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Border Patrol

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by Thomas Carr

Scale: 1/2500

Early in 2278, long-range sensors detected a subspace anomaly near the Romulan border. Fearing an incursion, Starfleet Command detached 2 ships from SFDESRON 38 to investigate. The recently-refit medium destroyer USS Fletcher (NCC-781) took lead and approached the anomaly, a mass-shadow almost the size of a small moon. Joining the Fletcher was the aging, but still-lethal heavy destroyer USS Hephæstus (NCC-978).

Upon arrival, they discovered that the disturbance was actually a space station, and a long-dead one at that. The thing was massive, over 245km across at it's widest point, and crisscrossed by latitudinal and longitudinal trenches. As the ships drew closer, Commodore Burke stared in amazement from the Fletcher's bridge at the evolving sense of scale, marveling at both the undertaking in creating such a behemoth and at the sheer power that would have been required in destroying it. The crew on both ships grew a little more grave and attentive to their battle stations.

Drawing within 20km, Commodore Burke ordered Commander Keane to hold the slower Hephæstus back to cover Fletcher's approach, hoping that the massive megaphaser battery in her forward secondary hull would be able to track and dispatch any surprises. He counted on the speed advantage of Fletcher's new type IXB warp engines to be able to get him out of trouble while Hephæstus pounded any attackers.

As they neared the surface, the destroyers approached one of the larger trenches, which had grown to the size of massive rivers running between contents of heavy armour on the station's surface. Little light escaped the surface, and the spotlights from the Federation ships cast an eerie glow on the wreckage below. The ships slipped in amid the orbiting debris field…


The diorama is a 24x18 piece, constructed of plywood, basswood strip, brass and styrene stock, and kitbashed plastic model parts.

USS Fletcher is made from the 1/2500 USS Enterprise-A model. I had stuck this together during a teenage kitbashing exercise almost 20 years ago. It looked neat, but I've never used it for anything - it's just been on my workbench and in my bits box ever since. This was a great excuse to throw a coat of fresh paint and some decals on it and let it strut it's stuff. I based it on drawings from the Starfleet Technical Manual of some of the TOS-era destroyers, with the thought that “hey, if the Constellation-class enterprise could get refit after an illustrious career, why not anything else”.

USS Hephæstus is constructed from the TOS Enterprise of the same set, with secondary hull made from a 1/144 scale DC-11 model, scratch-built nacelle struts, and nacelles made from brass tube and bits. It came out far better than I anticipated. My assumption here is that this ship was meant to work in a wolf-pack of sorts, and lacked the prominent long-range sensor array of some other Fed ships. In it's place, and directly in line with the main reactor, is a huge freaking phaser cannon. Just a big darn gun. I figured this came from late tensions with the Klingons, and some more conservative types in the UFP government would want something like that.

The surface itself is a menagerie of bits from boxes of broken yard-sale toys and models. Stuff that over the years I've seen, said, “yes I know what that is, but I'm sure I can use it in something because it looks neat”. This contest was an awesome opportunity to pull a lot of that kind of stuff together

Image: Overall, from the right

Image: Above & behind the ships

Image: USS Fletcher

Image: Cover me

Image: Debris

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