The GT-1350 Smuggler Interceptor

(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?

PREMIS

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.

Scenario

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.

OR

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 Mission

The Star Guard interceptor has three missions

  1. Smuggler chaser
  2.  Routine policing and system star guard duties including maintenance of  navigation beacons and other vital sensor systems.
  3. 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.)

Special bays

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 photo

 

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.

If someone tells a model railroader that you can’t model “the liquor traffic” for the period of American Prohibition, don’t listen.

Railroads had a major role in delivering booze from Canada to a thirsty United States from 1920 to1933 and so anyone modeling that period can have a lot of fun adding boxcars full of beer and liquor to their roster of rolling stock and delivering the booze as a part of their operational plans.

How it all worked was outlined in my 1987 book King of the Mob, the story of Rocco Perri, sometimes called the “Al Capone of Canada.”Perri might also be called a railroad operations magnate– he created a system of “laundering” beer and liquor as he shipped it to the US by rail.

It’s well known that Canada supplied alcohol to the United States throughout Prohibition, The picture most people have is that booze came by ship or boat. There were fleets that headed south from the Canadian Maritimes, Newfoundland (then a British colony not part of Canada) and the French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Small boats made regular trips across the Great Lakes.

Quirks in the Canadian constitution, the division of powers between provinces and the federal government created a giant loophole. Consumption of liquor was a provincial responsibility and most provinces had some form of prohibition.

Manufacture of alcohol was under federal jurisdiction. There was no federal law prohibiting making the stuff. The federal government didn’t care where the booze went as long as the purchaser paid the
excise tax. So on paper, all the beer and alcohol was manufactured for export. (Some of it was smuggled back into those provinces that had their own form of Prohibition.). It is said by some economists that in the period after the great crash of 1929 and the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Canadian economy was dependent on sending alcohol to the United States, a major reason the feds looked the other way.

So how did the railroads come into the picture?

Rocco Perri, the leader of a small Calabrian mob in the city of Hamilton was the right man, in the right place at the right time. While Perri didn’t control the
region, he wasn’t a boss of bosses, but Perri was certainly the most important force in a region known as the “bootleg triangle” which reached from Detroit in the west (the Hiram Walker distillery and British American brewery) through Toronto (the Gooderham and Worts distillery, now a trendy neighborhood called The Distillery District) and east to Corby’s Distillery at
Corbyville (outside Belleville, Ont.). The apex of the bootleg triangle was in Kitchener, Ont with the giant Kuntz Brewery and the Seagram’s distillery.

Perri and his competitors organized a huge and profitable operation buying beer and alcohol from these companies and creating paperwork that showed the product was being exported “to Cuba” since it was illegal to export alcohol to a country where there was Prohibition, that is the United States. As far as the Canadian customs was concerned, if the booze had to cross the United States to reach Cuba, that was okay with them.

On early indication of how things work was a court case where alcohol was “reimported”
to Ontario. The booze was loaded on Grand Trunk boxcars (one of the predecessors of CN) for Havana Cuba but in this case never reached the American border, much less Cuba.

As you can imagine it was a profitable business. You could buy a case of Seagram’s in Waterloo for $35 (including $14 Canadian excise) sell it for $50 in Buffalo or wait until got to New York where the wholesale price for that case $140.

While the US Coast Guard was busy intercepting fishing boats off Long Island and small boats crossing Lake Ontario, the authorities, it seemed, ignored the railroads.

That is until the Canadian government held an inquiry into the  “liquor traffic.”
One of the men watching the proceedings was Richard Boyce the young American consul in Hamilton, Ontario.

(Before the era of efficient communications, the United States had consulates in many more places than the country does now.)

Boyce wondered how the beer and booze was going south, so he and a US special agent watched as barrels of beer were loaded into a boxcar at the Kuntz Brewery. No way bill was issued until the train reached nearby London, Ontario where suddenly a way bill said the load of  “scrap leather” from the Kitchener Rag & Metal Company was bound for American Tanners in Pittsburgh.

There was no American Tanners in Pittsburgh and when Prohibition agents raided the Pittsburgh siding where the boxcar was waiting, they found 278 barrels each with 30 bottles of beer.

On his own initiative Boyce went through the filing cabinets full of invoices filed with consulate and usually ignored.

Boyce’s investigation showed that between 1924 and 1927 hundreds of boxcars had gone from Canada to the United States loaded with beer or liquor but with way bills describing the the cargo as hay, scrap leather, rags, paper and rubber.

The same name that had appeared on the invoice for the “scrap leather” bound for Pittsburgh also appeared on shipments of turnips to the United States. The only problem was that there were also a large number of legitimate shipments of turnips from the farms of the southwestern Ontario to the Campbell Soup Co. To Boyce, it quickly became apparent that the gangsters were “laundering”
the alcohol shipments amongst legitimate cargo.

Boyce’s investigation showed that between April 1 and June 23, 1927, six shipments of hay weresent from Hagersville, Ontario to a company called Dwyer Reed in New Jersey. Only one box car went to the real Dwyer Reed in Newark, the other eleven box cars when to non-existent Dwyer locations inMontclair, Englewood, Garfield, Manuet and Raritan. (So modelers can think of the switching possibilities in this sort of business)

Boyce found that in those 12 weeks in 1927, 60 boxcars of beer left Hamilton, Kitchener, or St. Catharines for the United States via Niagara Falls. The Canadian government inquiry showed that the price of a dozen pints of Canadian beer at the border in 1927 was $3.25. If each boxcar had 278 barrels with 30 bottles, a single load would have been worth $2,258,75 at Buffalo. Sixty boxcars would have been worth $135,525 at the border, much more in New York and New Jersey.

Boyce got no support from the State Department for his investigation, which told him it was considered “inadvisable”to pass the information to the Justice Department. As for more paperwork, that might help detect alcohol shipments, the State Department said “the system would cause irritation among innocent shippers out of all proportion to its probable value in preventing the shipment of liquor.”

So for those who model the period 1920 to 1933, there all kinds of possibilities for both modeling
operations. Model men unloading beer at a tanning plant. Barrels of beer among a load of hay. Switching the legitimate boxcars to one location, the smuggled beer or alcohol to another. Raids by
Prohibition agents or, of course, gang wars.

You could also have variety of rolling stock, since the Grand Trunk finally went bankrupt in 1923 and was then absorbed by Canadian National. So it is likely alcohol could be found in Grand Trunk, Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific boxcars plus those from affiliated American railroads or railroads that shipped into Canada.

Rewritten from King of the Mob Rocco Perri and the Women Who
Ran His Rackets
. Copyright 1987 by James Dubro and Robin Rowland.
All rights reserved.