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BSE RF-8001 "Fat Man" Starfighter / Troop Transport . Black Sun Empire's RF-8001 "Fat Man" Starfighter / Troop Transport . Hi, Making the most of my holidays and access to Lego; the ST-230 Star Runner I made for Black Sun Empire about a week ago was broken up the next day in order to get cracking on the my next Black Sun Empire model. 30-ish photos of the outside and inside have been uploaded; scroll down to the bottom if you can't be bothered to read about the ship. Originally this was intedned to be a 'big brother' of the ST-230 Star Runner (http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/175107); being roughly twice as long and having extra 'appendages' on the rear; sort of like a 'dark' version of the Explorien starship (http://www.1000steine.com/brickset/images/6982-1.jpg), but a bit more built-up, with more interior etc. As you can see that didn't happen and I somehow ended up making something a lot more saucer-shaped. It looks more like a big brother of the BSE LT-800 Hovercraft (http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/140081) , though of course isn't - this one being a starship and not a hovercraft. Not that any of that's a bad thing. Anyway, enough for history let's get onto the model :) The RF-8001 "Fat Man" is a common craft in the Black Sun Empire's fleet. It may look large and bulky (hence the nickname), but, also like the bomb it's named after, it packs a heavy punch. As an in-between, medium-class starfighter (much bigger than a small, agile snubfighter such as an X-wing; though considerably smaller than a large ship such as a Dreadnaught), it has multiple uses; and the BSE have made sure to compensate for its weaknesses in every way possible. You would expect this type of craft to be ripped apart by smaller, fast snubfighters; being not quite big enough to defend itself or outrun them. That's where the first surprise comes in - though wide; the ship is very thin; being streamlined when flying through atmosphere; and to make up for its weight, the 6 big thrusters pack enough power to match the speed of most, if not all, snubfighters. The weapons arsenal is to be feared aswell - on each side are twin turbolaser cannons, controlled by one gunner sat in a small cockpit on either side; right next to the cannons; and on the front, controlled by a third gunner, are found the twin ion cannon and large capacity proton torpedo/concussion missile pod. Any snubfighter daring enough to attack this would not only find himself matched in speed and heavily outgunned, but also up against a craft with very strong shields. As I've mentioned before, the Black Sun Empire put a lot of money into making their craft, and don't compromise anything. Being a ship to excel in different areas then; the RF-8001 is used not only as a primary attack force in space; but also planetside, in atmosphere - as a fighter and troop transport. A standard crew is composed of 8 members plus troops; the pilot, three gunners, a navigator/co-pilot, two techs and an engineer too load the missile bay from the inside. A quick tour of the rooms; not necessarily in the order of the photos but the order they come into my head (you'll be able to match them up to the photos easily enough...)... There are five cockpits in this vessel - splitting up the work makes the job easier for each crew member. On the front, from right to left is the missile/ion cannon gunner; pilot and navigator/co-pilot. On either side at the back are the twin turbolaser cannon gunners. On the inside behind the missile pod, is the missile loading room, wit the engineer. This room also has some storage cupboards and a small weapons rack on the wall. Out of this room we meet the main corridor, leading on one end to the two front cockpits in the middle; and on the other side, to the loading ramp, next to it, one side gunner cockpit, and rest of the ship. The corridor also has a small supplies cupboard and torch. Into the rest of the ship, the first room we get into is the biggest; the troop and weapons room. This large room has seats for four troops; weapons racks on the wall, storage cupboards to either side at the back, a rack of torches, and compressed air tanks for missions on planets with an unsuitable atmosphere for certain species. Going out the other end of the troop and weapons room, we enter the computer room. And you though the techs had a hard time in the last ship - check out the computer panels here ! The techs are hard at work, keeping the ships systems and engines up and running optimally, as well as communications etc... On one end of the computer room, next to where we came in, is the entry to the other side gunner cockpit; and on the other end of the room is the entry to the navigator/co-pilot's cockpit. And there we go :) Though nowhere near as big as some sips oon MOCpages, and used with the same old recycled parts as a lot of my models (hey I'm a student I can't afford to bu lots of new lego all te time...), this is one of the biggest ships I've made in a little while, and though it wasn't how I wanted it at first, the design - especially the engines - has grown on me throuhgout building it. I hope you'll enjoy reading up on it and looking at the photos as much as I enjoyed building it :) Next up : something on the non-military side of the BSE... - Dan P.S. just added the new main photo with better background. "So why are the BSE aiding the rebels?" ... well, I dunno... maybe they have a double agenda, or maybe the ship's actually lining up to destroy the X-Wing that just shot down his ally... use your imagination :) P.S. If you are looking to buy lego for your creations, I would like to recommend the following Bricklink lego shop ; "About Town, Castle & Train" ( http://www.bricklink.com/store.asp?p=stacey_love ) I personally know the shopholders, and they are very nice, devoted people. They are currently sponsoring 100% of my 1/3 Lamborghini project, providing all of the parts; and have made various other donations to other models I have made. The store has a wide selection of parts (over 600,000!), at good prices, and offer an exceptional, fast service (no tax or dodgy exchange rates, next day postage, etc). you won't be disappointed ! P.P.S. I'm not getting anything out of 'advertising' for them; they're genuinely a good lego shop who'll really do their best for you :)


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