This project wasn't on my radar to do other than for a few sketches. Then new studless curved slopes came out and I saw a way to make a studless wing. You see, it's normally a part that sparks that 'eureka!' moment for me.
The design has a few inspirations. For one, I was a Robotech kid and loved the Veritech fighters. I always thought the 'guardian/gerwalk' mode (half plane, half robot) looked cool and was perhaps more functional than the humanoid mode. The tail folding up to become a 'stinger' came from a Gobot float plane my brother owned. I'd leave it half transformed and thought it looked kind of neat. That was when I was about 12. Later on I became a fan of ground attack aircraft like the A-10 Warthog and OV-10 Bronco. When I finally got around to making sketches of my 'sorta Veritech' I gave it a high wing for better crew visibility, twin stabilizers for better maneuverability and some attack helicopter elements (nose optics, chain gun turret) seeing as aerodynamics probably wasn't an issue for a transforming fighter.
Aside from knowing what the wing curve would look like and how it would work, the rest of the build was mostly a process of trial and error...and error, and error, and error with a few temper tantrums thrown in for good measure. I started with the wings and worked in the flaps for some articulation. The thought of working ailerons had occurred to me but would have ruined the curve of the wing and been out of scale. The wing would be rebuilt at least three times to scale it up lest it appear too small in relation to the fuselage. Another rebuild was due to the flaps interfering with the legs/engines.
The concept for the cockpit was originally a tube frame construction using rigid hoses cut to size. The technic panels were originally placed so that the cockpit had a narrower opening. This made it hard to put in both minifies and any cockpit details. I went on with this idea until the whole thing exploded in my hands for the last time and I gave up. I turned the technic panels over to create the larger opening and went with two windshields for a more conventional build.
Building the fuselage was conventional non-SNOT techniques except for the nose landing gear. I had to look at many MOCs of aircraft with working landing gear to figure out how I'd do it. A few attempts later and I settled on what you see. The nose wheel is too weak for the weight and frequently collapses when posing the MOC for photos. I was seriously considering investing in my own defibrillator for the coming heart attack when it kept collapsing.
Fortunately I'd gone through the various levels of hell experienced when building Lego mecha legs from my cyborg MOC (A bad day in Hanger 13). This part of the build went along well with one rebuild to get the length right. The legs support the weight quite well and can be splayed out a bit for posing. Putting it in a walking pose though would require some support. The downside for the leg build was the landing gear. While they hold the weight, the design reduces the strength of the legs such that two studs (1/2 technic pins) hold each side in place and the sides in turn hold the lower legs together. At times this weak link comes loose and results in a collapse and my completely losing my mind.
The tail is a conventional build but took a few tries to get the angles right when it folded up over the wings. I'm not satisfied with the tail because each side is held in place by a technic pin and droops a bit. The wings have some droop too as they're held in place with two studs on each side. An idea abandoned early on was folding wings like on an F111 or F14. If I'd gone with a conventional wing of plates that would have worked, but with these sloped bricks I think it would result in over scaling the MOC to make it work.
Making this MOC I discovered something I'm fantastically bad at: decals. I made my own, but applying them is a fine art requiring a talent I lack. Photographing this MOC was also a pain because it wouldn't fit in my light box. I had to get a bigger canvas, reposition the lights generally lost some of the polish of the shots to get the MOC in and keep the lights and everything else out. Still learning.
The A-5 Scorpion was developed to meet the UAS need for a ground support aircraft capable of surviving the climate on Jinan. With few stable pockets of airspace, combined with sudden dust storms and bursts of electromagnetic interference, air power has never been a major military factor on Jinan due to its unreliability. Military aircraft have been used for point defence but never to project power over long distances or provide sustainable air cover to ground forces. With the Brambles posing a natural obstacle for ground forces there has always been a need for aircraft that could loiter for long periods and land on unprepared terrain when weather conditions grounded them. While helicopters have their place on Jinan, the rotor blades are subject to damage from sandstorm debris while grounded and VTOL aircraft tend to be flipped over during sandstorms. The Scorpion solution is unorthodox but effective.
Using the latest in robotic systems the A-5 Scorpion is a variable-geometry aircraft allowing it to change configuration to fight on the ground and stay mobile when grounded. The engines reconfigure to legs to support the vehicle on Jinan’s surface with the tail folding up and forward to direct fire from an anti-tank cannon. When so configured the aircraft is referred to as being in Surface Attack Posture (SAP) mode. Directional thrusters in the legs, body and wings provide VTOL capability, stability in sandstorm winds and directional control during forward flight in SAP mode. When weather conditions are particularly dire the crew can drop the wings through explosive bolts in the wing roots. The Scorpion retains its ability to maneuver at ground level even without its wings and can stay in the fight.
A squadron of A-5s form the air arm of each CARA regiment flies in support of the Cerberus hovertanks. Four A-5s support each Cerberus squadron and range far forward of the FLOT (Forward Line of Own Troops) with the Athena reconnaissance squadrons in search of targets of opportunity. Their secondary role is to provide flank security for the regiment. This ability provides UAS troops with a tactical advantage unknown to Network forces.
Its crews know the A-5 as the ‘BUB’ (Big Ugly Bird), ‘Zombie’ within CARA regiments (for its ability to be shot down and rise again) and ‘Shit Hawk’ by Network forces (as they are none too fond of it).
Version shown is from 428 Ghost Squadron which flew in support of the Canadian Dragoons, 1st Division (Canada Corps) during the Signet War.
Brilliant. Just, brilliant... This is really awesome fighter! Until I see 29th picture, I never thought that it can actually change the shape.... (sorry, I didn't read your introduction because I was so attracted to the pictures...) Very, very good work!