By Garry Stahl - Copyright © 1999
My idea for this model, a ship of the Star Trek genre that was a pure battleship, is over ten years old. Such a ship would have minimal research and exploration facilitates, be designed with the photon torpedo as the main weapon, carry a smaller crew, and would have a limited range of operation, as the ship would be smaller than a "Trek" starship of the era. The ship is associated with my own race of creatures, the Ane, and incorporated their ideas of tactics and technology. Click here if you want to see the "Manta" in "action"
Over the years the concept matured in my mind. The "Manta" name was derived from the general shape of the ship, similar to a manta ray. Torpedoes launched from turrets located at the wing tips. The nacelles moved from traditional wingtip or extended side pylon location to the centerline location.
As I cannot draw to save my life, I had no representation of the Manta to show people. I vainly tried to describe it for years. I flailed with 3-D modeling software, and never really got anywhere. Then the local hobby store decided to clear their shelves of excess "3 Enterprise" kits. In a mad fury I bought four of them at half the normal price. Finally, last year, the idea exploded. I had to build one.
I had planned at the project for a long time. At first 1/4800 scale was my target, as I had started building starships in that scale for miniature wargaming. It was difficult to work in, was too small for any real detail, and I had not gamed in a long while. Then I had the idea of a 1/1400 scale model, because I had the "Big D" and it had a scale. The prospect of something that size, for a modeler who was mostly familiar with 25mm wargaming figures, was daunting. However, I had started to collect objects for the project. Then the feast of kits hit. Having three ships in the 1/2500 scale, I scaled back my idea, and decided to build in that scale.
A close examination of the secondary hull of the Enterprise D proved it to be about the right length, and thickness for what I wanted the Manta to look like. I trimmed the pylons off the secondary hull, and cut the back of the deflector dish out. The deflector dish is a multiple affair. The shell of the Enterprise-D dish is filled with three pieces of Plastruct tubing of various sizes with blobs of white putty.e putty.
Next I cut the wings of the ship out of .020 styrene and tacked the four pieces (two top, two bottom) together. I then sanded the curve of the wing identical on all four pieces. Four more pieces of styrene where cut for the thickness of the wigtips, and sanded to identical curves.
I shaped the top halves of the wing to fit the hull, and glued them in place. The curve forced into the plastic was perfect and better than I could have planned it on a graph. The wingtips and wing underside where also glued to the tips of the wing top. All was allowed to set up for 24 hours. After that I drew the wing bottoms to the hull, forcing the downward curve of the wing. I held the wings in place until they set. No clamp seem to hold it.
At this point I had a week of fill and sand to find and fill the gaps and openings in the hull. The hanger door was shaped of basswood, and glued in place.
Once the hull was reasonably finished I located the places for the turrets, and cut openings to take 4mm glass beads. Phaser strips where cut from .020 styrene with scissors, rounded with files and then glued in place.
The nacelles where originally made of plastic, but I was displeased with the result. When I tore the build down to the hull to cast it, I replaced the nacelles.
I made a master nacelle of brass and aluminum tubing and epoxy putty. The finished master was molded and castings made in alumlite. Those are currently on the model. The pylons are also basswood.
Painting is a chore. I can make a nice model, then ruin it with paint. So I beg forgiveness for the paint job. The model is painted to represent the USS Questing CB5.
Manta Class ships are pure battle cruisers. They have two primary functions. First, is home defense. Mantas and similar types will be found patrolling the Federation borders as a primary defensive line against possible aggression. The presence of a Manta on your boarder means that your threat is taken seriously, and will be met with all due force. The second function is as an offensive threat, to seek and destroy an active enemy.
Two manta class ship were available during the late Cardassian war. They saw action on two occasions. As a result of these encounters the Cardassian High Command issued orders that the Mantas were not to be engaged at less than 5 to 1 tonnage odds. Peace was declared shortly thereafter, and the effectiveness of the tactical orders was not tested.
While a third function of commerce raider is obvious, shooting hapless merchant vessels is not something the Ane would stomach.
Intelligence: Orions are believed have class B knowledge of the Manta's design and capacity due to the Questing incident. However, the fact that this knowledge is not widely shared among the houses was made evident when the Questing herself encountered three Acquisitor class cruisers on the Klingon/Federation border. Two of the three engaged the Questing, a vast overmatch in favor of the Questing. Both ships were captured in damaged condition.
Manta Class BattlecruiserLENGTH: 1,230 feet, total, 985.5 feet, hull
BEAM: 1200 feet
DRAFT: 306.5 feet, total, 201.5 feet. Hull
15 Decks thickARMAMENT: 4 octoclops torpedo turrets -- 8 torpedo tubes each, fire rate of one torpedo per two seconds per tube. Total armament 660 photon or quantum torpedoes. 4 phaser Arrays, 2 top, 2 bottom. 1 Apocalypse missile tube (coaxial mount), 1000-10,000 megaton yield, 20 missiles carried.
IMPULSE SYSTEMS: 1 FIM Kloratis impulse drive. 0 to 0.99 c acceleration in 12.2 seconds. Fuel range of 2 years at 0.5 impulse acceleration.
WARP SYSTEMS: 2 AWG Aurora FTL Systems High Efficiency warp drive nacelles. Cruising speed WF 9.7 sustained Maximum speed, WF 9.999, one hour maximum
DURATION: 55 years at warp 9.5
COMPUTER: Nanotech Crystalmind G3, Mk 16 RI system.
CREW: 75 Ane, 250 biomechs
AUXILIARIES: Up to 20 shuttles and/or work pods of various types. Most Ane shuttles are Starfleet's larger shuttle hulls refitted for Ane usage.
LIFEBOATS: Ane ships do not carry lifeboats.
CRUISE DURATION: 14 standard months on station.
^ A look at the impulse engine position (the red area) and nacelle line up. My hand helps to size the model in 1/2500 scale (see full-sized image).
^ This view shows the general shape of the ship. Featured are the hanger bay framed by the white landing stage and its centerline markers, the top nacelle with a good view of the warp induction hood, and the dorsal phaser strips.
^ Designed to place the maximum mass on the ship centerline and allow the greatest possible fire arcs, the axis-aligned nacelle arrangement is clearly seen, here.
^ A good look at the deflector/sensor array and the general underside. The white hole is for the stand.
^ A close up of the tail.
There are currently eight Manta class ships commissioned, and two under construction. No Manta class ships have been decommissioned or destroyed.
Klingon Intelligence has a class B understanding of the Manta due to technological exchanges between the Federation and Klingon Empire. Federation Intelligence has not reported the Klingons to be building similar designs.
The Romulan Star Empire is believe to possess only class D intelligence of the Manta, they are aware of the ship, and understand in a limited sense what it can do. A Manta class ship has never engaged the Romulans.
Cardassian Intelligence has class C knowledge of the Mantas, direct contact and readings during combat maneuvers.
Ferengi may possess anywhere from a class B to a class E understanding of the Manta. Various Ferengi houses do not share information without payment. They can be anywhere from totally ignorant of its existence, to possessing plans to build one.
This page copyright © 1999 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 17 March 1999.