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Walter Kovacs

UCS Scale Predator Class Starfighter

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When I go about designing a UCS scale TIE Alt, I usually focus my energies on one or two key details. The wing shape is a given, so these details are usually elsewhere. For the Predator Class Starfighter, there were three elements that I felt were absolute necessities in the final model. Aside from the large, graceful wings, the design had to include four engines on the back of the cockpit ball, four lasers placed around the cockpit ball perimeter and the wings absolutely HAD to fold back for docking. Here is the result of my efforts:

apredator.jpg

Ideally the wings should cradle the sides of the cockpit ball. Try as I might, I simply could not find a way to get them closer without some serious structural problems. Perhaps offsetting the connection between the hinge and the wing with a few of these bent Technic Beams would work. I am a little worried about the torque that would add at the hinge, but it might do the job.

bpredator.jpg

This close-up of the ehgines shows a few of the big challenges on this model. First, the rear deck really encroaches on where the engines lie. So I had to keep the deck as thin as possible, which really limited what I could do structurally to support the wing hinges. I knew that I was going to use this Technic Hinge, along with its partner, to get the wing movement. The end result is that there is some droop in the wings due to their sheer size (the wings are 39 studs long). At this time, I don't see how I could add more support and still keep the engines where they are now.

Another major challenge was the back of the cockpit ball itself. I typically use this cockpit piece for the back, but the deprssions that I would use for the engines are 45 degrees off of where they should be. The challenges of rotating that piece and still mainatining a cockpit interior, much less actually connecting the wings, were a little too great for my meager skills, so I built a custom back out of plates and wing pieces.

You can see from this picture that I have indeed managed to get all four engines on the model. I flirted with using 2 x 2 x 2 cones for the engines, but when I went to plate building the back of the cockpit, I thought the round cone would detract from the rectangular plates. So I used the quad slopes instead.

The final, and perhaps greatest challenge, was how to actually connect the wing deck to the cockpit ball. I used two of these technic connectors (the dark grey parts that you can see in the back view), and then used a 1 x 11 Technic Beam that extends to the sides of the cockpit. You can see part of this beam in this picture. This also gave me a framework to build the top and bottom of the rear deck plating. It took me quite a while to get this one right.

cpredator.jpg

The cockpit itself is pretty standard (for me, at least). Probalby a bit too over-printed, but the Predator did have hyperdrive and shields, so there is at least a reason for the increased instrumentation.

Some of you may be familiar with a predator that has a slotted windscreen. According to the Wookiepeidia entry (link is at the top), the Squad leaders had a normal windscreen, while the rank and file pilots used the slotted windscreen. The only way I could think of to get a slotted style windscreen would be to take a blank, gray windscreen, and apply some custom decals to get the slots. Unfortunately, TLG has never made this windscreen in a solid gray color. The closest I could find (and the cheapest alternative) is Tan, which could be painted grey. This is way beyond my skillset, so the squad commander version is what I built to.

dpredator.jpg

As promised, the wings do fold back. Because of the extreme length of the wings, the center of gravity of the model with the wings folded are behind where the stand sits, so the model has to lay on a table with the wings folded.

The final design challenge didn't seem like a challenge at all when I started designing. I thought it would be easy to get the four laser cannons arrayed around the cockpit. It wasn't The side cannons weren't too bad. The Technic Beams connecting the wings to the cockpit provided the structure for the side cannons. But the top cannon really was a nightmare. In the end, I used a technique I had seen used in MINI building, using the two and three finger hinges to get an inverted plate near the top of the cockpit ball.

That's all I got. As always, Comments and Criticisms are more than welcome.

Feel free to check out the Gallery, when public.

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I like it. The predator was my favorite TIE, mostly due to the oddball shape. I like anything that looks weird.

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If you know, are these the TIEs from Legacy?

Never the less, looks like another outstanding TIE, one of your best. I always look forward to your next TIE.

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Good resemblence of the "real" TIE Predator! Also good alt. build!

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Thanks for the comments, guys.

I like it. The predator was my favorite TIE, mostly due to the oddball shape. I like anything that looks weird.

So do I, DoctorDude. So do I.

If you know, are these the TIEs from Legacy?

According to Wookiepeidia, they are from SW: Legacy. I don't pay too much heed to the source. As long as I have an image to work from, I'll attempt to build any TIE Alternate.

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