|By Luciano M. Trentadue|
All the original Novas assigned to the Earth Force Naval Intelligence before and during the Minbari war were lost in action, the last surviving units trying to oppose the Minbari forces at the Io outpost, so at the beginning of 2248 was needed to rebuild the EFNI Naval service from zero.
For strike and combat support in situation that potentially required high firepower, was chosen the Rocketdyne NOVA Dreadnought in an upgraded variant, overall better suited and less expensive than the Omega for the ambush warfare that frequently involves the Operation Division of the EFNI.
Ten of these units have been built in the 2248-2249 period: The modifications are significant, but not so much to make these ships deeply different from the classic Nova.
The engine block and the reactors are the same of the Omegas, four Beagle-Bryant BB9-W plasma engines with four Vulcan VI fusion reactors. The new engines allow better acceleration and much more power available.
The hull was modified with the elimination of the flank turrets, replaced with two two shuttle/landing bays, very useful for special operations and commandos strike support. Even the armour is improved, at least at the level of the Omegas.
The Weapon system is based upon 16 Westinghouse HPPA type 1505 Plasma Pulse cannon: each barrel can fire a 105 terajoules bolt every 2 seconds, an awesome short range firepower. The 6 Raytheon BETA particle accelerators (two bow mounted and four rear mounted) are retained, while have been added 9 Copeland PP Gatling interceptors and four interceptor capable Walther-Raytheon WR 1000 pulse/particle turrets, placed on the side hangars, for an improved anti fighter and interceptor capability. On the top of the hammer section is placed a powerful TG4 twin railgun turret, that in many occasions have shown to be a deadly "demolition tool". The Nova N carries 36 Starfury fighters, the same of the Omega, while the two side hangars can carry up to ten assault shuttles, or eventually, 24 more fighters.
The sensor suite is excellent: the hyperspace navigation system is the GAW-12, the long range search systems are the AEGIS Mk.42-E3 long range phased array radar and the A.M.S. XGL-1 long range LIDAR, specifically developed by the EFNI, and the essential Pilkington/A.M.S. IRIG-5 passive Optical/Infra-red long range search and track system.
All the weapons have an optical automatic tracker, a proprietary development of the EFNI Technical Service, that, with some operational limitations, has the precious characteristics to be extremely ECM resistant and to to allow a positive lock on and automatic tracking even against a "stealth" target: this sistem has the addictional advantage to be extremely accurate. in the early 2250's was installed even a gravitational wave detector, another EFNI proprietary system, while the communication, electronic warfare and electronic intelligence equipments are vastly improved and enhanced, as usual on the Naval Intelligence ships.
Further details about this ship can be found here: NOVA-N - E.F.N.I. Variant.
The kit is a Warp Models' Nova Dreadnought, with its accurate details and good manufacturing, the same level of the former Omega destroyer. The limbs that bear the turrets, the side hangars and the armoured cube amidship were scratchbuilt with Evergreen styrene sheet and evergreen profiles and rods, as the railgun turrett on the bow. The only relevant tip I can suggest on this kit is the use of Evergreen square tubes, bundled together, to build an internal frame for the hull: this allows to build it straight, something a bit difficult if are used the original kit's parts, that are made without a straight "spine". The quality of the kit and the overall accuracy is very good, even if I have found some warping of the larger parts, that must be corrected with hot water and patience.
Antennas and small cannons are scratchbuilt with steel rod and plastic pipes, while the cannons are milled with the lathe from a brass rod, with the same technique I used for the Omega Brightwarrior.
The model was painted with airbrush and Tamiya acrylic paints: for the hull I used XF 53 neutral grey, while the "tiles" of the armour are evidenced with XF 63 German grey. The masking used was made of tape for the longitudinal divisions, while the trasversal ones are obtained thanks to small "mobile templates", a strip of styrene with a 2-3 mm cut in it - this is enough to produce a decent effect with the airbrush, allowing to produce square or rectangular marks in the strip delimitated, up and down, by the masking tape. - Try to see!
Image: Top view
Image: Stock hull
Image: Square tube provides strength
Image: Building the new center section details
Image: Another view