OP66.jpg (56466 byte)

66 Voidfighter

Build 17/11 2005, Pieces 437, Steps 79
L/W/H: 46/38/9 studs, 36,37/29,53/6,51 cm

66-0700.jpg (50871 byte)Nicely weird outline like you'd expect from a fighter with a strange cloaking technology.


60 Horn (1/4 2005)

Contest entry: I made this model for a contest on the Starwars/Lego-forum From Bricks To Bothans (FBTB). I was made aware of it in this thread in my favourite forum CSF, and caught interest in it because of the winning price: A cool starwars set that isn't available in Denmark!
Basically you should build a special type of imperial fighter from a written description, a piece of fan prose occuring between the 5th and 6th movie. Interesting task, a different type of "concept art", that had actually been discussed in a thread on CSF at around the same time.

On closer inspection, it turned out that the description was pretty vague: 

"His target was small, roughly half the length of his own X-wing, but just as wide. The traditional TIE ball cockpit was noticeably missing, and the hull of the ship extended from the cockpit like a tail. Curving, widespread wings were a stark comparison to the overly large solar panels of the TIE fighters. A large engine under the bulk of the cockpit and tail caught his attention, and as Damok rocketed past his target and spun around for another run, he grimaced as it mirrored his move perfectly. Two thrusters embedded in the end of each wing and micro thrusters along either side of the body gave it enhanced maneuverability and response."

Which in itself was pretty good, since I prefer to play with my inspirations rather than copying them directly (at the time I'd been working on the Redscout concept art project for 82 days without completing it).
But on closer inspection, the vagueness sounded slightly contradictory in my ears, and the first sentence: "His target was small, roughly half the length of his own X-wing, but just as wide" left me cold, since I personally dislike craft that is wider than long (I've rambled about proportion problems elsewhere). With the addition of "Curving, widespread wings" I just got stuck with a mental image of some wide, slow looking craft with long floppy Dumbo ears.

cylon_raider00.jpg (45781 byte)Nice alien head, but why have they slapped on a knights kingdom visor onto it?

Cylon inspiration: Some days later, Bram Lambrect posted a couple of pictures of some Cylon Raider, which gave me a huge boost of inspiration: I've considered making some sort of crescent shaped craft for quite a while, and if you could interpret the description of the Voidfighter that way, I was totally in for it! Guess I'm a pretty visual guy...

66-belly.jpg (51654 byte)I couldn't have made the underside of the wings "studless" (or rather tubeless) without sacrificing the thinness. And it's black so no one can see it anyway ;-)

Wings: My primary idea was to turn the wings backwards in a "swallow" configuration so it wouldn't be too long, and started on the curving of the wings.
This was very enjoyable, as I hadn't worked with any advanced wingconfigurations or plate turning in a long time, and it felt good to take the technique to a higher level: virtual studlessness.
However as time passed, I started to worry that maybe the swallow configuration wasn't a good choice: that it wouldn't look menacing enough. By the second day, I had the first wing roughly laid out, and made a second one. When I put them together my worst fears were confirmed: It did look very swallow-like, and too cute for an imperial fighter!

Proportions: After a while the topic of proportions was brought up for discussion, and it seemed like there was a general consensus that you could be pretty liberal when it came to interpreting of the description. At the same time, entries began cropping up at FBTB that were incredibly varied, both in style and dimensions, and often very selective about specific details in the description.
So I decided that I would probably get away with interpreting "target" as "what you wish to aim at", not necessarily the whole craft. And I turned the wings forward, like in the Cylon, reasoning that no one in their right mind would try to hit such narrow wings (or tail), which presumably don't contain anything more vital than solar panels.
At any rate, the craft contains most of the other details in the description in roughly the right places, so it wouldn't be too much off.

Colourscheme: Halfway through the wings the idea to make a TIE fighter "paintjob" by dividing the wings into grey lined sections popped up in my head, and I decided to continue the black and dark grey colourscheme on the rest of the craft, and complete it with a (roundish) dark grey cockpit. This is actually the first time I've tried to follow predefined "faction" colours, and I think it went pretty well.

66-0700low.jpg (37579 byte)Large engine in the middle, two smaller engines "embedded in the end of each wing" (the rear ends). The backward turned slopes on the sides and belly are the "micro thrusters"

Body: After the wings, I made the body, and inspired by the comment "and the hull of the ship extended from the cockpit like a tail", I decided to make a rounded nose and pointed back like the 60 Horn, but with a more greebly and insect like belly, and "A large engine under the bulk of the cockpit and tail" shielded with insect like solar panel shell sections (if you are having a material or paint that is able to suck up all light, you can just as well make the best of it).

66-cockpit.jpg (44625 byte)Foils locked in landing position. Note how the wings have a stepped structure. Originally I thought it would look silly, but because the connections are a bit slack, it actually makes the wings level

Cockpit: At first, I was actually a little sorry that I wasn't able to use a TIE canopy, since I've never used one in a model, but it gave me the ability to work with a much narrower body that fits the wings.

Instead I considered using an X/Y-wing canopy because it has silver frames like the TIE canopies. However I discarded this idea because it was too long compared to the height of the body, and chose the JSF one instead, even though that cockpit was still longer than the craft is high, and would have to bulge down below the belly. Luckily I was able to turn this problem into an advantage by slapping a pair of 4x4 dishes on the side achieving a nice roundish shape resembling a mixture of an insect head and the usual round TIE cockpits.


Well, guess I'm finally out of background story: Switching to short comments about building techniques...

66technique1.GIF (35839 byte)A slightly slack version of the jumper technique... haven't used it before for that reason. But it was the most space efficient choice for this job, and fitted in well with the surrounding tiles.

66technique2.GIF (111114 byte)More jumper technique: note how the lower part of the engine pod is tacked on with technic pins

66-body-technique.GIF (63869 byte)Body made with usual SNOT techniques

66-landed.jpg (37960 byte)The landing gear may be wimpy, but it's there!

66-0100.jpg (36953 byte)Nice slim profile that makes the craft harder to hit.
Yup, that's two double laser pods innermost on either side

...and a couple of aesthetic/tactical comments.

66-0130.jpg (46638 byte)Another 3/4 shot: all the engines are partially shielded to hide the red engine glow when the craft is approaching.

The craft was first presented in these threads at FBTB, CSF, and Byggepladen


Shared a 3rd place with the 63 Bubblecraft in the local 2006 exhibition Klodsfest. Each got 10 votes. First and second place were Float Plane (28 votes) and A10 Thunderbolt (20 votes) by Chris Paton. I did get the second place price though, since the rules apparently doesn't allow the same person to get both 1st and 2nd place.

I just thought it would be fun to make a little animation of the cloaking process described in the story.

"Without warning, the dark metal hull of the Voidfighter shimmered and faded to black. It appeared to swallow all light as it sat there on the deck, and Damok understood now why it had been so hard to spot these guys out there in the inky black of space. He knew of no technology that could render a ship's hull such an infinite shade of black on command, but he knew instantly that he didn't like the Imperials having it".

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