Sorry this took so long, but a couple of the judges fell through. In the end, there was only one other judge besides myself: Ter Loki
. Big thanks to Ter for being an efficient & thorough judge! You'll find both our comments below, along with the final ratings.
I wasn't planning to divide the winners between Sarran and Achmer unless I got a lot of entries... and overall, I got fewer than usual this time... but there were a lot of great ideas in here, and a lot of tied ratings due to the limited number of judges, so I decided to split the difference and have a Winner and a Runner Up from each! Plus a bronze medal for the top entry from among the rest... just because.
Prizes (sketches and profile medals) are being prepared, and will be posted soon. ALL participants are also eligible for a Saber-Scorpion's Lair Shop discount code, though winners and runners-up will get a bigger discount. To claim this prize, just send me a Private Message here on the forums, or send an email to email@example.com using the email address associated with your forum account. Thanks to everyone who participated!
EDIT: Sketch of the winners!
Ter: Wow, now this is a quite nice piece of work. The studless design is great, and I love all the little gold details and the serated edge to the wings. The lifting-body type design may be common in sci-fi, but it's a nice break from tradition for a Sarran craft, and combined with the ship's bulk makes this thing look plain MEAN. Nothing at all seems out of place on this design, even the head you used for the pilot is perfect.
At first glance this looks bulky for a Sarran ship, but its sleek, studless surfaces make up for that. A very solid build! I like the toothed edges - they make it look like an Aztec Tepoztopilli spearhead.
It's definitely got menace, and the Sarran need some ships like that. Wonderful job!
Ter: Two great designs here. The Cherub is what I think a little minifig-scale model like it should be: Compact, sleek, and to the point. A very nice variation of the LEGO hoverbike with some Sarran-style flair. You know I've always thought that Valkyrie would be a good reporting name for a Sarran aerowalker, or just a catch-all term for aerowalkers in general, and here someone's proving me right. The Valkyrie itself is beautiful, a great combination of posabliity and sleekness, and still very Sarran. I'd always pictured aerowalkers transforming a bit more when in-flight, but I know how difficult that is with LEGO and the design still looks great.
Scorp: These are both wonderful - the hoverbike could even pass for a neat microfig ship. But the walker is the highlight. I asked for anime-style walkers, and I'm glad I got an entry that lived up to the request! Great design, good details and descriptions, and a very articulate build. Fantastic job!
Ter: Now this little guy I really like. The whole design is very Achmer, and the description really sells that point. The shape, the layout, the exterior shots, it all really gels together on this one. It strikes me as odd that the Achmer would gravitate toward a most likely more than 200 year old design, but that's just a minor nitpick. All in all a wonderful little ship, it actually strikes me as a sort of hybrid of the Runabout from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the Imperial Agent's ship in SW:ToR, and that works in its favor.
Scorp: I wholeheartedly agree with Ter; I really like this one. The sketches effectively convey the smooth look, and the "cross section" sketch is especially nice for showing the interior. The description ties it all together and provides a bit of humor on top, to boot. Great entry!
Ter: I really like this one, it fits well with the Achmer design philosophy and the multirole capability of fighter and walker really seems to work here. I can easily envision a swarm of Krakens descending from a massive carrier, overwhelming enemy orbital defenses and then landing to take on ground troops like some strange hybrid of a Reaper Oculus and a Martian war machine. The only real complaint I have is the studiness of the front, but that's a minor nitpick and could hardly be helped at micro-scale.
Scorp: As Ter said, the only real complaint I can level at this is the studs, though I'm sure it would have been tricky to make it smoother at this scale in this color. Wait, is it sand blue or dark bley? I can't really tell... but that's good. Either way it looks right! Excellent job.
Ter: It's a Martian war machine crossed with a giant squid, I love it! A wonderful design as always, Crusty. The whole thing just feels totally Achmer, and the tripod design works wonderfully for an amphibious craft like this. Honestly I just wish we knew more about it.
I always greatly enjoy your entries in these contests, Crusty. Considering the Achmer theme, I half expected you to build something crustacean. And freaky.
Still, certainly a superb and very Achmer entry - nicely symmetrical and organic, and the water was a great finishing touch. That poor fish though...
Ter: Admiral, there be whales here! At first when I saw this beast I thought it was too bulky, but as the info went on it all kind of fit together. Not sure how well blazer rounds and starfire cannons would work underwater, but the rest works just fine for me. I love the tail and those tentacle-like claws on the side which could be used both for holding an enemy vessel and steering. The whole thing looks like a somewhat smaller robotic version of a whale, which works perfectly for the Achmer. A+ on this one, man.
Scorp: Very big & impressive build! It's very studdy, but the size helps the overall shape still appear rounded and organic. Good details too - I especially like the weapons. Compared to the other entries, I certainly think it's big enough to warrant the "Maelstrom" moniker. I can tell a lot of work went into this. Well done!
Ter: Points for originality here, of all ships to use as a starting point for a Sarran fighter, I never would've picked Slave I. The design is very solid, and I like all the little details included in it. This is definitely a very cool ship. The only real sticking point I have with it is how unaerodynamic it seems. I know, it's sci-fi, it doesn't have to look like it can fly to fly, I hear that argument all the time in the Watchtower whenever I get the shipbuilding bug. But aerodynamic designs are just cool-looking to me, and I think that the Sarran, being avian and very concerned with aesthetics, would agree. Still, it's an awesome ship, keep on building!
Scorp: A Sarran Slave 1?! You aren't trying to get extra points from me because of my lingering Boba Fetish, are you? Seriously though - it's a good, solid, detailed build. My only gripe is the number of details kind of detract from the sleekness of it, and the lack of significant wings make it seem more of a pure-space fighter than aerospace. But that's a technicality, and overall this is cool & creative. Great job!
Ter: It's funny you bring up War of the Worlds in the description, because the first thing I thought of when seeing that design was actually the robots from The Incredibles. The design as a whole is solid, I can definitely see the Achmer using something like this for exploration or advanced recon though the design strikes me as even more drone-like and robotic than most of the other entries, maybe it's just the lack of any visible means of entry, or the Incredibles connection from earlier. Other than that and the lack of info, excellent work!
Scorp: Personally, I was reminded of the bizarre and disturbing "dwarf gekko" robots from Metal Gear Solid 4 and Revengeance. Or possibly the little spider bots from Minority Report. I can see it working better as an unmanned probe than something with a pilot. Overall the entry could use some more details and fleshing out, but I like it!
Ter: Certainly an interesting design, the front and wings in particular are rather creative. I like that you were trying to go for the more artistic and flowing design here, but unfortunately the large flat white planes and blocky rear section are a bit of a let-down.
Scorp: A unique design, but a bit angular for the Sarran. I could actually see it more as a Victorian vehicle, with the V-shape and everything. Points for solid construction, unique look, and color coordination. Good job!
Ter: More hybrids? I'm seeing a trend here. There's nothing really terribly wrong with the design. The main body is a nice cylindrical shape to keep weight and volume down, the wings are rather sci-fi. Though I do question the "just for decoration" blue rods on an Achmer ship, that's not a deal-breaker. The moving wings for storage is a nice touch, and the second mode that allows is pretty neat. All in all my only real gripe is at the simplicity in construction of it. I know, "too plain" isn't really a complaint usually associated with reproducing Achmer styling, but there's just something missing.
Scorp: Simple yet effective. I like the central round pod and appreciate the photos & descriptions, but I'm not sure about the flat & studdy wings, and overall I feel it simply needs more fleshing out. Still, a good entry.
Ter: Very interesting to see a design made entirely in (I presume) LDD. This has the advantage of pretty much unlimited parts for anyone with a small LEGO collection, but the disadvantage of a limited variety of parts. Unfortunately the later seems to come into play more here. The lack of curves and cramped cockpit mean that the design doesn't really seem terribly Sarran.
Scorp: A classic and well made fighter design, though it could be a bit smoother for the Sarran. I like the idea of the Sarran using a "dive bomber" specifically, since it's such a bird-like attack strategy. Overall, a good build and idea, but could use some smoothing over and perhaps a more spacious cockpit for the Sarran pilot.
Ter: An interesting idea, but with some flaws. Firstly, I question the logic of legs on a craft that's meant purely to operate underwater, since it would be just as easy to merely keep the craft off the sea floor and have a set of manipulators to help it move itself and other objects around once at depth. Secondly, while the idea of electrical weaponry underwater has been proven to work by the famous electric eel, I'm not sure how it would work as a ranged weapon without frying everything around (seawater being highly conductive). The idea is neat, and it's nice to see a vehicle in these contests not meant for combat, but the drawing really kills it since, as you said, it was slapped together in less than an hour.
Scorp: I actually think this idea would have worked better as yet another hybrid entry... an amphibious walker capable of operating on land or underwater. The idea of an enormous walker striding through the darknesss deep below the sea is certainly an intimidating one though.
Ter: Huh, another hybrid already? Okay, I'll roll with it. Well firstly, there's not too much in the way of information on this one other than the fact that it is in fact a fighter/submarine hybrid. There's not even a definite scale. The design itself when seen from a distance is rather Achmer, but once you get close and can look at the details it loses cohesion. The whole thing starts looking less like a LEGO-ized vehicle and more like a vehicle shaped mish-mash of LEGO bricks. The back landing gear and "engines" are particularly lacking in that regard.
I like the overall idea, and the oddity of it, combined with the round shapes and three legs, make it passable as an Achmer vehicle. Unfortunately the overall build is a bit too chaotic and could use a little more smoothing and cohesion of design. Still, it's creative, and there's something I like about it. PS: You should save that black canopy piece for the Helexith contest someday!