Saturday, May 11, 2013

SciFi Saturday – Sizing Miniatures

The Star Frontiers: Knight Hawks game was provided with a fairly limited selection of spaceship miniatures in its accessory boxed sets. Below, I wanted to compare the relative sizes and usage of those miniatures:

Now, the identifiers you see above are not the same as those given in the miniature boxes themselves (as per the photo on the bottom of each box). The smallest UPF ship is called a "Frigate" there, and the mid-sized the "Destroyer"; the smallest Sathar ship is denoted "Frigate", and the biggest the "Heavy Cruiser". However, those are problematic designations for a number of reasons: For the UPF, the Frigate and Destroyer should be practically the same size, whereas the mid-sized miniature is over twice as large as the small one (and notably, almost exactly as large as the enemy's light cruiser). For the Sathar, the most common ship used should be a Destroyer (entirely missing, per the boxes), and the Heavy Cruiser shouldn't be larger than the UPF Battleship -- as is clearly the case for the minatures above.

What I'm finding to be more useful is a somewhat flexible classification of those minatures: The smaller ones can be used for anything in the Destroyer class, including Frigates as needed (which were in fact called destroyer escorts by the U.S. in WWII). The mid-sized ones can be used for anything in the Cruiser class, either Light or Heavy as needed. The largest miniature should be reserved for the top-level Battleships, of course (and for the Sathar, possibly some new type or the HS20+ Juggernaut from Dragon #91). These flexible classifications are illustrated in the photo above.

So much for that. But if we also wish to analyze miniature sizes to the sources in the rulebooks (for example, to interpolate gaps for other miniatures or the like), then we get in something of a conundrum, because the progression of ship sizes is different in every place we might think to look. In the schematic on Campaign Book p. 6-7, the relationship between hull size and ship length is precisely linear (every ship there is depicted exactly 2 boxes long per hull size). In the Campaign Book p. 11, the increase in length is a bit greater than linear. For the official miniatures here, the increase in length is significantly less than linear. So basically each of the sources is incommensurable (especially trying to synch up Campaign Book p. 11 to the official miniatures). Possibly more on this later.

1 comment:

  1. Addendum: Again looking at the oddity of the Sathar Heavy Cruiser being larger than the UPF Battleship -- if you take the miniature length regression (close to 0.8*HS in cm), this would predict a Heavy Cruiser length of 12.8 cm (actual 14), and a Battleship length of 16 cm (actual 12.2). So it's a bit like the two ships had their correct lengths accidentally swapped.