The Threshold Orbital Defense Platform is one of several lines of defense that the Imperial Star Republic uses to protect its assets, be they planets, moons, space stations or other strategic positions. At a length of 610 meters, the Threshold is the size of a heavy frigate, and is loaded with two heavy Mjolnir Mk.II cannons, twenty four medium cannons, sixteen Gunnr liight cannons,twelve Artemis missile batteries and has four configurable drone hangars, each capable of launching one hundred SPAR drones.
Developed by the IStaR and constructed by Typhon Dynamics to counter the ever increasingly sophisticated and deadly starships of the IStaR's rivals, the Threshold is typically deployed in groups of twelve around the much larger Warden-Class orbital defense platform. The platforms are built in drydock and then towed into position around the Warden, where they will remain until they are re-tasked of destroyed. Threshold platforms are entirely unmanned and are controlled remotely by targeting computers or officers within the command section of the Warden ODS, with a back-up targeting mainframe located within the Threshold's central core that allows for independent operation, though not as effective. In the event of the Warden's command center falling to enemy attack, the Threshold platforms can still operate on their own accord via a Dead Man Switch protocol. There are very few open spaces within the platform, and what little space is not taken up by the internal mechanisms of the weapon systems and ammo loaders is small, cramped, and built entirely for maintenance purposes only.
The platform can shift it's entire hull into a new position within moments to give it's guns maximum firing arc capability. Few enemy ships have survived unscathed from the onslaught of twenty-one cannons firing down upon them as a Threshold positions itself vertically from a single threshold platform. Four docking ports for supply ships are located at the platform's midsection, at the base of the heavy cannons, behind the Skuld laser defense clusters and between the primary exhaust ports. The platform is powered by two reactor cores, each nestled behind the heavy armor of the platform's midsection.
For defense, Thresholds rely entirely on their armor, their Skuld point defense systems and their small, configurable drone fleet. Threshold platforms are slightly under-armored in comparison to IStaR warship, and prioritize enemy capital ships over smaller strikecraft, which their cannons and missiles have difficulty tracking. For this, the Threshold relies entirely on it's Skuld defense lasers and it's complement of drones. Depending on the importance of a planet, station or other point of strategic interest to the IStaR and the other orbital defenses around it, a Threshold may be loaded with several different varieties of drone strikecraft. In it's most common configuration, Thresholds are capable of launching four hundred SPAR drones within seconds, providing itself with a screen of cheap, expendable units against smaller enemy strikecraft. No matter the type of drone loaded on-board the platform, they are controlled by the platforms's on-board Remote Autonomous Vehicle Network (RAVN) AI, nestled deep behind layers of armor. The Thresholds were also, during initial testing, designed to launch mines into the local area around the platform. However, these tests proved to be a disaster as the outgoing fire from the platforms and the swarms of drones would trigger accidental detonations of the minefield, with one platform being destroyed entirely.
Falling in line with their Dead Man Switch independent fire control module, each Threshold can be detonated remotely to prevent enemy control of the platforms.
Despite it's somewhat lacking defense, the Threshold makes up for it in overwhelming firepower. No matter if they are deployed en-masse with a Warden ODP or in smaller numbers, Thresholds are viciously effective at what they do.
Seen here, a singular Threshold Orbital Defense Platform holds position over a Imperial world.
Hate the fluff, but then again I always do.
Anyway, hey look I uploaded a model (which is what you guys are here for). This is, as it says in the title, an orbital defense platform. But it's NOT the only ODP that I've got in mind, just the first one I've constructed. I've always wanted to do something a little different from the standard 'big giant kill stick of doom' type of planetary defenses you see in science fiction. I instead started thinking about how blimps were used back by the UK back in the days of World War II, basically floating platforms designed to absorb bombs from hitting the homes below. It made a ton of sense, and if I made my own platform and loaded it with guns and missiles? That way, when I eventually built my more traditional 'big giant kill stick of doom', I could focus on making it fortified and dedicated to one thing only: Blowing the crap out of enemy capital ships.
As an aside, I just want to point out that while I was doing research and looking up some inspiration for the Warden ODP, it's really amazing how little actual visual examples there are for orbital defenses. Like primarily there's just the big MAC guns from Halo, the plasma guns from Independence Day Resurgence, and Star Trek Deep Space 9 (primarily the Cardassian orbital defenses, which are crazy overpowered for what their size but then again, Trek). You'd think that there would be more out there, right? But no, it's largely just those examples, and they're almost always some kind of big gunstick. Oh, and the CGI Starship Troopers films have orbital defense platforms, but like the MAC cannons of Halo, they seem to also operate as light space stations. Which I find to be silly; you don't make your orbital defense vulnerable by adding in human habitation sections or things that can be exploited by the enemy. These are weapons, build your dedicated stations behind the defense line if you want fancy atriums with gardens and benches.
*Glares at Halo 2*
Anyway, the Threshold was born. It was actually easy to design. A couple of years ago I had built a large section of hull that was intended for a starship that never came to be, but after fiddling with it a bit I was able to mirror it and turn it into more or less what I was looking for, shape wise. But with old designs come old problems born out of a lack of skill that older version of me possessed. After I had started working with it, it turned out there were far more flaws in part placement than I had first imagined. I tried to correct as best as I could but it turned out to be far easier just to start from scratch. And besides, the previous design didn't have enough guns. So I tossed it out and started building, keeping the same general profile in mind. I wanted it to have two big guns and a load of smaller ones, plus some missiles. At some point my big anti-ship missiles were involved, but I stripped those out because it started to feel a little overpowered. Plus it was suggested to include mine launchers on to platform, which I experimented with but found the concept overall unappealing (mainly due to the reasons in the fluff lore and because again, over-powered).
And I guess if it's not entirely clear, those bigger cannons can fire straight up, as well as spin entirely around. The light cannons, no, but that's fine, not every gun needs to be able to track targets at nearly every angle. I think part of my 'problem' is that I build all this stuff with the ability to 'work' in the sense that if I even needed to pose these things in a certain way for a certain scene, I can. I've gotten a lot better at making ship guns that look more 'realistic' plus more in scale with the actual ships. My older stuff? Bleh, the guns are way oversized and look a little ridiculous. These newer cannons I have are far superior in function and form and I'm slowly phasing out the older ones. Models that already have the old cannons on them, can't really do anything about, but any new models will have guns like the ones in this image on them.
I had also recently come up with the Remote Autonomous Vehicle Network (RAVN) AI system and wanted to include it, so thus the drones (which will get their own upload soon enough) instead of mines. I felt this gave the platform a good enough defense system so that it could, in keeping with what my other warfare focused vessels towards, being a heavy hitter. It has weaknesses, but it's still going to mess you up if you get within range.
Going back to other designs for a moment, in Halo, the big MAC cannons you see and play within during Halo 2 have their own on-board reactors, whereas the defenses for the planet Reach were powered by ground based reactors, which always seemed...well, dumb. In fact, they were the primary reason the planet was lost so quickly, the ground defense forces crumpled and as soon as the reactors went down, so did the orbital defenses. Ugh. So I wanted to avoid that with these and give them the ability to function entirely on their own with a Dead Man Switch type of setup.
Anyway, getting back to the design commentary....
Honestly the part that took the longest for this model was figuring out the hull detailing, giving it greebles to represent armor plating, technical bits and make the model look a little more alive. I took longer than usual because of the amount of guns that would be on the model, and since I'm unable to load each gun model as it's own part, the program has to load every single polygon associated with that model, thus increasing the load on the program. So with all the guns that I knew had to be on it, I had to plan out just what details I needed to add instead of just winging it like I typically do when I go into detailing mode. I added all the details on one side of the model and only had the upper heavy cannon, one medium cannon and one light cannon along with three missile launchers, and then when I was ready I just mirrored everything to the right, bottom and back of the model and prayed like hell it didn't crash or become so overloaded that it took forever to load the model.
Luckily it all came out looking great. I'm not happy with the planet, but I'm relying on the pretty small contents of my Space Engine screenshot folder. The next few models however don't require anything overly specific and they're already complete, so it's just a matter of posing and then sitting down to write some fluff.
Hope you enjoyed.
Threshold ODP, IStaR, Imperial Star Republic, and all above content belongs to me.
Use without my written, expressed permission is forbidden.
Model created using DOGA-L3
Screenshot taken with Space Engine