ish. They look like World War 2 LSTs that fly, which is fine given their role, but they are still just ugly slabs of metal.
The Resistance troop transporter, though, is unforgivable. All the dynamic elegance of a brick and none of the WW2 design ethic of the First Order’s landing craft. It is, quite simply, hideous.
With that pilot’s pod at one end I guess it’s meant to be a derivative of the B-Wing, but really, why? I know a landing craft doesn’t have the same coolness factor as a fighter, but still. The Resistance are supported by the New Republic and have the Mon Calamari and others to design their ships. Surely they could have made something more stylish than this.
The only other ship of note in The Force Awakens is the First Order Star Destroyer, and it’s painted black so you never really see it.
Anyway, this is an Imperial, not a First Order, starship, and is thus better-looking. I expect it’s a product of the busy Kuat Drive Yards, like most of the Empire’s larger ships.
I’m a little hazy on the exact role of an “Assault Cruiser”, but it sounds like it ought to be a planetary assault ship, packed with landing craft, AT-ATs and so on, and potentially capable of making planetfall itself.