Thane-class AT-AT Barge
♦ Original design inspired by other AT-AT barge pictures
♦ Rotating turrets
♦ Modulated scheme
♦ Blown-off access panel
Check out the Build Log.
I based this AT-AT Barge on a 1/35 sd.kfz 251 chassis, which I flipped upside-down and reversed. I added a lot of styrene to the hull to bulk it up. Originally, it was going to have an opening loading ramp, but I scrapped the idea. Even though it's glued on, there's still a lot of interior detail covered up by the ramp.
The name "Thane" is a nod to the rulers in the PC game Skyrim.
Among the larger Imperial dropships was the Thane-class AT-AT Barge, an 88 meter armored courier for walkers and Stormtroopers. Fulfilling the Empire's need for an interplanetary AT-AT barge, Rothana Heavy Engineering designed the Thane-class as an independent transport for Imperial ground forces. Unlike the Y-85 Titan, the Thane-class featured a hyperdrive that allowed travel from one star system to another. Albeit slower than Imperial Star Destroyers, the hyperdrive allowed the Thane-class to relocate forces without the need to land within larger command ships for hyperspace ferry.
While large enough to accommodate support vehicles and gun emplacements, the Thane-class AT-AT Barge's primary function was to carry 4 AT-AT walkers. The crew and ground troops remained in the upper hull of the barge during space transit, as it was the only section of the barge that remained pressurized. This decreased power requirements since most of the craft was an open vehicle staging area, but also meant that drivers and ground forces had little time to board their walkers once the Thane-class entered atmosphere.
Nevertheless, unloading the Thane-class was relatively fast. The barge featured unique landing rails in addition to landing gear that increased the surface area the barge could sit on, thus allowing it to remain steady on unstable terrain. Large repulsorlifts and thrusters gave the Thane-class excellent maneuverability. In addition to armor, the barge had a shield generator nestled between the lower thrusters. Finally, two twin heavy blaster turrets acted as point-defense in flight and when the ship was unloading.
Imperial crews did find that the Thane-class AT-AT Barge exhibited a few minor problems. While the shield generator was well-hidden, it was unprotected by the blaster turrets. Fighter escorts were almost mandatory, which limited the barge's use since TIE's lacked hyperdrive units. Repairing the Thane-class was also difficult due to its size, and its exposed components were easily damaged.
Despite its shortcomings, the Imperials preferred the Thane-class AT-AT Barge over other walker transports. In addition to acting as a vehicle and cargo ferry, these barges also saw use as mobile bases since they possessed an astonishing communications array. Imperials could coordinate forces and relay commands without the need for larger destroyers orbiting the planet. And, the blaster turrets made short-work of any approaching rebels. The barge's heavy armor and imposing silhouette only added to its impressive appearance, both in space and on the battlefield.