Helexith Black Swallowtail Fighter . The deadly Mahlok butterfly. . The Helexith Hu-Kerza ("Black Swallowtail") Fighter
Flight Capability: Air and Space, Long-range (Interstellar Drive)
Armaments: 1 Starfire Cannon, 2 Plasma Cannons, 4 missile tubes, 2 "Firecan"
Capacity: 1 pilot
As usual, don't forget to visit the Nova Refuge website!
For years now, I've had my solid black "Voidfighter"
sitting around in my room, half-built and half-destroyed, and ever since I
made the grey Voidfighter into the Grimm's
Army Vulture Fighter, I've been planning to turn the black one into a
Mahlok ship. Well, now I've finally done it!
The Mahlok have always been interested in Human fighter designs. When the
now-notorious Stormflyer Corporation was going out of business, they took
advantage of this by offering a modified version of their prototype
starship design to Helexith, claiming that it was more powerful than the
current standard fighters of the Big Four. Desperate for cash, Stormflyer
Corp. cut the price to a minimum, so the Mahlok decided to accept it. The
resulting fighter they named the Hu-Kerza, but Humans now call it the
"Black Swallowtail," named for the pair of curved fins attached to its
The Black Swallowtail is highly modified from Stormflyer's original
design, which favored blazer machine gun arrays, while the Mahlok favor
high-powered energy weapons. They replaced the machine guns with a pair of
powerful plasma cannons, and attached an even more powerful Starfire
Cannon to the ship's nose, giving the pilot a very heavy-hitting
direct-fire weapon to use when he knows he has a clear shot. The
under-the-wing missile tubes were left intact, but a pair of racks were
added to the wings, equipped with the special Mahlok warheads humans call
"Firecans." Filled with an unknown explosive mixture, they create
tremendous damage to an already-injured starship, and can be devastating
to shields, but have low armor-piercing capabilities.
To give the Hu-Kerza increased agility, larger maneuvering thrusters
were attached to each wingtip. Most standard fighter craft use
microthrusters that are almost invisible until lit, but the Mahlok like
things to light up big, as evidenced by the fiery glow of the fighter's
Of course, all of this heat buildup for the powerful engines and energy
weapons can put a tremendous strain on the fighter's interior temperature
unless cooling measures are taken. This is the reason for the glowing
lines that are always present on Mahlok ships, forming eerie alien designs
over the hull surface. When the ship is running at low power for stealth
purposes, these lines fade away. When the ship is in the midst of battle,
flying at top speed with guns blazing, the lines burn like bright fire.
When Humans first saw these bright lines, they began calling them "lateral
lines," and although the reference to a fish sensory organ is not really
applicable, the name has stuck.
Here are the crappy landing gear, still present from the Voidfighter to
the Vulture to the Swallowtail... At least I made them solid black this
time though. They were grey on the original black Voidfighter.
The Swallowtailwith the landing gear up. Note that the only decals present
are the Helexith emblems on the "swallowtails." I was originally going to
apply decals to the solid-black canopy in the form of thin red slits,
possibly for the pilot to see out of, or as additional "lateral lines" for
the cockpit. I was afraid that more LEGO builders would complain about me
"over-using" decals, however, so I restrained myself. *sigh*
The pilot, however, does have decals. Since his ship has an opaque canopy,
he relies on instruments to control his flight. In this case, the pilot is
wearing a pair of RR (Replicated Reality) goggles, which are so named
because they display to the pilot a slightly enhanced view of the outside,
giving him greater vision than his normal eyes (specifically in regard to
spotting enemy ships in the blackness of space), but still presenting a
realistic image. They also, of course, present a detailed Heads-Up
Display, teeming with information.
In case the goggles malfunction, however, a regular instrument panel is
also present. The Mahlok just looove holographic control panels. And so do
Here is the Mahlok fighter pilot next to his ship. I know I go on and on
about Nova Refuge being made into a strategy game, but can you just
imagine clicking on a Mahlok fighter and seeing this guy's menacing,
red-lit face pop up at the bottom of the screen (StarCraft-style) and
hiss, "Like a spark of flame, I shall light the void."
Interior shot, showing the mysterious Mahlok power core (center) and
Starlight Gas tanks (back). To prevent their technology falling into enemy
hands, Mahlok fighter pilots will often detonate their power cores if
their ship becomes disabled. This may seem like a self-sacrifice, but the
pilot usually ejects beforehand, and the heat-generator pack that most
Mahlok pilots are equipped with actually allows them to survive in the
near-vaccuum of space for a limited period of time.
And finally, here's a cool "desktop," at least for those of you who still
happen to be using 1024x768 resolutions. The photo I used here was
actually taken while the Swallowtail up in front of a lamp, allowing the
light to shine through the lateral lines. Photos don't really do justice
to how awesome it looks when held up to a light.