The "KCS Mary Shelly", Backstory and Build

Office of the Governor General
Travis Point, New Cypress
Kingdom of Colores

Chief of Intelligence, Admiral Jones
(High Level Briefing)
“Approximately 1,400 years ago, the Imperial Cruiser, ‘Interrus’ (hull number 447A32CC) was placed into fleet reserve and assigned a holding orbit above Ocrade. It was then prepped for cold storage and vented to space.  The Interrus remained undisturbed for the next 374 years.   

“Fortuitously for us, things then took a turn for the ship, when a departing merchant vessel suffered a massive warp force level catastrophe.  Official Imperial reports assumed that the Interrus was consumed by the explosion, but there were rumors that she had survived and was adrift in warpspace. After an exhaustive investigation, our agents uncovered several catalogued sightings of the ship and gave the data to our navigators.

“We found the Interrus in deep space. She was in good shape, so she was recovered and secretly towed to an orbit above the Bakkun moon where we began to restore her to active service under the codename ‘Project: Iowa’

“Despite a last minute attempt by Imperial and Reich’s agents to derail the project, we have succeeded in bringing her to an operational state.

Flight Operations Compartment

Ship’s Bridge and Admiral's CIC Suite

Engineering and Main Reactor

Navigator’s Suite

6 x Portescu 3rd Generation Main Guns

1 x Teledyne, Rapid Fire 14Gw Blaster Array and
4 x Teledyne, Rapid Fire 7Gw Blaster Arrays

4 x Straalivant 737pkt Shield Projectors

“Unlike some other Imperial designs where the further back in time you look the more advanced and capable they get, our girl is truly an odd duck. Her main battery layout is awkward with asymmetrical fire arcs and to get her serviceable she’s a complete mishmash of technologies. A Frankenship if you will.

“She will be christened, the KCS Mary Shelly


The Build
So my friend Mike, owner of Goldmine Games, (and longtime Ork player… nobody’s perfect) was lamenting the fact that years and years ago, he was dumb enough to sign up for a tournament at a major convention and missed out playing in a huge Ork battle with lots of yelling an laughing. He has always regretted it.

I asked him to describe the event, and he said the only thing he knew for sure was that there was an aircraft carrier involved.

As you can see…

From the very beginning, I knew I couldn’t build a true to scale massive space battleship/carrier in 28mm.
Welllll…. honestly and more accurately, I reluctantly accepted that I wouldn’t be able to build a true to scale massive space battleship/carrier in 28mm. So the aesthetic was going to have to be a playset version of a space battleship/carrier like the old G.I. Joe USS Flagg.

I drew a bunch of sketches, and ended up with two competing ideas of design concept:
1.       Traditional Aircraft Carrier
2.       40k Imperial Cruiser / Pre-Dreadnought (I’ll use IC/PD as an abbreviation from here on)

After going back to Mike for direction, he offered up an inspiring “I don’t know”, lol…

I briefly considered a carrier lower deck with a superstructure frame suspending the IC/PD on top

This plan was just too ambitious, but it did lead me to the next idea. Flip the concept, put the carrier deck on top, and the below decks would be the guns for the IC/PD.

Next, I did some research on carriers. Did you know that there have been two carriers built with the Island superstructure on the port side?  It was an experiment by the Imperial Japanese Navy:

Kind of cool in concept, but in practice it created new problems.  There were no crashes, but there were several incidents where pilots attempted to land the “wrong way” expecting the Island to be on the opposite side. Additionally, ALL operations, like replenishment and refueling had to be executed on the mirror image as well, and after a lifetime of training one way, crewmen could never seem to operate as efficiently “wrong handed”.

In the end, only the Hiryu and Akagi were configured like this.  Both were lost in action, and no new carriers with a port side island have ever been built.

That’s your trivia lesson for the day.

Back on track:
One of the peculiar (and defining) characteristics of some Pre-Dreadnoughts was offset main gun casemates as shown below on this deckplan of the USS Maine. By placing the main guns on the lower deck, I could incorporate the asymmetrical look of those older ships.

…and, since modern Carriers have an angled recovery deck (for safety and operational speed), I married that to the placement of the main guns.

Scale wise, I had to thread the needle between playset and the look of actual planes on the model.  Planes had to fit on the elevator, below deck, and plausibly navigate around all the deck obstructions. Every step of the way, I kept planes close at hand to sanity check all of the components.
When it came time to do details, I wanted a disparate look on parts of the equipment.  The background of the “Shelly”, is that she is not a new hull.  She is a salvage operation on a 5000 year old ship with new owners who have a different culture, different priorities, and wildly varying (and borrowed) technology.

Lastly, I wish I could say that the elevator actually works, but the best I could do is build it so it can be placed in 3 different positions.

The Shelly is 6' x 2.5'

I religiously followed the “Rule of Cool” no matter where it went.
I know it’s a carrier deck in a vacuum and zero gravity. I don’t care, it looks cool.
I know no one has designed that deckplan since the 1880’s. I don’t care, it looks cool.
I know the ceilings are too high. I don’t care, it looks cool.
You are correct, it has no walls. How else are you supposed to play on it? It’s cool, it stays.

I hope you like it. It was a blast to build, and it makes me think of re-orienting the blog a little to a “Star Trek like” series of following this ship around for awhile.  I’m not sure I’ll do that yet, but it has an undeniable appeal.

Let me know if I can answer any questions or elaborate on a topic.

Thanks for looking!

A big Welcome to the newest reader to Sector Six,
AsaltoRabioso Lleida


  1. Looks great! I agree, when it comes to my gaming, the Rule of Cool takes priority over everything except playability (and even then it's a tie).

    Also looks heavy! :) Did you make the flight deck out of plywood? How do you transport and store it? Is it modular?

    1. Thanks,
      The deck is a thin 1/4" plywood and most of the frame is blue foam, so it's lighter than you would think. BUT it is one solid piece with some removable bits (like the superstructure) for transport.

      Because of its size, it still takes 2 people to carry, but it's not a big deal, and it fits into the family SUV.

    2. BTW - It HAS to count for extra points when the guy who runs the ACTUAL "SUPER GALACTIC DREADNOUGHT" Blog compliments my space battleship!

      ...or at least it will when I tell people about it. :)

  2. You know something Will ? it looks cool, a big project to take on & one that I would guess was well worth the effort, I hope you have many a day's fun with it & on a finial note it;s always great to see a ship with a good Irish name.

    1. My grandmother was from a small town in central Louisiana. She had a very strange prejudice against Italian girls. She was very vocal about her disapproval of her sons (and then later) her grandsons dating Italian girls. We never learned the origin of her strange (and only) bigotry, it just was a fact of life.

      I mention this because I once dated a girl by the name of Colleen Fitzgerald. My grandmother's only comment about her was, "Good name, not Italian"

      It still cracks me up to this day.

    2. Sounds like a very interesting grandmother Will, I did pick up on the whole Frankenship & Mary Shelly thing btw, we Irish we gave the world so much lol

      I see in one of your replies below your thinking on a Star Trek style line of blog post's, sounds like a good idea to me, so go have fun with the old girl Will I'm sure your Grandmother would approve mate LOL.

    3. Isn't there a book called "How the Irish Saved Western Civilization"?

  3. If you follow blogs for a while, you see them develop 'signature posts': recurring themes that are distinctive to the blog. I reckon yours is definitely the big, imaginative scratchbuild. This is the quintessential post, and a superb one it is too! Great work.

    1. Thanks Preacher,
      I have always enjoyed painting minis, but I have never striven to be the best at it. I really enjoy pushing my creativity on the terrain and scenic side.
      What could I possibly do next?

  4. Awesome space cruiser - a fabulous model

  5. Who can argue with the “Rule of Cool”, really awesome work Will!

    1. Thanks Don,
      Shockingly, some people do. I find it very strange.

  6. Cool is best, always....fact!

    An awesome "tabletop" to play many battles on.

    1. The "Shelly" currently resides at Goldmine Games, and is a big favorite for Kill Team games.

      Thanks One,

  7. Not only the result is (obviously) spectacular. The whole inner process behind makes it all a full immersive story. Amazing work behind, love it.

    1. Thanks Suber,
      Apologies for my slow reply, I've had some domestic computer issues.

  8. Wow, that is an amazing build. I certainly recognized the look of a GI Joe Aircraft carrier playset... always wanted one as a kid. (despite owning as many as two Joes)

    An interesting idea might be to make a couple of small escorts for this ship with the same build style... making a 3'x1' box would be pretty easy in comparison to this build.

    1. Thanks Lasgunpacker,
      I never saw the Flagg before I was working this build, but once I was looking for ideas, I couldn't do a search without it showing up.

      Escorts definitely. I am currently obsessed with a "Millinuim Falconesque" ship that is coming out from Miniature Scenery.

  9. Omg this is amazing! Also I was watching Panwstars the other night and some guy brought in the USS Flagg from GI Joe. I got on Ebay and shat at the prices. In the end I think yours is way cooler! Awesome stuff here Gov. ;)

    It's so cool I might just be inspired to make my own.

    1. That's high praise airbornegrove. If you build one, we may have to meet up and have a 40k "Midway" carrier clash.

      ...and the Shelly was designed to travel...

      Now wouldn't that be something. :)

  10. That would be absolutely amaze ballz!!!

  11. So that's epic. Nice build, man. Great idea, great execution.

  12. Thanks CCGlazier.
    After my friend said he missed playing in an event with one, I was inspired.

  13. I don't care. It looks REALLY cool! Yeah . . . I'm behind. Good thing the rimmers passed Colores a data module with the plans for that warp imploder. That said . . . I hear tell the inquisitor has been sighted and things are afoot. Actual gaming afoot. Reports shortly. Also . . .

    Holy cow that's awesome!

    1. Hey Composer,
      I don't know why, but this post went to the "moderation" bucket and I just found it.
      Thanks for the kind words, and rock on in the Tartarus Rim!

  14. Replies
    1. its a great gaming model. could you please talk about the lighting , the FX involved. also what interior parts you used? thanks


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