Next project. You might all know the Bellator (http://fractalsponge.net/?p=2633). It was my first personal detail design for a large ship, so I guess it kicked off this whole series almost 10 years ago now. At the time, I was experimenting with how to do these types of ships, and the Bellator was technically and aesthetically the prototype for the ones that followed. Back then I didn’t have a very good idea of how to design build these large ships, or as one member of the stardestroyer.net forums once called them, “cyclopean murderwedges”, so there were a lot of compromises in the design. The flow of lines was a little janky. Some parts were poorly integrated. And since, believe it or not, I built the original as a sort of low-polygon ship, there were lots of compromises in the detail level that no longer really need to be adhered to with what computers are now capable of. After the first ship was built, I didn’t feel like continuing to tweak it, and so it’s sat since then apart from some materials updates. But now I’d like to rationalize the design a bit on the way to a massive detail upgrade in the basic geometry.
The in-universe design concept for role I like to have before starting ship designs also evolved with the project. I based the look of the ship off a poorly defined profile from Dark Empire, which Curtis Saxton called the largest of the observed Star Cruisers at 6-7km:
But as the project went the power estimates rose, from a heavy cruiser to a battlecruiser to what reasonably should be a dreadnought. Also, the design was featured in the work I did for the Star Wars Essential Guide to Warfare book. The notes for the book postulated that Bellator was a battlecruiser version of the never-depicted Mandator. I might have had a partial role in nudging the original intention of course a bit; the Dark Empire ship this was based on was slated to actually be a Mandator. But I felt like such a ship didn’t do the concept justice, so in the end, the Mandator I/II ended up in the 8km size range, and there was supposed to be a (rare) Mandator III in the 12km size range. Now all of this is lost to Legends (hehe), but the idea that a Mandator is related to the Bellator is one I liked – that, is cut down the Mandator I/II frame and strip away most of the carrier functions, to enable near-destroyer power-to-weight and acceleration. The old design though felt a little too small for this, so I’ve always wanted to expand the Bellator frame a bit, so that it could plausibly be derived from the Mandator I/II lineage. So this new version is bigger than the original ship – subtly wider, a little deeper, and longer (7.5km vs 7.2km), and with rearranged reactors to enable a 40-50 xISD power ship (4-5e26W+), vs the old ~30xISD (3.3e26W) ship. That gets it closer to the hypothetical 7.7e26W Mandator II extrapolated from the Incredible Cross Sections books. Aesthetically I also was always a bit annoyed that the engine cowl was so short relative to the rest of the hull; a little extra length allows for hypothetically more power, and also in my opinion a prettier profile and more balance between the angular and the curve bits.
The armament was also a little disconnected. At the time, much of it was an excuse to concept out what big ship guns actually looked like, guns that were never really seen on screen on ships bigger than an ISD (model making concerns at the time). So as the base powerplant idea shifted, the guns shifted. For example the large twin heavy turbolasers started at 400 teraton equivalent, then went to 560 briefly, and ended up at 720, and the turrets were distributed a bit randomly, especially the twins, which were often stuck singly on sites with admittedly good arcs, but a little odd for battery organization. So except some concentration there, and probably a few more turrets in the process, given the power upgrade. Otherwise, it’s probably going to look much like the same Bellator you know, and hopefully love, but with detail levels about that of my recent Allegiance redux.