Iceberg Incoming

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Iceberg Incoming

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The largest ship in the White Navy’s order of battle, the Kostroma Class Battle Carrier still echoes the characteristic design of its other vessels. In a military revolutionised by the glut of information supplied by Markov’s Circle, this is perhaps surprising, but then again, the Kostroma is itself a relatively new concept for the Russians.

Russian Coalition - Kostroma Class Carrier with Tiny Flyers

Russian Coalition - Kostroma Class Carrier with Tiny Flyers

Through the use of its Glacier Generator, the Carrier prevents a possible ram and protects itself from incoming fire

Through the use of its Glacier Generator, the Carrier prevents a possible ram and protects itself from incoming fire

Dating from the early 1860s, the Kostroma is the White Navy’s first aircraft carrier. Previously, the Stavka had not considered the construction of mobile air-bases a military priority. Such is the Coalition’s vast size that its military top brass had long assumed that any operations carried out by Russian forces could be amply served by land-based airpower from fixed installations.

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

However, Tsar Vladimir’s ambitions beyond the land borders of his realm, as well as the need for mobile air cover for the White Navy’s Battle Brigades forced the issue. The first Kostroma entered service as early as 1863. However, although the design has undergone a number of refinements, mostly involving Markovite technology, the basic principles behind it remain unchanged.

The Kostroma is essentially a huge floating airfield, housing Steel Interceptor squadrons detached from the White Air Armies to act as naval air support. However, unlike some of its equivalents in foreign navies, the Kostroma is also heavily armed with conventional weaponry, shipping massed broadside batteries of rifled medium cannons, making it a formidable floating fortress in its own right.

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

The carrier mounts a few of the Circle’s revolutionary technologies. Although it is protected by the now-standard scheme of ablative armour, it lacks Sturginium Pressure Engines as swiftness is not essential in its role. Instead it is powered by massive smoke-belching coal-fired reciprocators. However, this in itself makes the carrier an intimidating sight when cruising at full speed.

Additionally, the Kostroma‘s hull conceals one of the strangest Generators ever devised. A product of Markov’s stolen treasures, the Glacier Generator is capable of creating huge icebergs literally in moments.

These sudden ice fields can confuse and confound opponents attempting to close with or target the carrier or other vessels around it. Built as standard on new Kostromas entering service since 1866, Glacier Generators have been retro-fitted on all earlier ships as a matter of priority.

The Kostroma has one last means of attack and defence available to it, should any enemy be foolhardy enough to fight through the rest of the carrier’s escort to close with it. It houses a vast complement of Russian Naval riflemen, sufficient to overwhelm the crews of smaller enemy ships, and make anyone attempting to take the carrier by boarding seriously regret their rashness!

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

A Word from the Designer

The Kostroma Class Carrier was a challenging but thoroughly rewarding model to build. The first hurdle I faced was reconciling the large, wide and flat plane of the flight deck against the veering triangular nature of the Russian Hulls. Most of the general hull shapes of the other nations have shapes better suited to adding decks whereas here the Russian aesthetic is heavily based around the angular hull.

The hull had to be formed further to meet the deck and, in reflection, the sacrifice isn’t as dire as it seems: the tiered factory top of the Russian ships complements the shape nicely and it gave me enough room to play with to add all the fun elements I wanted to.

First and foremost (almost literally), the Glacier Generator set on the bow of the ship was an entirely new generator in both the game and one with no aesthetic precedence. Rather than a set node of technological wonder like many other generators, the Glacier Generator is split into a battery of directional nozzles that combine to create the effect of placing an iceberg in already calm waters. The heat displacement requires an upward venting of hot air from a massive turbine at the top of the ship which in the heat of battle helps create an updraft for combat launches.

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Other than the factory style tops that are interchangeable atop many Russian Coalition ships, several design elements were added to the ship’s core to help solidify its role as a carrier. The all important aircraft lifts, taken in style from freight elevators, add interesting crossing lines to the ship’s vertical profile and loaded cargo crates piled against the sides of the ship reinforce the busy nature of the vessel.

My favourite element by far is the simplest – the turntable neatly concealed by the top of the ship. It is there to help taxiing aircraft align to launch positions in rapid succession. Little touches like that are there to help give life to the ships, and while most of them can go unnoticed on the final models, it is a real joy to see them finished and painted with the same level of care that went into making them.

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

Russian Coalition Kostroma Class Carrier

To War!

Some Russian Coalition Commanders overlook the Kostroma Class Battle Carriers in favour of the raw firepower of the Moskva and the Borodino. However, the tactical flexibility they can provide should never be under-valued.

Although lacking the close range turrets which characterise other White Navy vessels of its size, the Kostroma’s broadsides pack a considerable punch. The Battle Carriers are fully capable of crippling any middle weight vessels which stray in range of their powerful cannons. However, the Kostroma is considerably more vulnerable to return fire than the White Navy’s Battleships. As such it is unwise to plunge them into the enemy formations like the Moskva and Borodino. Instead, they are best held in reserve, where they can pick off targets weakened by the frontline vessels.

Of course the true strength of the Battle Carriers lies with their compliment of aircraft. The tenacity of the ferocious Steel Interceptor wings is fast becoming legendary, and Coalition Commanders particularly value the versatility of the Air Army’s Dive Bombers. Capable of performing aerial dog-fights with the fighters and airships of other nations and devastating important targets with brutal bombing runs, the Interceptors are regarded as a very valuable asset. These wings are further supported by the Carrier’s Deck Crews, who work tirelessly to keep the craft operational.

The final weapon in the Kostroma’s arsenal is the unique Glacier Generator. Although not overtly offensive, these devices can generate obstacles to impede the enemy’s manoeuvres. The tactical potential of these Icebergs is immense: they can funnel targets into the arcs of powerful Russian turrets, protect vulnerable flanks or stop a foe from fleeing the range of the fleet’s guns.