My next novella will drop in July. So I’m introducing it early to generate some interest. The idea is to get folks to go buy it on pre-order so that it has a big first day when it finally comes out.
First things first. How do you pronounce K’nat? I pronounce it with a short a like in “bat” but a silent “K”. It’s spelled like gnat, with a Votainion “K” instead of a “G”. Make sense? Okay then.
So what is it?
K’nat fighters are the NexGen or Next Generation of starfighters built using the same technology that the Eclipse had in Book Four – Starstrikers. So if you have not read Starstrikers yet, you might want to read that one first. K’nat Trap takes place chronologically a few years after Starstrikers and features two Starstriker agents, Kiloe and Tamia on a secret mission to recover a downed K’nat fighter on a bog planet. If that premise seems vaguely familiar to you, you might be an aviation buff.
The source material for this novella is the Japanese Zero that crashed on an island in the Aleutians at the start of WWII. American forces recovered it and took it to California where they got it flying again and then learned the airplane’s secrets. The F6F Hellcat from the Navy was designed to specifically defeat the Zero fighter based on what we learned from the captured Aleutian plane. I used the name of that island as the name of the planet where my K’nat fighter crashed – Akutan.
Below is the model I built of the K’nat fighter. It was constructed of plastic and scaled to 1/32. There are lights in the headlights and engines.
This model was used for the book’s cover which hasn’t been revealed yet. Stay tuned next week for that! If you want to see some detailed pictures and commentary on the making of this model, you can check it out here.
It was even rendered as a 3D mesh by my son using Blender. His is sleeker, I suspect.
The design was crazy complicated to work out, so I built a cardboard model of it first. Here’s that model along side stablemate Votainion starfighters from the same era.
Here’s a size comparison with a P-51 fighter from WWII. Just about the same wingspan as the legendary American fighter.
I’ve always been fascinated with airplanes. My current obsession is a two seat propeller driven attack plane from Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace conglomerate. The A-29 Super Tucano is the latest version of an air frame developed in the 1980’s.
This tough little airplane has been purchased by the Afghan Air Force for use in Close Air Support against ISIS. The USAF are training the AAF pilots in Florida and then deploying the planes to the Middle East. In fact the Tucano is one of several platforms being considered by the USAF as a possible A-10 CAS replacement. So the aircraft is in the news and in the mind space of current aerospace leaders. I follow all things aviation and that’s how I learned about the little propeller driven attack plane.
Above is one of the AAF Tucano’s in country. It looks like the plane has received extra armor plates as well as two wing pylons and a center mount for hanging munitions.
It has even been fitted with laser guided bombs, the mainstay of modern air to ground warfare.
As an aircraft aficionado, I appreciate the clean lines and wicked look of the Super Tucano. My litmus test is often, “would I want to fly this aircraft?” and with the Tucano it’s a resounding “Hell, yes!”. I bet this is just as fun to fly as an A-10. The later is a jet that really doesn’t go that much faster than the Tucano. I’ve flown an A-10 simulator and it really didn’t feel that much different than a Cessna. So replacing a jet with a turbo prop is not something that concerns me at all.
The cockpit is pressurized and thus requires oxygen masks. The seats are both ejection types just like on jet fighters. Check out that 12.7 mm gun on each wing! Reminds me of WWII fighters.
I’m also a former AMMO troop, so I do love the ordinance this bird can heft and chuck.
Here are a couple of Mk-82 bombs ready for action. The yellow stripes indicate live munitions.
Here’s the obligatory cutaway view of the plane with some common ordinance.
I’ve ordered a 1/48 scale model of the Super Tucano so I’ll soon be building it just like I did as a kid. I think it will look sharp on my desk. I’m leaning towards a Brazilian Air Force camo version like the planes above.