Fiction: Toller's Sol HM Review 18.12.2017 11:40
 






About this article...

Pilot Toller wrote the following Flight Report about the Solrain Heavy Miner (sol HM), called Lodestar.

A big THANK YOU to Toller for his work.

Solrain Heavy Miner


Flight Report Lodestar by Toller

Since I'm now deep into the iron and mining business, I was looking for reports about the different mining ships around the universe.

Sadly I didn't find much. A review of the Quantar Light Miner (note by editor: myRotacol's "Harmattan Journal"; see Fiction section) was all I could find besides the standard TRI information on the equipment.

First View

Like every solrain construction the ship design is heavily influenced by efficiency. No unnecessary curves or parts are on it. This ship is a pure working machine. Still its shape has a lot of beauty and elegance.

The cockpit at the very front end of the ship allows a good survey over the surrounding space.

The big gun mount on the lower side of the ship looks like a tube through which you can suck whole small asteroids.

The size one gun mounts riding on its sides are very well positioned either for some additional mining lasers or (not recommended as they wouldn't make much difference) or a pair of lasers or Strakers to scare of disturbing conflux. Personnally I prefer lasers, as those allow me to leave the Duelist away and don't run out of ammunition. The guns are so close together that if one is on target, the other is too.

Cockpit

The cockpit is ergonomically state of the art. Every step was taken to make the job as comfortable for the miner as possible. The seat includes an automatic massage system and adapts itself to individual pilots.

All instruments are well positioned around the pilot seat and easy to reach.

There are 2 different flight controls, one for travelling and the other one a much more sensible device for closing in on roids. In mining mode, there are multiple monitors and indicators showing about every thing from ore extraction ratios to price lists and general news. All mining parameters can be dragged to the main display to get detailed information about every aspect.

An approach alarm can be defined for different radar signs, so the pilot gets warned in time, as the attention normally isn't focussed on the radar during the mining process.

A small microwave/fridge unit allows going for longer trips to look for far away roids.

Mining Potential

The Lodestar is capable of mounting 1 Financier Mk2, the biggest available mining laser on the market. Its extraction rate is 9 times higher then that of a Banker and equals 6 Financiers. This results in very high ore-transfer and heats up roids pretty fast.

It can happen that a small roid is already heated up to a point where ore extraction isn't possible any more in the approach to the roid. With this high extraction rate active mining isn't really necessary any more. Still it is possible to circle large roids with a speed of 40+ even with about 100 units ore in cargo.

But the HMs main operational area isn't lone roids which can be circled. It can play out its advantages best in large roid fields, where you just pick one roid after the other and don't have the room to circle each roid to increase the extraction rate.

Defense

The defensive capabilities of this ship are good for its class.

The size one guns may be a little too small (especially compared to the 2 size 2 mounts on the quant HM) but the size 5 shield makes up for that. Combined with the 6 modx hardpoints, which allow to build in a complete PCM-SB series along with the usual camera, Rotacol (replaced by a CM when going for pure or common asteroids) and a docking modx (recommended as you'll need the AB-fuel to stop at the roids), this gives you a hell of a lot of damage absorption.

Personally I prefer the Warden, as its high recharge rate is better against squids than the high absorption capability of the Mortar. Combine it with the set of PCM-SBs and 2 squids only make you laugh, 3 of them aren't really getting your shields down, 4 are interesting and 5 still aren't a real problem.

Running isn't an option in a loaded HM, so Flashfires aren't that useful in my eyes. If things are getting tough, you still have 2 purgs to get rid of some flux.

If you are attacked by another pilot you are doomed anyway.

If you want to go mining in an area with bigger flux then squids, you should take an escort with you. Although the Antiflux saves you from spawning flux, you still have to handle those which are dumped on you by passing pilots.

Handling

As said before, the position of the cokpit allows a very good overall view. The central positioning of the engines allows very accurate breaking manoeuvres which is important for a ship that needs to get into exact positions.

AB/breaking fuel must be used carefully, or it will be used up when your cargo bay is only half filled.

The turnrate is fitting for a ship that is doing mainly low speed turns. When fighting off squids while standing at a roid, it is possible to follow most of them with turning. Only if their approaching angle is bad, you might have to turn the other way round.

Technical Data

Equipment Size Used in tested ship
Powerplant 4 Sport Plus
Engines 2 * 4 Rush
Radar 4 Nubbler
ECM 3 Antiflux
Shield 5 Warden
E-mod 2 Spore
Guns 1 * 6, 2 * 1 Financier Mk2, 2*Calefactor/Needle
Missiles 2 * unlimited 2 * Purgatory
ModX 6*unlimited Docking ModX, Camera, CM3 (Rotacol), sb3, sb2, sb1

The S+ offers enough energy for the HM, unlike the underpowered LMs you don't have to throttle down to get a radar picture.

The rushes give the HM the same thrust as a quantar TOW has while having 53% of a TOWs cargo room. Taking in regard that miners normally carry quite heavy goods this could be rated to be a bit underpowered. But then a Heavy miner isn't built for long-distance cargo runs. Most of the times it will be standing next to an asteroid and for that the size 4 engines are ok.

With size 4 radar the HM is very much capable of locating far away roid fields. With a heavy ship that stays away from the main trade lines in a sector and therefore has to be ready to react on any none-moving barrier as early as possible (long breaking ways) big radar is needed. The Nubbler has the advantage that it scans exactly 25k when scaled down a bit. This is very comfortable for pure mining. For any other mining purpose a less energy consuming radar would work just as well, but energy isn't a problem in the Heavy Miners anyway. Very small radar probably has the advantage of a higher short range resolution but on the other hand doesn't allow you to keep an eye on sector activity.

ECM: What should I say, only choice is an Antiflux, unless you want to stay in a station sector or you want to keep your escort busy.

The size 5 shield really gives the sol HM an advantage. It allows equipping either a Mortar (high overall damage) or a Warden (high recharging rate). Both have their pros and cons which aren't a point of discussion here. This decision is also based on individual preferences. I always had the Warden equipped because I only went to squid-areas for mining, so recharge rate is more important than overall damage.

The size 2 e-mod is perfectly sized for this ship. The mining laser has no influence on it (low energy consumption) almost every pair of size 1 weapons are supplied with enough energy to allow maximum damage volleys. I had a spore equipped, but pretty much every size 2 e-mod is fine for the job.

Besides the obligatory Financier Mk2 I always have lasers equipped. With them I don't have to use a duelist and got another free modx-slot. I either used Needles or Calefactors so far. With the changed specifications it will be interesting to test some other ones. Probably I'll stay with Calefactors, as they seem to have maximum damage/hit and without a duelist I cannot profit that much from longer weapon range.

Missiles: 2 missile hardpoints don't seem to be that much, but in the end I didn't really need them very often at all. My missile of choice is the Purgatory, as it kills a Squid with one hit and almost 100% accuracy. This allows you to get rid of 2 Squids when things are getting rough.

6 ModX hardpoints are pretty nice. This allows equipping a large variety of useful things. Starting with a docking ModX, a camera and a rotacol it there still is enough room for a complete set of PCM-SBs or any other shield boosting modx. Those are available really cheap at the moment, as only SB3s are considered to be of some worth. A PCM-CM3 is a very nice thing to have too, it too is still very cheap (compared to CM4) and gives a weight advantage of 15%. Flashfires are a waste of ModX-space in a HM in my eyes. As it normally is very heavy, it just isn't capable of running away. If you get into a situation you can't handle you did something wrong much earlier. Only situation I can remember is an emergency stop when you are closing in on something too fast. This didn't happen to me once in over 6 months of flying this ship (for 6 weeks now almost exclusively). Therefore I think it is better to be able to take more damage from flux, as dumping happens quite often.


NO GO AND GET IT !






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