Friday Night Fights [Round 13]

Welcome back fight fans, to Sin City Nevada for another flying-guillotine edition of Friday Night Fights!  This week’s bout will be fought in the cold reaches of space using advanced technology that might be within reach in say…the next 200 years.  Without further preamble, let’s go to the tale of the tape.

Fighting out of the red corner, from the well-appointed boardroom of the Sentec Aerospace Bureau, it’s Nick “Nasty” and his “SAB S-44 Kestrel“.


And fighting out of the blue corner, from the red sands of Mars Colony, it’s “The Human X-acto Knife” xiei22 and his “BLUE Phobos“.


As usual, constant reader, you are tasked with deciding the outcome of this pugilistic endeavor and determine who will receive a week’s worth of bragging rights.  Simply leave a comment below and vote for the MOC that best suits your individual taste. I will tally up the votes next Friday and declare a winner before announcing the next bout.

On the last Friday Night Fights….

It was the skirmish of the sky-boats, in all their foppish glory with international fishing rights on the line.    In the end, Felipe “O Touro” Avelar and his “Mestiço“ scored a harrowing 6-5 victory over “Jackhammer” JPascal and his “Ramona“.  Felipe records his first win and improves his record to (1-0) while JPascal falls to (0-1).


Color Commentary:

For those of you not in the know, this week’s combatants are also competitors in the popular Real World +200 building contest which just concluded on Flickr.  The event brought out some truly impressive starfighters, and what it may have lacked in sheer numbers (33 entries), rarely have I seen a contest with a higher overall level of quality.  There are only a couple of sloppy models, the vast majority are good and several are great.  These happen to be my two favorites, but the match-making was easy this week because I could have selected half a dozen models from the contest.

A few weeks ago when the contest turnout wasn’t looking so good, one of the hosts (and frequent contributor to the Manifesto comments section) went on the Flickr group AFOL 16+ and wondered aloud why that might be.  Of course I had to chime in with my two cents and I came of more harshly than I intended.  The three guys and one gal who ran the contest did a fine job, and I think I let my dislike of the main design inspiration from  TV’s “The Expanse”, and my general attitude towards the 16+ group to cloud my appreciation of the topic. Since the TV show was the primary point of reference mentioned in a pretty vague contest description, the whole thing turned me off and I assumed the same must be true of other builders.  Although I enjoy The Expanse as a show, I think the ship designs are horribly uninspired. However, I also stand by the criticism I mentioned on 16+, concerning one of the first entrants who was allowed to break the rules. As I wrote before, I know the point of the endeavor is inclusion but that kind of shit bothers me. For so many contests, rules are rules…but only until somebody complains.  It should not come as a shock to any constant reader that I’m a grumpy old dick sometimes.

I’ve known the hosts from years of interactions online and in person, and they are all good people who put up some great prizes and clearly inspired some fantastic work.  If you have a chance, check out the other entries, it’s definitely worth your time if you’re at all into sci-fi.  Kudos to Simon, Carter, Kate and Christopher for running a good show.

37 thoughts on “Friday Night Fights [Round 13]

  1. +1 for the Kestrel…even though it may not be a good fit for a contest entry (I feel I have decent experience enough now to say that) it’s a fantastic build.

    As for the contest…I may be wrong, but I believe the rules were clarified after the initial entry was made…I don’t know that the rules originally stated that the build must contain or fit a minifig. I could be wrong about that, don’t hold me to it.


    1. The rules were indeed clarified after the fact. We had initially only said “minifig scale” but we hadn’t considered the possibility that someone would make a fig-less drone. So we tweaked that part of the contest announcement a bit grandfathered that entry in.


      1. My mistake, I thought that minifig was always a requirement, I didn’t read closely enough. I’m the kind of guy who used to get in fights over board-games in grade school, so I realize I have a problem.


  2. Such a terrific choice of contenders. I had overlooked both of these builds, and they’re each awesome.

    My vote is with “Blue Phobos”, independent of the real-world aspect. It was a lock for me after going to the feed and seeing the exquisite top perspective — it’s exquisite.

    The “Kestrel” has such a clean shape and strong technique, and killer thrusters on the rear, but it feels a touch less engaging for me. (Also, the pilot is kinda facing upwards.)


  3. +1 for BLUE Phobos. It was definitely my favorite entry in the contest. I don’t know how realistic it is, but that has never been a big deal for me.

    I found the “expanse” plug confusing, especially since are no “starfighters” in that show.


    1. That’s a great point about the lack of starfighters in The Expanse, and makes their persistent references to the show that much more confusing/irritating. Also, I’m not sure how “realistic” any of the entries are, but many are enjoyable.


    2. Interesting you bring that up. It’s kind of a relic of one of the ideas we had, which was to give starfighters to the Expanse universe. May have been a bit more cohesive and less confusing had we run with that, but as previously established those ship designs are shit and a waste of your guys’ talent.


      1. Yeah, that might have worked better, at least from a clarity standpoint. At least the turnout you did get was consistently interesting to look at.


  4. The Kestrel is sleek, with a touch of NCS thrown in with that cockpit glass. A rare SciFi build that can pull off a midsize spaceship with so little greebling. I vote Kestrel.

    As an aside, I must say JPascal’s GARCs are so good they inspired me to replicate them. Mine are slightly larger, but I still prefer his original!


  5. Kestrel has my vote. I prefer my spaceships to be sleek and dynamic. I actually like the way the pilot is situated, it makes the operation of the ship look more geared for 360 degree fighting.
    I do like the way Phobos diagrammed his ship though.

    Keith, you are clearly Walter Sobchak.


  6. I’ll have to go with the Kestrel, it just feels so much like a continuation of the design style of the Space Shuttle and the Boeing X-37.

    As for The Expanse as a reference point for the contest, I think that was mostly made to point towards how realistic the tech level should be kept. Though the engines used in The Expanse are pretty much fantasy tech, sorry can’t help myself from mentioning that. Even the author has said as much. Other aspects are more realistic, of course.


    1. You’re right, I think it was just meant as a single example but it was the one they kept hitting on and it was my big take away after reading the rules and considering whether or not to enter. Beyond the reference issue I just thought the rules/intro was written too hap-haphazardly for my taste. It doesn’t ultimately matter but because of the LSB contest that proceeded it, I think my expectations were higher, right or wrong.

      The Expanse certainly more realistic than Star Wars but as you said some aspects are purely in the realm of fantasy. I just wish I liked the ship designs more, I don’t think they lived up to the rest of the production.


      1. I get what you say about the ship designs, the series totally hooked me to the point where I watched the first season two times in a row, but still I wouldn’t have been able to draw one of the ships on a piece of paper. They also don’t really seem to get a lot of screen time.


  7. BLUE Phobos for me, and it’s a strictly prejudicial choice. I fucking HATE trans yellow. It looks like I should be expecting Charlton Heston staring back at me with an AR. The color was acceptable back in the late 70s and early 80s when CS was NOT C yet. But now it completely detracts from any aesthetic. Had Nick’s Kestrel been given ANY other color canopy, it would have easily gotten my vote. I love the lack of greebles, those engines, and the overall Interstellar Ranger look to it. But it’s that goddamn trans yellow that kills it for me. It’s like a giant wart I can’t stop staring at. Phobos’ subtle striping is brilliant even though I find the shaping a bit chaotic. Good fight that deserves a rematch.


  8. Im casting my vote for the BLUE Phobos. I’ve always preferred these kinds of star-fighters; those that include lots of intricate angles and edges. I also really like the editing done on the photo. I thought that besides the usual planet background and spaceship flare, the addition of the exhaust/propellant was a great detail.

    I do feel the Kestrel fits the confines of the contest however. It looks more in with how the various international space programs are headed. This looks like it could actually be a space shuttle in the relatively near future.


  9. Yeah, definitely the Blue Phobos. It looks more fun to fly, and I think its various bells and whistles are a good match for the contest. It seems a lot more like a real-world fighter turned spacecraft than a modern-day spacecraft turned fighter. I can see humankind reaching this level of sophistication in 200 years. And who needs a slick profile in space? (Granted, the Kestrel’s a gorgeous craft, but Blue Phobos has my vote.)


  10. I vote for the Kestrel, because trans-yellow is like a golden shower of beauty raining down upon us (also I have a clear sense of what the star fighter is about from just a simple glance, something that’s important to me).


      1. I know right? Three days back from hiatus and we’re already into watersports references. This is an all new side of Kaleta on display here.


  11. I’m gonna withhold my vote until the contest results are announced, but I do have a few things to say about the contest itself.

    First, the Expanse angle. I’m with Kieth and think the Expanse designs are shit. I haven’t seen the show, so I don’t know how “realistic” they actually are, but they seem to have that reputation (though as others have pointed out already, the propulsion is total BS). But anyway, they’re big, blocky, and mud-colored. Very easy to make out of Lego, and not in a good way. They’re just like every other cheap, uninspired sci-fi design you see in most TV shows, movies, and video games nowadays. I don’t wanna continue this rant any further, but this post from a few years back kind of sums up what I’m talking about:

    Simon and Carter, on the other hand, are Expanse fanboys. And I think all that happened is some of their fanboyism leaked out into the contest announcement and other admin stuff. We also all genuinely thought it might be a good idea to capitalize on the show’s recent popularity, though I was opposed to making it a straight-up Expanse contest for the above reasons so we kind of met halfway. What Pascal said about us trying to give an example of the level of technology we were looking for is also true.

    As for the announcement being rushed… there is some truth to that as well. We got word that a certain rival group was planning on launching their own contest around the same time, so we wanted to get the jump on them. But mostly the goal was to keep the hype from LSB rolling. In hindsight, I think people were kind of burned out from LSB considering it took a good while to get entries for RW+200 rolling in, but that was a big factor in why we made it two months instead of just one. As Kieth said the quality of the entries we did get is insane, which we’re all proud to have had some small part in inspiring. All in all a success and a learning experience as the first event I’ve helped organize.


    1. I vote Kestrel. The RW+200 contest and FNF are two unrelated concepts. I like the Kestrel more because of it’s deceptive complexity. Smooth on the outside, but with those angles? Get out! It’s sleek and cruel.

      But… (remember, this is irrelevant because they have there own judges!) in terms of RW+200… I STILL vote Kestrel. Given current anemic funding levels… it should take us about 200 years to build a totally bitchen trans-orbital atmospheric platform like Kestrel. Shit… well be luck if our ships are that cool in 200 years… even though we should be there right now! Grrrr… space is right there man (all around us!). We should go there… and destroy one another… right now! It kills me that we don’t! Attack damnit! Attack!

      As for the RW+200 contest, I think it was a well chosen theme… but yes, the communication of the theme was fuzzy. The notion of the TV show keeps coming up over and over. That fact is telling. People want competition parameters to be crystal clear in one reading. Mention Star Wars…at any time… and it better be a Star Wars contest. Mention the Expanse once… and bam… your contest just became “Expansive”.

      However, as has also been noted, so many of the entries were top notch! That one that was sort of sphere shaped? With the Death Star hemisphere inside of it? Man! So well built!

      Oh, and right top here, the Blue Phobos is killer! A small group of entrants achieved such a high density in terms of quality. Solid. I know it sounds counter intuitive… sort of like “who cares about those guys”… but I really wish we had seen more new guys. Yea, sure… there entries might totally suck ass… (might?) but they come back in subsequent years, and there stuff gets better and better. It’s cool to watch. and of course, it infuses the hobby with new talent. Ok ok… I’ll shuffle back to my desk next to the guy with the red stapler now…



      1. Oh yeah, so one more little issue with the contest: for the first month and a half (three-quarters in) no one mentioned anywhere in their photos that their builds were for the contest. So no publicity there. This also meant that blogs didn’t spread the word either. I know it’s bad form to blame contestants, but… I kind of blame the contestants. Just a little bit. Granted, we could have noticed that problem sooner as judges and been more forward about it. Otherwise we probably could have had more newcomers joining in who may be outside the regular sci-fi loop.


    2. Really ? you’re going to blame me ? 😛

      I love the show.
      I loved the science and how the show based on real(ish) science. And sadly it was the easiest path to ‘show’ people an example of starfighters that would actually ‘function’ in space. As that was a desire among the group to have people design ships that weren’t necessarily pretty – but some thought in how the fuck would this thing actually fly?

      But I did try to steer us away from the show, and pointed out starfighters make zero sense in that universe – but people wanted it cause we’d thought we could capitalize on the popularity. :shrug:

      Contests are hard.


    3. Man, I forgot how good that blog was. I remember wanting to write for them but I didn’t bother asking because I don’t exactly fit the title description. Thanks for linking to that article, I enjoyed re-reading it. Too bad so many of the images are broken.

      I want to be clear that I think your contest succeeded and say again that the Expanse is a great show and I understand why you’d want to capitalize on the show’s popularity. In fact, I think it should have been the expanse contest, just because I don’t dig the esthetic I’m sure a lot of people do. All this started because you asked for feedback in 16+ and I think I was burned out from the LSB contest and even though I wanted to enter yours, between the theme and the proximity to LSB I just couldn’t do it. I responded more negatively than I’d intended to.

      I know the last version of the 200+ contest drew an insane number of great entries and was very popular you shouldn’t look at the current one as anything other than a success. I don’t envy you the judging process. Speaking of which, I was happy to see you refrained from voting here. Too often people make the mistake of chiming in before the results are posted. If this was your first contest organizing effort I think you’re well on your way.


      1. The critique wasn’t taken that harshly. You brought up valid points, some of which I agreed with and others that I justified. I like to think I talk enough shit to be able to take some every now and again. All parties were civil and that’s what matters. I was thankful for the feedback from both you and Mike, but the funny thing is I wasn’t actually looking for any. I don’t mean that in a “mind your own business” sort of way. I was actually trying to egg people on and remind them about the contest’s existence, but I accept what I got.


  12. SAB S-44 Kestrel, because it has a 70s vibe to it and I’m feeling nostalgic. Sometimes I still feel simple lines and basic shapes are the way to go. Maybe I’m old school, or just a moody old fart, but I also know what I like. It may not be hip, it may not be innovative, and it may not be NPU (Non-Perfect Unity?), yet it speaks to me like the opening bars of “New Kid in Town.” btw, good to see you back, KG.


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