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Subject: M41A Pulse Rifle and Blastech E-11
TriggaFingaz    6/30/2004 3:55:10 PM
Which of the two primary science fiction firearms do you all prefer- the M41A pulse rifle (used by the Colonial Marines and the Company’s white armoured biotech troops in Aliens and Alien 3 respectively) or the Blastech E-11 (the blaster rifle used by Stormtroopers in Star Wars)? I know they exist in two separate story line arcs but both look stylish. The M41A prop was constructed from a Thompson pistol grip and SPAS-12 shotgun, the E-11 prop was constructed from a Sterling 9mm SMG. The M41A has two types of ammo (10mm caseless HEAP rounds and 30mm grenades) while according to the Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology, the E-11 has a 100 round power pak for shooting what is in essence a particle beam of coherent energy. Although Alien Resurrection is set nearly 200 years after Alien 3, I damn well prefer the by then antique M41A to those pieces seen in A-R. I’ve seen close up shots of the weapons used by the Auriga and Betty’s crew in A-R, did not like the shape of them at all. For sound effects I very much prefer the M41A. Call me an old fashioned dinosaur, but I prefer to see bullet based weapons in a sci-fi movie rather than laser like gear which is too fantastic. Maybe becoz I like semi-realistic science fiction that has SOME similarities to real life than totally fantastic concepts, although I love Star Wars too. Comparing them to other rifle style weapons is welcome, like the blaster rifles with NV scopes that the human survivors use in the future scenes of The Terminator.
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doggtag    RE:M41A Pulse Rifle and Blastech E-11   6/30/2004 4:42:11 PM
The advantages I see in the Blastech E-11 (and other personal laser weapons) are the fact it can be set on "stun", and there is little collateral damage (providing you don't miss) and no risk of over penetration. Otherwise, the M41 pulse rifle/grenade launcher combo would offer a better assault capability (the Jawa sandcrawler in SW A New Hope might have looked considerably different if the M41s were used instead of Stormtrooper blasters) As for comparing other weapons of the two series, I think it would be an interesting fight between Republic gunship and the CM dropship: (the gunship has two forward lasers, one in the tail that never seemed to be used in the movie, two rail gun launchers on top that fired 1 kiloton yield shaped charge missiles, the two side manned ball turrets, the twin over/under wing turret lasers, and multiple underwing rockets: On Geonosis, for example... (Anakin) "Shoot him down!" (referring to Dokuu on his speeder) (Clone trooper gunship pilot) "We're out of rockets, sir!" The funny thing was, in several scenes, there can clearly be seen remaining rockets under the left wing. Perhaps the pilot should have said, "Our fire control system is damaged!", because obviously, there were the two forward lasers (one of the wing mounted turrets had a hole in it, and I don't believe the ball turrets were occupied),.. and again, the tail laser was never used against the pursuing Geonosian fighters! The CM dropship had those four big-honking flip-out pods of missiles, all nuke capable, and a lot of them. Also, the nose/chin mounted twin gatling-looking weapon. However, the CM dropship could carry its own excursion/combat vehicle (the "armoured car" we see), whereas the Republic Army has to rely on the bigger carrier version of gunship (which did retain the two forward lasers) to deploy the AT-TE walkers (still an awesome rapid deployment method: I can only imagine one of our Pentagon bigshots seeing that and asking, "I wonder if we can build something like THAT.") If you look at any of the interviews and design ideas from the ILM crew, they actually admit they were going for the Hind helicopter gunship look in designing the Rebublic gunship, and they did a very nice job at it. As for support weapons, the CM's automated 500rd sentry guns would be comparable to the autoblaster mounted on the bottom of the M Falcon in the Hoth hangar. But the benefit of such larger laser weapons (as opposed to CM weaponry) is that they don't rely on ammunition magazines or shot clips, because they are fed power modulators coupled to the ship's generator (stuff from the tech manuals). The Battle of Endor (on the moon, not in space) might have well progressed very different had the rebels been armed with M41As instead of blaster rifles. I doubt the AT-STs would have been much of a problem..
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TriggaFingaz    Republic gunship   7/3/2004 9:55:18 AM
I once commented to somebody (not here) that the Republic gunships were like Hind choppers, but didn't guess that ILM's designers really modelled it on such! Advantage of the CM dropship is that it can go into space. The Rep gunship has open troop compartment, so couldn't do the same trick. As for the Jawa sandcrawler, I doubt that stormtrooper (or sandtrooper) small arms ALONE did that kind of damage. If one were to read other books that add extra stories to this, the Sandtroopers had a Ubrikkian Floating Fortress (a repulsor life assault vehicle only seen in those old Role Playing scenarios by West Eng Games) to do that damage. Doubt the bullets of an M41 could penetrate the hide of an AT-ST, although they could pierce stormtrooper armour without fail. The 30mm greande launcher may disable an AT-ST when fired into the drive train, but it'd be tough to aim accurately when several are clanking towards you at full clip.
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TriggaFingaz    Bullet weapons in Star Wars   7/3/2004 9:57:52 AM
Further comment: the only bullet weapons appearing in the Star Wars movies belong to Sand People (who shoot some pod racers down in Phantom Menace) and the Dresselians in the briefing room (Return of the Jedi, when MAdine is telling them of the Endor mission). Of course, you need some extra books to point out their identities and the Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology.
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doggtag    RE:Bullet weapons in Star Wars   7/3/2004 6:30:16 PM
the Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology DOES explain a projectile weapon or two: there a "guided flechette" rifle, the Tusken Raiders (sandpeople) use a type of magnetic pulse accelerator rifle, as did Zam Wesell with her electromag pulse projectile rifle. I suspect the Kamino dart that Fett terminated Wesell with also had some sort of guidance (projected magnetic field?) for an accurate shot at that range (app 100m?) . As the Clone Wars animated series (the 5 minute "skits") WAS sacntioned by Lucas Arts, I'll argue that the Republic Gunships DID perform as troop dropships in a few episodes, launching from low-orbit out of the Acclamator ships' holds. As for the M41A pulse rifles vs AT-STs, my argument being that the Aliens model fired 10mm "standard" light armor piercing explosive bolts. Following typical infantry weapons (like 7.62 and 12.7mm MGs), I would assume there might be a dedicated 10mm anti-armor round, perhaps even a mini-sabot APFSDS type. Still, the standard ammo would be quite capable at removing Storm and even Dark Troopers (and effectively the battle droids as well). I would expect that, considering the explosive effect of the 30mm grenades, the grenade launcher could rely on the shockwave of its exploding rounds against the AT-ST to quite possibly kill the drivers by concussive effect. At least the rounds would most likely destroy the external AT-ST weapons (chin blaster, side concussion missile pods), and a sufficient volley may well knock over a scout walker just by the blast effects. But again, I would be expecting there to be a dedicated armor-defeating grenade in their inventory.. As for walker armor in gerenal, it seems to be more of a ray-proof protection system (as a general rule, the 2 protections for shields and armor are ray-shielding against energy weapons, and particle shielding against physical impacts, albeit smaller caliber impacts like space dust and debris, (as the snowspeeders vs AT-ATs demonstrated, the rebels blasters couldn't crack the hulss of the AT-ATs. But I wonder how different the scene would have been with large caliber projectile guns firing >1mile/sec KE ammunition. It's quite feasible using Star Wars tech to envision a linear mag accelerator capable of achieving an in-atmosphere velocity of several km/sec firing various KE and explosive projectiles. Suggested debate: which would fare better against Imperial or Trade Federation land-based armor: T-47 Snowspeeder, Republic Gunship, or A-10 Warthog?. IMHO, the A-10 hands down ( obviously keeping the gun and its 11 underwing hardpoints for Mavericks, Hellfires, and even the kilioton rockets from Gunships; its large size could accomodate an effective starfighter ray-shield system, effective against surface laser fire). Just a thought....
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TriggaFingaz    Best against AT-AT...   7/5/2004 5:35:00 PM
I wouldn't refer to the M41A's rounds as 'bolts'. They're caseless rounds(10x24mm, according to the excellent Colonial Marines Technical Manual), bullets embedded in hardened propellent powder. The powder gets consumed in the firing cycle, hence no casing. Which means, they're constructed like the 4.7x33mm round in Heckler & Koch's ill fated G11 caseless rifle in our world. The weapons used by sand people appear and sound like good old muskets to me.... most of the time they prefer melee weapons. Ah yes, you mention the flechette weapons used by Jango and his son Boba Fett. The EG to W&T which I didn't buy is out of print that's why I haven't read it for some time, forgot about them! There's a Golan Arms FC-1 flechette launcher that appeared in this book that was later featured in the game Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast. Trouble is, by the time you get this piece you're so addicted to the lightsaber, most users ignore it!!!! The A-10A's GAU-8/A 30mm cannon and cluster bombs could easily rip apart an AT-ST(using Mavericks is overkill), but while it may penetrate an AT-AT's armour(which has no energy/particle shields, just tons of Durasteel), causing casualties to its 40 passengers, doubt a gun run is as effective as an X-Wing's concussion missile or proton torpedoes. The A-10 may also have trouble surviving in an environment where the AAA weapons are certainly going to be far more advanced than Earth's SAMs/AAA. After all ground based defenses in SW would be designed to bring down starfighters which are several times faster than a MiG-31!!!! The Snowspeeder's only method of bringing down an AT-AT, lassoing the legs like a bovine at the rodeo, may have worked but seems pretty desperate when shooting is ineffective. A Y-Wing or Gunship with concussion missiles is definitely a better choice over the A-10A, while the A-10 is better than a snowspeeder.
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doggtag    RE:Best against AT-AT...   7/6/2004 10:35:58 PM
I was quoting the A-10 as being of sufficient size to mount some level of ray shielding (hey, this IS sci fi, right? ). Or, why couldn't the A-10's external skin be composed of the same blaster-proof armor (capable against infantry-class ray weapons as was the AT-ST). OK, so Mavericks are overkill for chicken walkers...but just fine for the AT-ATs. Use the lighter Hellfire/Brimstone family against the AT-STs. For that matter, it would be a curios demonstration, keeping the TRUE tech intanct, of just how effective one of our modern ATGMs (such as the TOW 2A with its >1000mm penetration) would fair against such a heavily armored beast. Those nice slab sides would be perfect for a HEWAT warhead, and I don't care what kind of fancy alloy you're made of: you'll be hard-pressed to stop such a massive HEAT round with any 4-10cm plates of armor composed of anything short of neutronium!. How about "beefing up" the T47 Snowspeeder with a pair of linkless feed Bushmaster Mk 3 50mm cannons or Rheinmetall Rh 503s? Actually, this is something I have looked into: taking into effect the size of the T47 (I saw a full-size mock-up years ago in CA), and the size, weight, and recoil of the two 50mm guns (saw the trials model intended to shoe-horn into a Bradley fighting vehicle)... They would be quite capable of mounting in place of the twin blaster cannons (even a pair of 35mm or 40mm guns would be fine, but the 50s definitely have more punch). Fire-linking the weapons to fire together would alleviate any yaw flucuations: in effect, a StarWars Sturmovik, complete with rear gunner. Some people have debated just what sci-fi vehicles would actually be capable of production with our modern "Earth" tech. Some have been wondering about battle mechs and walkers, but I could actually see a fairly close (in appearance) CAS platform built on a T47 planform: the current generation of small, high thrust efficient turbofans (or even ducted fans) could incorporate variable flow ducting and provide suffienct STOL ability and thrust for low speed passes, helicopter escorts, and higher speed cruise. Depending on the landing gear style (no repulsorlift stuff), there is sufficient room under the belly for up to 4 AMRAAMs or 6-8 Hellfires (or JCM class). Coupled with the guns, which should be capable of carrying about 100-125 rounds each (the 35mm guns would carry roughly 120-150), these would be an interesting proof of concept vehicle. ...I just wonder if I could convince George Lucas and Burt Rutan to collaborate?.
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eon    RE:Solid Projectiles vs. Plasma Bolts   7/8/2004 9:50:20 AM
According to the Dorling Kindersley books on the Star Wars movies (indispensible, with lots of neat cutaway views), the smasll arms and non-space weapons used are mostly plasma guns, not lasers. This limits their range due to beam, or rather bolt, "firehosing" as the particles collide with the atmosphere. The "Attack Of The Clones Visual Dictionary" nevertheless credits the Clone Trooper Blaster Rifle with an effective range of 10km. I have serious doubts about that-1000 metres is more believable, esp[ecially for a rifle-type weapon, even in sniper mode (the funny-looking hourglass-shaped foregrip was actually supposed to be a sniperscope in stowed position). Any way you lok at it, I think you could safely assume that modern PGMS, and even some gun systems (notably the A-10's GAU-8/A "Avenger" 30mm Gatling) could outrange most of the SF-type energy weapons we're talking about here..
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doggtag    RE:Solid Projectiles vs. Plasma Bolts   7/8/2004 5:55:12 PM
Taken from the StarWars Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels, there is an Arakyd XR-85 Tank Driod (from the New Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn era) that is 32m long and 30m tall (twice the size of an AT-AT), and mounts a "heavy particle cannon" that has an effective range of 5km, and can "destroy a fortified bunker in one shot". Most "laser" devices from sci fi series are in fact more of energy particle weapons as opposed to photon beams like a real laser. Even the phasers from Star Trek aren't true lasers: they use particles called rapid nadeons, and generate a rapid nadeon effect, where the impacted matter losses its molecular bonds and goes through a phase change and disintengrates/evaporates/dissolves or whatever, hence it is called a "phaser", just as disruptors also fire a certain type of particle effect that disrupts molecular cohesion, and polaron beams are just that: rays of polaric ions. Something like the laser in the Boeing YAL-1A Airborne Laser is indeed a true laser, relying on extreme heat generated by an intense light beam of whatever frequency to cause damage..
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TriggaFingaz    HOw about Wolverines from Tiberian Sun   7/8/2004 5:57:52 PM
Did any of you play Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun???? Kinda liked the GDI's Wolverines, which are one man walkers armed with belt fed miniguns. Reminded me of the 1993 cartoon Exosquad. No way an infantry blaster even in SF can reach 10km!!! 400m would be more effective, some more, no one aims out to 1000m with an assault rifle- terrain restrictions apply here. Don't know if the snowspeeder could carry enough shells to feed a pair of projectile cannons. One reason for energy weapons is that once they are developed for several hundred years, the energy batteries for feeding them are smaller and lighter than the equivalent of projectile ammo.
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TriggaFingaz    Further add on:    7/8/2004 5:59:59 PM
Blasters like the E-11 would be immensely better for hostage rescue. No hostage deaths when set to stun, but they may still sue when they wake up....
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