Imperial Voidfighter

It had been a while since I've made anything Star Wars (the last one being the "Stingray"), but I was finally inspired to do so by a LEGO contest I saw in November of 2005 that involved more imagination and less simple copying of existing Star Wars vehicles. So I give you... the Imperial Voidfighter.

Some people said my voidfighter had a "botchy color scheme." To this day I disagree, and I think the effect was only caused by the junky little black curved slopes on the front with all the printing on them. I never should have used those things. Ah well. The actual ship itself has a coherant design: dark grey hull, light grey engines, and black stripes on the wings and tail. That simple.

The idea behind the Voidfighter contest was to build a vehicle based on nothing but a text description from a story. When I first read the description of the fighter, I immediately envisioned a cockpit using these pieces. To quote the story, here is the "sleek and spacious cockpit interior."

Also quoting the story: "the back of the helmet ... now appeared to be jacked into the seat. Some kind of neural interface?"
The helmet the pilot is wearing hooks to the back of the seat. You can just see it in this picture.

After reading the description in the story, I made a list of details that I knew I would have to adhere to and printed it. This is what it said:
- Half as long as an X-Wing but just as wide
- No TIE ball cockpit
- Hull extends from cockpit like a tail
- Wide, curving wings
- Large engine under tail
- Thrusters imbedded in the end of each wing
- Microthrusters along the sides of the body
- Lumpy protrusions on the ship for the guns
- Cockpit is spacious and sleek
- Pilot wears special helmet that hooks to the seat
- Normally colored dark metallic
- Fades to solid black on command
As you can see, I adhered to pretty much all of these quite strictly.

Here, you can see the engines on the tips of the wings and the large engine under the tail that extends from the hull. The orange dots on the wings and the sides of the body represent the small "microthrusters."

Notice the bumps on the wings from the back? Those are the "lumpy protrusions" for the guns.

Also notice the wide, curving wings. I tried to put a neato little black stripe design onto the surface of the wing (mainly because I was running out of dark grey). By the way, all dark grey bricks on this ship are Old Dark Grey. There are some light bley elements though...

This ship was terribly hard to make. I put a lot more time and effort into my creations now than I used to... and this one was especially bad because it's an ODD number of studs wide, and it's totally STUDLESS.

The underside. Note the torpedo tubes. They were mentioned in the story, but it didn't say where they were located. So I just put them under the wing, since the black slope I already had there to support the wing had convenient technic holes in it anyway.

Here it is with the landing gear folded up. I wanted to make all three landing gear able to fold up into the ship's belly, but unfortunately I found it nearly impossible on such a small fighter. So you'll have to settle for just the front gear.

There were some amazing entries in this contest, but I've noticed that many of them don't follow the description very closely. I tried to follow it as closely as I possibly could while still having an original design.

The design, by the way, is meant to look somewhat like the modern stealth fighters. After all, it IS a stealth fighter, and according to the story it has the ability to fool radar (scanner) systems. Also, I tried to make it shaped slightly like the "Rocketeer" helmet, since George Lucas seems to love that sort of thing...

My recreation of the story follows: Here are the techs wrestling the Imperial pilot out of his seat.

A rebel tech puts the pilot's strange helmet on his head... finds the neural link on the back...

He runs his hands over the controls...

AND WOAH! The ship turns to a deep, pitch black, almost absorbing all the light around it!

The solid black version was a TOTAL PAIN to make! If I'd known how much trouble it was going to be just for a mini Jedi Starfighter if I won... I probably wouldn't have bothered making it.

As I built the ship, I made sure I had a black version of every piece I used. It was difficult, since my black boxes are so huge and hard to scratch around in to find pieces.

Here's the underside. Yep, even the torpedo tubes are black. The only things that I could NOT find in black were the 1x6 curved slopes and the 1x4 joint piece for the landing gear. The landing gear doesn't matter, I don't think, since it's on the bottom and mostly covered up in flight anyway. And I think the trans-black subsitutes I found for the curved slopes actually make it look even cooler. Right now I'm imagining them as being the cloaking device emitters or something...

Yes, when the ship cloaks, even the BOOSTER GLOW gets darker! I thought it was a nice touch. Black and trans-red just go so well together. For more details, see my creation called "The Manegarm" under Nova Refuge.

Too be honest, I think this ship might be just a little bit too awesome for Star Wars. Heheheh...

I gotta say, I love the name: Voidfighter. Very cool. Although, while I was building my ship (I was building it during a thunderstorm, by the way), I kept wanting to call it the "Thunderclap." I'm thinking I might modify the model after the contest and turn it into a ship called the Thunderclap.

Yes, even the "windshield" turns opaque black. After all, the ship would not be very well-cloaked if it didn't! That's why the pilot has the neural interface, I assume.

These pictures don't quite do the ship justice, methinks. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a three-dimensional object is worth 1,500 at least (500 for the extra dimension). Though personally, I'd estimate it at more around 3,000 or so.

And yes, they DO simultaneously exist.

Okay, time for me to whine: If I calculated correctly, I made it into like 6th place. And that's if you count people who had the same number of votes as being tied. Let's just say I didn't do that well. Of course, what can you expect, when my preview picture in the gallery they made was only the grey version with its garbled black slopes sticking right in your face? The winners of the contest had elaborate photoshopped graphics with diagrams and descriptions and special effects and such. So in the end it was all about show, about appealing to the popular masses. If the contest had actually been carefully judged by the author of the story or a panel of chosen judges who rated the creations according to how well the creations adhered to the rules of the contest, my fighter would definitely have made it at least into the top ten or top five. Most of the winning entries didn't even look anything like the description!

So, in the end, since I had wasted so much effort, I decided to convert the Voidfighter into a different ship: the Grimm's Army Vulture Fighter, which you can view in the Nova Refuge LEGO section. I'm currently working on turning the black version into either a Nova Refuge starship for Helexith, or Dustin Echoes's "Blackdagger" from my Halo fan fiction...