Tag Archives: Starship

The Ring of Gyges

You may have noticed, but I find mythology a fascinating source of names for my various LEGO spaceships and mechs and rovers and whatnot. And this small starship is no different, being named the Gyges-class cruiser.

The Ring of Gyges was a magical artifact from Greek mythology, mentioned by Plato in his Republic. Purportedly owned by King Gyges of Lydia, a Greek colonial province in what is now mainland Turkey, the ring granted the power of invisibility, much like Tolkien’s One Ring did.

Given its ring-shaped drive section, it almost had to be named after some kind of mythological or fictional ring or other. Nazgul-class would work for a Blacktron vessel, but this one is in Classic Space colours, and it just doesn’t work. It was almost Nibelung-class, or Avebury-class after the British stone circle that was constructed contemporary with the Great Pyramid. I suppose the main hull of the ship is even somewhat menhir-shaped, so that would have worked quite well.

However, I seem to have formed a connection in my mind between Classic Space designs and Greco-Roman mythological names; somehow they just seem right, you know? Ergo, Gyges.

I confess to being a bit of a sucker for both ring-shaped drive sections and for vertically-oriented ships, and this is both. The Vulcan cruisers from Star Trek: Enterprise were some of the most stunningly unique vessels produced by that entire franchise, and I loved them, especially the ring-shaped warp drive unit. It made me wonder why humans had kept on producing ships with nacelle designs, if the Vulcan ring drives were capable of such superior performance. Still, this being Trek it would have been the height of weirdness if the archetypal Federation saucer-and-nacelles design were Vulcan in origin and the humans produced very different-looking ships…

The oval ring section rather reminds me of the Odyssey, heroic starship of the awesome 1980s Greek-mythology-in-space cartoon TV series Ulysses 31, except turned on its side. The rest of the ship is very different, though; more like Star WarsJedi Starfighters with their hyperdrive rings. If there are other ring-shaped starships or starships with ring-shaped drive sections out there, I’d be interested to see them. Like I said, I’m a sucker for their implicit coolness.

Gyges is probably about the same length as a World War 2 cruiser or battleship if it were Real Life, with the trans red studs all around the ring representing the stardrive. I’m suspecting it uses something like a point-to-point artificial wormhole generator or similar; mostly because most of the sci-fi I’m familiar with uses something else: Star Trek has its warp drive; Star Wars and Babylon 5 utilise hyperspace; Stargate SG-1 used point-to-point gates, and Halo has some kind of foldspace, if I recall correctly. Using wormholes as stardrives sounds both plausible and uncommon, so it’s recommended on at least two counts.

I have no idea whether it’s even armed. The only obvious weapon candidates are the bar projections on the ring section and the twin cannonlike attachments on the sides of the main hull, but I’m thinking the bar projections around the ring are concerned with the wormhole drive’s functionality, and the “cannons” on the main hull just seem more like some sort of sensors or probe launcher. Probably it has at least defensive lasers, but I expect they’re too small to see at this scale.

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Motley Devil

Arrr! Avast, ye scurvy spacedogs!

Space navies aren’t always the only agencies to field armed starships. The Star Wars universe has its smugglers with their armed freighters, and many other universes have mercenaries, privateers and outright pirates.

The inspiration for this spacegoing privateer came from me trying out different combinations of my dark blue and dark red curved shell elements, looking for different ways I might use both together. Combining them in chequered fashion, I was put in mind of a Mediaeval jester’s motley, and I thought the combination had definite possibilities.

Of course, there are very few official space navies that are going to use chequered blue and red as livery colours. Even a putative Croatian Space Service would use red and white, not blue and red. And even fewer would put up with having a warship named Motley Devil.

Therefore, a privateer.

I’m not sure whether this baby is part of a mercenary fleet, a lone-wolf privateer or an out-and-out pirate, but I’m happy to leave that much open to interpretation.

Motley Devil‘s another large vessel. What is it with me and these huge vessels? She’s not as long as Liberator, at a mere 60 studs’ length, but even if she doesn’t remotely qualify for SHIP status she’s got a more satisfyingly interesting shape.

I think my favourite part of Motley Devil is the octagonally-arranged rear hull. Combining the ring of 45-degree angle plates with the central spine was not as easy as it might have been, and I’m very happy with the way it turned out.

Another favourite part is the jaunty skull decoration on the upper hull. It serves no discernible purpose other than to look cool, but who’s to say a band of privateers wouldn’t individualise the starship that is their home?

Motley Devil is relatively well armed for a privateer; perhaps she’s more of a mercenary than a pirate. I’ve reused those cool ball mounts for the main forward guns, and utilised most of the new elements I bought with SHIP construction in mind.

Those 45-degree angle plates really aren’t designed to have anything connected through the centre of the ring like I have, so there’s a major structural weakness, and it’s an unavoidable one. Still, it makes for a cool-looking ship.

Anyway, enjoy!

There’s Klingons on the Starboard Bow!

Klingon D7 K'tinga-class battlecruiser

Klingon D7 K’tinga-class battlecruiser

I do like Star Trek’s Klingons.

Due, presumably, to lazy modelmakers and producers, the Klingons never had anything like the number of different ship types that the Federation had. And that’s even including the Bird-of-Prey visual that the TNG special effects people used to represent at least four vastly different-sized ship classes, a trick that makes no in-universe legitimate design sense at all.

Whereas there were at least twelve separate Federation ship classes shown, and dozens more designed, there were only four, possibly five separate Klingon ship designs.

Out of that limited field I think my personal favourite is still the oldest, the D7, sometimes called the K’tinga.

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Supposedly the seventh iteration of a series of cruisers named after the Klingon drell lizard, the venerable D7 was the standard Klingon starship in Kirk’s era and still seen in service on more than one occasion in Picard, Sisko and Janeway’s TNG era. Which again makes no sense; it’d be like the Royal Air Force continuing to use Supermarine Spitfires in 2016. Refits can only go so far before it’s cheaper to design a new ship class, and the Klingons wouldn’t have been able to gain and keep an empire if they were stupid with their military tech (besides that being out of character for the Klingon warrior race). But that’s the situation we apparently have, and fans have jumped through all kinds of ludicrous hoops to explain what’s really just the producers being lazy and cheap in terms of in-universe continuity.

There are probably fans who’d have done the design work for free just to get their Klingon ship on screen, and the modelling too, come to think of it. Sorry to go on about it, but it’s one of my pet peeves about the Star Trek universe.

Anyway…

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Following on from my little Classic Space Bird-of-Prey (which I didn’t post here, but here you go), I had an inspiration for how to build the most difficult section of the D7 – the bulbous forward section – easily and without trouble in LEGO bricks. The only problem was that doing so would make the completed model fairly large, and necessitate an LDD work.

This is that completed model.

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I’ve gone for as much visual accuracy as I can muster; this is the D7 of film and TNG, not the original TV series, as evidenced by the squared-off, not round, warp nacelles. It’s the same basic design, just with slightly more advanced sci-fi modelmaking.

I think there’s a good chance this might actually have reasonable structural integrity if built in real life. Even that long, narrow neck section is actually fairly strong between the spinal long axles and the outer tile-and-plate wrappings. I make no guarantees, but there’s a chance.

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As to the inspiration for the forward command section, who would have thought that balloon segments would have so many alternate uses? So far I’ve used them in steampunk rayguns, fawns, mediaeval ships and now Klingon starships.

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I’d love to see an Enterprise model at this scale, either the movie-version original NCC-1701 or the -D version Galaxy-class. But a round saucer section that big… I’d have to really pull out all the stops on my LEGO modelling, that’s for sure.

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