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» Flare Sci-Fi Forums » Star Trek » Starships & Technology » a good old fashioned starship size discussion! (Page 1)

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Author Topic: a good old fashioned starship size discussion!
Reverend
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Ok, in my ponderings about whether to use the Steamrunner as the carrier class for my Hopper, I found myself investigating the sizes of other non-shuttlecraft type craft like the attack fighter and the two variants of the Maquis raider (to see what else could fit in the hanger bays.)
After having a read of various sites, including a few of Bernd's scale articles and it seams that most people assume that the two outwardly similar Maquis raiders are more or less the same size (around 40-50 meters.)

Now this has never sat right with me, so I did a little investigating and I found that if you scale the windows on the original "preemptive strike" cockpit to match the size of the Nenebek's (which was used as the interior set) then in fact the ship is actually around 14-15m!
Just as interesting is that when I scaled the modified version (seen from "Caretaker" onwards) with the two front windows from a Danube (again, because of the interior set that was used) I found it to be something like 88-89m.
A HUGE difference and significantly divergent from most of the accepted sources, so I though it'd be worth bringing this very old topic back out for discussion.

I had always thought there was a greater difference between these two ships than was generally accepted, but didn't think it would be so dramatic. Mind you it seams to clear up a few inconsistencies, like how cold there be 50 Maquis in Chakotay's crew and how nobody spotted a 40 meter long ship sat between the E-D's nacelles.

I'll post some illustrations to justify these figures later, but for now I'd be interested to see what you lot think. Discuss!

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Jason Abbadon
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Another example in favor of updating TNG's effects- if only to scale ships correctly!

I personally prefer the larger version to the 14-15 meter version- that such a tiny ship could damage and evade the Galaxy class does not sit well with me.

A far worse scaling crime is the Nightingale from VOY- a super-sized federation fighter from another quadrant.

...which leads back to the ol' "How long is the Federation Fighter?" debate.
My heart says it's big- Runabout length (or thereabouts) with a crew of 2-4 and room for a bunk, bathroom and replicator (needed for those extended missions and long patrols) but you've given clear evidence that the ship's first appearance is much smaller- with that crappy tiny shuttlepod cockpit.

The Claustraphobia class shuttlepod is by far, the single lamest thing from Trek.

Except the Exo-Comps. That was worse.

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Toadkiller
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Can we come at this from a different angle? What is the mission of the raiders? Who built them? Star Fleet or civilians? Were they originally sort of "coast guard" ships for the colonies "lost" to the Cardies?

Are they supposed to be phaser boats or torpedo boats? Or were they originally not combat craft at all?

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Jason Abbadon
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The Raiders could originate from anywhere- they dont look like Starfleet tech.
They could have been part of some power's spacefleet, or a civillian design for servicing colonies (sorta a modular customizable pickup truck of a ship), even donated by powers like the Tzenkethi to the Maquis to keep the cardies from expanding their sphere of influence closer to their borders.

Or maybe there was a sale and the maquis had their Federation non-money stimulus checks to spend and the Ferengi built them at "a real steal".

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Reverend
Based on a true story...
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quote:
Originally posted by Jason Abbadon:
Another example in favor of updating TNG's effects- if only to scale ships correctly!

I personally prefer the larger version to the 14-15 meter version- that such a tiny ship could damage and evade the Galaxy class does not sit well with me.

A far worse scaling crime is the Nightingale from VOY- a super-sized federation fighter from another quadrant.

...which leads back to the ol' "How long is the Federation Fighter?" debate.
My heart says it's big- Runabout length (or thereabouts) with a crew of 2-4 and room for a bunk, bathroom and replicator (needed for those extended missions and long patrols) but you've given clear evidence that the ship's first appearance is much smaller- with that crappy tiny shuttlepod cockpit.

The Claustraphobia class shuttlepod is by far, the single lamest thing from Trek.

Except the Exo-Comps. That was worse.

quote:
Originally posted by Toadkiller:
Can we come at this from a different angle? What is the mission of the raiders? Who built them? Star Fleet or civilians? Were they originally sort of "coast guard" ships for the colonies "lost" to the Cardies?

Are they supposed to be phaser boats or torpedo boats? Or were they originally not combat craft at all?

I don't really want to get into the Federation attack fighter just yet, as that's a separate issue. Still, my instinct is normally to scale it from how the model seams to have been conceived (as with the raiders.) So the reference point there would again be the cockpit, which AGAIN seams to be modelled after the interior set (the shuttlepod) so I imagine it's somewhere in the 10-20 meter range, comparable to the "Preemptive Strike" version in size, which I believe is how they appeared in the footage anyway.

Acually this is relevant as IIRC this is the only time either ship is seen next to a ship of a similar size, so if you determine the size of one, then the other can't be too different.
quote:
Originally posted by Toadkiller:
Can we come at this from a different angle? What is the mission of the raiders? Who built them? Star Fleet or civilians? Were they originally sort of "coast guard" ships for the colonies "lost" to the Cardies?

Are they supposed to be phaser boats or torpedo boats? Or were they originally not combat craft at all?

Well they both are said to have been Federation ships, though by no means new (at least 40 years old at the time) and not Starfleet. At least one was referred to as a (modified) courier, which makes sense as they would be whatever was available the colonists at the formation of the Maquis along with whatever they could buy or steal later. So that means transports, couriers, surveyors, tenders and private yachts. Naturally a courier would be built for speed and range, so they would be the logical choice to arm and use as raiders.

As for why there are two very similar ships of a significantly different scale, my answer would be they were both designed simultaneously by the same company/yard to fill slightly different rolls.
One smaller craft meant mostly for two or there people to carry information, personnel and relativity small items from the deep range colonies to the nearest supply base, starbase or space station, or just as a faster, more versatile alternative to a shuttlecraft. The larger one would have had basically the same design brief, just bigger for more cargo, people and a longer range.
A good real world example of this is the apparent similarity between the CH-46 Sea Knight and the CH-47 Chinook. Both are tandem helicopters with similar functions and silhouettes (from the side at least), except the Chinook is almost twice the size of the Sea Knight. Also, if you take a closer look at the Raider as it appears in "Preemptive Strike" and from "Caretaker" onwards there are a few other subtle changes to the engine structure and I think the area behind the cockpit to that would be consistent with a rescaling.

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Jason Abbadon
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The raider could have been a holdovers from some Federation inductee's home fleet that was not absorbed by Starfleet.

Possibly the maquis raided an old home-fleet shipyard of de-comissioned vessels and modified them to suit.

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Reverend
Based on a true story...
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Well the bridge of the Ju'Day is of course nearly identical to that of a Danube-Class runabout, the Aeroshuttle, the Shuttle from Insurrection and in my little world the Hopper and Erewhon-Class too. Plus they look reasonably consistent with Federation tech, just a few generations behind Starfleet, so I see no reason suppose otherwise.

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Jason Abbadon
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They could have used current Starfleeet cockpit modules to replace the original cockpits designed for their hideously alien prior owners....
A maquis is general humanoid, after all.

I concede that your explanation, while far more plausable lacks a certain "I wanna see that! flavor of alien cockpits

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Sean
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What if they were originally designed to be a runabout of sorts. Would the smaller versions fit in to a shuttle bay of the time, like the Excelsior and the Miranda, or whatever other classes are said to have been in operation at the time? Perhaps the larger version ( if we're talking about the 15m one versus the 89m one) was designed to do the same job for a space station or starbase. Maybe a remote outpost might carry a few of these for defence, if no starship is in the area. That is going by the assumption that they were originally built with weapons though...

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Daniel Butler
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What about the scout Data flew in Insurrection? I can't remember the class name. Wasn't it ~40m?

I don't like the idea of fighters. What would they be used for? Space ships are a naval power, not air force, because space is more analogous to the ocean in terms of how vessels operate in it - long term, with the need for self-sufficiency. Fighters would have to be very short range unless they did indeed have bunks, heads, and replicators, which means they'd also need to be large enough to carry a significant quantity of fuel, plus the reactor (although the shuttlepods don't seem to have ANY room at ALL for fuel and engines...maybe the Federation finally mastered the magic wand after all). Anyway, in science fiction fighters mostly seem to only fight each other, not being any match for capital ships - so why would anyone build them?

The only use in Trek I can think of would be exactly how the Maquis use their raiders - short-range planet-based craft with the need for speed and maneuverability more than anything, used for raiding unarmed/lightly-armed/small enemy ships for supplies/the hell of it/to stop them delivering supplies to the enemy fleet/bases. In that case the ~15m ship makes much more sense, and the ~85m ship makes sense as larger 'conventional fleet' raiders or destroyers.

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Reverend
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Well the quasi-aerodynamic nature of the design tells me they were primarily intended to land on planets. Even the smaller of the two is equipped with a transporter for cargo so I doubt starship shuttlebay sizes were a factor. Especially since the two places they are most likely to dock are starbases that either have large orbital facilities with big landing bays or docking terminals (as a Runabout is seen using on Empok Nor) and of course colonies which have the ground (plenty of room there.)
They were specifically stated as being non-starfleet and Sisko (former commander of Utopia Planitia) wasn't familiar with the design. So it's safe to say they were old, out of date designs that are only seen out on the frontier, possibly just the Cardassian frontier depending on who supplies civilian colonies with equipment. So I would hesitate to label them as an "early runabout", something that fandom has the annoying habit of applying to any large shuttle type craft built prior to TNG, regardless of it's capabilities. A runabout is a small STARSHIP in terms of it's mission profile. These things are specialised shuttles. Huge difference.

And Jason, not every element of a class's origin has to be dramatic, that's exactly how most fandesigns or fan written essays become tediously overblown. Given the choise, I'd rather stick with just plain old tedious. [Wink]
Regardless, why would they risk raiding a friendly world to nick a bunch of police vehicles, when it's much easier and safer to just modify what they already had to hand? Plus that they didn't take on the Federation or Starfleet directly until AFTER they already had these ships.

Dan, as I said I don't believe these are meant to be military vessels, in fact the episodes say so quite clearly that is the case.

As for the role of fighter's in space, don't get too in love with the Naval allegories (though there is such a thing as Naval aviators!) as Space is neither the air, not is it the ocean. It is it's own unique animal, but that is a subject for another thread. [Wink]

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Jason Abbadon
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quote:
Originally posted by Reverend:
And Jason, not every element of a class's origin has to be dramatic, that's exactly how most fandesigns or fan written essays become tediously overblown. Given the choise, I'd rather stick with just plain old tedious. [Wink]

Well, there goes chapter three, wherein a young Picard designed the Galaxy class in an alternate future and traveled into the timestream to save Earl Grey from the Borg's latest plot.
Did I mention that Spot was a Kzin spy?

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Justice inclines her scales so that wisdom comes at the price of suffering.
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Sol System
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Queue up that Galaxy class main shuttlebay picture with various sizes of shuttles, runabouts, "Peregrines" and other stuff superimposed. (Mark? Anybody?)
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Reverend
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Now that's just silly.
Spot was the deposed Empress of the Kzin disguised as and Earth duck...unfortunately she got her disguise advice from a certain Centauri ambassador.

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Reverend
Based on a true story...
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Whoops, slight miscalculation, while preparing a scale chart, I noticed I resized the runabout incorrectly (mixed up the length with the width) so after correcting, the actual length of the Large Raider is 53m, not 88m. Still a significant difference and I'm no less convinced these are two distinct classes as the "head" of the larger version is almost as big of the entirety of the smaller version. The crew of 50 is still doable, but it would be cramped. Perhaps they were evacuating an outpost or carrying a commando strike team when Gul Evek chased them into the badlands? At least this way is consistent with the visual effects from "Caretaker".

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