Bridge Break

Taking a hiatus from the command center.

Decided to return to some ship building…

ranger_refit_001cMy favorite variation: The Ranger Class scout, based upon an original FASA design, further re-imagined (or refit) by Kevin Riley.

One really interesting design from Star Trek: The Role Playing Game by FASA, is the Ranger class scout vessel.  I’ve seen several depictions of the ship over the years, many of which attempt to refine what could be perceived as an overly simplistic design, as well as tackling some of the more oft criticized details, such as the seemingly cut-and-paste nature of the warp nacelles (a common FASA practice) which not only confused issues of scale but, given the nacelle’s more acute detailing, manages to starkly contrast with the blandness of the remaining ship.

scout_rangerOriginal FASA layout from the Federation Ship Recognition Manual.

The design appeared in a few of the game’s supplemental materials; it was listed in the Federation Ship Recognition Manual, and several named ships of the class figured heavily in (at least) one adventure module titled The Strider Incident.  The design seems to be mildly popular, despite its relatively austere presentation in the recognition manual, which may be due in part to its sheer utility as a Starfleet vessel.  Scouts are cool and useful.  Its assumed blandness may actually be beneficial in this instance, making customization a very appealing effort.

I’ve seen a slight surge of artistic renderings of the ship on the internet recently;  some are story inspired perspective portraits done as digital paintings,  some are presentations for customized CGI game elements, and a few are 2D orthographic layouts that simply attempt to refine or “flesh out” the original design as seen in the official supplements.  Most don’t stray too far from that original overall configuration,  but all certainly manage to increase visible surface interest and truly mark the ship as genuine Starfleet.

The one particular fan-art version I am most drawn to however, is a few years older and was first introduced some time in 2003 or 2004 by a 3D artist named Kevin Riley, the same modeler of another FASA reimagining: the amazing refit, Loknar class frigate, USS Phobos,  known by many 3D Trekkie artists.  Roughly basing his model upon another artist’s 2D drawing (if I recall correctly), he presented many images of the design as work-in-progress renderings, jokingly referring to the series as “This Old Starship.”  His model was named Strider, after the eponymous title ship from the afore  mentioned adventure supplement, The Strider Incident.  As always, he did some fantastic work, though he never appeared to complete the model in full.  His version unquestionably belongs in the ranks of Starfleet stylistically, but has a distinct and respectable appearance.  I’ve long desired to toy with the design myself, and recent visions of fan made art focusing on the Ranger class peaked my interest to the point of proceeding to experiment with Riley’s design.  I began putting something together this past weekend with only Kevin Riley’s WIP images to reference.  I’ve had to do almost everything by eye and I know it falls short, but I hope to have a fair facsimile in short order.

ranger_refit_001bFirst saucer attempt. Dorsal concavity and central “dimple” needed some perking up. Stand in warp nacelles are based on my favorite box cutter! 😀

I’ve lathed the saucer several times and it’s probably not the last.  There are many stand-in features as I continue to work on details.  The lower sensor dome is my first attempt at such an overall structure (since I went with a simpler version for some of my other ship attempts) and is currently quite sloppy.  It also deviates from the more standard versions as seen on Enterprise or Reliant as it actually houses the forward torpedo launcher, another delicious variation on a theme!

Kevin Riley never completed his version publicly, and only ever used standard TMP style warp nacelles as stand-ins on his.  I seem to recall him mentioning he had a specific style in mind but they never seemed to materialize.  I’ve constructed some basic stand-in shapes for my own version that will definitely appear movie-esque in style, but will follow that somewhat “stumpy” appearance that such a small ship with big features tends to boast.  My warp engines will actually be modeled closely on the shape of my very favorite utility knife which I use frequently on my job, though they won’t be quite as stubby and will have to be stretched out just a tad.  They will also have that sort of upside-down look of the semi-miniaturized Akyazi class nacelles, though they won’t look nearly as exposed as that ship’s variety.


util_knife_400Some examples of box cutter inspiration (just ignore the blades  😉 ).

ranger_refit_002bBelow aft.  Impulse engines visible.

ranger_refit_003Above aft.  The raised area on the upper saucer was borrowed from my reliant efforts and distorted to fit, but is merely another stand-in.

ranger_refit_004Slightly different angle showing a little more of the intended nacelle pylon detailing.

More stuff later…


~ by starstation on March 14, 2013.

7 Responses to “Bridge Break”

  1. oh thats interesting! looking good! and its okay, they used those hightlighter/markers for the warp nacclles for the graveyard ships!

  2. Thanks. It’s certainly going to be hard trying to replicate another’s model by sheer eye estimates, but I’ll give it a try. 😉

    I remember the highlighters! I’ve always loved seeing things in general day-to-day life that could be manipulated into amazing futuristic tools and structures. 😀

  3. Love the Ranger! More please.:)

    This ship isn’t seen/used enough in my humble opinion. Will look prettty sweet in the traffic pattern around Starbase India.

    • Indeed! I can’t wait to see her pulling up to pier myself!
      She and another small craft (Akyazi or Oberth?) might be able to share an “inner pier.” Won’t know until I check out some dimensions, but that might make a cool lounge scene! 😀

  4. It sure will. Looking forward to it.

  5. I really enjoy your take on this ship! Fantastic work! Is it to the FASA dimensions? I have a project in mind to redo the Ranger in M20 deckplans for an rpg im running, and i cant wait to see your finished product!

    • Thanks! Of course it’s not really my take, but my attempt to recreate someone else’s take. 🙂

      As to the dimensions, I don’t believe they follow FASA dimensions too closely. I only recently came across concrete dimensions for Kevin Riley’s version, and they seem to indicate that the saucer alone is almost exactly as wide (inches shy) as the FASA design in its entirety of 57 meters.

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