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Sowerthe f'Quarwe Long Range Escort Fighter

By John Douglass - images and text © 1997.

      This ship was inspired by a combination of the "Nebulon Ranger" from the Star Wars comics and a watch container. And I wanted to build a large (for me) sized fighter that didn't depend on a lot of symmetry. For one of my other ships I downloaded 3D image viewers and 3D model reformatters so that I could look at 3DO and Lightwave models as VRML worlds. The Nebulon Ranger, also pictured in the SW vehicle guide, was just such a model. I was intrigued by the single wing, mounted at an angle, from which everything else hung.

      At the same time a friend got a new watch and, as all my *best* friends do, he gave me the plastic box it came in. Think of a sandwich, sliced corner-to-corner, but extra thick. I re-sliced this "sandwich" from corner-to-almost-corner in order to reduce the cross-section a bit. Then I played with different shapes of "wing", made from .060 styrene sheet, finally settling for a nearly diamond shape, slightly canted forward. I knew the engines would be directly behind the widest part of the fuselage, and that out the front I would want a cockpit, two "machine guns" and a "cannon", and that all this forward-facing stuff and the wing itself would have to "balance" to either side of the engines. I also knew that when dealing with any spaceship, one must still give the viewer clues as to what direction it goes ("So where's the front of this beast?") and what constitutes "upright". With most of my ships the front-back ends are pretty easily determinable (pitch and yaw), but "roll" was a bit tricky. This concern partially determined the shape of the cockpit. The only other clue was that the guns in the machine-gun pod are side-by-side along the same axis as the horizontal axis of the cockpit.

      I liked "streaking" weathering from panels, so I was sure to leave a few expanses with panelling, and added a few enscribed lines on most every other surface big enough for some, too. As in most my ships, I kept some surfaces fairly bereft of detail, while packing little bits of stuff into others, mostly nooks and crannies. I also wanted to do Star Wars-esque weathering with panels of different colours, and I prefer to avoid mixing my own paints. I chose an overall blue scheme, with the odd panel in mostly blues, but some greens, purples, and a tan or two. I chose "Bronson Orange" for the markings for its nice contrast to blue. The lettering were characters from a Hebrew font I downloaded, enlarged in a the Win95 graphic editor and, in one case, reversed to better "fit" with the other. I printed them, then cut them out and taped them onto the ship, then cut them out (of the tape) again, leaving a template. As on a "newly manufactured" ship, some of the striping was panelled-over, too, though I didn't have the heart to mess-up the lettering. The appearance of the letters - "Sf" - inspired the name.

      In most of my ships I also try to have both square/angular shapes and round/bulbous ones, for no other reason than it lets me get away with using almost any-shaped detail parts. Almost always it works out for the best, except... "That's a generator coil on the bottom, there, *not* a tire!" In the front view (left) one can enjoy my favourite game with Hollywood models - "Pick the parts" - although the most peculiar part is best seen in the bottom view picture. Just under the front of the cockpit look for a Texas Longhorn charm-bracelet charm - a gift from a friend that I was challenged to work into a ship.

Click on each image to see a larger picture - but be aware, these are BIG!

Top view

Top view of Sowerthe f'Quarwe Long Range Escort Fighter.

Front view

Front view.

Bottom view

Bottom view - look at that detail!

      Visible on the bottom are several varieties of my favourite detail parts - Evergreen sidewalk/tiles and armour-vehicle individual track links. Even the box-and-pipe modules around the engines are track links. Also here are easily visible the red and tan panels, though the photograph makes all the shades of blue too subtle. The stand for this ship, barely visible in the thumbnail, is a black acrylic sheet, cut in a vaguely cloudy/ship shape, and painted along the edge with all the colours used on the ship. Sorta like colour chips!

      John has been building about a dozen scratchbuilt ships a year, selling them in the Art Show of the annual World Science Fiction Convention. If you'd like to see more of his work, or chat about how he makes these beauties, drop him a note at

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Last updated on 3 February 1999