The size of 40k Ships

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Todeswind
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The size of 40k Ships

Post by Todeswind » 2008-10-05 08:38pm

I'm having a bit of trouble trying to figure out the size of the warships in 40k. According to merzo.net which is generally reliable they put the cobra class at around 1500 meters and the larger ships somewhere in the 7-8km range. However depending on the site arguing the size of the ships this may or may not be a gross underestimate.

For example this recently appeared in a versus argument on another site (no it was not starship battles).

Image

Reading through the BFG rulebook has been little help to me as GW is allergic to making concrete cannon figures on anything they might be called out on screwing up later on.

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Re: The size of 40k Ships

Post by The Dark » 2008-10-05 09:17pm

I haven't read all of the fluff for Battlefleet Gothic, but in Purge the Unclean's second adventure, Shades on Twilight, the Dominator-class cruiser Magnus Ecthelion is noted as being just under a kilometer in length (in GM information, not in-universe conversation); based on the Ships of Gothic Sector drawings, Magnus Ecthelion would be slightly larger than the light cruiser Uziel, so the scale on the drawings you posted are off by a factor of about seven if Purge the Unclean is correct about the length of a Dominator.
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Re: The size of 40k Ships

Post by starfury » 2008-10-05 11:10pm

I saw This chart before, in my one, it had the Bloodhawk topping out at around 6 KM, it seems strange to final a identical one with much larger numbers.
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Re: The size of 40k Ships

Post by NecronLord » 2008-10-06 02:08am

The Dark wrote:I haven't read all of the fluff for Battlefleet Gothic, but in Purge the Unclean's second adventure, Shades on Twilight, the Dominator-class cruiser Magnus Ecthelion is noted as being just under a kilometer in length (in GM information, not in-universe conversation); based on the Ships of Gothic Sector drawings, Magnus Ecthelion would be slightly larger than the light cruiser Uziel, so the scale on the drawings you posted are off by a factor of about seven if Purge the Unclean is correct about the length of a Dominator.
Purge the Unclean is egregiously minimalist in that regard. There are some hilarious errors - including its tiny starships (Especially the blackship), and the apparent appearance of a cairn class tombship in the hulk (which, while not impossible, radically underestimates how rare those things are).
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Re: The size of 40k Ships

Post by Ted C » 2008-10-06 10:16am

Todeswind wrote:I'm having a bit of trouble trying to figure out the size of the warships in 40k. According to merzo.net which is generally reliable they put the cobra class at around 1500 meters and the larger ships somewhere in the 7-8km range. However depending on the site arguing the size of the ships this may or may not be a gross underestimate.
The impression I got from Andy Chambers back in the day (when I was in the Outrider program) was that the ship models scale to about 1cm=1km. Their other literature can be all over the place on this question.
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Re: The size of 40k Ships

Post by andrewgpaul » 2008-10-06 12:54pm

Space Marine described the flat foredeck of a "Gothic-class battleship" as being 4km long. Unfortunately, that novel is out of print and full of no-longer-canon references (Squats and Zoats, for example). The ship it was talking about is this one:

Gothic-class Battleship

From the old Space Fleet game, which was supplanted by Battlefleet Gothic

You could say that the Gothic-class battleship is built in different shipyards, and they happened to use the same class-name. IIRC, those ship styles were described in Space Fleet as being built at Mars.
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Re: The size of 40k Ships

Post by NecronLord » 2008-10-06 01:05pm

andrewgpaul wrote:Space Marine described the flat foredeck of a "Gothic-class battleship" as being 4km long. Unfortunately, that novel is out of print and full of no-longer-canon references (Squats and Zoats, for example).
Neither of those are actually retconned. They've just been wiped out. Indeed, the 5th ed book has the location of the Zoroaster-Atilla war (which exterminated the Zoats) on the tyranid map. It's still canon that they existed, and given that Space Marine is set around the time of one of of the earliest probing missions to analyse the tyranid threat (thus prior to the Zoroaster Atilla war, and the 'nids eating the Squats), both were still canonically extant at that time.
The ship it was talking about is this one:

Gothic-class Battleship

From the old Space Fleet game, which was supplanted by Battlefleet Gothic

You could say that the Gothic-class battleship is built in different shipyards, and they happened to use the same class-name. IIRC, those ship styles were described in Space Fleet as being built at Mars.
There's new Battlefleet Mars models out too, that can be used both as mechanicus, or Sol-Sector vessels. It's likely they're just another variant produced at some point - in the same way the traitor ships are from an earlier period in Imperial history. However, Gothic class cruisers and such are also in Battlefleet Gothic, though they look radically different.
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Re: The size of 40k Ships

Post by andrewgpaul » 2008-10-06 03:25pm

Nitpick; Battlefleet Gothic has the Gothic-class cruiser. Space Fleet had the Gothic-class Battleship. It's a similar story for most of the other cruiser class-names from BFG; they used to be battleship class-names in SF. IIRC, the only ship to retain its class between the two was the Cobra destroyer.
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Re: The size of 40k Ships

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-10-06 04:35pm

Gothic class Battleships were in the second Inquisition War novel as well and in Eye of Terror, and as I recall were "four mile long" vessels.

Other sources I can recall:

- Abnett's Ghosts books had a 16 km AdMech ship, a 20 km vessel of unkonwn type/purpose (first and Only and Ghostmaker) 2 km long frigateS (Ghostmaker and Sabbat Martyr come to mind.) Eisenhorn of course had the 3 km long trader.

- Execution Hour and Shadow Point routinely had cruisers mentioned as being 2-3 km long (HEavy cruisers like the Macharius were 3 km long.. light cruisers were about 2 km long.)

- The novel Relentless had multi-km cruisers (I believe Lunar class were 3 km long)

- Iron Hands had a Chaos battleship seven kilometers long.

- Angels of Darkness had a Dark Angels escort of half a kilometer long (smallest warp drive capable vessel as I recall, which ought to have been roughly destroyer grade.)

- William King's Space Wolf novels definitely implied larger ships.. the Naval ship that the two Inquisitors who recruited Ragnar and his group used had an Aquilae IIRC around 1000 paces across (or maybe it was high), which would imply a multi-mile ship quite easily.

Of course, other sourecs have gone with smaller figures - the Lee Lightnener Space Wolves novels did (Wolf's Honour implied that a Mars class Battlecruiser was only a couple kilometers long), the Andy Hoare Rogue Trader novels had smaller sizes (battleship a few km long, cruisers "hundreds" of meters long, or not much more)_ and the Blood Angels novel had a "mile long" battleship as I remember. Most of these (I think) tend to be more recent than the latter, and it seems to largely be "Author's perception" (like most 40K things.)

Crew sizes again vary: 20,000 was labeled as the crew of a large battleship in the Soul Drinkers novels (I forget whether it was emperor or Retribution), while Execution Hour had heavy cruisers with 10,000 crew (and light cruisers more than half that IIRC). Older sources wen tiwth "thousands/tens of thosuands" of crews.

On top of that, Space Marine crews tend to be alot smaller as a rule and more automated ("automated" in the sense they use more servitors.) And we know from the Rogue Trader novels and Eisenhonr that Servitor-run ships are quite possible, so variations in crew sizes aren't neccesarily strange.

I suppose the main reason why you would want a human over a servitor is that a servitor is as a rule custom built for specific tasks, whereas you can use a human for anything - those ratings who help run the ship (such as serving guns) can also do other tasks - incluiding serving as boarding troops (or defending teh ship from boarding) which a Servitor may or may not be able to do. (This obviously can help explain why Space Marine vessels might use smaller crews as well.)

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