Author Topic: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly  (Read 5183 times)

Offline Indefatigable

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Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« on: July 14, 2010, 12:01:17 PM »
So, what do you think of kitbashes?  From my point of view, they certainly prove that starships are essentially modular, but I don't like most of them.  I'll try to explain, using aircraft as a comparison.

Ships made of modified parts, but meant to be new designs.  Examples Miranda, Nebula, New Orleans
They were obviously meant to be similar, but no the same as the originals, the Constitution and the Galaxy.  I like them, not just because they're good ships, they support the modular concept.  A nacelle is probably an integrated unit along the same lines as a jet engine.  I've never checked if a Boeing 737 could use IAE V2500s, but an A320 can use CFM-56s, and a 747 runs just as well on P&W PW4000s, RR RB.211s or GE CF6s.  I reckon you could take a Constitution nacelle and adapt it for a Miranda in a matter of hours (the TOS Tech Manual shows five attachment points on a standard nacelle).
It's a pity we never saw a New Orleans close-up, partly to get an idea of scale.  It's obviously a smaller design, but looks very similar, just as an Airbus A320 is very similar to an A300, but a lot smaller.  Using Galaxy parts would be difficult, they would probably be too big other than some small components.

Adding nacelles to an existing design.  Examples, E-D in AGT
Although aircraft such as the Britten-Norman Trislander are similar (in this case, the B-N Islander) they are generally stretched as well, so essentially a different design.  Frankly, what's the point?  You increase power demand by 50% and mess up warp field dynamics no doubt.  A new design would probably be better.

Ships made by combining parts of different generations together.  Examples often seen in DS9
Not a good idea.  Although certain aircraft, such as the Boeing Stratocruiser and even the Douglas Dakota, were sometimes re-engined with turboprops, that is a very complicated business.  Strapping two Connie nacelles on an Intrepid would probably be a bit like putting four Rolls-Royce Merlins on a Hercules.  Even if it could take off, it would be slow, unreliable and unable to carry any weight.  The other way round, AE 2100s on a Lancaster, would probably tear the airframe apart without substantial reinforcement.  Besides, times have moved on since a Lancaster was the world's most effective heavy bomber.  Other than retrofits or rebuilds such as the Connie refit, you may as well scrap the old ship and build a new one.

Pick-n-mix designs.  Example Yaeger.
Horrible.  Don't even go there.  Imagine a Tomcat cockpit strapped to an upscaled Sopwith Camel.  Ugh!
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Offline Data007

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2010, 12:25:29 PM »
The problem with the Wolf bashes isn't so much that they use Galaxy parts. I could see the parts being adapted wholesale. It's that a lot of the uses of the saucer actually involve large scale reconfiguring of the saucer. I'm pretty sure the New Orleans is two ventral saucer parts glued together, which makes little sense within the universe.
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Offline Juvat

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2010, 01:21:52 PM »
If you're going to get into adding nacelles to ships you have to understand the "physics" behind TNG era nacelles.  Essentially, each nacelle has paired warp coils creating two nacelles within one housing.  This means that the Galaxy has four sets of coils, so, to add another two in a third nacelle is a reasonable idea since the fields will be balanced.  Granted, it's still ghey, but whatever.
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Offline Indefatigable

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2010, 04:15:57 PM »
The problem with the Wolf bashes isn't so much that they use Galaxy parts. I could see the parts being adapted wholesale. It's that a lot of the uses of the saucer actually involve large scale reconfiguring of the saucer. I'm pretty sure the New Orleans is two ventral saucer parts glued together, which makes little sense within the universe.

According to Bernd's excellent page (link below), the New Orleans had an extra-big bridge module and fewer windows on the saucer (presumably indicating that it was a smaller ship).  Photographs of the model make it look very impressive, although the Galaxy resemblance is a little too striking.  Perhaps a closer shot would have required a custom-built saucer with a thicker rim.  The Cheyanne appears to be two bottom halves of model kits glued together, but with an extra-big bridge module from another kit.  Bernd's site has an awful lot more information than this.

http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/articles/wolf359.htm
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Offline Data007

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2010, 06:35:35 PM »
Sorry, I meant the Cheyenne.
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Offline Bernd

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2010, 04:39:12 PM »
Indefatigable: I agree with all of your points. And you used some good examples of aircraft.

Offline White Wolf

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2010, 04:42:19 PM »
I always like Kit bashes. To me, they always bring something fresh and new to the table.
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Offline The Unbound

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2010, 06:16:29 AM »
So, what do you think of kitbashes?  From my point of view, they certainly prove that starships are essentially modular, but I don't like most of them.  I'll try to explain, using aircraft as a comparison.

Well, if they're done right, and by 'right' I mean that they don't incorporate parts of submarines or coathangers, kitbashes help establish a common design among starships made around the same time. And it shows that components are sometimes carried over from one class of starships to the next, menaning that starship designers don't reinvent the wheel every time they need to make a cart. Which is a good thing.

Quote
Ships made of modified parts, but meant to be new designs.  Examples Miranda, Nebula, New Orleans
They were obviously meant to be similar, but no the same as the originals, the Constitution and the Galaxy.  I like them, not just because they're good ships, they support the modular concept.  A nacelle is probably an integrated unit along the same lines as a jet engine.  I've never checked if a Boeing 737 could use IAE V2500s, but an A320 can use CFM-56s, and a 747 runs just as well on P&W PW4000s, RR RB.211s or GE CF6s.  I reckon you could take a Constitution nacelle and adapt it for a Miranda in a matter of hours (the TOS Tech Manual shows five attachment points on a standard nacelle).
It's a pity we never saw a New Orleans close-up, partly to get an idea of scale.  It's obviously a smaller design, but looks very similar, just as an Airbus A320 is very similar to an A300, but a lot smaller.  Using Galaxy parts would be difficult, they would probably be too big other than some small components.

Adding nacelles to an existing design.  Examples, E-D in AGT
Although aircraft such as the Britten-Norman Trislander are similar (in this case, the B-N Islander) they are generally stretched as well, so essentially a different design.  Frankly, what's the point?  You increase power demand by 50% and mess up warp field dynamics no doubt.  A new design would probably be better.

Well, presumably there's a good reason why the Galaxy would need a third nacelle. Perhaps, as an old and cumbersome design, it needs that third nacelle to get above warp ten (which it would need to do to get to 13).

Quote
Ships made by combining parts of different generations together.  Examples often seen in DS9
Not a good idea.  Although certain aircraft, such as the Boeing Stratocruiser and even the Douglas Dakota, were sometimes re-engined with turboprops, that is a very complicated business.  Strapping two Connie nacelles on an Intrepid would probably be a bit like putting four Rolls-Royce Merlins on a Hercules.  Even if it could take off, it would be slow, unreliable and unable to carry any weight.  The other way round, AE 2100s on a Lancaster, would probably tear the airframe apart without substantial reinforcement.  Besides, times have moved on since a Lancaster was the world's most effective heavy bomber.  Other than retrofits or rebuilds such as the Connie refit, you may as well scrap the old ship and build a new one.

Of course, this assumes that starship hulls are like aircraft fuselages, which, to my understanding, are essentially aluminium cylinders with a pointy bit at one end. Perhaps starship components are sufficiently complicated to justify the expense of modification over new construction.

Quote
Pick-n-mix designs.  Example Yaeger.
Horrible.  Don't even go there.  Imagine a Tomcat cockpit strapped to an upscaled Sopwith Camel.  Ugh!

Quite.
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Offline Edymnion

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2010, 07:24:03 AM »
See, I was always of the opinion that Starfleet mass produced hull pieces, but not necessarily the tech inside of them.  So while it may look like a 200 year old refit connie nacelle, the coils and other tech inside could easily be of modern design, and they were just place inside an already existing box.

We've seen examples of Mirandas with glowing nacelles, which indicates to me that its easier to rip the guts out of the hull and replace them than it is to just swap the entire nacelle structure completely.  That makes me think that constructing the hulls is the major bottleneck in starship construction.  And given how often we see structures re-used, that indicates that when starfleet does gear up for a production run, they keep the assembly line running as long as possible and stockpile parts for future use.

Hence, when Starfleet needed a fleet yesterday, they hit the stockpiles and pulled out whatever they could get their hands on, crammed enough inside to get them combat worthy, and shoved them out the door.

Offline Indefatigable

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2010, 04:44:55 PM »
Of course, this assumes that starship hulls are like aircraft fuselages, which, to my understanding, are essentially aluminium cylinders with a pointy bit at one end. Perhaps starship components are sufficiently complicated to justify the expense of modification over new construction.

See, I was always of the opinion that Starfleet mass produced hull pieces, but not necessarily the tech inside of them.  So while it may look like a 200 year old refit connie nacelle, the coils and other tech inside could easily be of modern design, and they were just place inside an already existing box.

We've seen examples of Mirandas with glowing nacelles, which indicates to me that its easier to rip the guts out of the hull and replace them than it is to just swap the entire nacelle structure completely.  That makes me think that constructing the hulls is the major bottleneck in starship construction.  And given how often we see structures re-used, that indicates that when starfleet does gear up for a production run, they keep the assembly line running as long as possible and stockpile parts for future use.

Hence, when Starfleet needed a fleet yesterday, they hit the stockpiles and pulled out whatever they could get their hands on, crammed enough inside to get them combat worthy, and shoved them out the door.

Thinking in naval terms, that does make some sense.  A steel hull takes years to construct, and is still essentially a sculpted box into which you put technology.  Ships have been completely rebuilt in the past, not just simple re-enginings like the QE2.  The entire Courageous class were converted from cruisers into aircraft carriers, although they were often unstable, and nowhere near as effective as purpose-built carriers such as the Ark Royal.  Staying with the carrier theme, at one point we had MAC-ships, converted grain carriers and oil tankers, serving as light carriers to protect convoys from U-boats.  Conversions apparently took about six months.  They were nowhere near as good as a proper escort carrier, but they worked.

Whichever model applies to starships, I suppose I can see how the Art Department were thinking.  They were also pressed for time, and constantly required to come up with something 'different'.  Perhaps we should forgive them if they sometimes got things a bit wrong.  Perhaps not the Yeager though.

Indefatigable: I agree with all of your points. And you used some good examples of aircraft.
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Offline Edymnion

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2010, 11:33:57 AM »
Perhaps we should forgive them if they sometimes got things a bit wrong.  Perhaps not the Yeager though.
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Offline Stoo

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Re: Kitbashes - good, bad and ugly
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2010, 02:57:26 AM »
The Yeager actually looks alright, it's just kind of ridiculous when you consider where the rear end comes from.