THE ANVIL TERRAPIN
Presenting the Anvil Aerospace U4A-3 Terrapin-class Scanning/Exploration Ship. The Terrapin was developed near the end of the 28th century to serve as the first ship in the Empire’s defensive restructuring of the Navy. The Terrapin’s watchword is protection, with extensive shield systems and armor layers designed to provide the maximum possible defense for pilot and crew. While it lacks the maneuverability of a dedicated fighter, it does maintain an advanced, hard-hitting array of weapons intended to keep the most fearsome Vanduul raider at bay.
Terrapin have seen extensive service with the Navy over the last 150 years, cementing a reputation as a support ship par excellence. The design has been put into service as everything from a standard APC to (most effectively) a long-range explorer. Terrapin often serve as combat search-and-rescue ships, a role they came into after testing proved their ability to perform precise combat pickups while under heavy enemy ground fire.
Since its introduction, the Terrapin spaceframe has become increasingly popular among civilian explorers. Surplus U4A-3 hulls are routinely available on the open market, making it a favored explorer ship among military veterans who opt to continue flying after their service, many of them having already come to know it’s reliability, ease of repair and never-say-die attitude. The Terrapin has an all-around reputation as a ship that can get travel beyond the most distant jump point… and bring you back safely to civilization.
ROLES & SYSTEMS
The standard Terrapin explorer is rated for a crew of two, a pilot and a scanner operator (though one can easily fill both positions in most situations.) Terrapin captains often refer to themselves as ‘drivers’ rather than pilots, a nod to the ship’s similarity to a flying tank. An S4 utility mount atop the ship allows for a diverse set of roles. A dish-type scanner is the most commonly installed, as it directly benefits most of the Terrapin’s popular rules (including exploratory scanning, search and rescue tracking and in some cases spaceborne warning and control when outfitted as an armored command ship.)
Where most spacecraft designs increase the size of their engines to travel faster, farther or more nimbly, the Terrapin takes the exact opposite approach. Here, an enhanced power plant is used to allow the design as much armor and shielding as possible. The extensive armor lattice should be visible to anyone within range of a Terrapin: ablative sheets three-layers deep protect the top and bottom of the hull, with additional, thick exterior bulkheads to each side.
While most famed for its exploits discovering new worlds and rescuing soldiers under fire, the Terrapin is also a fighting ship. The extensive armor combined with the S5 remote turret mount in the nose has given it a reputation as a ‘flying tank.’ Addition Size 2 laser cannons are also fully configurable. The Terrapin does not usually mount expendable weapons (ballistics or larger missiles) because it is designed to remain self-sufficient without resupply for extended periods of time.
Are you interested in learning more about the Terrapin? We have reproduced a vintage United Empire of Earth test pilot manual below. These manuals were created during its initial Naval review period, and they provide extensive details on both the ship’s capabilities and the different missions it is oriented to perform. Specifications and a detailed holoviewer model of the Terrapin can also be found below.