Friday, 8 May 2015

Elite Dangerous Outfitters - Lakon Type 9 Transport.

Hey space cadets what is going on?
I'm Cmdr TwingTwang and welcome to the outfitters

In this article we'll be talking about the Lakon Type Nine Transport, while I've written a little about the smaller ships I realised I've neglected the big ole Fat-9 for outfitting.

As a first-time buyer, trading up to the Fat9 represents a huge investment in time and money compared to the T7 or Python a lot of people come from. Firstly you will have saved up the 76M purchase price, which its difficult to do by accident, and secondly you will be buying the ultimate space truck from Lakon and the only vessel - at time of writing - that breaks the five-hundred tonne capacity so its understandable you want to get the most out of the ship.

The shop floor Fat9 is a snap at 76M Credits, getting you a 220T ship with a 6.62 to 7.71 Light Year range but before you fly it off the forecourt with those specs we're going to take a while now and talk about the minimum practical configuration for a money-making Fat9.

Jump Range
If you are a dedicated space trucker, you'll have your favorite route that maximises your Cr/H profit in your smaller ship. The same route might not work so well with the reduced jump range of a Type-9 if it takes several additional jumps to get from end to end, which is going to take time and cut into your profits.
Before buying the big ole beast, you need to have a profitable route ready to go - it'll be super annoying if you bought the ship and then had to search for a route. Thankfully you can easily buy a disposable sidewinder for 32K at one end of your route and equip it for a similar jump range to the Fat9. Browse the galaxy map with this ship and see what the routes look like.  You are after the highest profit route with the fewest jumps, which might result in a different journey to your regular route.

The minimum configuration Fat9 is going to have a Class-E Frame Shift Drive.  Don't upgrade this unless it reduces the number of jumps in your route - for example I needed to make an 11.4LY jump, which meant the Class-E,D,C,B drives fell short and only the A could make it.  There was no reason to buy anything in the middle and I upgraded straight from the E to the A when I could afford it. Likewise, you should buy the smallest you need for your route - we'll talk about how to spend if you are flush with cash later.

On the first day that you buy a Fat9, you should increase the internal capacity as high as you want to go but as long as its higher than your previous ship then you are set to make money faster so the purchase was worth it.

I'm going to talk about the three real options here:

  1. Defended Size-6 shields and 468T of cargo
  2. Reccomended Size-5 shields and 500T of cargo
  3. Baremetal with 532T of cargo

Defended Build
The defended build makes a lot of sense. The 6A shields give you about 29% more protection than the 5A option, and will keep you safer for longer while you make the jump to supercruise and escape from trouble.
The downside here is that the 6A shields cost sixteen million credits and they cost you 64T of cargo space - which equates to a net loss of about half a million credits per hour compared to the baremetal 532T option.
The Defended Build is ONLY worth it if you are spending the extra million on shield boosters.  Four Class-A shield boosters will cost under 1.2M Credits and make the world of difference - the 6A by itself has little value, as you could afford a 5A with boosters for a third the price and get better protection.

Recommend Build
The pilots choice award goes to the best size five shields you can afford. I actually did my first run with a 372T capacity using Size-5 shields as I didn't quite have enough money for the full cargo hold plus insurance so my Internal compartments looked like this:

8: 7E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 128)
7: 7E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 128)
6: 6E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 64)
5: 5E Shield Generator
4: 4E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 16)
4: 4E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 16)
3: 3E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 8)
3: 3E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 8)
2: 2E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 4)

As you can see, the 5E shields are a cheap starting point, and the 7E cargo rack in the Size-8 Compartment is at least enough to get you flying and makes more profit than than any of the smaller ships.
The 5A shield with a cheap 280K Shield booster will give about the same protection as a 6A shield, and only cost a fraction of the price.  Keep adding those Shield Boosters - you can afford them very quickly with a big earner like this.

Barmetal Build
If you don't have shields, you can fit a 532 tonnes of cargo into the Fat9. And I played like this for a while to benefit from the extra income it provides over the 500T build with shields.

I ran the numbers and while you can take a few bumps and scrapes docking and launching, the extra profits cover this so 532 Tonnes make more money than 500T even paying for small repairs. Its only earning an extra quarter of a million an hour than a shielded ship so you have to be really pinching the pennies and in a hurry for cash to run this ship.

In all honesty, and having done both, I'm going to recommend the 500T with shields build over the baremetal option. While the occasional docking scrape costs you less than the extra profit you make, you only have to get tagged once and you have a five-million credit insurance payout to cover.

Internal Components
Since the Class-A FSD costs fifteen million credits, it's worth doing everything else you can to decrease your tonnage and increase your range. So I'm going to recommend a Class-D refit across the board. This isn't super needed, but I do recommend it. It's possible that a smaller FSD will suit you, and I'll leave that you your trading and planning skills.

Its worth mentioning that the 5A power plant costs five million - ten times as much as the 6D but has more power, excellent heat efficiency, and weighs less. Its a good choice for a Fat9 freighter and has enough power for 5A shields and four Class-A shield boosters too.

A reasonable Type-9 Lakon starts leaves you with a 500T capacity is going to increase your purchase price to about 108 Million Credits providing a 12.8 - 18.1 Ly range. The full loadout starts to look like this:

M: 1F/F Pulse Laser
M: 1F/F Pulse Laser
U: 0A Shield Booster
U: 0A Shield Booster
U: 0A Shield Booster
U: 0A Shield Booster

BH: 1I Lightweight Alloy
RB: 5A Power Plant
TM: 7D Thrusters
FH: 6A Frame Shift Drive
EC: 5D Life Support
PC: 6D Power Distributor
SS: 4D Sensors
FS: 6C Fuel Tank (Capacity: 64)

8: 8E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 256)
7: 7E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 128)
6: 6E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 64)
5: 5A Shield Generator
4: 4E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 16)
4: 4E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 16)
3: 3E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 8)
3: 3E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 8)
2: 2E Cargo Rack (Capacity: 4)

For the tweakers, you can drop the laser pointers, or replace them with a combination of chaff, mines, or turrets.  I've tried most combos, and generally once you are shielded and can jump to FSD your hardpoints aren't that significant.  Chaff and Mines are strongly recommended, although I have turret cannons on all five of my hardpoints just for the fun of being able to fire cannons.

This 108 Million build isn't the minimum profitable Fat9, but its a reasonably cheap build that maximises the ship well.  On top of the purchase you want about eleven million for twice the insurance and about the same again for cargo if you are shifting something costly like palladium so you need about a hundred and thirty million credits in assets before you take the plunge.

You can drop the shields, and FSD range to build a budget Fat9 and reduce your overheads to about 85M. You'll need the same twenty million on top of the to fly the ship, so the entry level for the ship is about 105M Cr. I really wouldn't recommend investing in a type nine with a penny less.

War Cow
For a few extra credits one could fit turrets in all the hardpoints and fill the ship with shields and shield banks. Its not graceful, nor does it pack a punch, but it's a fun and quirky way to rack up a couple of bounties - as long as you have a wingman or three to help you out before it gets too hot.

I have turret cannons on my Fat9 because I love the feeling of cannons. They never get fired except for fun, but a mix of fraggers and beams would add a little playful punch to this build and you could protect yourself against the riff raff, even in a combat zone.  Meanwhile you can always ram another ship and generally come out on top. Top-Tip... Fixed-Forward plasma helps soften up hulls as you approach them at ramming speed.

Closing thoughts
Lastly, it has to be said that the Lakon Spaceways Type Nine transport is a great earner. It'll net you 5M Cr/H trading local routes, and push 6 or 7 million if you have good nav locked jumps too. You won't get this from a smaller ship and this is one of the fastest ways to earn some spending cash. Other pilots will be happy to fly on your wing, as the trade bonds are a good enough incentive.

Outfitting the Fat9 isn't as tough as a space superiority starfighter, and you can pretty much have any configuration you want as long as you've got the cash available - and if you don't its a fast way to earn. For the most part its possible to buy a minimum configuration ship and trade up for the other bits you want.

That said it is an expensive ship to fly and you have to commit to a significant price tag, but the increased profits reduce the time you spend trading. This means you can spend time flying missions, and being a general space cowboy in your other ships.  For me this ship is a money-making enabler and a solid way to fund my gameplay, and I quickly hop back into the cockpit every week or two to grab an extra five or ten million to buy a shiny thing that has caught my eye.

Do you have any experiences flying the Fat9?  Are you about to trade up from a smaller ship and want some advice, or have a perspective from the other side as an anaconda pilot?
If you have any thoughts about the Fat9 then leave a comment, if there is an outfitters article or particular ship or build you'd like to hear about then let me know.

Keep on space trucking, and fly casual everybody.