Guest blog from author A.D. Bloom…

“Space: Above and Beyond – Necessity is the mother of invention.”

I’ve been a fan of the show ever since I stumbled into a broadcast episode way back in ’95. There’s a lot of reasons I loved that show. And it’s not just because it died young and I miss it. That show had great drama, awesome writing and solid production (Glenn Morgan, James Wong). That show also had some great ships.
Like the Saratoga…

http://spaceaboveandbeyond.tv/graphics/cgi/sara_02.jpg

http://www.cyberpursuits.com/heckifiknow/saab/images/saab-craft02.jpg

While SAAB’s ships probably won’t go down in galactic history, they all had a utilitarian feel to them that I associate with real things. They were a little awkward and clumsy sometimes, just like real world solutions often force real things to be. Like Kaga

Kaga

The Japanese carrier Kaga was originally built to be a battleship. This required some significant modification and led to a design one would never willfully implement if building from scratch. Note the giant, horizontal exhaust funnel (it used to blow into the flight deck).  SAAB ships are far prettier than Kaga’s real world compromises ever forced her to be, but I maintain they have some of her ugly beauty because of compromises they were forced to make.

Hammerheads are pretty fierce (and finally, a fighter with a turreted gun)…

http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs20/f/2007/228/5/5/Space__Above_and_Beyond_by_TMC_Deluxe.jpg

But my favorite SAAB ship is the humble ISSCV…

http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/061/9/2/s_aab_isscv_mk_ii_woodland_scheme_by_kelso323-d4r3tqs.png

http://media.moddb.com/images/mods/1/2/1726/4856.jpg

http://forums.civfanatics.com/downloads/isscv_preview_3hA.jpg

http://cytadela.eu/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1294

http://images4.sw-cdn.net/model/picture/625x465_1211137_1658531_1398837718.jpg

The ISSCV APC that landed the 58th on the surface of whatever was brilliant in how its design actually helped keep production cost down. The part of the ship it drops on the surface as an armored module is the same proportions as a cargo container. So… CGI ship drops armored module…cut to shot of cargo container with actors coming out a hatch… You never have to show the actors with the ISSCV that way. Constructing the full-size props is one of the most expensive parts of production. That saved a ton of money…

saab9

Same thing with the hammerheads’ cockpits. The 58th always got into these coffin-like cockpit modules that sank into the deck like a burial when they launched. Beautiful…

saab10

And now, you don’t have to have uber-expensive, full size hammerheads around. (Remember, this is 1995’ish and adding CGI hammerheads next to the actors in post-production isn’t a real option.)

I’m pretty sure if the folks who turned out Space: Above and Beyond had been given ten times the money, I’d have really enjoyed what they came up with, but I like to think the slightly awkward, utilitarian quality I love so much in SAAB ships comes from having to get clever and overcome some of the challenges of a limited production budget.

I miss you, SAAB. I hear in heaven we get to watch all seven seasons.

A.D. Bloom has written his own military sci-fi series, The War of Alien Aggression. Read more about it at thewarofalienaggression.wordpress.com.  He would like to thank /r/imaginarywarships along with the folks who gave him Space: Above and Beyond.

All images are used without permission out of the purest fandom and love.