(Star Wars non-canon; non-Legends)
A Star Guard “smuggler interceptor” using the military version of the Corellian Engineering YT 1300 light freighter which I call the GT-1350 chasing a smuggler in an original YT-1300. (is it the Millennium Falcon or another smuggler using the YT-1300? Who knows.) Have you ever noticed that the Millennium Falcon always out flies and out maneuvers a Tie-fighter?
About thirty odd years ago I co-wrote two books, King of the Mob and Undercover, about Prohibition in Canada and how Canada smuggled illicit alcohol into the United States from 1919 to 1933.
One of the things I found out during my research was that in the early days of Prohibition the United States Coast Guard was ill prepared to intercept many of the faster boats that opportunists and later gangsters used to smuggle alcohol either from Canada or the French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon (off the coast of Newfoundland). But if the US Coast Guard was able to seize one of the smugglers and the specifications were acceptable the seized vessel was turned into a Coast Guard smuggler catcher. The Coast Guard also purchased fast boats that were the same as or similar to those that were used by the smugglers. The Royal Navy used a similar policy in converting fast sloops to pirate catchers during the pirates of the Caribbean era.
So one day I had the idea of turning my Star Wars Command Millennium Falcon into a “smuggler catcher.”
The Star Guard GT-1350 at a landing pad on a planetary base (Robin Rowland)
Since the Star Wars Command Millennium Falcon is marketed as a child’s toy, it runs on wheels and there are three gaps on the underbelly. Also while detailed, the Star Wars Command Falcon is crude compared to the higher quality models on the market.
So it sat on the shelf for a couple of years until I had the idea of making it a “coast guard” interceptor.
Time: The late “Old”Republic at the time Lando Calrissian and Han Solo were flying the Millennium Falcon. The time was becoming more lawless after the Sith Wars. Smugglers were found working all sections of the galaxy.
Remember in all the now forty years of Star Wars, according to both Star Wars canon and Star Wars Legends, the Corellian Y-1300 light freighter was a standard production model, so there must have been lots of them around, even though Star Wars, so far, has had only one Millennium Falcon (and I am pretty sure the fans would want only one Falcon)
Place: An alliance of several star systems under the banner of the Republic. Since all these systems are quasi-independent, while they are overall affiliated with the Republic military, like 21st Century nations on Old Earth, they have their own police forces and system patrols commonly known as “Star Guards.” With the rise of the Empire all local forces were Imperialized.
That system is cracking down on smuggling of all kinds, from arms to drugs to luxury goods. They find that their regular patrol ships are too slow to intercept the Corellian Engineering Corporation’s classic, respected and souped up YT-1300 light freighter.
The local government then decides it needs to “set a thief to catch a thief” and it obtains (and here the reader can choose one of two options)
1)the government buys a YT-1300 light freighter (or managers to capture a YT-1300, probably on the planetary surface) and modifies it to Star Guard requirements and specifications.
2)the government orders a military version of the YT-1300 the GT-1350 from Corellian Engineering, modified to Guard requirements and specifications, including, of course, fast and powerful sublight and lightspeed engines.
The Star Guard interceptor at its landing field at night.
The Star Guard interceptor has three missions
- Smuggler chaser
- Routine policing and system star guard duties including maintenance of navigation beacons and other vital sensor systems.
- Search and Rescue
(just like 21st century coast guards on Old Earth)
The GT-1350 Smuggler Interceptor
A modified version of the popular YT1300fp version popular in the late Republic.
Normal complement is a crew of five to seven. That would include a pilot and co-pilot, who doubles as a shuttle pilot. The third regular crew member is a sensor and navigation specialist and when necessary, gunner. Depending on the mission the GT-1350 can carry Search and Rescue Technicians, Navigation aids engineers and technicians or Special Weapons and Tactics Teams who are trained in boarding and capturing intercepted space ships. The GT-1350 can also normally carry up to seven or eight passengers or if required up to fifteen passengers/intelligent beings on a rescue mission (although that would mean the vessel would be crowded until it could rendezvous with relief vessels.)
The GT-1350 has replaced the cargo bays with
1)a shuttle bay for a one person/intelligent being shuttle craft
2)drone bays that can carry a number of sensor drones with different missions such as sensor probes and search and rescue probes. Or it can carry navigation and other in-system beacons, just like coast guards today act as buoy tenders and maintain other aids to navigation.
3)The third bay carries a high powered sensor dome that can be extended from the underbelly and used to focus on target areas of the mission
(These bays cover the wheel wells on the Star Wars Command toy Falcon)
Colour scheme and livery
Until the Empire “Imperialized” the galactic police and military, Star Guards continued the tradition from Coast Guards on Old Earth where each nation often had their own colour scheme based on a mixture of mostly white and red ( usually not including some specialist vessels) US Coast Guard, largely white with some red except for icebreakers which are mostly red, Canadian Coast Guard with red hulls and white superstructure, Russian Coast Guard all red, China Coast Guard mostly white, UK Coast Guards white hulls and buff superstructure etc.
For painting this GT-1350, I used a slightly modified Canadian Coast Guard colour scheme, making most of the hull red with major parts white and equipment areas in buff or black.
For the livery I wanted something that would seem both futuristic and familiar. As with earlier projects I created the planet in the Solar Cell Photoshop plugin as a symbol for the star system where the ship is based. The stars and other symbols came from various dingbats to create a more alien look. I decided to use the English “Star Guard” since I found the terms System Guard, System Patrol and other variations awkward and I wanted something that suggest a galactic version of a coast guard. (But it’s also a tribute to Andre Norton’s Star Guard which, of course has nothing to do with the Star Wars universe and is a completely different story).
The underbelly of the Star Wars Command ship showing the colour schemes, livery and shuttle/sensor bays. The majority of the hull is painted red while the “superstructure” is painted white with some areas, including the landing gear in buff or black.
The toy becomes a sort of model
The Star Wars Command toy Millennium Falcon disassembled with the wheels removed.
The disassembled model was primed. I then inserted the shuttle (forward bay) and the drones (upper bay in this picture) port side on the model. The shuttle and the drones are 1/2500 Star Trek 3D printed shuttles I bought from Shapeways for another project but decided they would be of better use for this project.
The underbelly of the GT-1350 before decals were added. You can see the sensor dome on the bottom left.
A view of the front. Note the star decal.
The port or left side after decals were added. One question I thought about was whether to weather? In the end I decided to weather the ship. As a military vessel under most circumstances, it would be better maintained than the Millennium Falcon’s often jury rigged repairs. On the other hand the George Lucas vision of the Star Wars universe calls for a certain dirty, aged, weathered look.
The aft/rear view of the GT-1350. The toy blue of the engines was washed in a couple of shades of blue. The other ship is the Star Wars MicroMachines Millennium Falcon. (normally used on my earlier project based loosely on The Empire Strikes Back and borrowed for the photo shoot.)
The landing gear are from N Scale model railway telephone poles, which were just the right size to fit into the screw holes on the toy Millennium Falcon.
The completed GT-1350 Smuggler Interceptor chasing a YT-1300 smuggler. Taken on the black stands you’ve seen above and a black sheet of poster board.
LED light to the right to produce star light.
Taken with a Sony Alpha 6000 at various focal lengths on aperture priority to produce greater depth of field mounted on a heavy duty tripod.
Starfield photoshopped Hubble image from NASA.