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LG 223 Starraker

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[Scale Solutions]

by Joseph C Brown

Scale: 1/350

Last to lift was Gerling's command vessel, a 70-year-old light gunship, tremendously fast but lightly armored, selected because of its agility in both space and atmosphere, and because its modest proportions would not give it away as the flagship. It represented the final development of the human-controlled ships. Gerling's disappointment that no further examples had been found in the Braun Group graveyards was intense.” -Terran Trade Authority Handbook: Great Space Battles

The LG 223 Starrakers were the final class of Terran Defense Authority ships to be launched featuring primarily Human command-and-control systems. The class entered service in 2103 and had been replaced by more efficient, computer-linked ships by 2150. Starrakers were light gunships, lightly armed but extremely fast and agile in both space and atmosphere. The last surviving Starraker was pressed into the service of the Mothball Fleet in the Laguna Wars, where it served as Bernd Gerling's flagship. Although heavily damaged during the battle with the Laguna cityships as they attempted to break out of the Earth blockade, it was salvaged after the final defeat of the Laguna's armed forces, and after restoration, it was given a place of honor in the Mars orbital Starship Museum.

Building the Model

I've had all of the Terran Trade Authority (TTA) books since they were initially published, and the painting of the Starraker is one that I have always liked. It's also been on my “scratchbuild that one someday” list for a very long time. It wasn't until, completely by chance, I happened to look at the painting upside-down that I got a clue about how to make the ship.

That requires a bit of explanation. The body, or main hull of the ship, is easily understandable. In cross section, the ship is triangular, comprised of three long tubes that neck down and then back up. There are a number of protruding fins, but the number and size of these could be adjusted. But the nose of the ship didn't really seem to work with the rest of the hull shape. It's beautifully done, yes, but in a confusing fashion. Anyone who has attempted make a model that matched a difficult shape should understand what I mean. However, if you flip the painting upside-down, suddenly the shape makes sense and the model building got underway!

From a vendor on Ebay, I had obtained a small block of Urethane Dimensional Foam. It's much sturdier and firmer than Balsafoam or insulation styrofoam, and yet, it's not as dense a material as Renshape. It proved to be easy to form and work, and a bandsaw zips right through it!

Once I had the shape, some very careful sanding knocked down the sharp edges, and a single large gun port was added to the nose. Three short styrene tubes were used as engine tubes, and all the fins were cut from thin sheet styrene. Yellow paint made a close match to the ship in the painting, and then flat black acrylic paint made up the striping. The hull panel detail came from a Prismacolor Gray marker.

Image: Beginning

Image: Sectioning off the foam

Image: Rough sanding done

Image: Fine sanding

Image: Shape check

Image: On its stand

Image: Fins added

Image: Yellow base coat dry

Image: Compared to artwork

Image: Another look at the left/rear

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This page was last updated 21 December 2006. © 2006 Starship Modeler