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Mara Mining Station H17 Features: Over 100 lights Working turbolift. Rotating exhaust fans and satellite dish. Landing pads for ten ships. Garage bays for six ground vehicles. Mara Station H17 is situated on the planet L’imearn Main, a desolate planet with rich deposits of an iridescent mineral, Coredium, used in the production of several energy based technologies. Coredium is a stable mineral meaning that while iridescent, the ground upon which Mara Station is built is solid. Mining Coredium involves drilling a hole in the planet’s crust followed by exposing the Coredium to a solution (the formula for the solution is a company secret) that liquefies the Coredium causing it to expand and bubble up to the surface where it can be more readily collected. One of the greatest benefits of using Coredium is that upon liquefaction, Coredium needs no other processing in order to achieve a usable state. Furthering the uniqueness of this mining operation, the Coredium “mines” have be created by simply adding the solution to existing craters on the planet’s surface. Mara Station H17 was initially built as a research station consisting solely of the garage bays and associated landing pads on the west end of the current structure before the current mining process was perfected. The larger garage bays on the northern side of the structure housed the research laboratory while the smaller garage bays on the south side housed Moondogs used to scout the surface and bring mobile drilling rigs into the field. Upon discovering an important use for Coredium and a method to successfully mine the mineral, Mara station quickly expanded by adding a larger research facility to the old research station as well as multiple new land pads used to ship out mined Coredium. Mara Station also quickly became a popular target for Blacktron raids. The constant Blacktron raids led to the placement of three Peacemaker SAM sites as well as a permanent garrison of fighters at the station. View from the left side: There first two photos I took just last month while this MOC was on display at BrickMania ToyWorks in Minneapolis, MN. The original display, however, was built for BrickWorld, Chicago. Here is the backside of the base from the display at BW. Gives you a sense of where the cargo landing pads that lie on the backside of this base, a clear shot of which I couldn't get at Brickmania: Speaking of the 100+ lights- here are a few shots while this was on display at BrickWorld: I am pretty sure one of my personal space heroes, @Si-MOCs took this picture! Spot a ship or build you like? Here are some links to some of the various models that appear on this build: Ground Vehicles: LL928 M.C.V.P Maverick LL928 M.C.V.P U.V.P* MoonDog Ranger 4 Landing pads above the garages on west end: LL951 Blue Jacket LL214 Wasp LL1220 Dragon Hunter LL302 Hornet 1 Landing pad on top of base: LL929 Galaxy Explorer* 3 Landing pads on east side of base: LL165 Locust (x2) LL428 Monarch 2 Landing pads on back of base: LL330 Grasshopper LL330 Grasshopper-D variant* *Looks like I have a couple that haven't made it on EB yet. I will have to add those soon.
After establishing air superiority , Blacktron changed tactics and began harassing OrionBlu’s ground operations with ground based guerilla strikes with shock troopers and Harvester Terror Drones. The Harvesters were faster and capable of traversing rocky and hilly terrain better than any ground based vehicle in the OrionBlu arsenal. In order to counter the strikes, Orion Blu initially believed countering Blacktron assaults could be accomplished with retrofitted Grasshopper with stronger ground clearing weaponry. The modifications were unsuccessful as Blacktron implemented several technologies used to confuse the auto-targeting sensors on the Hoppers. OrionBlu tried a second modification by removing the cargo bay doors and adding gunner station inside the bay. This methodology proved in effective as the Hopper’s maneuverability was weak and seriously dangerous as the engine pods also produced heat and radiation that could be lethal to the gunners after the radiation shielded cargo doors were removed. To counteract these problems, OrionBlu commissioned Cerberus Systems to develop a new engine with reduced downward heat and low radiation to employ on the modified Hoppers. As part of the requirements, the new engine design was required to fit inside the same engine housing that fit the current Grasshopper engine pods. Based on the parameters, the new engine pods were completed and built to spec, but the reduced thrust in the new engine modules made the Grasshoppers even less maneuverable than before. As a result, Cerberus designed a fighter specifically designed as a gunship to highlight the benefits of creating a ship with a specific purpose in mind. With its role at the forefront of every design decision, Cerberus created a fast, light, and maneuverable ship with a slight forward rake to keep the gunner always angled for ground view. The engine pods were successful in eliminating nearly all radiation and dangerous levels of heat in the VTOL enegines and a large front mounted search light on the front of the ship was implemented to enhance the ship’s spotting capabilities in poorly light conditions. The ship was idealized as a smaller version of the Grasshopper used to swarm ground based enemies. The ship naturally earned the nickname “Locust” and was quickly approved for production after a porotype cluster of Locusts dispatched an entire squad of Blacktron Harvester Drones with no casualties. The Locust also proved to be an adequate air-to-air fighter with strong forward mounted medium laser cannons and a heavy chain rail guns matching the fire power of the Blue Jacket, though the Locust’s top air speed and maneuverability were considerably less than the Blue Jacket. The result was a gunship that did not require air to air support, but greatly benefitted when included. The Locust also featured a utility drone mounted in a top cargo bay. The utility drones were common equipment on several OrionBlu vehicles of the time and this one was used primarily as a search and recon to help flush out enemies taking cover in tight spaces.
After gaining air-superiority, OrionBlu began requiring additional support and specialized craft. The first specialized craft designed was the LL 330 “Grasshopper” often referred to simply as a “Hopper”. The Hopper’s function is as a landing and support craft used to move personnel and light equipment between planetary systems and within a planet’s atmosphere. The Hopper is known to be rugged with strong shielding and heavy VTOL engines delivering a very smooth ride. While the Hopper can take both atmospheric and plasma based weapons punishment, it is not an effective dog-fighting craft having limited maneuverability and minimal forward facing weapons. The Hopper does carry top and bottom mounted medium plasma turrets to ward off enemy fighters or clear ground-based threats. Non-military applications often call for a replacement of the Hopper’s top turret with an advanced communications array. The Hopper also contains two top mounted cargo bays which house tactical drones for ground based operations.