Saturday, August 30, 2014

Aeronef WIP: The shaZulu

By way of backstory, these ships belong to the shaZulu Alliance ("sha" meaning simply "new" in the native language known as isiZulu). After the discovery of diamonds on their lands in 1867, the Zulu and Xhosa tribes set about conquering their neighbors, then began to gird themselves for battle against the encroachment of the European powers.   The shaZulu hired a Polish inventor who had been unsuccessful in selling his designs in Europe to direct the building of their new fleet.

shaZulu ships are designed for speed and firepower;   consequently, their weakness is in their thin armor.   The shaZulu doctrine of aeronaval combat is to strike quickly and then withdraw, repeating as necessary until the enemy is defeated.   A favorite tactic is to lure an enemy ship out of formation with a seemingly-helpless frigate, then pounce on it with destroyers and battlecruisers.

Design notes: The shape of the ships is actually inspired by the shape of the traditional Zulu cowhide shields, known as isihlangu, rather than a standard boat shape.  I kept the VSF-looking round turrets, funnels, and torpedo tubes in order to keep the ships from looking too futuristic against other 'Nefs.

An example of a Zulu shield:

Group photos:

Ithayiga ("Tiger")-Class Frigate

Umdumo ("Thunder")-Class Bombard Frigate

Gwaza ("Slaughter")-Class Destroyer

Ingwe ("Leopard")-Class Light Cruiser

Inkemba ("Sword")-Class Heavy Cruiser

Isijula ("Javelin")-Class Battlecruiser

Siyonqoba ("Conqueror")-Class Battleship

Ukhozi ("Eagle")-Class Fighter Carrier

Monday, August 25, 2014

Aeronef WIP: The Tso Chinese

Following the assassination of the Imperial family by Muslim Chinese rebels in 1876, General Tso Tsung-t'ang, military genius and founder of China's naval academy, took over administrative control of the government until questions of imperial succession could be resolved. This regency became permanent without any official orders or proclamations, and General Tso immediately moved to modernize the Chinese aeronef fleet.

There are some design elements that are meant to invoke a feeling of traditional Chinese architecture, such as the "turtle boat"-inspired Frigate, the sloping roofline of the Aerofighter Carrier, and the junk-inspired steering vanes present on all the ships. I was going to put a dragon's head on the front of each ship, but I couldn't make a decent one.

Note the sally ports and harpoon guns on the Marine Raider!  Specially (or especially) designed for boarding actions.