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This one may take a while as I do not have a whole lot of time work on it. But, I thought you guys might like to see sketches I made for the redesign, plus I would like your comments on it. I won't go real high detail right away but I will do it up right. I will attach the old version and the sketch for your comments. I look forward to them.

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What's your issue with it Phyrox?

It just looks...I dunno, boring?

Nothing catches my eye and makes me want to look at it. Aesthetics are highly subjective of course, but it just looks kinda generic, like the kind of thing you might see in a "made for sci-fi channel" TV movie or something.

It's like a professor once said to one of my buddies in seminar, "there's nothing really wrong with your paper, except the topc."

Alternatively, my girlfriend finds it "interesting" and "kinda neat," so go figure. Specifically she likes the texture and the mandible-looking parts.

Edited by Phyrox
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AH ok, there is some confusion, the sketch is the new version, the CGI one is the old version that I am tossing out.

@DH: the manidble were originally, back when I first devised it ten years ago, going to be a new type of very powerful, but innefficent beam cannon. That idea has since been tossed primarily for the reasons you stated, but also because it just looked silly.

Also a dropship is used because you can deliver the troops/equipment much more efficiently and precisely, and also it can be used to lift them back off as well. The term dropship implies that one that make planetfall and retrieve troops/cargo as well. A drop pod is just used for insertion.

@kin: Hey I was on a plane doing a boring ground test when I sketched it. I was sucking diesel fumes off the hydro cart all day so needed to write out the math to check it. That is just for figuring out the troop capacity, though I realized I forgot something inside so the number will decrease slightly.

@Phyrox: I see where your confusion is coming from. I am ditching the old version partially for the reasons you describe. But the new one will have some similiar textures to the old one, at least at this point.

oh FYI, I found another possible publisher and they are reviewing the book as we speak, they are a POD publisher though so it will probably limit my market since those tend to cost a little more, but we will see.

Edited by Knight26
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The dropship as DeathHammer is describing it should be is more derivative of the Aliens Dropship. The one I am playing with is more along the lines of the one from SAAB. But I may play with the design some more and work on a modular system for vehicle/troops/cargo variants, I am still deciding. As for how to deliver the troops quickly, the dropship it self need not set down to release the troops, they can be airdropped once in atmosphere. I'll probably include shock gell launch tubes in the belly, just need to figure out where and how. My large dropship has these as well.

The dropship itself is also pretty well armed, four anti-personnel turrets, a large upper turret for air defense, two lower turrets for vehicle suppression and a pair of light beams for clearing any crunchies off the LZ. Then there is the holographic and sensor masking system but we'll get into that later.

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I was able to make some progress today, the main fuselage is blocked out, it will be refined, the main wings as well, the engines and main turrets, have to add the underwing turrets still and refine the engines/missile launchers. Comments are welcome, and yes the textures are temporary.

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Well here's the tactical considerations that I see.

If you are offloading troops, assuming these troops are human, that could be a pretty slow process on a planet with non Earth gravity. They'd have to carry combat loadouts plus oxygen, water, maybe armor and something to regulate their temperature. That's bulky and cumbersome, and the longer that ship sits there waiting to unload is more time those troops and the ship itself could get hosed down.

I mean it's how I was taught, that if you had to ambush someone, do it while they were inside a stationary car. They got nowhere to go. I mean I don't know how the military does it, but in law enforcement, people train endlessly regarding how to effectively get out of your vehicle as quickly as possible while maintaining good tactics. The longer you sit still, the faster you die.

The military either marches into battle (Mark I Feet, always ready to fight), rides into battle (Hummers, everybody piles out of the doors), rides into battle (Trucks, everybody piles off the sides), rides into battle (M2/3, everybody runs off the ramp), rides into battle again (Marines, everybody runs off the ramps again), flies into battle (Hueys, Blackhawks, everybody either jumps off the sides, or rapples off), or just drops into battle (Airborne).

One way to tackle this would be the way they did it in Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie). Troops are shot out of their ship in orbit and make it down to the surface as individuals. Think ultra high altitude para drops. Personally I always liked this idea a bit more.

If one insisted on a drop ship, then the traditional on/off ramp would be awfully time consuming. One way to do it would be to have the troops ready to drop the moment they can land without injury. Something like what choppers have would work (large unobstructed access ports on both sides of the aircraft), or do go with something exotic, individual pods that open and drop the men down and out. Think of how the Marines are loaded up in the Aliens drop ship, instead of hustling out a ramp, each is jettisoned straight from his/her chair/harness, straight down and straight out of the drop ship.

Just a few thoughts.

Edited by Akilae
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Ok I have some ideas on how to take this now. This one is not a vehicle carrier it is a drop and retrieval ship. But I may make a vehicle carrying variant. What I am envisioning right now is drop hatchs on both sides. The main ramp and four troop doors will remain for onloading, but drop chutes will be added along the sides too. I may have to increased the glove areas width to accomodate this as the engines are probably too close right now for that. What I am thinking is that the outer bank of seat (along the outer walls) will incorporate drop cannons into them. The wall will hinge outwards from the top, or slide out I haven't decided, and shoot the occupant out in a shock gel cocoon, this qill require atmo drop of course, shock gel will not protect you from reentry friction. If more troops are carried they would simply take the empty seat after it returns and get fired out in the next volley, how does that sound?

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Ok I have some ideas on how to take this now. This one is not a vehicle carrier it is a drop and retrieval ship. But I may make a vehicle carrying variant. What I am envisioning right now is drop hatchs on both sides. The main ramp and four troop doors will remain for onloading, but drop chutes will be added along the sides too. I may have to increased the glove areas width to accomodate this as the engines are probably too close right now for that. What I am thinking is that the outer bank of seat (along the outer walls) will incorporate drop cannons into them. The wall will hinge outwards from the top, or slide out I haven't decided, and shoot the occupant out in a shock gel cocoon, this qill require atmo drop of course, shock gel will not protect you from reentry friction. If more troops are carried they would simply take the empty seat after it returns and get fired out in the next volley, how does that sound?

I like it.. very Final Fantasy, but that's the part I like about it. After watching the FF movie I couldn't figure out why no other science fiction seemed to think about the use of gel for troop drops... made a lot of sense. I think how they did it was manually deployed gel after the trooper jumped out of the carrier.

Just in case you haven't read the book, Starship Troopers got around atmosphere friction by shooting troops out in their individual capsules made of ablative material. In essence, they used a large carrier in orbit and just shot the capsules like bullets at the planet.

Ideally in a combat drop (going by World War II Airborne drops here), I think you would realistically get only one pass over the target area. That means your troop carriers would be constructed to accomodate one or at most two sticks that all go in the first volley. Also alleviates the problem of having too many eggs in one basket. Anything larger, and you can actually go back to the good ol ramps, stuff that comes in only when the LZ is clear or at least when there's no threat of being blown to pieces by artillery (think CH-47s, CH-53s, C-130s).

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the best part of FF was the dropship and the gel drop. I had a similar idea for a long time and have used it in my stories, but mine works a little differently, from what I can tell anyway. It is a great idea for an in atmo drop method.

I have read startship troopers, heck I think at last tally 75% of the board had before graduating high school. I love that book and the ablative drop is great for oribital insertions, though it does make for an obvious drop. This way is a little more surruptious, for the most part.

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Update time, nothing major I just put in the crew doors and drop hatches as well as modified the wing to accomodate them. The hatches open at the top and angle out 28 degrees, so the troops are fired out at a slight angle, I may be able to adjust that a little, but openning anymore they will hit the engine pods, oops. I currently have 13 on each side, but I can fit in two more if I drop the aft crew doors. Any thoughts?

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Update time, nothing major I just put in the crew doors and drop hatches as well as modified the wing to accomodate them. The hatches open at the top and angle out 28 degrees, so the troops are fired out at a slight angle, I may be able to adjust that a little, but openning anymore they will hit the engine pods, oops. I currently have 13 on each side, but I can fit in two more if I drop the aft crew doors. Any thoughts?

I'd say add an on/off ramp at the rear of the drop ship, a la the CH-47s and CH-53s.

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As stated in pretty much every other redesign thread I have made... This is all conceptual designs for my books, which by the way a publisher is looking at again, so wish me luck. Anyway I am designing this for practicality, I don't care if it is sexy or would make a good toy, I am trying for a sense of realism. If people think it looks cool enough for a toy great, if not, it's no skin off my nose. I made some progress on the engines last night but did have a chance to post those changes, will do so tonight.

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Update time. the doors are in, the main bay has been carved out, but the interiors of the drop hatches have not been put in. Neither has the interior detailing started. I need to do the cockpit and finish up the major exterior features, like the docking points and VG wings, and landing legs before I press with the interior more. I also posted an image showing it on the ground with two 6 foot tall soldiers for scale. BTW those solsiers were kindly supplied by EXO.

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Edited by Knight26
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Last update for the night. I started in on the VG wings, figuring out the fold point mostly. And have a quick shot of the ship with the wings folded. As for the hatches. They currently stand at 2.5 feet in width, figure you might lose about 3"-6" of that from structure, so the actual openning will be a little smaller. Even with full armor a median individual should fit, otherwise I will widen them, I will have to check a couple things. But the more I widen the hatches the fewer soldiers it can deploy at once. Anyway first VG folded shot.

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Did some checking, 95% male is considered to be 21" wide, so with the hatches being 30" wide, I think I can safely make the inner frame lip 1.5" wide making the actual openning 27" wide. Figure with armor the 95% soldier would probably be around 24" so that gives him 1.5" clearance to each side. Anybody bigger, just roll your shoulders forward, lol.

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Did some checking, 95% male is considered to be 21" wide, so with the hatches being 30" wide, I think I can safely make the inner frame lip 1.5" wide making the actual openning 27" wide. Figure with armor the 95% soldier would probably be around 24" so that gives him 1.5" clearance to each side. Anybody bigger, just roll your shoulders forward, lol.

I think if you are going for practicality, you are gonna want more clearance than that.

And, engine pods? Why engine pods? Especially right where the combat egress hatches seem to be?

And a top mounted turret? I would think you would want suppressive fire for the lower hemisphere above all else. A top mounted turret doesn't seem worth the weight penalty.

Those are just the things that jump right to mind from a practical point of view.

From an aesthetic perspective, I'm still not feeling it...but I think we just don't have the same taste.

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Ok update for tonight. I added in the landing skids, they can extend quite a ways as you can see here, but normally won't because as you can see the forward crew door no longer reaches the ground, right now it is sitting up an additonal four feet from normal resting position. I also added the assault boarding hatch to the top. I may not keep it though, but it is compatible with the enemies airlock hatches so it will allow the ship to board enemy ships through the airlocks.

@phyrox: I'll look into increaseing hte door size, I realized after I typed that, multi-species, duh, so the hatches will have to be increased in size, I was thinking too human again. Also remember those doors are used during drops, i.e. they open shoot out the trooper and close again, I checked and there is plenty of clearance that way even for the hatches right next to the engine pods. The engine pods will also allow for the lift vents that shown a couple posts back. As for the top turret, this thing has to operate in space and atmo, the top turret is used for defense against enemy fighters and attackers, so are the lower pair, but they can also be used more effectively on the ground for enemy ground units. There is also plenty of weapons for lower suppressive fire, two fighter scale chain guns and four AP turrets should be enough to keep the enemies heads down. As for the asthetics I wanted this one to be a bit on the displeasing side, as it is not suppossed to be a human design, I just haven't decided which race it belongs to yet. And I am considerng a name change to whale. Anyway onto the pics and keep the comments coming. ANd yes I will change the hatch sizes.

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This thing is already shaping up to be a JSF-ish design nightmare...

IMHO, you might need larger h and v stabs if this thing is for atmospheric flight... they look so small for some reason.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of engines are these? If they're jet engines as they are known to us, might not be a good idea having hatches opening up in front of it. Disrupts airflow, not to mention the risk of FOD.

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Update, per suggestions I enlarged the tails. I also cut a basic cockpit, it still need work but gives you an idea of how it will be arranged. I am not 100% on the window arrangement, it may change, thoughts? I also increased the door size, but as expected it dropped the number of deployables to 12 per side.

@KingNor: Too many off CG issues to move the engines up that high, out of atmo the thing would have a serious pitch down moment that would be a pain to correct for.

@Akilae: JSF design nightmare, I take offense, lol. But serious how do you figure that? The engines are not jet engines, they are a type of 1st generation gravity drive, hence the housing. The doors will also open in such a way as to not but the trooper in its path and they will be fired out fast enough that unless the ship is seriously jinking there shouldn't be any trooper fod, lol.

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No real feature creep, all the things I have tacked on have been there from the start of concept sketch. The only thing has been added is the drop hatches on the sides, and the only real repurcussion of that is limiting the number of troops to be carried. Everything else has simply been a refinement.

As for the cockpit, yes I am not sold on that being the final configuration of the windows. I wanted to make it more open compared to my last one however due to all the complaints about it not having enough visibility. I will probably end up lowering the upper area cut off and will eliminate most of the window are behind the pilot above and below.

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