Banu Merchantman Guide [02/06 update: New Image Analysis and Alien Tech Integration]

Romantic

Posts: 371

Posted:
Edited: by Romantic
Posted: -
Hello everyone,

To me, Banu Clipper was an instant love at first sight and as a dutiful lover, I had spent much time pondering the inner workings, structure, and function of this majestic creature. As a painter, I am a visual creature myself, and as such, I had made a respectable pile of rough speculative sketches and concepts on the subject. Fully realized Banu ship model is still ways off, and so I feel I have room to visually explore this vessel's design.
Plus, visuals are always a fertile ground for discussion, so yeah, here goes.

First thing's first - this is nothing official, just my musing and pondering, which is subject to change/edit.

*****

IBanuGuide.jpg

I have divided this visual guide into three main sections: C&C, Cargo, and Propulsion. Each is color coded to tie it with the overall plan on the main image, above (Red, Green, Orange, respectively). You can refer back to it to see which part of the overall structure I am referring to.

1. Command and Control
IIBanuGuide.jpg

This, to me, was the most challenging part of the guide. Due to very unfamiliar overall design of the vessel, it is very difficult to see clearly what section of the ship could serve as the bridge/control room. But, after isolating other sections of the ship, the topmost superstructure appears to be the best candidate for this role.
It's location on the top of the hull provides the most optimal view (with some obvious blindspots below, however), and the pointed protrusions surrounding it suggest some sort of communication/scanning/antennae-like mechanisms in place, which seems appropriate to place near the command hub. This structure also sports an array of signal lights which seems fitting, given the proposed role of this section of the ship: 2 orange lights close to the tip, and several white/blue lights on the central "fins". Their secondary purpose as stabilizing wings is also possible.
There are no discernible viewports of any sort on the structure, however the tip of the "body" appears to be distinct from the rest, suggesting, perhaps, that a bridge of sorts can be located in that area, visuals being available through either a dark, heavily tinted surface of the tip, or through powerful sensor array that is enabled by the prominent antennae surrounding it.
The lower image gives a rough idea of what the bridge might look like, and what roles ships four crew-members may play in it .

2. Cargo Hold
IIIBanuGuide.jpg

Banu Clipper also sports what appears to be a spacious cargo hold to enable it's primary role as a merchant vessel. It is a very unusual design, with many openings and potential loading/unloading ports. There are two potential means of moving the cargo in and out of the vessel: though the frontal opening and through the lower cargo carriage. Both are viable, though I wonder if the frontal opening is chiefly designed as a landing/take-off pad for a smaller vessel.
I can draw two conclusions from this: Banu design does not favor smuggling operation, as its cargo is largely out in the open for scrutiny (though it may be a sort of reverse psychology, where it APPEARS to be exposed), secondly, this gives a clue on how Banu might land - the lower horizontal cargo hold strongly suggest that the vessel would land flat on the belly, giving easy access to the cargo.

I also wonder how little effort Banu had put in to protect their cargo hold, it is almost like the CARGO serves as the armored padding for the rest of the ship. Peculiar, but then I guess it may give a pirate pause before blowing up all the booty in order to stop the Clipper.

3. Propulsion systems
IVBanuGuide.jpg

Banu propulsion is another puzzle of the design: main wings of the vessel contain what seems to be two massive VTOL engines. This sort of layout makes more sense in the atmosphere, but in space, where the gravity pull is seldom directed downwards, it appears as a very peculiar placement for engines. One possible solution is articulated wings, that would rotate in a desired direction to allow for full freedom of motion.
The large spacing between the two engines also makes it possible for Banu to make impossibly tight turns instantly (when aligned horizontally, fire one engine one direction, and the other in the opposite, resulting in a tight turn, including 180 degrees. These engines also allows Banu have an unmatched vertical mobility, which seems to be a unique quality among the current line-up of ships.
On the other hand, Banu engines seem to be incredibly exposed and vulnerable. This, coupled with the exposed cargo hold, makes me think that Banu puts a lot of stake in a powerful shield in defense of the hull.

The remaining thrusters appear to be much more orthodox and sensible. The bottom fin/protrusion is an interesting topic, however - many have concluded that it is a ramp, a loading bay, or a launchpad, etc... After much pondering I feel it it is neither. Its placement suggests that it would be awkward for loading/unloading purposes because of its distance from the hold proper, and how much easier it is to unload the cargo from the other two openings in the ship.
As a vessel landing bay, it again, seems less sensible than the large frontal opening, with a spacious cavity therein. It also has the docked vessel dangerously exposed, while at rest.
I can see why the suggestion of it being a main ramp had been brought up - it indeed looks somewhat akin to a ladder or a staircase. Yet, that seems like such a grandiose structure for something so simplistic and mundane like a mere ramp.
I believe that the the bottom "fin" is actually Banu's trap for space-borne gases. It is located in direct proximity to all the engines and thrusters and it's curving form allows for effective gas collection. The "stairs" in its core are more likely to be an articulated adjustable intake - opening and closing depending on the needs of the vessel.
It is also very likely that the whole "fin" is capable of raising and dropping for easier landing, to reduce profile when in danger, on it's base it sports some sort of hydraulics-like mechanisms, adding credibility to this potential function.

[to be continued?]
  • Romantic

    Posts: 371

    Posted:
    Edited: by Romantic
    Posted:
    Edited:
    4. Weapon System
    VBanuGuide.jpg

    Larger, better quality image, hosted on my website:
    http://imaginarystar.daportfolio.com/gallery/848394#4

    Image accompanying the Weapon System review is a bit more complex than the previous ones. If it is unclear - along with the possible locations of guns themselves, I have attempted to demonstrate the possible firing arcs of the guns, attempting to deduce certain weaknesses and strong points this alien chassis provides.

    Note that the arcs are drawn with a tentative assumption that the lower fin of the Clipper would be folded in battle. Of course, the available concept-art does not seem to provide any explicit clues as to the location of the guns, thus I try to proceed deductively, primarily through thought.


    Banu Clipper's ordnance selection seems to place it in a peculiar midpoint between an defensive and aggressive vessel. It's dual turrets provide a solid defensive sheath. Five second class(articulated) hardpoints offer a whole wealth of possibilities, both defensively and offensively.
    But the massive dual class one guns mean only one thing: a whole deal of pain and woe to the unfortunate pilots that would find themselves at the bow of an angry Banu Clipper. That may play into the philosophy of a blockade runner ship, yet I wonder if large frontal ordnance is truly necessary in circumvention of blockades in space(addition of an extra dimension makes rigidly mounted frontal guns for a ship that aims to escape,an investment of questionable value).
    Rigid mount guns do gain more value in the light of the theory I've discussed in the section on propulsion - due to it's unique engine structure, Banu may very well be capable of unparalleled turning speed (near instantaneous, in fact), and therefore is potentially capable to bring its big guns to bear in any direction. Though again, this would not be of great apparent utility for a ship that aims to merely escape, yet of tremendous value for the one that is on the attack.
    This may be the evidence that Banu may very well be a dangerous aggressor if situation calls for it.

    I have places both class Is on what seems to be the most obvious place to house large front-mounted guns - the dual protrusion at the very front of the ship, though the guns may be housed a little deeper in the superstructure. I cannot think of any worthwhile alternative to such placement.

    Class IIs appear to be the most challenging part of Banu weapon array to figure out. In the end I have settled on my design for several reasons:
    > The arrangement provides both the offensive and defensive pressure.
    > It is well rounded in terms of areas covered - particularly it gives an excellent sheath for the bridge and the sensor equipment on the upper area of the vessel(that applies equally well to the alternative bridge placements suggested).
    > Remembering that the inspiration behind this vessel is the old Clipper, I felt it was all too fitting for the Merchantman to be able to deliver an actual broadside barrage with it's many Class IIs. This would certainly make it a rather unique beast to face in battle, I am sure you would agree.

    Lastly, the dual class Vs:
    In this, I am in full concord with Khaelis. The placement of these two turrets provides maximum coverage of the vessel from the attacks.
    Much like the Class I armament I simply cannot think of more optimal/sensible locations for these defense platforms.

    This covers the extent of Banu's weaponry - and as you can see, we have NO missile delivery capability, perhaps reflecting its unique alien outlook on warfare. What does that tell us? Well, self-sufficiency of the vessel is an obvious candidate. With a massive, articulated gas collector/intake and fully energy based armed hardpoints Banu aims to go that extra mile, and then some.

    I would not discount missiles entirely, however, for who know what sort of wonders the large cargo hold of Clipper may house - a sneaky Gladiator would certainly not be entirely unfathomable addittion to Banu's act, assuming it is able to house smaller vessels.
    And I do suspect, as I have stated before, that a frontal cavity may very well house a small ship.

    Thank you for your time, and your participation, citizens!
  • Siycle

    Posts: 306

    Posted:
    Posted:
    This is actually pretty intuitive . thanks.

    +1
    jBUHaiE.png

    Starfarer / Aurora LN / Cutlass / Retaliator
  • Thanatonaute

    Posts: 1388

    Posted:
    Posted:
    +1 Great work!
  • StarBunny

    Posts: 216

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Nice!
    sig8.png
  • Skurkanas

    Posts: 3032

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Nice pictures & thoughts.

    Personally, I am hoping for the bridge to differ quite drastically from human design. Not so much a window looking out into space (the blindspots would be huge) but maybe a holographic interface near the center of the ship that is fed data from relais at the antennas.
    Or the pilot might be standing in a little chamber at the top (or bottom) spires
    dUwCz8
  • SuperFurryDave

    Posts: 708

    Posted:
    Posted:
    I love my Banu MM <3

    Dave
    Gofr : Dammit Jim! I'm a cargo hauler, not a fleet commander!

    Oh for the wings of any bird, other than a battery hen

    For sure, for sure. We're clean clear to Taco Town
  • Romantic

    Posts: 371

    Posted:
    Posted:
    [hide]

    Nice pictures & thoughts.

    Personally, I am hoping for the bridge to differ quite drastically from human design. Not so much a window looking out into space (the blindspots would be huge) but maybe a holographic interface near the center of the ship that is fed data from relais at the antennas.
    Or the pilot might be standing in a little chamber at the top (or bottom) spires

    I agree, that very well may be true, I had very similar thoughts. And the sensor array serving as the "eyes" of the ship seems very plausible.
    I was debating whether to depict the bridge at all, or merely point at what may be "it".
    Going all crazy alien in my theories without any background info seemed like pushing my luck a bit, you know? ;)

    I may post up my alternative bridge concepts later.
  • Ultros

    Posts: 732

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Very nice analysis!
    MUyI7PW.png

  • walltar

    Posts: 15901

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Great work ... me likes.
    oubk8o.jpg
  • Duke-peacemaker

    Posts: 40

    Posted:
    Posted:
    +1 to the op.
    Thanks.
    Signature

  • taurii

    Posts: 687

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Always nice to read a creative thread, A+ for effort and ideas +1
  • sailor67

    Posts: 8815

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Nice thread. I concur with your logic, I had suggested gas collection in an earlier thread for the operation of the lower assembly. Given that this ship is a merchantman, the ability to "harvest" fuel as it flies would be key advantage to a long haul trader. A close look at the concept art shows a net like structure so it could up close to the hull for landing or battle

    html>
  • Xareh

    Posts: 1823

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Awesome. Have you given any thoughts to weaponry?
    A$VP MOB | SOULECTION | TEAM-SUPREME | INSPECTED | TDE | TBP | RATTPACK | BBK | REBEL SOUND | FIREPOWER | UPLINK
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  • Morissonia_Ltd

    Posts: 1644

    Posted:
    Posted:
    [hide]

    Nice pictures & thoughts.

    Personally, I am hoping for the bridge to differ quite drastically from human design. Not so much a window looking out into space (the blindspots would be huge) but maybe a holographic interface near the center of the ship that is fed data from relais at the antennas.
    Or the pilot might be standing in a little chamber at the top (or bottom) spires

    I agree, and you might even be right on the money... Chris already said, during livestream I believe, that they want to offer a completely different experience with the MM; also, during the part that showcased the new HUD developments, it was said that alien ships would probably have HUDs in their races native language instead of any human language.

    I am really excited to get some more details on those points.

    “Several years from now, when you are surrounded by your loved ones,
    and they ask you what did you do during the battle for Space Sims and PC games,
    you can look them in the eye and say;
    I helped make Star Citizen.”
  • Punisher1

    Posts: 424

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Ya I'm really excited about takining one away from a crew and selling them in the slave market making a huge pay day in the process obtaining one myself at some point.
    - A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for. -
    - My "slider bar" is set to "let's get fu#kin real" what's yours set to? -
    - Balance? Theres no stinking balance in the real world. Why should I have to pay for your lack of skill? -
  • PeregrinesFury

    Posts: 788

    Posted:
    Posted:
    I don't see how everyone misses the bridge at the front of the ship. You have wrap-around glass panes at the front. Have the best view for the pilot. And a corridor going to the back of the ship with the cargo holds to either side. (like the retaliator). Turret controls at the rear top and bottom like the constellation.
    photo forumlogo.png

  • Khaelis

    Posts: 1306

    Posted:
    Edited: by Khaelis
    Posted:
    Edited:
    This is pretty much what I've been thinking:

    11263331104_f406e58a92_o.png

    Each horizontal line is approximately 4m tall for each deck. That's a conservative estimate if the ship is somewhere around 94-100m long. That leaves room for each deck to be a reasonable thickness and a decent height for each occupied space (correct me if I'm wrong, aren't Banu a bit taller than humans?).

    I figure the Orange section could be an engineering section (though it could easily be made 2 decks tall, or dropped down a deck). Green sections are living space. Blue is the bridge. Brown is cargo space. Now keep in mind, that top green deck area is a little bit longer than a Constellation. The middle green deck area is about the same length as the Freelancer. Just to give a sense of scale. The purple circles are where I figure the best spots are for the two class 5 turrets to be located.

    Additionally, if the bottom black section folds up for landing, and moves forward, perhaps the red sections on the front open up to a cargo ramp. I imagine the front being split down the middle, each of the marked sections move outwards then slide back. A hidden cargo ramp could lower for loading/unloading goods.

    Another view of what I'm thinking about the cargo bay doors:

    11263639276_c6db103ab8_o.png
    .17bwc
  • KBear

    Posts: 507

    Posted:
    Edited: by KBear
    Posted:
    Edited:
    An impressive OP and thread. I am unable to open the .jpg s so relied on the excellent verbal descriptions.

    I too believe the lower "heel/foot/fin" appears able to close into the lowerhold opening and result in a smooth lower hull --- much more useful in an atmosphere. The purpose of this "fin" may be as a ramp or as suggested by Avgvst as a gas collection device --- maybe both?

    Given the Costellation at 35t cargo carries another ship and that one of the Starfarer variants ---- 75t --- may also carry a ship(s), I wonder that the MM may carry another ship too.
    Excellent analysis and imagination Avgvst! Thanks.
    Three fish 'n a crawdad.
  • Harkarmin

    Posts: 283

    Posted:
    Posted:
    I thought the front looked like a docking bay opening. The cargo looks just below that level
    Avgvst:
    [hide]


    IIIBanuGuide.jpg

    "If you meet an asshole in the morning, he's an asshole. If you meet assholes all day long, you're the asshole" - Raylan Givens "Justified"

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  • BrutishVulgarian

    Posts: 1076

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Well thought out, OP.
    I would say the dorsal protrusion is a solar sail.
    pointyend_by_mason4300-d6wj85x.png
    As "confirmed" by Ben Lesnik
    https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/1499457/#Comment_1499457
    "Huh - when I said the pointy end, I meant the opposite of the one everyone seems to be thinking (where the various foils and wings point.) I had imagined the "sail" at the back of the ship. But before absolutely confirming that, I will check with the artists. "
    Physics > Graphics
    Fun > Both
    Fun is relative
  • SKFireFly

    Posts: 406

    Posted:
    Posted:
    [hide]

    I thought the front looked like a docking bay opening. The cargo looks just below that level

    Avgvst:
    [hide]


    IIIBanuGuide.jpg

    Nobody really know how it will open and load its cargo, we are just assuming for now.

    +1 to the work done OP!

    [SKR]Firefly ♥ Banu Merchantman ♥
    W6iWUyIw2u7m

  • GaiusSicarius

    Posts: 765

    On Probation
    Posted:
    On Probation
    Posted:
    good thread, OP!
  • Mechanaar

    Posts: 108

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Today I watched "Man of Steel" , the new Superman movie, and I wiped my Eyes , because there was a Banu Merchantman Ship on Krypton....

    Heres a Concept Art
    65.jpg

    in the up middle of this Picture is a ship very similar to the Concept Art of the Banu..

    does this mean, we will meet Superman in Star Citizen?? ;-)
    Abstractum
  • Romantic

    Posts: 371

    Posted:
    Edited: by Romantic
    Posted:
    Edited:
    4. Weapon System
    VBanuGuide.jpg

    Larger, better quality image, hosted on my website:
    http://imaginarystar.daportfolio.com/gallery/848394#4

    Image accompanying the Weapon System review is a bit more complex than the previous ones. If it is unclear - along with the possible locations of guns themselves, I have attempted to demonstrate the possible firing arcs of the guns, attempting to deduce certain weaknesses and strong points this alien chassis provides.

    Note that the arcs are drawn with a tentative assumption that the lower fin of the Clipper would be folded in battle. Of course, the available concept-art does not seem to provide any explicit clues as to the location of the guns, thus I try to proceed deductively, primarily through thought.



    Banu Clipper's ordnance selection seems to place it in a peculiar midpoint between an defensive and aggressive vessel. It's dual turrets provide a solid defensive sheath. Five second class(articulated) hardpoints offer a whole wealth of possibilities, both defensively and offensively.
    But the massive dual class one guns mean only one thing: a whole deal of pain and woe to the unfortunate pilots that would find themselves at the bow of an angry Banu Clipper. That may play into the philosophy of a blockade runner ship, yet I wonder if large frontal ordnance is truly necessary in circumvention of blockades in space(addition of an extra dimension makes rigidly mounted frontal guns for a ship that aims to escape,an investment of questionable value).
    Rigid mount guns do gain more value in the light of the theory I've discussed in the section on propulsion - due to it's unique engine structure, Banu may very well be capable of unparalleled turning speed (near instantaneous, in fact), and therefore is potentially capable to bring its big guns to bear in any direction. Though again, this would not be of great apparent utility for a ship that aims to merely escape, yet of tremendous value for the one that is on the attack.
    This may be the evidence that Banu may very well be a dangerous aggressor if situation calls for it.

    I have places both class Is on what seems to be the most obvious place to house large front-mounted guns - the dual protrusion at the very front of the ship, though the guns may be housed a little deeper in the superstructure. I cannot think of any worthwhile alternative to such placement.

    Class IIs appear to be the most challenging part of Banu weapon array to figure out. In the end I have settled on my design for several reasons:
    > The arrangement provides both the offensive and defensive pressure.
    > It is well rounded in terms of areas covered - particularly it gives an excellent sheath for the bridge and the sensor equipment on the upper area of the vessel(that applies equally well to the alternative bridge placements suggested).
    > Remembering that the inspiration behind this vessel is the old Clipper, I felt it was all too fitting for the Merchantman to be able to deliver an actual broadside barrage with it's many Class IIs. This would certainly make it a rather unique beast to face in battle, I am sure you would agree.

    Lastly, the dual class Vs:
    In this, I am in full concord with Khaelis. The placement of these two turrets provides maximum coverage of the vessel from the attacks.
    Much like the Class I armament I simply cannot think of more optimal/sensible locations for these defense platforms.

    This covers the extent of Banu's weaponry - and as you can see, we have NO missile delivery capability, perhaps reflecting its unique alien outlook on warfare. What does that tell us? Well, self-sufficiency of the vessel is an obvious candidate. With a massive, articulated gas collector/intake and fully energy based armed hardpoints Banu aims to go that extra mile, and then some.

    I would not discount missiles entirely, however, for who know what sort of wonders the large cargo hold of Clipper may house - a sneaky Gladiator would certainly not be entirely unfathomable addittion to Banu's act, assuming it is able to house smaller vessels.
    And I do suspect, as I have stated before, that a frontal cavity may very well house a small ship.

    Thank you for your time, and your participation, citizens!
  • Sir_On_The_Edge

    Posts: 449

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Amazing guide. So happy that I have one of these.
  • Digital_Asylum

    Posts: 868

    Posted:
    Edited: by Digital_Asylum
    Posted:
    Edited:
    + 1 for the effort and creativity!

    Well done!
  • Pandamixer

    Posts: 176

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Equally impressed as everyone else.

    Absolutely stellar!

    +1
  • Lord-of-All-Bacon

    Posts: 14305

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Amazing thread OP.
    e0Wr8mY.gifXlWcBET.png?1
  • Moonrider

    Posts: 2074

    Posted:
    Posted:
    Looks good.I hope for a slighhtly bigger bridge / ataterooms though.
    29xauzb.png
    Dreams. Dreams happen now!
    0.jpg


  • Timech

    Posts: 3555

    Posted:
    Edited: by Timech
    Posted:
    Edited:
    Blasphemy! Space Whale uses good social skills to befriend you! There is no need for weapons or "hard points". Only love and blubber.

    space-whale-friend.jpg
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