Lady Katarina by ACBradley

Lady Katarina


24 October 2015 at 01:07:03 MDT

Finished! I'll probably pull this back out again when I'm better at water, but I think this is looking nice enough to call done and get back to my other WIPs :)

For those wondering just how the Aludrans could be defeated so badly at Laurent Abyss, for comparison to the Lady Irene this is the Chiran flagship at the time, CDS Lady Katarina, launching a Strakken-M hybrid cruise missile.

Per tradition for the flagship of a major fleet, Lady Katarina's battle standard is actually riveted to her masthead. In the Chiran mind, a fleet's flagship is a representation of the hopes and dreams of an entire country, effectively becoming that country as long as her standard is raised; a flagship striking her colours would be unthinkable. It is thought this comes from the western province's tendency to have the West Temple bless their naval ensigns, especially those used by important ships, during the age of sail; the flag represented the blessing of one's ancestors, and running it down in battle was a grevious insult to them.

Useless fact: an image of Lady Katarina firing a broadside is the illustration for the Nine of Swords in the Aludran historic tarot deck.

Chiran Dominion Ship* Lady Katarina (Kasharina Suren)

CDS Lady Katarina, named after the Chiran empress' favourite mistress, a jackal from far to the east bought to her as a gift by a foreign merchant, was the lead ship of her class and the flagship of the Chiran Dominion fleet during the Battle of Laurent Abyss.

The Type 57 battleships, of which Lady Katarina was the first, were the first battleships to switch from cemented steel armour to layered composite, and featured a series of innovations in integrated fire control including allowing the central fire control system to remotely operate fuze setting equipment in the primary and secondary guns. Four mechanical central gun control computers controlled the ship's armament, with motors automatically setting certain variables using data transmitted directly from the ship's helm controls and detection equipment. During the Etrusean attack on the super-carrier Alana this system proved so accurate that at least one of the attacking Dragon bombers was destroyed by a direct hit from the Lady Katarina's main guns.

Lady Katarina was briefly laid up before the Battle of Laurent Abyss for minor repairs, and at the same time was fitted with new surface search and fire control radars and a vertically-mounted helium-neon laser that ran up the back of her main bridge superstructure to an emitter in the primary rangefinder for the forward turrets. This system was the first practical laser in the world, and gave the flagship unmatched accuracy at visual range.

The most destructive weapon deployed at Laurent Abyss is usually known by its Aludran title, Strakken-M (roughly "devastator-M"), while the Chiran name translates as "Spotted Swamp Moth." This hybrid cruise missile was a stopgap measure developed during the Chiran Unification War due to delays in development of a practical long-range remote-control system for missiles that could not easily be jammed using existing technology. Instead, Strakken used an existing unguided ethanol / peroxide / liquid oxygen rocket-glider designed for attacking fixed targets as a carrier for a 3,500lb glide bomb developed for use by aircraft. The primary modification to the carrier rocket was folding wings that automatically deployed when the launch rail was raised up to the deck, allowing eight complete rockets to be stowed on one battleship; in fleet engagements, some dispensed with their spotting planes to carry four more in the rear hangar.

Strakken required a large launching rail; Type 57 battleships had two such rails, which could retract behind doors in their stern. The lifting rams could pivot slightly outwards to angle the launch rail away from the ship, primarily to deal with crosswind launches that might otherwise impact the superstructure. Since Strakken's carrier stage was unguided, the weapon could only be aimed by pointing the entire ship at the target.

Just before launching, the crew would set a timer in the glide bomb for separation from the carrier, using data from a spotting aircraft to approximate the distance; effective range was up to one hundred miles. At the point of separation, explosive bolts were detonated, the signal receivers set to listen, and the warhead armed. The Strakken glide bomb was usually guided using IR on a twin-engined J6 seaplane, with commands issued using a pair of analog joysticks by a dedicated Weapon Guidance Officer. An IR strobe beacon was placed on the nose and six white phosphorous tracer charges with sequential igniters placed in the tail assembly to make the bomb easy to identify and guide. The warhead was an armour-piercing type containing 810 pounds of H6 explosive.

As the inventors of the submarine, the Chirans had a healthy respect for it, and Type 57 battleships carried four eight-tube launchers for homing torpedo-equipped anti-submarine rockets, as well as both towed and bow-mounted sonar arrays. In addition, each ship carried a pair of ASW helicopters, which could also be used as general utility aircraft.

975ft 8in
95,800 tons
38 knots
9 x 21-inch / 50 cal guns in triple turrets
20 x 5 inch / 38 cal dual-purpose guns
72 x 38mm / 60 cal AA guns in quad mounts
40 x 25mm / 65 cal AA guns in single mounts
2 x Strakken-M launch ramps with 8 complete missiles
4 x 8-tube ASW rocket launchers

M7 integrated fire control system with four Type 3 electro-mechanical ballistic calculators
Radar, optic coincidence and helium-neon laser rangefinders
Active and passive IR on main and secondary gun directors; optical reflector sights on all 38mm and 25mm guns
Bow-mounted active and towed passive sonar

2 x twin-engined spotting seaplanes
2 x utility / ASW helicopters

*At the time RCN, Royal Chiran Navy, was the title used by Etrusea.

For comparison:

Aludran Naval Vessel Lady Irene (Amiza Irena)

ANV Lady Irene, named for Irene sen Emera, one of House Alud's most valuable allies during the Aludran Dark Ages, was the first of what became known as Dreadnought battleships. The primary advance of these warships, aside from their new steam turbines, was to combine previous battleship layouts of separated elevating and azimuth gun batteries into a single unified primary gun battery where the main high-angle guns could target both surface vessels and Leviships. A Dreadnought like Lady Irene had little to fear from anything but high-altitude attack. Since the only Air Destroyers that could hit a battleship from high altitude were the three 830-foot Etrusean Levistone / hydrogen hybrid Leviships (Dauntless, Fearless and Relentless, equipped with the infamous 60-ton "battleship killer" T3 Talos bomb) and Etrusea and Aludra were strong allies, this was not much of a concern.

As the first of a new type, Lady Irene had triggered a shipbuilding race between Aludra and Basram which Aludra was comfortably winning, and was already somewhat outdated. The Aludran flagship of the time, Empress Circe, outpaced her by three knots and carried heavier guns and a more sophisticated gunnery table, and featured a brand-new vertical-sided hull that rendered her more stable.

Since the Second Treaty of Lyle had outlawed naval mines and the Continent had yet to design a functional submarine, nevermind a self-propelled torpedo, the sub-surface defences of Continental warships were minimal.

505ft 4in
18,000 tons
18 knots
10 x 12-inch / 40 cal high-angle guns in twin turrets
27 x 3-inch cannons

Boughton-Emera C5 mechanical fire control table

Submission Information

Visual / Digital


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    21in guns are going to burn up barrels really darn fast... and magazine space could be a significant challenge in any lengthy engagement. Definitely some interesting engineering there! Shell and charge handling could be most interesting as well.

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      Wouldn't think it would be unworkably fast, even Schwerer Gustav got through 250 or so rounds in testing and 48 in combat before they replaced its original barrel. :)

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        I'm just thinking of all the troubles the Japanese had with the Yamato class' guns, and those were only 18". It's definitely do-able enough, but remember that Gustav had sequentially-numbered shells that had driving bands of increasing diameter to be fired in order. That compensated largely for the bore wear as firing went on. That would be very difficult to do on a warship, as it might be rapidly transitioning between APC / HE / Concrete-piercing shells as the mission required. Keeping sequentially-sized stocks of all shells could be very space-consuming, and would lead to a lot of rounds you could not use. Also, feeding the right round to the right barrel in the turret would be of critical importance. Too large a band, and you could easily blow a breach. Too small, and who knows where the round would go. :)

        One entirely valid option might be firing saboted sub-caliber shells, since the sabot could be much more conformal than a driving band, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of the large bore. The turret is also going to have to be very long in the loading area, since the shell grows correspondingly longer with the diameter to maintain ballistic performance, and there needs to be sufficient space for the shell to be placed on the loading ramp prior to ramming.

        The missiles remind me of a very basic version of the Regulus, with a larger Fritz-X strapped on the bottom. Cool concept!

        I really like all the thought you've put into this design, by the way! I'm not running your ship down!

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          Oh yeah, I wouldn't imagine it would present no difficulties, but aside from maybe spending more time in port than a smaller-gunned ship I don't think they'd be insurmountable ones. The Chirans did later scale back to 19.2 inch as their standard battleship gun calibre for reasons best known to themselves.

          I actually thought I'd made Strakken up entirely until I discovered ASROC is basically the same thing but for torpedoes, which is why I figured they'd have invented that too :)

          And don't worry, I love discussing things like this!

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            Interesting... Most of my designs stick with the standard 16"/50 design, given that the research they did in mid-WWII pretty much proved out that the 16" projectile offered the best combination of stowage space, performance, and penetration. That tested up through 20" weapons, as I recall... Of course, that also depends on the distance you're sailing from port, since if you're only out a couple days, sailing back in to replenish your magazines and have your guns re-lined wouldn't be such a big thing, compared to being halfway around the world.

            Oh, and for another idea? Check out the Russian "Stallion" rocket-torpedo! It's basically ASROC for use against surface targets. Flies into their general area and drops an antiship torpedo to avoid point-defense weapons. There's some problems with it (weight of a decent antiship weapon being one of them, but if you're using a ton-and-a-half glide bomb anyway...) and the speed of the torpedo versus the speed of the ship it's trying to target, but it's a darn cool idea that'd seem to fit right in with their tech level.

            You know, since she already carries a laser system onboard, you could very, very easily set up a basic beam-riding guidance system for those Strakken missiles using a cross of photocells on the rear of the missile. Wouldn't even require significant computing power, WWII tech would be sufficient for the job. The missile would just steer away from the cell with the weakest signal, meaning it would constantly center itself on the beam and follow it to the target... Bet if you dumped the glide bomb carriage system entirely, and just used that mass to carry a heavy penetrator warhead...

            ... In case you didn't notice, I love talking ship designs, particularly warships!

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              Yeah, since most of Chiran naval experience was before the Shield Wall, (a circular mountain range that surrounds Chira) partially collapsed to the West and Chira is a "land of waters" the size of the US or China full of great lakes and inland seas connected by rivers and marshlands, their ships didn't spend too much time far away from port. Back then they tended to be fairly shallow-hulled, sometimes catamarans or trimarans since a lot of Chiran naval strategy focused on getting ships where they had no business being. There's a couple of old ironclad hulks around the place that got stuck trying to transit rivers that were too shallow and couldn't free themselves.

              They'd basically got their hydrodynamics down by the point they needed to design ships for the open ocean rather than the calmer waters of their homeland, though in part they learned the hard way when a rocket battery ship venturing outside the Shield Wall capsized in a heavy storm it wasn't designed to cope with. A lot of the ships at Laurent Abyss were new hulls with superstructure and turrets lifted off older ones, thought the Type 57s were new.

              In general in this world you can't go too far out to sea because the same thing that creates the Levistone that's used for aerial ships also charges water in deep-sea vents and creates an area of endless fog called the Sea of Clouds surrounding the single main continent. It interferes with all known navigation systems and things that set out to explore it have a tendency to not come back.

              I'd imagine they might go for something like that, though the way the story carries on from here results in them focusing a lot of their attention on submarines. They're at a slightly odd point in their techbase since there are quite a few things they simply haven't thought of; Strakken is a rocket because they never considered trying to run the exhaust of a turbine as an engine and they wouldn't have jet engines for another twenty or thirty years, and it was about the same length of time before they got nuclear weapons out of the "theoretically possible waste of funds" stage.

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                Definitely makes sense, if you're typically fighting close to home, depth of your magazines doesn't matter nearly so much as when you have to have colliers come all the way out to replenish your supplies, and risk having your supply lines cut. That first part of transitional ships, going from wood to metal is a perilous one no matter how you handle it, and a riverine environment is going to be worse than most. They were lucky they didn't lose a lot more!

                Sounds like a great setting for some exploration stories, with design of equipment, ships, and methods! Or, of course, use airships to simply go OVER the fog, and lower observation cars, like they did during WWI. Possibly fitted with instrument packs, later in the tech tree, or observers to begin with.

                Man, you'd have to be REALLY careful with nukes when you're talking a single continent with a limited area. Wouldn't be all that hard to render a lot of your growing land unusable due to radiological contamination! Have to probably go for ultra-clean designs as soon as possible, get away from fission triggers and start using lasers for direct-fusion if they can get the tech down for it. Did they ever come across the idea of a pulse-detonation rocket as a propulsive method? It seems like having airships as a common thing would make priority for surface-to-air missile research very much a thing, as soon as possible. Also air-to-air, given the armament layouts of a typical "airship" design as I see in your galleries. Something that is capable of off-bore guided flight would be a massive, decisive advantage!

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                  Well, the Sea of Clouds is actually mostly the "here be dragons" area of the map that's an excuse to keep the area this all takes place in relatively manageable, though there have been some great explorers, like one Alcacian who found the South Pole.

                  It's only really a single continent in terms of "continuous landmass," it's more or less Pangaea-scale and 18,000 years ago it survived a comet impacting near the middle, so a couple of nukes (the count so far is five) wouldn't be hugely dangerous. There's a lot of incentive to not use them since this is a multipolar world and so if A and B nuke each other they're handing their territory over to C-F rather than having to bolt things to their car and call themselves The Reapers as in the real world :P

                  (You can read some more story entries about this world in my journals on either deviantart ( ) or FA ( ), I just keep having better things to do than convert them into Weasyl's weird markup formatting)

                  I haven't really worked up a modern Leviship layout yet (Despina is roughly 17th century), but by that point they do have missiles. The first proper SAM was another Chiran creation designed to deal with the large Etrusean Air Destroyers and heavy bombers; SST-109 Stryx was basically a V2 with a set of forward fins and either a huge command-detonated blast-fragmentation warhead or a 1.5 ton hollow charge.

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                    Good holy cheese that's a massive warhead for a SAM! Honestly, probably a bit of overkill for a shaped charge weapon. A fragmentation weapon that large would have a pretty decent area of effect (especially a continuous rod warhead) but a single shaped charge? Cripes, that's almost the size of the Mistel's! Bet not much lived through a hit from one of those!

                    That sounds like a rather fun world, could make for much more interesting stories than the rather small set of power blocs that the real world has. Definitely a lot more possibility for intrigue and soforth, rather than outright, head-to-head smashing matches. Do more than a little of that, and you'll be too weak to defend your own borders!

                    I could very much see modern leviship designs being very missile-heavy, with correspondingly good point defenses. Firing a glide-assisted missile against land targets would give them range beyond most any SAM, and against other leviships a heavy battery of long-range AAMs would seem to be the ticket.

                    Did it ever occur to them that the Lady Katarina's laser was entirely valid at causing fire-control failures on attacking ships, just by sweeping the beam over them repeatedly? Not going to have the punch at that range to damage hardware, but even a brief flash from a laser of any decent power focused through the high-magnification optics of a rangefinder is going to disable the personnel behind the gear. And if you can't range your guns, you're not going to be accurate beyond fish-in-a-barrel distances!

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                      Well, Air Destroyers are no ordinary aircraft, the three Etrusean -less Air Destroyers were 830 feet long and had cemented armour, so they'd laugh off even a continuous rod. Stryx was even more of a stopgap since the first Chiran attempt at exploring outside the Shield Wall had ended with an Etrusean strike force headed by the Relentless attacking the Chiran fleet at night and almost sinking the large carrier at the centre of their formation while their AA fire was ineffective. Relentless thought that it was a fleet from the state of Lyle that they were currently at war with and the logbook said that the bombsights must have been miscalibrated to show the targets so large, ignoring the bombing officer's reservations that they shouldn't have been able to hit the ships if that was the case. The second attempt had the fleet carrier Alana equipped with Stryx launchers and succeeded in destroying the Relentless' sister Fearless, with the Air Destroyer splitting in half after three hits when her hydrogen cells ruptured and burned off her Levistone.

                      The reason this was happening was that Chira was trying to secure its place in the world since the collapse of the Shield Wall made them nervous; they were initially hoping for a show of force, but when that failed they went to plan two of annexing the central state of Etrusea to secure a foothold on the Continent. Following the Battle of Laurent Abyss the Chiran fleet beat Aludra's allied Basram fleet back to its own home, Port Sebastian; by the time the remaining ships got back they found the refinery and fuel stores blasted down to their foundations and the docks in ruins. They'd have done the same to Aludra, but they didn't actually know precisely where Alurna was and didn't have time to search for it.

                      The only reason the plan to attack Etrusea failed was their intelligence was wrong; they took propaganda claims that Etrusea's southern coastal defence, Battery Skuld, had a range of 150 miles since they could do that, and figured they would need to attack it with aircraft. That allowed a fantastically unlikely plan to attack the Alana with 25 B-60 Dragon bombers with bouncing bombs (a weapon she was uniquely vulnerable to as a second-deck launching seaplane tender with an armoured upper deck), stationing them on Alcacia in the mists which the Chirans didn't know existed.

                      The Chirans withdrew following the sinking of the Alana aside from a group of ten ships centred on the damaged Lady Katarina; she had been providing AA support to the fleet carrier, which was otherwise alone with the fleet massed in front of her, and her starboard Strakken launcher had been hit by one of the bombs. Along with four destroyers, a submarine, two second-rate battleships (think South Dakota sized) an escort carrier and a replenishment ship, she steamed into Vermillion City with her battle standard raised, "escorted," ridiculously, by one 305-foot, 6,000-ton pre-dreadnought called Shion. Sailing into a Victorian-era city, she might as well have come from the future.

                      Etrusea managed to persuade them to stay for a three-month quarantine since they didn't know if they wanted to be responsible for a plague in Chira (or subject to retribution for same, if you're feeling cynical). During that time their alliance with Aludra collapsed over their refusal to hand over the Chiran ships to shore up the obliterated Aludran navy, and Chira was struck by its first tidal wave. That led to the Etrusean Army Air Force (which was 1930s-era with about four thousand six-engined monoplane heavy bombers, at the price of their obsolete Navy which Aludra had always covered for) launching Operation High Bridge, sort of an equivalent to the Berlin Airlift in that it was partly genuine altruism and partly "these could be bombs," which led to their alliance with Chira and the historic friendship between Aludra and Etrusea (already a little strained from Etrusea becoming a democracy) coming to an end.

                      It's not for nothing they say "from that day forth the world changed."

                      The world, being as there's no global superpower, is a lot like 19th century Europe; not very stable, a lot of minor scuffles over territory claims, but no millions-dead wars between huge alliances since it's too risky. With a lot of low-level conflict some technologies have advanced faster than in the real world; in Lorii's time, which is the equivalent of the late 70s or early 80s, point defence lasers are proven technology, they have modern active defence on tanks since they've been contesting their borders with Etrusea constantly, and their flagship is a drone carrier. On the other hand, nobody's even tried to launch anything into space because it was seen as a waste of valuable time.

                      (There's also no global anything else either, which means things like off-the-rack clothing don't exist; you still either go to a tailor or buy material and do it yourself)

                      Large modern Air Destroyers are all-aspect combatants; they often have an ASW focus (though the name "destroyer" for them has a different origin, dating back to the Etrusean Despina ironclad which was designed to destroy rather than board other aerial vessels) and typically a four-corners set of main guns on the top and bottom with VLS and drop cells around them. The guideline for the 80s-era Heavy Air Destroyer Scorn is that she's like a more solidly built version of the Roger Young from the Starship Troopers movie, with faceted stealth, a second set of engines nearer to the front, and a massive rear engine, her ditching engine, to land her on water if her Levistone fails.

                      I doubt a blinding laser would occur to the Chirans, and since polarising eyewear was invented by the Aludrans shortly afterwards (backwards, oddly enough, they're cats and came up with it to deal with a tactic of having snipers move close to an enemy line and then panning a searchlight across it and shooting anything reflective on the basis it was someone's eyes) it wouldn't have been effective for very long.

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    Good lord, yeah, you're going to need a heavy warhead for something like that. I'd almost be tempted to go tandem warhead, a small shaped charge to open the armour, with a follow-through main charge to burst inside. How is the levistone's lift defined? Is it in terms of tonnage? By area around the stone?

    Have electromotive weapons never really occurred to them, then? It'd seem like with the energy sources for effective lasers, a gauss or other similar magnetic-accelerator weapon would be an obvious choice for defeating heavy armour. Failing that, a Combustion Augmented Plasma weapon firing saboted, super-dense longrods would be another good option. I've been looking through the gallery, that's a heck of a set of ships you've built up!

    Very interesting, though, that they have no space launch! Particularly since orbital kinetic strike would be the answer to those heavily armoured ships, and the levistone already gives them the expensive part of the launch for free... SeaLaunch, only a LOT better because they can get far up the well, and out of the extremely-dense near-surface atmosphere before even igniting their first stage!

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      The lift of Levistone is by tonnage, it reacts to heat and electricity by increasing and provides an effect like a hull in water which means Leviships aren't easy to blow around. It's actually shifted material that's buoyant in a dimension that can't be directly observed, the classic example used to explain it is to imagine yourself living in a two-dimensional world like a layer of water and encountering a pin which passes through your world and is attached to elastic bands outside it; it would appear to be a circle which had properties that came from nowhere.

      (Levistone's altitude is relative to the planet's core rather than the surface, which means hovertanks would be very hard to make since they'd have to fly too high to be useful or constantly make tiny adjustments to not collide with terrain; it would be like trying to build a helicopter that can fly with its wheels touching the ground at all times)

      Most Levistone comes from another circular mountain range in the north called the World's Edge, which is much taller than the Shield Wall and surrounds the state of Dion. Boulders that break free from the upper surface of the World's Edge drift south, mostly towards Etrusea, carried by the prevailing winds. Chira doesn't get them, which is why Leviships were such a surprise to them.

      In Lorii's time, Chira had the first generation of magnetic accelerators on their battleships and magnetically boosted 50mm guns on their ISVs (45-ton IFVs with light tank guns and mostly active protection which were the result of an excessive focus on mobility and didn't do amazingly against Aludra's advanced main battle tanks).

      The lack of a space launch was largely due to nobody having a good answer to "but they're down here, not up there" and the presence of hot wars meaning there wasn't any point in showing off who had the better ICBM tech. Plus by that point Aludra and Chira both had missiles that could shoot down a satellite if someone did put one up there, so the feasibility got a big "no." Later on they do, though that's a part of the story that needs a rewrite since it's earlier draft stuff that doesn't really make sense anymore with how Aludra and Chira have developed.

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    Very interesting! The design of those ships has to be structurally very unique. I don't think I've run across the concept anywhere else, and that's fairly rare. :)

    They have ASATs, but no guided surface-to-surface weapons? Weird! Either that, or I'm totally hosed on following the tech-development timeline. You've put a heck of a lot of thought into the technical and political development of this world!

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      Oh, they certainly do have guided surface-to-surface weapons by that time; tactical ballistic and cruise missiles because they're seen as more useful, they just don't tend to go bigger than that since building really long-range missiles would be a good way to start a war to stop you doing that, as has happened at least once when the Etrusean Army Air Force demolished a complex of V3-style long-range rocket-guns in Doras designed to fire nerve gas at their capital. They're in a position where the ability to destroy a large ICBM complex existed before the complexes themselves did and the powers are quite close together, so nobody wants to paint a target on themselves by making the first one. It would be like France trying to achieve strategic deterrence against Germany.

      I think I'm confusing you because this is parts of a world with hundreds of years of history; not all of these pictures at at the same time. This is something like 60-80 years before Lorii's time, for example. I really need to put together a proper timeline at some point so I can put dates on when things happen :)

  • Link

    Amazing. This had to have taken a lot of patience in order to put that much detail in. Looks like you've done a ton of research too - gotta give you props for all of that!