drclark

[LDD MOC] Colonial Vipers

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I finished a recent update to my TOS (MK-I) Colonial Viper in LDD/Bluerender.

Thought I would render it with my MK-II version for comparison.

vipers.jpg

The MK-I version is a major update over my previous versions and incorporates many of the building techniques from the MK-II version.  Both feature nearly studless exteriors and fully retractable landing gear.  It was quite a challenge to incorporate the landing gear while getting the shapes as accurate as possible in a "mini-fig" scale implementation.  The cockpits are very cramped and not as detailed as I would typically like, but that was one of the compromises to achieve the overall form.  Though, not apparent from the picture above, both models have studless under-bellies allowed by many of the newer "snot" bricks that are now available.

The MK-II version contains 322 pieces and has been built in real bricks.  It has been posted for some time and can be found in this brickshelf gallery

The MK-I version contains 438 pieces and for now is a virtual model only. Other renders can be found in this gallery (when made public).  Though previous iterations of the MK-I have been built, this one relies on many newer parts and will take some time to acquire via bricklink (if they exist in the desired colors).

Thanks for looking,

drc

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These look really like straight out of the battle star galactica show ! Great work !

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Been fiddling around with my BSG Viper models in LDD and decided to do a quick render of all of them together.  Since the MK I viper is seen briefly in the museum hanger of the mini series reboot, I imagine that all of these models could have existed in either the original series or reboot series timeline.  My fictional backstory is set in the TOS timeline since that is where my fondness for BSG began.

viper_family.jpg

Backstory from right to left:

The Scorpion is a early precursor to the MK I Viper.  I have seen it referenced as the "antique viper" or 6th Millennium Colonial Fighter.  It is seen in the original series episode "The Long Patrol" when Starbuck stumbles upon a forgotten prison colony that pre dates the beginning of the cylon war.  This vessel was phased out of service as the MK I vipers were introduced and many found their way into the hands of smugglers and pirates.  I chose to depict this as a "factory fresh" model but have also modeled it as a beat-up, heavily used, weathered vessel as shown in the TV episode.  I will be uploading more renders to its brickshelf gallery as I get time.

The Viper MK I is the classic Viper from the original TV series.  It was originally designed as a space superiority fighter/interceptor for fleet defense being catapulted out of launch tubes of a battlestar to rapidly engage an attacking force.  It is highly maneuverable and boasts superior short duration speed and acceleration resulting from its turbo boosters. Its two laser cannons are sufficient to destroy enemy raiders though it is somewhat under-gunned to be used in the strike/attack roles.

As the MK II Vipers were entering service in numbers, surplus MK I spaceframes were upgraded at fleet depots to the MK IA configuration, to better serve the strike attack role.  Armament load out was supplemented by the addition of twin wing/tail tip rapid pulse rate laser blasters for strafing soft, unarmored targets and ventral hard-points allowed for carriage of 6 nuclear torpedoes enabling a full squadron to be a serious threat to an enemy basestar.  Additional armor, jamming electronics and an enhanced sensor suite improved survivability rates.  Provisions for external tylium tanks allowed for extended use of turbos allowing the strike vipers to make high speed runs through a target area.  The increase in strike capabilities, added weapons and armor did adversely affect agility and dog fighting abilities.  When loaded for attack missions, the MK IA squadrons would  be launched out of the main landing bays since the Strike Viper was no longer compatible with the Battlestar launch tubes when carrying external ordinance packages.  Working in conjunction with MK I or MK II escorts the Strike Viper squadrons enjoyed great success against hardened enemy planetary and capital ship targets.

Building on the success of the MK IA, a number of MK I and MK IA craft were sent back to Starhound's factories to be re-manufactured into MK IB strike models.  This involved upgrading the engine modules for increased power output for higher speed, an improved reaction control system to regain some of the maneuverability that was lost as a result of the added mass. This allowed MK IB models to self-escort themselves into target areas on strike missions as well as  fill the fleet defense/interception role in a pinch if the MK I / MK II squadrons suffered heavy losses.  If pressed into the fleet defense role, they could be launched from the catapult tubes when no external ordinance was being carried. Additionally, the nose section was lengthened to incorporate an improved sensor suite, network comm systems and higher capacity life support system allowing the MK IB models to also double as extended range scouting craft that could either outrun or fight their way out of a hostile situation.  The MK IB excelled as a true multi-role craft.

With the success of both the MK IA and IB models, Starhound proposed the ultimate evolution of the MK I platform with the MK IC "Super Viper" model.  The spaceframe, wing and tail sections were heavily redesigned to allow incorporation of two additional laser cannons, improved sensor and jamming electronics.  Engines developed for the MK II model were fitted as well as a sensorwave absorbing coating to reduce its target signature on enemy scanners.  Intended for deep penetration missions into heavily defended territory, several prototypes were built and successfully tested.  Despite meeting or exceeding all design parameters, the Council of 12 feared that procurement of such an obviously offensive oriented craft would jeopardize the ongoing peace talks with the cylon empire.  Additionally, many members of the council balked at paying 1.5-2x the cost of a new MK II viper for what they viewed was an obsolete design.  The handful of prototypes that were built were assigned to a special missions squadron aboard the Battlestar Pegasus before she mysteriously vanished.

The MK II "Pit Viper" was developed as a successor to the MK I Viper in the fleet defense, interceptor and space superiority roles.  It featured advanced engine technology and a spaceframe built from advanced lightweight quantum alloys that allowed sustained speeds equivalent to MK I models at full turbo output and unparalleled agility.  It quickly proved to be a lethal dog fighter that the cylons had no equal for.  In its first major fleet action, the two squadrons assigned to the Battlestar Columbia decimated 4 waves of cylon raiders sent from two Basestars allowing the Columbia and her MK IA squadrons to press an attack, destroying one Basestar and forcing the retreat of the other.  It was believed that this was one of the factors that suddenly caused the cylon empire to pursue a peace settlement.  As one of the preconditions of the peace talks the Council of 12, at the behest of Lord Baltar, agreed to reassign the MK II squadrons to the 12 colonies to be used only for planetary defense.  Nearly all of the MK II squadrons were lost on the ground during the cylon sneak attack, with the few that got off the ground, quickly overwhelmed by superior numbers.

Lastly, the MK VII ViperX project was a next generation research project aimed at revolutionizing the colonial space superiority combat capabilities.  The advanced craft would have acceleration and delta-V performance that could produce G-forces that could exceed the physical limits of the human pilots.  Planned to include the latest in artificial intelligence based pilot aids (to assist in recovery and prevent the craft's performance from killing its pilots), networked sensor fusion, its design represented a potential quantum leap in squadron combat tactics and capabilities.  In fact the performance potential of the craft was so great, many military leaders were advocating the development of even more advanced AI systems that would remove the pilot from the system altogether to allow the craft to realize its full combat potential.  Opponents of this controversial project insisted that the incorporation of such AI systems would be embedding the exact types of technologies that the colonials were fighting against in the bitter cylon war, with many fearing these advanced combat machines would eventually turn on their creators.  To alleviate these fears, Starhound engineers decided to retain a human in the loop as the basis for the craft's design and were focused on developing advanced G-suits and looking into the physics of inertia modification to attempt to overcome the human limitations. Only 1 spaceframe mockup was built at the time of the cylon surprise attack.  All records of the MK VII project were lost as a result of a direct-hit of a cylon nuke on Starhound's development center outside of Caprica City.

After the attack the lone surviving Galactica had both MK I and MK IA squadrons assigned.  As the Galactica assumed the role of protector of the rag-tag fleet of survivors, it was clear that the time for offense was over.  The MK IA craft were sent to the Celestra to be stripped down and reverted back to their original MK I configuration as more fleet defense fighters in the alert tubes would be needed if the fleet was to survive its quest to find the 13th colony.

 

Builder notes:  Other than the Scorpion and the MK II, these are all basic variations of the MK I build.  I really enjoy the ability to quickly explore slightly different build variations and color schemes in LDD.  I will be updating this post as I get more individual renders of each version posted.

Thanks for looking,

drc 

Edited by drclark
Added my MK VII model to the family picture and backstory description

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oh man those are excellent!!

I love battlestar and I think you're really captured the look!!

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Battlestar would be a perfect license ,not only for the ships ,but also for the Cylons themselves,who would translate well into the big figures line.

Thanks, for the great design work.

Kenny 

 

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I finally finished my first cut at the MK VII viper that was seen in the rebooted BSG series.  It is built in the ~1 stud = 1 foot scale I have built my other models to.  It is slightly longer than scale, but that is to compensate for the extra width that our overly obese minifigs require.

mkvii_multi_view_small.jpg

brickshelf gallery when moderated

In my research, I realized that there are two subtly different versions out there.  The original has the wings blending into the fuselage all the way out toward the nose and has different shaped wings.  The "MK VIIB" has the wings blending into the fuselage about the midpoint of the nose (and remind me a lot of how the wings on an F-18 blend into the forward fuselage).  I chose to try to model the "B" model and used this site put up by one of the VFX modelers for the show as a reference.

This was a difficult build to try to make all the angles come together and look "right" at this scale.  The core is a 2x2 structure using the many bricks with studs on their sides that are now available.  The model literally has "studs up" in all 6 directions to achieve the form.

I did look at this excellent MOC of the MKVIIA by atomictoaster85 somewhat in the build process as it appeared much smaller and "true to scale" than other MK VII  MOCs I have seen online.  Given the shape of the rear fuselage behind the cockpit, there are only so many ways to achieve the "stepped" look with LEGO bricks at this size.and that portion of my model does look very similar.  I don't know if I am satisfied with the large sloped wedges on the sides of the rear of the fuselage relative to the MK VII reference I was using and may continue to twiddle with it in the future.

A minifig does barely fit into the cockpit, but as a result, the controls and instrumentation are not as detailed as I would normally like.  Yet another compromise when trying to build at a smaller scale.

I have been challenging myself to include fully retractable landing gear in these Viper models that closes cleanly.  On the nose gear, I didn't quite achieve the effect I wanted.  I had another nose gear design planned (similar to my LL919 model) but the nose structure became too compromised when I started deleting bricks to make room for the nose gear assembly.  So I ended up using a simple hinge piece with a 1x2 brick.  It works, but does interrupt the clean lines of the bottom of the craft.

Lastly, I'm not sure I like the minifig surfboards for the wing/tail tips.  I thought they would look cool, but are too wide for the scale I'm working at.  I would also like to eliminate the gaps on the wing/tail cannons.  Again, these are some things I might continue to experiment with.  But overall, I believe the design is 90% there, and I am happy with it for now.

Thanks for looking,

drc

Edited by drclark
fixed picture

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Hey - thanks all for the comments.

I've been tweaking my MK VII design and I am much happier with its appearance and believe its now much closer to the MK VIIB reference I was working from.  I have rendered the update next to my original cut for comparison.

viper_mkvii_comparison.jpg

brickshelf folder (when moderated)

I move the wings forward by 2 studs, reworked the rear portions of the fuselage sides to eliminate the large sloped wedges and create hints of intakes just behind the cockpit.  The rear fuselage tapers and wraps the upper engine better.  I got rid of the minifig surfboard wing/tail tips and reworked the cannon mounts to eliminate the small gaps that were very apparent on the side and top views.  The forward fuselage was also reworked to blend the wings better and eliminate some of the bulkiness forward of the cockpit.

I like the look of the rear end much better as shown in the picture below and rendered in a similar view to my reference, but the rear portion of the fuselage is a bit more fragile with some pieces only attached by 1 stud... I decided to sacrifice sturdiness for overall accuracy.

viper_mkvii_v4_rear_1_4.jpg

Viper_MarkVIIB_04.jpg

So, I am going to call this one done for awhile.....

Thanks again for looking,

drc

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Will you be uploading the LDD files? I would love to build one of these for my collection. 

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+1 for LDD files or instructions. I've been searching far-and-wide for a good viper build, and I would love to get the LDD files or parts list and instructions! I'm willing to pay - these are awesome!

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Nose on the MK1 might be a bit short, but overall this is a nice line-up of ships from this series, well done!

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