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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:04 am
  

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Knight

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QUESTION 1 Re: VF/B-9 Operations
At the start of TSC we see Marcus and Alex flying recon in Alpha Fighters (Shadow model) into LEO and then back to ALUCE on the Moon. This has all sorts of issues, which have been discussed previously. However the most recent discussion did get me thinking about this question: Why didn't Marcus/Alex fly the mission with Beta Fighters (Shadow model) either directly (as pilots) or as attachments since the Beta would give them the range necessary?*

I think this sort of ties into a broader question that one might ask w/n NG (or the OSM) as a whole: Why was the Beta Fighter essentially reduced to a dumb-booster unit for the Alpha?

I know Scott's group utilized the Beta with an operator (Lancer, Scott, Rand) on more than a few occasions, but when you look at UEEF operations (either TSC or NG or even Sentienls OVA) we see a distinct lack of independent Beta useage. Essentially by all current canon depictions (AFAIK) of its use the UEEF designed and built an overly complex add-on module for the Alpha given the Beta:
-has a fully functioning cockpit (assuming the Point K Beta is standard and not retro-fitted feature) that goes unused. A secondary operator could theoretically increase effectiveness of the combined unit, not to mention allow the Beta module to be jettisoned and be useable (x2 your force size and given weapon system limitations while connected...). This seems like an added unnecessary complexity if it is not to be used (and if it was dropped later, why leave the feature in why not retrofit something more useful in). How much more effective might the UEEF have been in operations if the Beta attachments had a living or AI (read drone) pilot?
-has 1 of 3 forward facing (EU-14) gun batteries blocked when connected to the Alpha (and only as long as the Alpha and Beta stay in F mode, otherwise the EU-14s are useless)
-has 2 of 4 "internal" missile launcher stations blocked when connected to the Alpha, and they even block the larger payload system (MM-20 instead of MM-16). This might not be a big deal if the MM-20 and MM-16 can transfer payload between themselves, but AFAIK that isn't possible.
-the forearm guns (AFAIK) are unusable while connected since they only are known to operate in Battloid Mode (though having the rear facing guns in F/G as useable is theoretically possible, maybe not overly effective but possible), and we see no display of the arms being deployed on the Beta while connected (AFAIK in canon depictions, outside/OSM I know I've seen the module given a range of motion)
-underutilized wing hardpoints (told exist, but never actually shown used so I'm including this as a technicality more than anything)
-overly complex transformation systems (in the cockpit area and arms since they aren't really necessary or could be radically simplified)
-Beta's articulated hands (available only in Beta-B mode, something it can't do while connected AFAIK)

Basically it appears the UEEF designed and built the Beta for the Alpha and included weight penalties (since those features don't come free). The question is why did they do this? Did they have a sudden pilot shortage? Where they expecting a windfall of pilots (on Earth) to eventually turn the mecha over to? Does the UEEF just like wasting resources? Was the (solo) Beta to "hot" for regular pilots to handle (at least in space)?

Question 2 Re: Beta Design
Why did the UEEF go with resurrecting the Beta instead of an all new design when they came to the conclusion the Alpha's shortcomings needed to be addressed in the 2030s? The main drawback in the Beta's design IMHO stems more from the compromises needed to connect it to the Alpha Fighter, an all new frame using the mature technologies (from both VFs) would seem to indicate the UEEF could have built a better mecha than the Alpha even one connected to the Beta. The main drawback of the Beta, IMHO, stems from its aerodynamic design, which likely had to make compromises in order to allow connection to the Alpha.

Though a side question related to the Beta's design might also be worth considering, was the Beta using the best hookup scenario and physical layout? IMHO I do not think so, at least if we consider how the design is impacted on the Beta. About the only advantage I can see is in ease of separation of the two mecha (as the Alpha could "blast" free).

*For those interested: IF we assume an Apollo-style flight trajectory (and NOT a higher energy trajectory for a shorter trip time) and they don't have to "launch" from Earth's surface, they essentially save delta-V, which should allow them to fly back to the Moon. This would be true with the Beta attached to the Alpha, without the Alpha's dead weight it would have far more range (~40% IINM).


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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:14 pm
  

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Knight

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ShadowLogan wrote:
However the most recent discussion did get me thinking about this question: Why didn't Marcus/Alex fly the mission with Beta Fighters (Shadow model) either directly (as pilots) or as attachments since the Beta would give them the range necessary?*

An oversight in production, presumably... or possibly an attempt to lower the profile of the Beta in the first half so the visually near-identical Super Shadow Beta introduced in the climax would stand out more. (Everything's dark colors, so the surface detail changes are hard to pick out.)



ShadowLogan wrote:
I think this sort of ties into a broader question that one might ask w/n NG (or the OSM) as a whole: Why was the Beta Fighter essentially reduced to a dumb-booster unit for the Alpha?

's just a legacy of the OSM's development, really... the unit that became the AB-01 TLEAD [VF/B-9 Beta] in MOSPEADA was originally a disposable space booster pack not at all dissimilar to the surface-to-orbit launch booster from Macross. The booster became a separate bomber aircraft in its own right because of pressure from the toy company supporting the MOSPEADA series, who wanted more transforming fighters in the series because of the success that they'd seen Takatoku enjoying with its "kanzen henkei" line of Macross VF-1 toys. As a result, the Legioss ended up with a much greater role and the TLEAD was created to go with it, ironically stealing focus from the titular mecha as the show went on.

The reason that the TLEAD/Beta is unmanned most of the time is that the design wasn't really that well thought-out. There's nothing for the second guy to do while the Legioss/Alpha and TLEAD/Beta are docked, because at that point it's essentially just a glorified FAST pack. Their transformation options were limited too, since the TLEAD wouldn't be able to fly in Armo-Bomber mode while the Legioss was docked to it in Armo-Soldier mode. It was just really difficult to work the combiner gimmick into action sequences... and the Robotech stats from the uRRG contained a few inaccuracies with respect to armament that made the problem worse.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Question 2 Re: Beta Design
Why did the UEEF go with resurrecting the Beta instead of an all new design when they came to the conclusion the Alpha's shortcomings needed to be addressed in the 2030s?

In-universe, your guess is as good as mine... the original production plan for Sentinels had Betas along for the ride, the bit about them being not ready for primetime until ~2042 is an attempt to negotiate around a timeline SNAFU resulting from the Beta's appearance in the aborted Sentinels series and it being presented as a recent development in the New Generation.

Maybe they were just so invested in the Alpha that anything that didn't address the Alpha's most painful shortcomings was a no-sell with the procurement board?

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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:00 am
  

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I was just thinking, from the cast/production standpoint, is it reduces the number of characters to deal with, allowing better focus in a movie with plenty of characters who need screen time to begin with.

-POUNCER


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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:38 am
  

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Knight

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Seto wrote:
An oversight in production, presumably... or possibly an attempt to lower the profile of the Beta in the first half so the visually near-identical Super Shadow Beta introduced in the climax would stand out more. (Everything's dark colors, so the surface detail changes are hard to pick out.)

I agree the most likely scenario is something to do with an out-of-story matters. Even if we accept that for a Beta solo flight, a Beta-combo flight would still have been on the table since Mia and Wolf Leader use them, then Skull Team does on their SSL flight (complete with SSB attachment IINM). I know HG was trying to match the series use, but that only really has to be done with scene overlaps (like battle of reflex point in TSC, which they still dropped the ball on with Scott who never flew the combiner during the battle, and when the Regis left was using a solo Beta).

Seto wrote:
the unit that became the AB-01 TLEAD [VF/B-9 Beta] in MOSPEADA was originally a disposable space booster pack not at all dissimilar to the surface-to-orbit launch booster from Macross.

When was the decision made to alter the booster, because even in Ep1 the Beta/TLead has those deployable legs suggesting by that point the change had already occurred. Given the lack of love for the Beta, maybe HG should just go back can claim the Beta from Point-K was an IMU-ish (2E RPG terminology) and treat it as a simple drone attachment with the legs allowing for high thrust breaking and VTOL landing (not that it needs to for the last bit).

Seto wrote:
The reason that the TLEAD/Beta is unmanned most of the time is that the design wasn't really that well thought-out. There's nothing for the second guy to do while the Legioss/Alpha and TLEAD/Beta are docked, because at that point it's essentially just a glorified FAST pack. Their transformation options were limited too, since the TLEAD wouldn't be able to fly in Armo-Bomber mode while the Legioss was docked to it in Armo-Soldier mode. It was just really difficult to work the combiner gimmick into action sequences... and the Robotech stats from the uRRG contained a few inaccuracies with respect to armament that made the problem worse.

I agree the design isn't well thought-out (but we can say that about the Cyclone and Alpha).

I do have to disagree about a secondary operator though, at least if some thought had been put into the design (it might not have been) given we know you can have fighters/military-aerovehicles w/dual crew stations. The Beta operator need not be relegated to a passenger with nothing to do, they could act to reduce pilot workload (or even give the combo-fighter missions that aren't ideal for 1-person craft).

Seto wrote:
Maybe they were just so invested in the Alpha that anything that didn't address the Alpha's most painful shortcomings was a no-sell with the procurement board?

Well given the easiest fix to the Alpha to address its major shortcomings could all be addressed without a new mecha by:
-replacing one or both of the VTOL engines with propellant tanks (being engines they already have the propellant line setup in place and with minor adjustments to that network, how much tankage they get I don't know, but it would be close to the size of the engines I suspect)
-ditch the Cyclone Bay for a propellant tankage (yes plumbing setup is a potential issue, but from previous discussions we have an idea of how much tankage you can get out of it, and less so how much Delta-V, but unless the engines have less than 1/10th the Specific Impulse than the uRRG they'd be fine IIRC)
-go with all new main engines, ones more capable than even the VFA-6Z that are likely a derivative of the -6H/I engines, that place an emphasis on getting the aeroframe to overcome those related shortcomings (SSTO, etc), this might require additional propellant tanks (see pt#1&2) to go along with
-IF the SSA's fast pack mounting points predate the SSA version (AFAIK nothing says either way) and the 3 gunpod mounts, they could in theory adapt them as hardpoints for additional weapons carriage (even if we ditch the leg FAST Pack mounts for the EU-14 placement). Even if we assume the SSA FP points are SSA only, there is no reason the UEEF could not develop them for the regular Alphas (as block or model update), or other hard points be added later.

Given the above that doesn't seem like something a procurement board would favor a Beta approach vs an updated design for the Alpha or simpler fast packs (which given TSC still required a Beta around to be "effective"), which thanks to TSC we know the Alpha can (or be made to) support such a feature. I don't know if I'd go with TSC specific design for them, but in general...


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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:47 pm
  

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Knight

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ShadowLogan wrote:
I agree the most likely scenario is something to do with an out-of-story matters. Even if we accept that for a Beta solo flight, a Beta-combo flight would still have been on the table since Mia and Wolf Leader use them, then Skull Team does on their SSL flight (complete with SSB attachment IINM). I know HG was trying to match the series use, but that only really has to be done with scene overlaps (like battle of reflex point in TSC, which they still dropped the ball on with Scott who never flew the combiner during the battle, and when the Regis left was using a solo Beta).

Well, you get what you pay for... and the budget that Harmony Gold senior management provided for production of the first episode of what was, at the time, the first episode of a three or four part OVA was so small that they couldn't afford to engage the services of a professional writer, all of the animation had to be done by a studio that specializes in tweening work for other studios (and not by their best people), and they had to operate with a reduced cast because they couldn't afford SAG scale for everyone they wanted to bring back. It's not surprising a lot of consistency and quality issues cropped up... and that they didn't have a lot of creative freedom because of time and money limitations.

Looking at it that way, the Beta probably got it in the shorts in the film because making just the one non-transforming CG model and its one FAST pack was a lot cheaper than animating a transforming CG model too.



ShadowLogan wrote:
When was the decision made to alter the booster, because even in Ep1 the Beta/TLead has those deployable legs suggesting by that point the change had already occurred. Given the lack of love for the Beta, maybe HG should just go back can claim the Beta from Point-K was an IMU-ish (2E RPG terminology) and treat it as a simple drone attachment with the legs allowing for high thrust breaking and VTOL landing (not that it needs to for the last bit).

Based on production art dating, sometime around the finalization of the Legioss design in late pre-production (early 1983). It was originally something not dissimilar to the Inbit [Invid] scout's booster, but once the toy company poked their oar in it swiftly became an aerodynamic flying wing sort of affair that looks like it may have been a drone, and then to a manned aircraft as the Transport Legioss Escort Armored Dreadnought.

Making the transforming Beta an IMU seems a bit... extreme... but then as we'd both agree the treatment of a whole second aircraft that's using dramatically more fuel than the Alpha as a disposable FAST pack is just bizarre and illogical.



ShadowLogan wrote:
I agree the design isn't well thought-out (but we can say that about the Cyclone and Alpha).

The Ride Armors [Cyclones] are pretty well thought-out, though they were originally intended to be the main mecha of the series... and that shows in how detailed they are compared to the Legioss [Alpha] or TLEAD [Beta]. Even the Legioss was originally supposed to be one of the background designs, the way Stig got to Earth and not a lot more. The commercial success of Macross had a huge impact on what the Artmic staff were doing with Descent Soldier Vector, before it became Genesis Climber MOSPEADA... though not as huge as their impact on what became Southern Cross.



ShadowLogan wrote:
I do have to disagree about a secondary operator though, at least if some thought had been put into the design (it might not have been) given we know you can have fighters/military-aerovehicles w/dual crew stations. The Beta operator need not be relegated to a passenger with nothing to do, they could act to reduce pilot workload (or even give the combo-fighter missions that aren't ideal for 1-person craft).

It'd probably have helped if the TLEAD [Beta] was more than just a set of powerful engines wrapped in all manner of explosives... if it had a long-range sensor system or something, it'd have more utility. Such as it is, it's like the joking origin of the Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II... "See that gun? Make it fly.". The TLEAD operator's got little or nothing to do when his aircraft is docked to a Legioss because all he brings to the party is fuel and firepower... and a LOT of the latter, mind. Three 30mm rotary cannons, six pulse laser cannons, six laser bomb launchers, 48 air-to-air missiles, a truckload of napalm bombs.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Well given the easiest fix to the Alpha to address its major shortcomings could all be addressed without a new mecha by:
-replacing one or both of the VTOL engines with propellant tanks (being engines they already have the propellant line setup in place and with minor adjustments to that network, how much tankage they get I don't know, but it would be close to the size of the engines I suspect)[/q
-ditch the Cyclone Bay for a propellant tankage (yes plumbing setup is a potential issue, but from previous discussions we have an idea of how much tankage you can get out of it, and less so how much Delta-V, but unless the engines have less than 1/10th the Specific Impulse than the uRRG they'd be fine IIRC)

These'd partially address the range problem in space, but not the inability to reach orbit or the inability to carry longer-ranged ordinance.



ShadowLogan wrote:
-go with all new main engines, ones more capable than even the VFA-6Z that are likely a derivative of the -6H/I engines, that place an emphasis on getting the aeroframe to overcome those related shortcomings (SSTO, etc), this might require additional propellant tanks (see pt#1&2) to go along with

They may simply not be capable of building engines capable of SSTO at that small a scale... if you look at the cutaways, the fighter's engines are TINY even compared to the already quite small FF-2001 engine in the VF-1.



ShadowLogan wrote:
-IF the SSA's fast pack mounting points predate the SSA version (AFAIK nothing says either way) and the 3 gunpod mounts, they could in theory adapt them as hardpoints for additional weapons carriage (even if we ditch the leg FAST Pack mounts for the EU-14 placement). Even if we assume the SSA FP points are SSA only, there is no reason the UEEF could not develop them for the regular Alphas (as block or model update), or other hard points be added later.

The FAST packs themselves are treated as new developments, but it'd be hard to convince me nobody thought to do that until twenty years after the fighter was built. ("Y'know that thing we did that worked so well with the VF-1? Let's never do that again!")

Still, as small as those packs are, and that they include large verniers to increase maneuverability, it seems unlikely they would significantly add to the range of the craft.

Why they didn't just go back to a stick-on booster back that was cheap and disposable is beyond me...

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:46 am
  

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Knight

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Seto wrote:
Making the transforming Beta an IMU seems a bit... extreme... but then as we'd both agree the treatment of a whole second aircraft that's using dramatically more fuel than the Alpha as a disposable FAST pack is just bizarre and illogical.

Extreme yes, but one that might end up making the most sense given the disparity in use. Another less extreme one is that the Beta is intended as a Drone mecha AND UEEF Drone mecha are piloted by mass produced androids (cheap knockoffs of Janice-M) that are just placed into functional human cockpits (Shadow Drone Alpha cockpit section does have orange colored glass, just like the Beta, and neither use transparent glass like the Alpha/Logan/VF-1/AGAC), which would mean the one recovered at Point-K for whatever reason had been removed. Why they used an android drone system, instead of a more logical approach (like the QF-3000 or ASC GMP 'bot) beats me.

Seto wrote:
The Ride Armors [Cyclones] are pretty well thought-out, though they were originally intended to be the main mecha of the series...

The biggest issue with the Cyclones, IMHO, is that the rider has to be wearing CVR-3 body armor to fully utilize the mecha. A poorly thought-out critical feature that ended up as a plot point in several episodes (64, 66-for Rand since he couldn't help Rook, 70, 75-aside from scott at start, 80-scott needed to cover Rand while he suited up)

Seto wrote:
The TLEAD operator's got little or nothing to do when his aircraft is docked to a Legioss because all he brings to the party is fuel and firepower... and a LOT of the latter, mind. Three 30mm rotary cannons, six pulse laser cannons, six laser bomb launchers, 48 air-to-air missiles, a truckload of napalm bombs.

While connected though a good deal of that firepower is neutralized as: One of the 30mm rotary's is blocked with the Alpha in F mode (and all 3 if Alpha is in G/B), 40 of the missiles are blocked, and the six pulse lasers aren't known to fire in F mode (and would only cover the rear arc). Not sure about the 6 laser bombs, but AotSC has optional x2 3-shot MRMs (that would be available)

The Beta Pilot could:
-focus on weapon system use, while the Alpha pilot focused on flying and keeping their distance from melee combat (and maybe use of the hand-held gunpod)
-act as an air management controller (AWAC, probably not to many in a given formation for this role) or just a sensor operator (for recon)
-act as the pilot while the Alpha acted as the controller of weapon systems (we know the Alpha can control at least some of the Beta's weapons)

Seto wrote:
They may simply not be capable of building engines capable of SSTO at that small a scale... if you look at the cutaways, the fighter's engines are TINY even compared to the already quite small FF-2001 engine in the VF-1.

I don't think that is the case. We know they can get the engines to deliver high T/W ratios even without the use of "Afterburners" or Overboost, so thrust doesn't seem to be the real issue with getting SSTO performance, it's the propellant capacity. However the need for the Beta does atleast suggest they found the thrust for combat operations lacking (to bad we don't know what the T/W looks like for the combiner since it would give an idea of how much more thrust the Alpha needs).

Seto wrote:
The FAST packs themselves are treated as new developments, but it'd be hard to convince me nobody thought to do that until twenty years after the fighter was built. ("Y'know that thing we did that worked so well with the VF-1? Let's never do that again!")

Well the UEDF/UEEF didn't go 20years overall without revisiting the general idea behind the FAST Pack/GBP-1S given the VHT-1 (2E RPG OMS-2 system) and Condor (backpack in series/ova, missing comics) nt-B in canon (and 2E RPG adds the OMS-1 for ASC). So it is unlikely that it didn't atleast come up.

Seto wrote:
Still, as small as those packs are, and that they include large verniers to increase maneuverability, it seems unlikely they would significantly add to the range of the craft.

Keep in mind that with spacecraft it is not unheard of for the Reaction Control System to have its own separate propellant supply from the main engines (we see that in Apollo CSM, Lunar Lander stages, some early versions of the Soyuz, Gemini, Voskhod, and Shuttle). So the "range" increase could be for the RCS instead of main engines. Given the lack of details its hard to say how much range would be offered and in what form.

They could also ditch the missiles those pods bring for greater propellant capacity, or even use beefer pods if we are speculating on what could be available. Still those mounting points if they exist in pre-SSA could be configured to act as hardpoints IMHO, allow the Alpha to have similar theoretical firepower as the VF-1 (likely specific configurations for each to get them that way, but).


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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:33 pm
  

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Knight

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Please overlook it if my reply isn't quite as coherent as usual... I'm three sheets to the wind on antihistamines right now, thanks to the <CENSORED> tree pollen.


ShadowLogan wrote:
Extreme yes, but one that might end up making the most sense given the disparity in use.

Still, I'm not certain one would need to take it as far as an IMU... I'd be inclined to think or something more along the lines of what was done in Macross with a few canon and pseudo-canon designs like the VF-4SL or VC-19V, where part or all of the transformation system is cut from what was otherwise a production aircraft because it didn't need it, with the freed-up weight and space devoted to other pursuits. That'd make the transforming Beta the "real" Beta, and the ones everyone dumps with such cavalier disregard for cost are monkey models that are mechanically simplified with the transformation stripped out to make room for more fuel, ordnance, or just to lighten the load a bit.

(The VF-4SL was a VF-4S stripped of its Battroid mode in the name of reducing airframe weight for use as an air racer in Macross R, the VC-19V is a VF-19A type stripped of the battroid mode hardware and with new parts filling in those spaces to convert it into a modestly sized high-speed VTOL-capable VIP transport aircraft with room for a handful of passengers.)



ShadowLogan wrote:
Another less extreme one is that the Beta is intended as a Drone mecha AND UEEF Drone mecha are piloted by mass produced androids (cheap knockoffs of Janice-M) that are just placed into functional human cockpits (Shadow Drone Alpha cockpit section does have orange colored glass, just like the Beta, and neither use transparent glass like the Alpha/Logan/VF-1/AGAC), which would mean the one recovered at Point-K for whatever reason had been removed. Why they used an android drone system, instead of a more logical approach (like the QF-3000 or ASC GMP 'bot) beats me.

Having an android with a humanoid body installed in the cockpit to convert a plane into a drone seems unnecessarily complex, when it'd be a lot cheaper and simpler to install an AI in that space and wire it directly into the avionics and airframe control computer. (That's what it was in the original MOSPEADA, when unmanned versions of the Legioss and Dark Legioss were built they replaced the manned cockpit block with a new cockpit module that contained the drone's control computer and some extra sensors so the drone could see by means other than the radar system.)

Never quite understood why they bothered with a useless double-bubble canopy for the TLEAD [Beta], given that they don't provide a useful field of view and the whole thing is flown from camera inputs instead.



ShadowLogan wrote:
The biggest issue with the Cyclones, IMHO, is that the rider has to be wearing CVR-3 body armor to fully utilize the mecha. A poorly thought-out critical feature that ended up as a plot point in several episodes (64, 66-for Rand since he couldn't help Rook, 70, 75-aside from scott at start, 80-scott needed to cover Rand while he suited up)

A fair point, IMO, though it's worth noting that this was less a problem with the Ride Armor [Cyclone] itself and more a problem with the fact that Stig's [Scott's] band of not-so-merry men (and women) wasn't a military unit and contained only two actual front-line soldiers. The Ride Armor's [Cyclone's] Riding Suit [CVR-3] was the standard body armor issued to the colonial ground forces and pilots in the 2nd and 3rd Earth Recapture operations. As such, pretty much any schmuck who was on the battlefield (on purpose) would've already been wearing the armor as a matter of course. Stig's [Scott's] group was a largely non-military outfit, and they spent a lot of time trying to look inconspicuous as a way of avoiding the wrong sort of attention. (It probably would've worked better if Stig [Scott] had the sense to change out of his lavender Mars Base onesie.)



ShadowLogan wrote:
While connected though a good deal of that firepower is neutralized as: One of the 30mm rotary's is blocked with the Alpha in F mode (and all 3 if Alpha is in G/B), 40 of the missiles are blocked, and the six pulse lasers aren't known to fire in F mode (and would only cover the rear arc). Not sure about the 6 laser bombs, but AotSC has optional x2 3-shot MRMs (that would be available)

That's one of the problems caused by an animation error being canonized in the Robotech version... in the original, the AB-01 TLEAD's missile launchers are the dorsal ones, and would be clear to fire while docked. The ones in the front of the chest were an animation error.



ShadowLogan wrote:
The Beta Pilot could:
-focus on weapon system use, while the Alpha pilot focused on flying and keeping their distance from melee combat (and maybe use of the hand-held gunpod)
-act as an air management controller (AWAC, probably not to many in a given formation for this role) or just a sensor operator (for recon)

These seem unlikely, as the guy stuck in the TLEAD/Beta has a much-reduced field of view and the bomber doesn't offer any kind of sensor improvement to the fighter.



ShadowLogan wrote:
I don't think that is the case. We know they can get the engines to deliver high T/W ratios even without the use of "Afterburners" or Overboost, so thrust doesn't seem to be the real issue with getting SSTO performance, it's the propellant capacity.

"High" is relative, mind... but there's the question of the airbreathing service ceiling of the engines to consider which plays just as much of a role in SSTO capability as the lift coefficient and propellant capacity. Propellant capacity becomes an increasing concern the lower the main engine's airbreathing service ceiling, and the Legioss's [Alpha's] was OSMly no better than many modern jet fighters (Macross's VFs did themselves a favor by having the ability to partially reconfigure their engines to run as turboramjets, saving on propellant consumption for a SSTO flight by having the airbreathing engine top out much higher.)



ShadowLogan wrote:
Keep in mind that with spacecraft it is not unheard of for the Reaction Control System to have its own separate propellant supply from the main engines (we see that in Apollo CSM, Lunar Lander stages, some early versions of the Soyuz, Gemini, Voskhod, and Shuttle). So the "range" increase could be for the RCS instead of main engines. Given the lack of details its hard to say how much range would be offered and in what form.

That's for the main craft, though... the FAST packs have built-in verniers, so either the verniers have a dedicated fuel supply that's cutting into the pack's propellant capacity or they're sharing the propellant with the main engines.

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Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:56 am
  

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Knight

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Seto wrote:
Still, I'm not certain one would need to take it as far as an IMU...

IMU might be to harsh a term, but its the closest I can think of to explain the radical nature of what was done to it given how it compares to the other Betas seen during the series.

Seto wrote:
Having an android with a humanoid body installed in the cockpit to convert a plane into a drone seems unnecessarily complex, when it'd be a lot cheaper and simpler to install an AI in that space and wire it directly into the avionics and airframe control computer

I agree it's unnecessarily complex, but a universal android pilot body could also be cheaper and simpler in the long run than developing custom AI hardware for each mecha.

Seto wrote:
Never quite understood why they bothered with a useless double-bubble canopy for the TLEAD [Beta], given that they don't provide a useful field of view and the whole thing is flown from camera inputs instead.

I'm not even sure it is a dual bubble canopy, I've always thought the Beta flew by instruments alone (with monitors placed coincidently) given the proximity to Alpha exhaust gasses during separation.

Seto wrote:
The Ride Armor's [Cyclone's] Riding Suit [CVR-3] was the standard body armor issued to the colonial ground forces and pilots in the 2nd and 3rd Earth Recapture operations. As such, pretty much any schmuck who was on the battlefield (on purpose) would've already been wearing the armor as a matter of course

True, but there is always the possibility of a surprise attack that catches the cyclone force with their armor off.

It probably should also be remembered that a good deal of that personal armor is exposed even when the Cyclone is in armor mode reducing the protective quality the Cyclone could potential offer to its operator. But this is taking an unnecessary detour.

Seto wrote:
These seem unlikely, as the guy stuck in the TLEAD/Beta has a much-reduced field of view and the bomber doesn't offer any kind of sensor improvement to the fighter.

In what was developed maybe, but I'm suggesting a better thought out approach here where they attempt to give the potential Beta pilot something effective to do.

Seto wrote:
"High" is relative, mind... but there's the question of the airbreathing service ceiling of the engines to consider which plays just as much of a role in SSTO capability as the lift coefficient and propellant capacity. Propellant capacity becomes an increasing concern the lower the main engine's airbreathing service ceiling, and the Legioss's [Alpha's] was OSMly no better than many modern jet fighters (Macross's VFs did themselves a favor by having the ability to partially reconfigure their engines to run as turboramjets, saving on propellant consumption for a SSTO flight by having the airbreathing engine top out much higher.)

I agree its relative, and the infopedia was fraught with such relative terms.

The airbreathing service ceiling, both altitude and velocity, would determine how much propellant capacity would be needed to get into SSTO. I'm well aware of that. But if we go with the line that Protoculture is more energetic than generic nuclear energy, and the OSM specs assume (at best) nuclear level... that means switching the main energy source to PC would increase the RT performance over the OSM performance with the same mass of propellant supply. IINM the main sticking point is I don't think we have energy comparison (example: PC = 10x Nuclear-type, whatever "conventional nuclear" is supposed to mean).


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Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:29 am
  

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ShadowLogan wrote:
I agree it's unnecessarily complex, but a universal android pilot body could also be cheaper and simpler in the long run than developing custom AI hardware for each mecha.

I know Dr. Lang and co. have a bit of a complexity addiction, but a fully autonomous humanoid android body able to operate the controls with the same reaction time and precision as a trained pilot is going to be a LOT more complex than taking all the expensive, fiddly controls out of the plane entirely and just wiring the AI directly into the avionics.



ShadowLogan wrote:
I'm not even sure it is a dual bubble canopy, I've always thought the Beta flew by instruments alone (with monitors placed coincidently) given the proximity to Alpha exhaust gasses during separation.

For what it's worth, the animation model sheets used in the original show's production do identify the yellow blisters on the cockpit as being canopies. The field of view would be pretty damned awful considering how small they are and where they're placed, leaving the pilot to be dependent mainly on the double monitor mounted between them for flight control. (I'd assume the reason the canopy material isn't a clear canopy like the Legioss [Alpha] is that it's a tougher material intended to withstand proximity to the running engines of the other fighter it'd naturally encounter during docking or launch operations.



ShadowLogan wrote:
True, but there is always the possibility of a surprise attack that catches the cyclone force with their armor off.

Granted, but less an issue with a proper army that takes downtime in shifts to ensure the majority of its troops will always be ready to fight at short notice than it is with a mostly-civilian group of rebels trying (and failing) to be inconspicuous behind enemy lines.



ShadowLogan wrote:
It probably should also be remembered that a good deal of that personal armor is exposed even when the Cyclone is in armor mode reducing the protective quality the Cyclone could potential offer to its operator. But this is taking an unnecessary detour.

A fair amount of that is necessary to permit the operator to move normally while wearing it in its [Ride Armor] powered suit mode and keep the overall weight of the system down. OSM-ly, the Riding Suit [CVR-3] is noted to be exceptionally good in terms of protective ability by its setting's standards, particularly against things like shock and impact.



ShadowLogan wrote:
In what was developed maybe, but I'm suggesting a better thought out approach here where they attempt to give the potential Beta pilot something effective to do.

It'd probably have been better if they'd stuck with something more like the Span Loader, which had a dorsal cockpit that ended up making the plane look kind of like a delta-wing version of the VF-11D, with one canopy right behind the other. (The Span Loader was also a good deal more aerodynamic, which would've helped a lot in operating as a separate plane.)



ShadowLogan wrote:
The airbreathing service ceiling, both altitude and velocity, would determine how much propellant capacity would be needed to get into SSTO. I'm well aware of that. But if we go with the line that Protoculture is more energetic than generic nuclear energy, and the OSM specs assume (at best) nuclear level... that means switching the main energy source to PC would increase the RT performance over the OSM performance with the same mass of propellant supply.

With respect to the energy density of the fuel... I'm not so sure that's as directly applicable as you're suggesting. The thermonuclear reaction turbine engines from Macross don't have to go through any complex state transitions to apply the energy of the reaction in production of thrust. Heat from the compact thermonuclear reactor inside the engine is introduced to the airstream flowing through the engine, providing a replacement for the burner stage of a conventional turbine and serving a double purpose by cooling the reactor. It's a very efficient means of harnessing the energy of the reaction to provide either thrust or electricity, even if it's not the most efficient usage of the energy itself. That can't be said of the Alpha and its protoculture-based power plant though. The old material from Robotech Art 1 made it out that using protoculture provided bio-energy (literally "life force") that would have to be converted into other forms of energy for it to work. The recent materials imply a more modern, literal meaning of "bioenergy" with the power plants of the Alpha, Beta, and Cyclone being a super-efficient, high-output form of fuel cell. Either way, the energy from the protoculture is going through one or more transitions before it can be applied for the production of thrust. How many, we can't say. Assuming the latter case, the protoculture fuel cells are oxidizing something and are releasing high-voltage electric current. How that power is used would say a lot about the situation.

Is the Alpha using electric direct-drive turbine-style ducted fans for its engines, or is it using an electric heater network as a substitute for a burner stage in a more traditional turbine? The direct-drive turbine-style ducted fan would offer extremely high efficiency (~96%, higher if they used room temperature superconductors) but would have a very low service ceiling due to a low maximum pressure inside the engine itself. The electrically-heated turbine approach would provide the necessary compression for higher-altitude flight and the heater itself has 100% efficiency (if purely electric), but the efficiency in terms of energy consumption vs. thrust production would be appallingly poor, thus leaving the service ceiling capped by the limits of the turbine's compressor and the power demands of the heating elements.

EDIT: Of course, the energy density of the fuel material isn't the only factor in play either... there's also the quantity of the fuel to consider, and how long it lasts. Sure, protoculture may offer more energy per unit of mass than "conventional nuclear sources", but the amounts it's used in are very small and allegedly (at least in the RPG) the cells are meant to last a LONG time. That doesn't guarantee an improvement over the OSM spec in terms of performance, because the power source may be providing a comparable amount of energy with a longer run time, or the system design may not be capable of translating that greater energy output into thrust as readily as the OSM version did. It's also not going to address the mechanical limitations of the aircraft either.

EDIT 2: Come to that, it's not guaranteed that the energy output of protoculture is consistent between the different applications of it in power generation technology. It may top nuclear power in a reflex furnace (apparently some kind of protoculture reactor), but that's no guarantee protoculture fuel cells will be similarly potent.

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:32 am
  

Hero

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First a complaint....We really didn't get the full capability of the Beta till the last few episodes. It was used as both booster for the Alpha and then as a stand alone plane...No Battloid till almost the end of the series.

As for flying the combined planes from the Beta...I don't think that would have been possible with the way the Beta cockpit is set up and the way it folds down when it connects to the Alpha. the occupant would basically be sitting in a seat inside a large metal box that he could not see out of and the controls would be down at his feet.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:23 am
  

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Knight

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Seto wrote:
I know Dr. Lang and co. have a bit of a complexity addiction, but a fully autonomous humanoid android body able to operate the controls with the same reaction time and precision as a trained pilot is going to be a LOT more complex than taking all the expensive, fiddly controls out of the plane entirely and just wiring the AI directly into the avionics.

Maybe, maybe not. It has issues I admit, but then so does alot about NG-era hardware when it comes to the design.

We do know though that the UEEF/UEDF has developed autonomous humanoid designs, we have the GMP Golem (failure, both in size and intelligence for what we are looking at) and Janice-M (mk1). And Janice-M in some forms (AFAIK, maybe all) of Sentinels was programed to operate mecha and we do see her operate the Cyclone in Prelude. So a version that is simplified mass produced version based on Janice-M would be theoretically possible (unless like the Mk2 it has alien technology they can't reproduce in it).

Seto wrote:
It'd probably have been better if they'd stuck with something more like the Span Loader, which had a dorsal cockpit that ended up making the plane look kind of like a delta-wing version of the VF-11D, with one canopy right behind the other. (The Span Loader was also a good deal more aerodynamic, which would've helped a lot in operating as a separate plane.)

That's in the Imaifiles correct? If it is I think I know what you are talking about. But as I've said before the question does have to be asked why the UEEF even bothered with the Alpha given a properly designed mecha could probably fill all their needs given technology that goes into the Beta and Alpha, the main drawback of the Beta is they gave it crappy aerodynamic design, something they wouldn't have had to do with a Beta-based design that did not have to connect.

Seto wrote:
EDIT 2: Come to that, it's not guaranteed that the energy output of protoculture is consistent between the different applications of it in power generation technology. It may top nuclear power in a reflex furnace (apparently some kind of protoculture reactor), but that's no guarantee protoculture fuel cells will be similarly potent.

That's the issue though, why go with a complex PC fuel cell setup as suggested by cribbing from the OSM when we know they can produce PC fueled reflex furnaces, and IIRC the FTS graphic novel/comic-series we know the VF-1 was to get an RF. Stuff like this is what makes cribbing from the OSM result in the head scratching things we see, the OSM specs assume a certain underlying technology base, a base that does not really work for Robotech (at least in a sane mind) when it gets carried forward because the idea of a tech regression doesn't really work going by the visuals and story.

Seto wrote:
With respect to the energy density of the fuel... I'm not so sure that's as directly applicable as you're suggesting.

True, it comes down to how it gets used. But if it is supposed to have better energy density than conventional nuclear, one would expect to see it utilized to deliver that performance otherwise it would be a huge waste of what is known to be a hard to come by energy source.

Sambot wrote:
As for flying the combined planes from the Beta...I don't think that would have been possible with the way the Beta cockpit is set up and the way it folds down when it connects to the Alpha. the occupant would basically be sitting in a seat inside a large metal box that he could not see out of and the controls would be down at his feet.

It would certainly be possible to fly while connected, it would be akin to operating the Beta (VF-1, Alpha, AGAC, and VHT VTs) in Battloid mode or in real life operating a remote drone vehicle. Though I do agree this probably isn't the best placement for the pilot of the combiner, so it is more likely another role they would find themselves in (like weapon systems) that pilot.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:59 pm
  

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Knight

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Chris0013 wrote:
First a complaint....We really didn't get the full capability of the Beta till the last few episodes. It was used as both booster for the Alpha and then as a stand alone plane...No Battloid till almost the end of the series.

Well, to be fair... that's got a lot to do with the craft that eventually became the AB-01 TLEAD [RT: Beta] was never intended to be "in focus" in the original Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. The show wasn't supposed to put that much emphasis on ANY of the fighters, let alone a craft that was a disposable booster pack when the show's outline was first set. Even then, when it was redone as a separate aircraft later in development (the "Span Loader") it was an unmanned and non-transforming support craft. It was in the final set of design iterations that it finally became a manned aircraft and transformable mecha. It wasn't really something they'd planned to have at the outset, so it's kind of crowbarred in.



Chris0013 wrote:
As for flying the combined planes from the Beta...I don't think that would have been possible with the way the Beta cockpit is set up and the way it folds down when it connects to the Alpha. the occupant would basically be sitting in a seat inside a large metal box that he could not see out of and the controls would be down at his feet.

A fair point, given that the cockpit folds down... so either the pilot is strapped to a chair and perpendicular to gravity or he's sitting with the controls below his feet.





ShadowLogan wrote:
We do know though that the UEEF/UEDF has developed autonomous humanoid designs, we have the GMP Golem (failure, both in size and intelligence for what we are looking at) and Janice-M (mk1). And Janice-M in some forms (AFAIK, maybe all) of Sentinels was programed to operate mecha and we do see her operate the Cyclone in Prelude. So a version that is simplified mass produced version based on Janice-M would be theoretically possible (unless like the Mk2 it has alien technology they can't reproduce in it).

The big, nagging, sometimes-philosophical questions hanging over that would be:
  • Can Dr. Lang's android brain technology be adapted to the task at all?
    • Is it even possible to duplicate the Janice Em artificial intelligence at all?
      i.e. is Janice's AI subject to the Commander Data problem, where the system is so complex that it's as much art as science and even a genius techno-savant would have great difficulty making another.
    • Is the Janice Em system something that can be made suitable for economical mass production?
    • Is it possible to simplify the AI for mass production without destroying its decision-making capabilities and reaction times?
  • Can the Janice Em android body be simplified for economical mass production without sacrificing a superhuman or human-like level of performance?
  • Ethically speaking, is using an intelligent and self-aware artificial life form implied to possess genuine artificial sentience and humanlike emotions as the basis for an army of disposable robot soldiers a morally-defensible decision?
    • Is creating a line of robots capable of independent thought and action for involuntary service technically slavery?
    • More worrying, is it morally defensible to produce a deliberately compromised copy of an artificial lifeform's mind with the goal of eliminating free will and the instinct for self-preservation to use as a programmable killer?
    • Even more worrying than that, if the self-preservation instinct remains even in the simplified design, what's to stop this new robot army from turning on its creators the way the basis for the design is already shown to be capable of doing?

This is a big, BIG can of worms you're opening here... the UEEF isn't exactly people-friendly, but in some ways this is awfully close to grabbing the villain ball the Tirolians had so recently dropped.




ShadowLogan wrote:
That's in the Imaifiles correct? If it is I think I know what you are talking about. But as I've said before the question does have to be asked why the UEEF even bothered with the Alpha given a properly designed mecha could probably fill all their needs given technology that goes into the Beta and Alpha, the main drawback of the Beta is they gave it crappy aerodynamic design, something they wouldn't have had to do with a Beta-based design that did not have to connect.

Yep, it's in the Imai Files and GearsOnline has some pics of it too.

As to why the UEEF would go with something like the Alpha, I suspect that would have a lot to do with the enemy they expected to be fighting... the Robotech Masters. They're not big on flying in their mecha and they have low firepower, so a fighter designed for low-altitude stability and carrying a LOT of short-ranged direct-fire weaponry would be a highly desirable commodity. It's just not particularly viable against the Invid, who have the advantage of numbers.



ShadowLogan wrote:
That's the issue though, why go with a complex PC fuel cell setup as suggested by cribbing from the OSM when we know they can produce PC fueled reflex furnaces, and IIRC the FTS graphic novel/comic-series we know the VF-1 was to get an RF. Stuff like this is what makes cribbing from the OSM result in the head scratching things we see, the OSM specs assume a certain underlying technology base, a base that does not really work for Robotech (at least in a sane mind) when it gets carried forward because the idea of a tech regression doesn't really work going by the visuals and story.

The fuel cell aspect of it was kind of unavoidable considering how prominently they're featured in the animation and how often the Robotech dialog refers to them as such, something that is not part of the original dialog (in which the fuel was usually referred to unqualified as "HBT"). They had more latitude with the earlier generation mecha in Robotech, since the closest they came to identifying the VF-1's fuel source in the actual show was a bit of dialog from Roy saying the engines were "based on a reactor design". (When Tommy Yune first announced that he'd set the official canon power source as a fusion reactor, I argued with him that it ought to be a protoculture bio-reactor.)

These aren't OSM quibbles, these are issues caused by dialog choices during the rushed adaptation process that resulted in Robotech, and the way they didn't have much (if any) time to lay out story plans ahead of time.

You're dead on correct that the OSM specs do assume a certain level of technological development that was present in each of the original three shows, which is partly to blame for the perceived technological backsliding in Robotech... as well as no small amount of complaining from people on the boards (moderators included) who try to dismiss factual explanations of why the stats are the way they are as disparaging the other sagas to make Macross look better. That disparity results in the perceived technical regression, simply because we see levels of capability on mecha and ships going down instead of up. While the idea of a regression has been endorsed somewhat by HG's staff, it's still problematic because some of it lies in people comparing apples to oranges... I mean, you wouldn't try to judge the worth of the A-10 by comparing its dogfighting ability to the F-22's, and it would be similarly absurd to judge the Alpha by comparing its ability to the VF-1's when they're designed for radically different jobs.



ShadowLogan wrote:
True, it comes down to how it gets used. But if it is supposed to have better energy density than conventional nuclear, one would expect to see it utilized to deliver that performance otherwise it would be a huge waste of what is known to be a hard to come by energy source.

Actually, that may border on "truth in television". Look at radioisotopes like uranium, plutonium, and thorium. Their energy density is high and they can release a lot of energy in a short time in the right conditions in a reactor, but just as often they're used in applications where that energy density can be leveraged as a "slow burn" that will provide a comparatively low energy output but with a comparatively long operating time. Radioisotope thermoelectric generators are one example of this, used in everything from pacemakers and lighthouses to spacecraft. Since protoculture fuel is difficult to produce and comes from a very rare source, the decision to go with a high-endurance low-output power source for the majority of mecha makes a fair amount of sense, given a mobile force with no set home port that could easily find itself cut off from supply lines during operations.

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:35 pm
  

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Palladin

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What about the logical answer of "Combiner mecha sell more toys?"

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:46 pm
  

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Knight

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eliakon wrote:
What about the logical answer of "Combiner mecha sell more toys?"

Eh... I'm sure that probably didn't hurt Gakken's feelings any when it came out of their push for more transforming planes in MOSPEADA.

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Zer0 Kay wrote:
Damn you for anticipating my question. I've really got to unfoe you, your information is far more valuable than my sanity when dealing with your blunt callousness. :)


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:05 am
  

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Knight

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Seto wrote:
A fair point, given that the cockpit folds down... so either the pilot is strapped to a chair and perpendicular to gravity or he's sitting with the controls below his feet.

It should be noted though that the cockpit folds down for Battloid Mode operation too, so when "docked" the cockpit would likely assume Battloid mode positioning (which Ep83 shows/suggests).

Seto wrote:
The big, nagging, sometimes-philosophical questions hanging over that would be:...

Oh I agree there could be philosophical questions to be considered from a story point of view. We really can't answer those questions you generated at current AFAIK, all we can do is make wild and wide spread assumptions. I don't think I want to go down that road at the current time since the various questions can tie into each other and require multiple scenarios to be evaluated.

Seto wrote:
The fuel cell aspect of it was kind of unavoidable considering how prominently they're featured in the animation and how often the Robotech dialog refers to them as such, something that is not part of the original dialog (in which the fuel was usually referred to unqualified as "HBT"). They had more latitude with the earlier generation mecha in Robotech, since the closest they came to identifying the VF-1's fuel source in the actual show was a bit of dialog from Roy saying the engines were "based on a reactor design". (When Tommy Yune first announced that he'd set the official canon power source as a fusion reactor, I argued with him that it ought to be a protoculture bio-reactor.)

I don't think the fuelcell aspect is unavoidable, at least if you are refering to the water/heat/electricicty-generating type. Really the process we see used on the various hardware using the cells could be seen as replaceable fuel "rods" or "canisters". We see similar approach used with regard to nuclear reactor fuel, fuel tank for forklifts, fuel tank for gasgrills, or anything with a removable battery(s).

Earlier saga get around the issue though because they don't show refueling operations for PC (and as a plot point it doesn't really come up, aside when Khyron steals the PC storage unit in Ep35 which looks similar to an oversized PC canister)), so unless the PC Cell infrastructure was highly restricted to the UEEF in the actual series, it stands to reason that UEDF eras also used it. Given the widespread adoption of PC in the civilian market for NG, it would cast doubt on the UEEF being the sole user (granted 10 plus years has elapsed, and the Invid did control the energy market) especially given Rook was pushing around a cart full of supplies in Denver that included Protoculture Canister 4-pack(s).

Seto wrote:
Actually, that may border on "truth in television". Look at radioisotopes like uranium, plutonium, and thorium. Their energy density is high and they can release a lot of energy in a short time in the right conditions in a reactor, but just as often they're used in applications where that energy density can be leveraged as a "slow burn" that will provide a comparatively low energy output but with a comparatively long operating time. Radioisotope thermoelectric generators are one example of this, used in everything from pacemakers and lighthouses to spacecraft. Since protoculture fuel is difficult to produce and comes from a very rare source, the decision to go with a high-endurance low-output power source for the majority of mecha makes a fair amount of sense, given a mobile force with no set home port that could easily find itself cut off from supply lines during operations.


RTGs though still offer performance advantages over batteries and other conventional fueled energy sources. For the space missions that RTGs get attached to, batteries are wildly impractical (the mass of batteries alone required spirals out of control, making the craft more massive which means bigger rocket, which means bigger cost)

I get that "slow burn" use, for the Cyclone (and "light" vehicles) that might be a suitable explanation for why it was used as such. But medium and heavy platforms like the Alpha and Beta Fighter I think would push for their engines to be the same "proven" technology as the UEDF (and Zentreadi/Masters) used and not what the OSM says for technical continuity because now you have to explain why the technology was developed for them (unless we recton the earlier generation to the same status, but that causes issues itself).


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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:16 pm
  

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Knight

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ShadowLogan wrote:
It should be noted though that the cockpit folds down for Battloid Mode operation too, so when "docked" the cockpit would likely assume Battloid mode positioning (which Ep83 shows/suggests).

Granted, but we're back to the main bone of contention that the cockpit is ideally positioned to make the TLEAD [Beta] pilot ineffectual. He's got a nice, scenic view of the space between the Legioss's [Alpha's] engines. I mean, sure he could toss cards into a hat or something (provided the craft is operating in a gravity well) but as far as I can tell from the internal layouts in the animation model sheets he can't even embark or disembark while the two planes are docked since the cockpit hatch that's normally used opens DOWNWARDS and thus can't open at all in the craft's armo-soldier mode, and the change in cockpit position cuts him off from the secondary access through the rear hatch into the bomb bay. The poor schlub would have nothing to do but watch bad movies on Space Hulu and wish his spacesuit had a waste collection pouch.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Oh I agree there could be philosophical questions to be considered from a story point of view. We really can't answer those questions you generated at current AFAIK, all we can do is make wild and wide spread assumptions. I don't think I want to go down that road at the current time since the various questions can tie into each other and require multiple scenarios to be evaluated.

Yep... though as there's only the one Janice type android for a span of two solid decades and the replacement body for same had to be constructed with the help of the Haydonites, I think it's a fairly safe assumption that the Commander Data problem is in full force and thus simplified androids are probably not feasible.



ShadowLogan wrote:
I don't think the fuelcell aspect is unavoidable, at least if you are refering to the water/heat/electricicty-generating type. Really the process we see used on the various hardware using the cells could be seen as replaceable fuel "rods" or "canisters". We see similar approach used with regard to nuclear reactor fuel, fuel tank for forklifts, fuel tank for gasgrills, or anything with a removable battery(s).

The problem is the terminology used in the series and thus carried over to the official publications, which was protoculture cells.

Contextually, there are only two commonly accepted uses of "cell" in energy generation and storage. One is fuel cell technology, in which chemical energy is converted to electrical energy through the oxidation of a fuel material. The other is the humble battery, in which two substances react to produce an electromotive force. The problem is that neither of these is what we would characterize as a high-output power source. They're both intended to be used in applications where power system endurance and stability of output matters more than sheer power.

Realistically speaking, it was probably a mistake for Harmony Gold to choose to make the "fuel cell" interpretation official. Fuel cells are highly efficient power sources that beat combustion by a good 20-35% in actual operating conditions, but they're finicky things that require a fuel, electrolyte, and oxidiser to function and many types require periodic cleaning. If you're trying to go for a sealed system, that means you've got very little room for each of the three necessary substances. If you're NOT going for a sealed system, you have to have external fuel oxidiser and/or fuel to keep it generating power. The smarter approach would've been to treat it like a nuclear battery, though those tend to be hilariously inefficient (a perfect world best-case is about 8.2%). They've got the advantage of being a sealed system containing just the fuel material and the electrical converter. No muss, no fuss, though they have a finite shelf life like any battery (albeit just a good deal longer), whereas a fuel cell that's not active or deprived of oxidiser will last as long as the fuel and electrolyte stay good.



ShadowLogan wrote:
Earlier saga get around the issue though because they don't show refueling operations for PC (and as a plot point it doesn't really come up, aside when Khyron steals the PC storage unit in Ep35 which looks similar to an oversized PC canister)), so unless the PC Cell infrastructure was highly restricted to the UEEF in the actual series, it stands to reason that UEDF eras also used it. Given the widespread adoption of PC in the civilian market for NG, it would cast doubt on the UEEF being the sole user (granted 10 plus years has elapsed, and the Invid did control the energy market) especially given Rook was pushing around a cart full of supplies in Denver that included Protoculture Canister 4-pack(s).

To be entirely accurate, the reason they don't make any mention of protoculture as fuel is because the show's writers didn't make protoculture into a fuel until partway through the Macross Saga, as evidenced by some amusing contextual post-facto gaffes like "this results from protoculture?".

The problem with this line of reasoning is that nobody so much as mentions a protoculture cell until the New Generation, and the only times we see anything that looks like a refueling operation in progress it looks like they're transferring stocks of liquid fuel... which they were, as the OSM fuel material was hydrogen slush. That would run counter to the idea that the UEDF would obviously be using protoculture cells, and lend credence to the official view that they're powered by fusion reactors in the engines.



ShadowLogan wrote:
RTGs though still offer performance advantages over batteries and other conventional fueled energy sources. For the space missions that RTGs get attached to, batteries are wildly impractical (the mass of batteries alone required spirals out of control, making the craft more massive which means bigger rocket, which means bigger cost)

Yep, though it's worth noting that RTGs are considered to be a form of battery in their own right... lumped into the family commonly known as atomic (or nuclear) batteries.



ShadowLogan wrote:
I get that "slow burn" use, for the Cyclone (and "light" vehicles) that might be a suitable explanation for why it was used as such. But medium and heavy platforms like the Alpha and Beta Fighter I think would push for their engines to be the same "proven" technology as the UEDF (and Zentreadi/Masters) used and not what the OSM says for technical continuity because now you have to explain why the technology was developed for them (unless we recton the earlier generation to the same status, but that causes issues itself).

The problem there is that you can't get around the fact that the series explicitly shows that both the "light" vehicles and the military aircraft use the same standard cells as their power source, just in different quantities. They can't have the same "proven" technology as the UEDF and Zentradi because the show explicitly establishes that they're using something different, cells instead of their engines being "based on a reactor design". Attempts to "Fix" the issue just create a different, bigger plot hole.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:59 pm
  

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Seto wrote:
Granted, but we're back to the main bone of contention that the cockpit is ideally positioned to make the TLEAD [Beta] pilot ineffectual. He's got a nice, scenic view of the space between the Legioss's [Alpha's] engines. I mean, sure he could toss cards into a hat or something (provided the craft is operating in a gravity well) but as far as I can tell from the internal layouts in the animation model sheets he can't even embark or disembark while the two planes are docked since the cockpit hatch that's normally used opens DOWNWARDS and thus can't open at all in the craft's armo-soldier mode, and the change in cockpit position cuts him off from the secondary access through the rear hatch into the bomb bay. The poor schlub would have nothing to do but watch bad movies on Space Hulu and wish his spacesuit had a waste collection pouch.

Several things:
1. Rand is shown/implied to access the docked fighter mode cockpit via the bombbay(?) in Ep83.
2. Marlene/Ariel boards the Beta section of the craft in Ep83 prior to the release of the bombs and before Rand/Annie are "rescued". SO either the bombbay has room for passengers even loaded, or she sat in the cockpit and moved down when Annie/Rand arrived (and Rand see pt1).
3. If the Cockpit is considered in Battloid mode it likely has full video monitors (even in F mode in has them), so the pilot would still be able to function at or near B-mode levels as far as environmental awareness. AFAIK the only Battloid with a transparent canopy in B-mode canonically for humans in Robotech to date is the Logan in the series (and the Cyclone). I know the Bioroids and Invid Commander Battloids also have it, but that is hardly considered human designed (maybe even add the Officer's Pod and to an extent the Silverback).

Seto wrote:
Yep... though as there's only the one Janice type android for a span of two solid decades and the replacement body for same had to be constructed with the help of the Haydonites, I think it's a fairly safe assumption that the Commander Data problem is in full force and thus simplified androids are probably not feasible.

That we know of. I doubt there would be much value in making a drone android pilot body have the same level of female curves as Janice. Plus Janice-Mk2's Haydonite technology was a circa 2044 thing, nothing indicates Mk1 had Haydonite tech in it (AotSC states the Mk1 pre-dates Pioneer Mission in the Mk2 bio). Nothing I've suggested requires they need to base it on the Mk2.

Seto wrote:
The problem is the terminology used in the series and thus carried over to the official publications, which was protoculture cells.

True, but it is a fictional futuristic setting (at the time), so terminology could be dated or even considered to evolve. One could alway take the view that the use of the term cells was a hold over due to "translation" issues (they had to have encountered some alien script on the SDF-1) that are a hold over. It might also have biological implications for the use of "cell" instead of a technological one, though I'd just go with translation as that is the easiest.

Its also worth noting that "canisters" is used also to describe them IINM, not just "cells". And TMS/TRM seem to use "matrix".

Seto wrote:
The problem there is that you can't get around the fact that the series explicitly shows that both the "light" vehicles and the military aircraft use the same standard cells as their power source, just in different quantities. They can't have the same "proven" technology as the UEDF and Zentradi because the show explicitly establishes that they're using something different, cells instead of their engines being "based on a reactor design". Attempts to "Fix" the issue just create a different, bigger plot hole.

It isn't necessarily a problem. PC could be a low grade stand-alone-fuel (suitable for "light" vehicles), but when used in higher demand ('medium'/'heavy vehicles or Reflex Furnace) it requires additional materials. The idea isn't completely far fetched either, there are rocket propellants that can work in a mono-propellant fashion OR a bi-propellant fashion (and in bi-propellant they deliver more bang). An example is Hydrozine.

So even if we see "refueling" of platforms, it could be the are refueling the non-PC fuel aspect of the high out put systems.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:57 am
  

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Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 12:21 am
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ShadowLogan wrote:
Seto wrote:
Granted, but we're back to the main bone of contention that the cockpit is ideally positioned to make the TLEAD [Beta] pilot ineffectual. He's got a nice, scenic view of the space between the Legioss's [Alpha's] engines. I mean, sure he could toss cards into a hat or something (provided the craft is operating in a gravity well) but as far as I can tell from the internal layouts in the animation model sheets he can't even embark or disembark while the two planes are docked since the cockpit hatch that's normally used opens DOWNWARDS and thus can't open at all in the craft's armo-soldier mode, and the change in cockpit position cuts him off from the secondary access through the rear hatch into the bomb bay. The poor schlub would have nothing to do but watch bad movies on Space Hulu and wish his spacesuit had a waste collection pouch.

Several things:
1. Rand is shown/implied to access the docked fighter mode cockpit via the bombbay(?) in Ep83.
2. Marlene/Ariel boards the Beta section of the craft in Ep83 prior to the release of the bombs and before Rand/Annie are "rescued". SO either the bombbay has room for passengers even loaded, or she sat in the cockpit and moved down when Annie/Rand arrived (and Rand see pt1).
3. If the Cockpit is considered in Battloid mode it likely has full video monitors (even in F mode in has them), so the pilot would still be able to function at or near B-mode levels as far as environmental awareness. AFAIK the only Battloid with a transparent canopy in B-mode canonically for humans in Robotech to date is the Logan in the series (and the Cyclone). I know the Bioroids and Invid Commander Battloids also have it, but that is hardly considered human designed (maybe even add the Officer's Pod and to an extent the Silverback).

Seto wrote:
Yep... though as there's only the one Janice type android for a span of two solid decades and the replacement body for same had to be constructed with the help of the Haydonites, I think it's a fairly safe assumption that the Commander Data problem is in full force and thus simplified androids are probably not feasible.

That we know of. I doubt there would be much value in making a drone android pilot body have the same level of female curves as Janice. Plus Janice-Mk2's Haydonite technology was a circa 2044 thing, nothing indicates Mk1 had Haydonite tech in it (AotSC states the Mk1 pre-dates Pioneer Mission in the Mk2 bio). Nothing I've suggested requires they need to base it on the Mk2.

Seto wrote:
The problem is the terminology used in the series and thus carried over to the official publications, which was protoculture cells.

True, but it is a fictional futuristic setting (at the time), so terminology could be dated or even considered to evolve. One could alway take the view that the use of the term cells was a hold over due to "translation" issues (they had to have encountered some alien script on the SDF-1) that are a hold over. It might also have biological implications for the use of "cell" instead of a technological one, though I'd just go with translation as that is the easiest.

Its also worth noting that "canisters" is used also to describe them IINM, not just "cells". And TMS/TRM seem to use "matrix".

Seto wrote:
The problem there is that you can't get around the fact that the series explicitly shows that both the "light" vehicles and the military aircraft use the same standard cells as their power source, just in different quantities. They can't have the same "proven" technology as the UEDF and Zentradi because the show explicitly establishes that they're using something different, cells instead of their engines being "based on a reactor design". Attempts to "Fix" the issue just create a different, bigger plot hole.

It isn't necessarily a problem. PC could be a low grade stand-alone-fuel (suitable for "light" vehicles), but when used in higher demand ('medium'/'heavy vehicles or Reflex Furnace) it requires additional materials. The idea isn't completely far fetched either, there are rocket propellants that can work in a mono-propellant fashion OR a bi-propellant fashion (and in bi-propellant they deliver more bang). An example is Hydrozine.

So even if we see "refueling" of platforms, it could be the are refueling the non-PC fuel aspect of the high out put systems.


I know its from the old "disavowed" material but in that version the 1st generation mecha had multi-year supplies of protoculture fuel built into their high performance "reactor" style power plants, the Southern Cross units were a lot more frugal instead of using "protoculture" reactors, they used protolcuture "enhanced" systems that used a more conventional fission or fusion primary power source, with the "protoculture" materials only being used in the control and transformation systems, because the limited supplies of protoculture "fuel" they had went a lot further that way.

in that explanation the next generation units used the protoculture "fuel" in highly compact high performance engines, with the canisters essentially being nothing but protoculture fuel cells much like a propane bottle for your propane vehicles/appliances which was how they got the tremendous "shrinkage" of the units like the alpha fighters they didn't have the multi year protoculture fuel reserves they instead had ~3 months of fuel from a set of canisters with the cyclones running for ~1 month on a single canister. the good news for the REF forces was that the invid were using a similar fuel canister design (or at least one that could be easily converted for their use) so they didn't have to attempt to drain the protoculture "fuel" out of the invid canisters to refill their own canisters. the Invid however used their "protoculture" in a more direct way they essentially "ate it" whereas the humans were "burning" it to power their vehicles.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:49 pm
  

Hero

Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:20 pm
Posts: 912
Seto Kaiba wrote:
Chris0013 wrote:
As for flying the combined planes from the Beta...I don't think that would have been possible with the way the Beta cockpit is set up and the way it folds down when it connects to the Alpha. the occupant would basically be sitting in a seat inside a large metal box that he could not see out of and the controls would be down at his feet.

A fair point, given that the cockpit folds down... so either the pilot is strapped to a chair and perpendicular to gravity or he's sitting with the controls below his feet.



Actually...thinking about it...the cockpit goes into the position that it would be in battloid mode....so maybe the pilot would have controls in front of him/her and would fly only on instruments and view screens.

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