It's Absolutely Enormous! (July 19, 2011)

Ijuin

Admiral
For the dreadnought to be 22 km long and only weight 280,000 tonnes, they'd need to lightweight by over 2000 times relative to the materials technology in the Vesuvius.

For comparison, a rectangular block of Earth sea-level air measuring 22x2x2 km (approximately the presumed size of a box that would enclose the Hvar'kann) would have a mass of approximately 105 million tons. Let's assume for the sake of argument that the Hvar'kann's irregular shape only takes up five percent of this box that is equal to its maximum length, beam, and height. This still makes a 280 thousand ton Hvar'kann a dozen times lighter than the atmosphere that it would contain if it were pressurized to ordinary habitable levels! As such, I'm pretty sure that the dreadnought's mass should be on the order of tens to hundreds of millions of tons if the 22 km length is correct.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Nah, that's what the Star Wars people do--selectively applying this kind of over-science to specific instances. The problem is that if you broaden the discussion you'll find that there are massive problems with EVERY given length/mass in the Wing Commander universe... so it's not a good argument for why one specific one should be wrong.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I do find it interesting that, confronted with two strange values (mass and length), of which one (length) is confirmed by a number of sources (including WC3 itself, where we clearly see the Victory is not ramming a 2km-long ship), people inevitably react by claiming that the length must be wrong, and use the mass (only ever mentioned in one source) as proof of that.

If we absolutely must assume there is a mistake in one of these values... why can't it be in the mass? Especially since the ship's mass is, conveniently enough, never ever mentioned again - so we don't even have to argue over whether this value is correct or not, because as far as the rest of the WC universe is concerned, it doesn't make any difference at all.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
The problem is that if you broaden the discussion you'll find that there are massive problems with EVERY given length/mass in the Wing Commander universe... so it's not a good argument for why one specific one should be wrong.

Quite. The Hvar'Kann (if I'm spelling that correctly) is merely the most egregious example, since it is the only one IIRC in which its canon stated size is more than a hundred-fold out of whack with its canon stated mass (unless, that is, if the Behemoth has been listed as being under a million tons--I don't recall any canon reference to its precise mass). Most of the other ships and smaller craft appear to be within an order of magnitude of a plausible density ratio, as opposed to more than two orders of magnitude off.
 

Farbourne

Rear Admiral
I do find it interesting that, confronted with two strange values (mass and length), of which one (length) is confirmed by a number of sources (including WC3 itself, where we clearly see the Victory is not ramming a 2km-long ship), people inevitably react by claiming that the length must be wrong, and use the mass (only ever mentioned in one source) as proof of that.

If we absolutely must assume there is a mistake in one of these values... why can't it be in the mass? Especially since the ship's mass is, conveniently enough, never ever mentioned again - so we don't even have to argue over whether this value is correct or not, because as far as the rest of the WC universe is concerned, it doesn't make any difference at all.

But if we do assume its length is correct and its mass is wrong, we're back to the problem I mentioned before. Even if it's density is stupidly low (i.e. it has almost no armor, and massive amounts of empty space on the inside), it still is at a minimum 130 times more massive than the Vesuvius. That means for the materials used to build one, the Kilrathi could have built 130 (or more) Vesuvius-sized carriers.

And this is less than a year after expending almost their entire supply of war materials on a bunch of Hakagas.

If the Kilrathi really had access to that kind of raw material supply and industrial muscle, then I simply don't understand why Confed ever had a chance.
 

Wojo

Rear Admiral
Its a pity - I really liked the idea of this stupidly vast ship hanging around... I kind of imagined it as a mobile city/factory, churning out other capital ships etc. etc. I know there is no documentation supporting this, but it would solve a couple of problems - you would assume that large areas of the ship were hollow drydock-like areas, and with some fiddling you could match up the mass figures with the 22km length.

Thinking about raw materials, look at some of the largest built structures in the world - built usually by just one country/corporation (instead of a planet-spanning empire) with paltry 20th century technology! Even with the canon explanations of why there would be no raw materials left to build anything, I like to think that with such a centralized empire, Kilrathi public works projects would be 100% geared toward building war weapons like the Hvar'Kahn, and that at some point they DID have the resources to construct one. I stress 'one'. I don't imagine a fleet of them ;)
 

Ilanin

Captain
Alternative solution: the Kilrathi didn't build it. It's a refitted Hari generation ship the Kilrathi added hyperdrives to when they worked out how to jump oversized ships for the Hakagas.

(I imagine this comes into a large number of problems. I've not read False Colours).
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
it's obviously not very stout.. I destroyed one on the losing path the last time I played wc3.. they are pretty obviously almost hollow and mostly for intimidation effect.
 

Wojo

Rear Admiral
I was pretty sure you can't actually destroy the dreadnaught in wc3... I spent half an hour piling shots into it once on novice difficulty and all that happened was everything got to full red damage - how did you do it?
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
It's take a very long time, but just keep pumping rounds into it and eventually he does go up.

Attack it from the inside so to avoid the shields.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
But if we do assume its length is correct and its mass is wrong, we're back to the problem I mentioned before. Even if it's density is stupidly low (i.e. it has almost no armor, and massive amounts of empty space on the inside), it still is at a minimum 130 times more massive than the Vesuvius. That means for the materials used to build one, the Kilrathi could have built 130 (or more) Vesuvius-sized carriers.
Well, I certainly didn't say this solves all the problems - I just pointed out the weirdness in using an unrealistic mass to disprove an unrealistic length.

As for the issue of "how did they build it", I think we have to simply accept that there is no answer, and it doesn't matter. Origin needed a huge mega-dreadnought for WC3, so the Kilrathi built one. No matter how inexplicable this is, the fact remains - you can see clearly from the cutscene in WC3 that 22 km is exactly what they intended.

With that in mind, it's pointless to argue that it can't have been 22 km long, because the Kilrathi could never build it - however crazy and impossible it may seem, the fact is that they did build one. And not just one, in fact. If, in the future, a new game ever needs to address this point - they'll find some explanation for it. Until then, we can only speculate.

One answer may indeed be that the ship is mainly empty inside - which doesn't make much difference in terms of the amount of metal needed, but it does make a huge difference in terms of the complex machinery needed. Here's an interesting comparison - a quick google search reveals that, apparently, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier costs $4.5 billion to build (the new Ford-class carriers will cost twice as much), while a supertanker, being much larger than an aircraft carrier (the biggest supertankers are almost twice the size of the world's biggest aircraft carriers), costs somewhere around $150 million to build. Bigger need not mean more expensive and difficult to produce.
 
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