The Klingon Bird of Prey or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Paradox

As we continue to work on new publications, ship and the like – we come to perhaps the single most FRUSTRATING aspect of the shows…ship size paradox. And no other ship represents this better than the vaunted Klingon Bird of Prey.

Iconic to a fault – there are so many differing accounts of the size, crew, capabilities and so on – that it makes you head spin.

Spin completely around.

A lot…

Like the Exorcist.

That being said – there are a number of reason why. Some are mundane – miscalculations or miscommunication. Some are needed – “the story called for it”. Some are just unnecessary…(REALLY DS9 MANUAL?!? REALLY?I?!) Add in the semi-official and unofficial accounts for this awesome looking ship is to further muddy the waters.

Show runners and designers are quite aware of how rabid we fans can be. But at the end of the day – the show was never about the fiddly details. It was about story – and the equipment was only a small part of the story.

So – for the rabid fans…lets get back into the changes and choices we’re making around here:

First up – I’m not going to go into a lengthy details of screen captures, scales, published accounts and so on. Other, much smarter people than I have already done that. (Check Ex-Astra for an amazing analysis and connections to other analysis – that man does his homework!)

The first bit of analysis I WILL go into is the relative personal size. The three FASA BOP’s have a relative personal size width of 146-147% (1.46-1.47) of the stated length. The wide is 18-19% of the length (0.18 – 0.19). This appears to be close to the Cruise Mode versions that all BOP’s use. (Actual numbers below.) While somewhat off – this does give me confidence that FASA decided to use the Cruiser Mode size for their stats.

The BOP indeed has two or three wing modes depending on the size. Attack mode (with the wings down), Cruiser Mode (with wings out) and for the smaller models, Landing Mode (with the wings up).

The next major choice is to narrow down just how MANY version there are. Officially, there are just the two – B’rel and K’Vort…and for FASA – the three – K-22, D-32 and L-42. There is also mention of the D-12 class… but with the VAST number of sizes and different source – there could be as many as a dozen different ships. Now – I’m all for diversity – and I love the idea of using a ship designs over and over so we have LOTS of choices; but a dozen (or more) possible models seem a bit excessive.

After a quick consult with my cohorts – I think this is how we’ll proceed:

K-22 (B’rel) Scout
D-32 (Z’gavva) Light Cruiser
L-42 (Z’gavasta) Frigate
D-12 (Unnamed) Cruiser
D-?? (K’Vort) Battlecruiser

With that being said – there is room of course for the little tiny gunboat/corvette (I think there was a shot of a 50 m version) or an escort/destroyer (from various video games) and even more. But for the time being – I’m concentrating on the five listed above.

So – we’ve got the stat version (cruiser mode) and the ships we’re concerned about.

The table below shows the final decisions for each of the listed ships. For the stats, since we’re using “cruise” mode…your width is roughly 1.53x the length and the height is ~.25x the length.

For the B’rel – I’m using the official movie length of 109.7 m.
The D-32 I’m using the 137.9 from Jack Bohn’s Pagh analysis. It seems that this would be a good increase in size without it becoming crazy.
The L-42 I’m using the 158.3 length of the Rotarn…which is actually close to the FASA list of 164.
The D-12 is another that could have a wide range of sizes…but several size analysis seem to indicate that there is a BOP with a length of between 230 and 280. The D-12 the Duras sister use can be anywhere from a B’Rel up to a K’Vort…but this size seem to me visually to be in this range.
For the K’Vort – I’m using the conclusion from Time Davies on the visual effects from “The Defector” as well as from “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” While neither of these episodes are overly conclusive – the final length is close to Mark Dezaire’s Titus-Bode Law of Klingon Ships. This also corresponds to many of the BOP’s seen throughout TNG.

So I guess all that’s left is to add in the table… These are the stats I’ll be using for the manual and web site going forward…so if anyone has a real dislike or complaint – please let me know.

Table 1. Klingon Bird of Prey Sizes
BOP Analysis

Captain Kirk