ISD KRAKEN - Leviathan Class Star Destroyer
- Ultimate Gaming Computer -
Commodore Vaas Crulak looked down at the dossier on the desk in front of him. He was standing in Chief Engineer Titus Cibel's office across from a large viewport. Through that massive viewport, Crulak could see the framings of a massive angular shape suspended within the single massive gantry that comprised the majority of Manfred Shipyard. Scooping up the papers off the desk, he strode across the office to the viewport and gazed out at the mighty structure. The incomplete framing formed a basic wedge-shaped rib cage of an Imperial Class capital ship. Crulak had never seen the like, he glanced down at the dossier again. Emblazoned across the front of the folder was two words.
Crulak flipped open the folder.
Leviathan Class Star Destroyer - Kraken
Hull registration number: ET25824
Prototype long range micro Dreadnaught
Crulak's eyes fell to the bottom of the page, where the document version control number was listed. Version 4. He looked up again at the massive structure in front of him. Crulak commanded four Venator Cruisers. Two of them could fit end to end, with a third hiding bow to stern inside the hulls at her widest part without any of the three of them even touching the outer armor plating of the Kraken's hull. The Venators were aging and due to be replaced. Crulak had been assigned to the Kraken to with his entire fleet as a protective detail, and as her eventual crew. He would oversee the Imperial Navy's interests on the project, and had the authority to work directly with the Project's Chief Engineer on design considerations. Chief Engineer Cibel was amenable to the arrangement, as long as Crulak provided the means to make any proposed modifications.
The ISD Experience
Like many young star wars fans in the 90's, I first encountered the Thrawn story arc in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire series... and was summarily blown away. It was these stories that really made Star Wars "a thing" for me growing up. The movies were great, but as I'll never count myself as a force user (or will I...), Thrawn represented the kind of stature that can be achieved without mystical powers, and he did it from the bridge of his Imperial Star Destroyer Chimera.
So Naturally, when Sander and I first came to terms on what we were setting out to do, we were focusing on the ISD II. This lasted about a week, if that. As I've come to learn the more I've researched and interacted with the Star Wars community - ISD designs have a number of weaknesses and oddities that aren't easily explained away. Tactically, while I love some aspects of the ship - others puzzled me. Given the investment going into the project, I began to look at other options. From a variety of other Star Wars games and mods I play, I knew of the Allegiance class Star Destroyer and after coming across Ansel Hsaio's rendition, I quickly fell in love with the hull design. The stepped nature of the Allegiance's super structure is superior and aesthetically pleasing.
All good projects start with the user stories. Here are the ground rules we set for the Kraken.
- Fully functional turrets (rotate, elevate).
- Laser beams in said turrets (never aim small).
- Synchronized controls of the turrets in groups.
- Ship can rotate on the stand.
- Ship can be pitched and yawed to some degree on the stand.
- Fully functional Liquid Cooled PC seated neatly inside the ship itself.
- Free standing or column mounted stand.
- .01mm greeble detail.
- LED lit hull lighting.
- Easy access Computer hardware for servicing.
- Thermal engineering to avoid melting things, starting fires, or cooking the hardware.
- 5ft or so in length. (I wouldn't have believed this if I didn't still have the emails).
- Rear hangar deck.
Armed and Armored underside (Moar guns. MOAR GUNS).
- Armored Hull plates.
- Star Destroyer -esq.
At this point, Sander started to block mock up the hull. We quickly realized that the step hull nature of the Allegiance class gave the 'bridge' structure a much angrier, forward leaning feel. The sort of look that made you feel as if the ship was coming to take your lunch money. We liked it. The Allegiance Class is quite a bit longer than the ISDII, and doing the math, the ISDII from above looked a bit chubby for her length. This lead us to fully switch over to the Allegiance class base model, with plans to modify the hull structure to fit a hangar deck. While the ship was originally planned as an ISD, we were going to lose the hanger deck to the PSU heat exhaust, so it had been in our mind to place the hangar deck in the aft superstructure anyways. How we would do this was a different story, but it was the idea.
Leviathan Class !
This was where Sander and I started doing more study into what we would want out of a ship. The idea was that she would operate solo in deep space. History has taught me the value of the carrier air wing, and I loved the old 1995 game Tie Fighter. Further, the turret placement and field of fire. The design and hull shape of the ISD should provide for excellent fields of fire. This wasn't all that well mapped out in Star Wars, and with the small caliber cannons mounted inside the hull of the ship - it felt odd. We adopted a Dreadnaught approach. All big guns. Again, the Allegiance helped with this, as she mounted quite a bit of firepower. As the majority of our focus was internal components, hull support structures and the turrets. The ship stayed an Allegiance Class for quite a while. In many ways, she's still has significant similarities to Ansel's work. Honestly, if you are interested in Star Wars and have not checked out his work - do yourself a favor. Click here, or here. Ansel's artwork served as an inspiration of what is possible throughout the project and he is a credit to the Star Wars universe.