Monday, 9 February 2015

Elite Dangerous Outfitters - Type-6 Blockade Runner

Greetings Space Cadet,
I'm Cmdr TwingTwang and welcome to the outfitters.

In this article, we'll be starting with a shop-floor Sixer and outfitting it as a Blockade Runner.  The strength of the sixer is its huge capacity at a very low price point, but due to its large engines it is quickly earning the reputation as a long range space hopper.

The Blockade Runner
Using a Sixer as a rare runner is very attractive due to its high range at low tonnage, however it'll never be a space superiority starfighter and your best odds in a scrape is usually to get back into supercruise and jump system rather than staying to fight.
The thematic blockade runner is a rares trading vessel I've been optimized to boost and jump out of trouble as safely as possible. The Type-6 is the hull that really peaks as a blockade runner. The smaller ships struggle to fit the shields, and larger ships don't really have the range and speed.

The blockade runner is a specific role, and unlike other builds I'm not sticking to a particular budget, however the blockade runner has to be cheaper than an Asp so ten million credits should be our cap and I'm going to show off a five and ten million credit build for this ship.

You can build a much cheaper version of this and upgrade your components one at a time, which is one of the great advantages of the Lakon Sixer. Its cheap to buy, and earns quickly so you can customise the ship as you want.

The 5M build
Outfitting a Blockade Runner is fairly straight forward.  We're going to start with a Baremetal build, and then add the Maximum Class-4A FSD for 1.6M Credits.
With everything else at Class-D, we're dropping down to a 2A power plant. Its got great heat efficiency, enough output and very low mass and costs only 160K.  The 3C generates about the same power, but will run hotter and weigh more so is less attractive at this price point.

For safety features, we are choosing Class-4B shields with a 4A Shield Bank using up both of the Size-4 compartments, and military grade composite alloys for hull strength. The Class-B shields are the compromise that allows us to take the smaller 2A power plant, saving 350K on the reactor and a further saving of 1.1M on the shields.

[The biggest shields we could fit, Class-5A, would cost 5.1M alone, but from a few weapons tests they do not give significantly more defence than the 4A on a ship of this size so the optimum seems to be Size 4.]

Lastly, a 3B Fuel scoop is added which will mean about 25-35 seconds of scooping after each jump to keep the tank topped up to full. This can feel a little slow on a long route and its a candidate for upgrade if you can.

So there we have it! A blockade runner build.  Its got a reduced cargo space, good shields, scoop and has Military Alloys in there.  Its Class-D Thrusters and Power Couplings are a disappointment but required to build on a budget and stay within the energy available in our reduced power plant.

We have turned a shop floor Sixer into a tank with a single 32T cargo Rack, but a 21.3-24.2 Ly jump range and the whole thing comes in at 4,996K Credits.  If you need more space, there are plenty of internal compartments to increase the tonnage too.


The 10M build 
For those with more to spend, a 10M version of the blockade runner is reasonably straightforward and represents a premium Class-A Sixer with a couple of modifications.

Firstly, we aren't going to upgrade the Sensors or Lifesupport. The power draw of the big units is too high and we want to save every MegaWatt for larger shields.  The Power Plant gets its 3A upgrade as do the Power Couplings, and the Thrusters are upgraded to the big 4As. To squeeze an extra fraction of power out of the ship, the Sensor suite should be downgraded to the shop-floor 2E sensors.

I've upgraded to the 4A Shield Generator and added both a 5A and 4A Shield Bank giving you fifteen uses in total. Lastly the scoop is upgraded to a Class-3A to reduce the scooping time to around 20-25 seconds per jump. The internal compartments now look like this:
5E: Cargo Rack (32T)
5A: Shield Bank
4A: Shield Bank
4A: Shield Generator
3A: Fuel Scoop
2: (empty)
2: (empty)
The ship retains the 32T capacity of the cheaper build which is plenty for rare cargo. Its range is reduced to 19.5-21.8 Light Years and it comes in on-budget at 1,003K Credits.  It has enormous shields, Military Alloys, and Class-A Thrust which should allow it to boost out of trouble. There are two internal components to increase the cargo up to 40T if you need it.

If you are worried by the 19.6-21.8 Light Year Range, then you can strip back down to Lightweight Alloys and take off the extra 5A Shield Bank. This drops the overall price to just under 8M and increases the jump range to an astounding 22.8-26.0 Light years. This should save you a few jumps over long trips and reduce your scooping time too.

Its worth mentioning that a 10M spend is enough to get you a minimum configuration Asp, which is like a Sixer with hardpoints. Given the Asp outguns any of the smaller space superiority starfighters and can equip better shields, its a lot less likely to get picked on than a lone Sixer and should be considered as an alternative to building an expensive Blockade Runner.

Overall I found the Blockade Runner a fun ship to outfit, and the extended-range 10M model covers a lot of distance quickly. Even with the upgraded thrusters it doesn't handle very well, but it only has to fly in a straight line forcing any pursuing ship to divert all power to engines or be left behind.

Have any thoughts, experiences or questions on the Blockade Runner? Leave a comment.
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As always, fly casual.