British (English) Monarchs have required The Royal Navy (along with other Commonwealth navies) to present the fleet for review on important dates during their reign. The first ‘Spithead’ reviews took place in the Medieval period when England sailed to war against France. Henry V’s review was the first to be recorded but somehow slipped from the pages of Shakespeare’s play! Because of the difficulty involved these reviews occur infrequently and are often tied to events such as visits by important foreign dignitaries or in commemoration of past victories such as the recently celebrated Battle of the Atlantic.

I thought I’d hold my own Spithead review of the active vessels in my Elite fleet. And I present each of those in current active service for you to review 🙂

HumouristMy Cobra mkIII named Humourist. The story behind the name is a bit complex. Humourist was a Horse that won the Epsom Derby in 1921. Tragically he died not long after from the effects of undetected tuberculosis. In line with its naming policies, the LNER named one of its Gresley A3 pacific locomotives Humourist after the race horse. My Grandfather would tell you these were fine machines as he drove them. I chose the name for my fictional ship in a story that I started writing prior to Elite Dangerous – see The Delivery. It seemed only natural that my first newly purchased ship in the new Elite should take on the name. And it reflects the character of the Cobra mkIII – a real joker. She is a jack-of-all-trades and very good at a lot of them with speed as her key attribute. Interdicted by a pirate she can fight well or run very well. Her only limitation is her size which limits her trading ability. Despite my doubts about her suitability I currently have her fitted out as a mining vessel – that speed comes in handy when pirates attack and the max load of 32 tons means you don’t die of boredom!

Redgauntlet_05Redgauntlet – My Vulture. The ship looks like a mailed fist and fights in the same way. The name Gauntlet would have fitted well, but as a Scotsman’s son it had to be Redgauntlet from the works of Sir Walter Scott. I have run this ship as a multi-role vessel and found her capable of doing light cargo and courier missions. Fast and very manoeuvrable she looks after herself well against most ships regardless of size. After initially using her in that multirole mode, I’ve rebuilt her to what she should be – a space superiority fighter and she can kill just about anything out there – just don’t be tempted to try tackling three well armed Anaconda’s on your own though!

Rosefinch climbing away from the rings of SWOIWNS HV-D C2 12Rosefinch is a Diamondback Explorer. Not as manoeuvrable as the Diamondback Scout she gives a bit more flexibility allowing, as the type name suggests, long range exploration. I’ve used her for that role and also for exploration and fast courier missions within human space where the risk of pirates is greater. She is another ship that can run or fight – a large pulse laser can do a lot of damage to an opponent’s shields and the twin multi-cannons rip hull very well. With a surface reconnaissance vehicle on board she has the ability to perform additional mission roles. I chose the name because she makes me think of a small bird as painted by a cubist and the colour is a subtle pink.

Dark of Night departing Bruce's Folly, Maiden SystemDark of Night is my Cobra mkIV. I love the way this ship is hated by so many other pilots… In my experience she can run (slowly), fight well when the target isn’t too fast and shift 48T of freight whilst carrying two surface vehicles. She’s also a joy to land on planets away from bases. The name came from the free colour scheme provided by FDev on Black Friday which I think suits this vessel very well.

Nyati docked at Rich OrbitalMy latest addition to fleet. Nyati is a Lakon T6. The first vessel that I have bought since the Vulture that is really aimed at a single role. This ship is a trader and I’ve equipped her to run when attacked. She’s the only ship in my fleet to carry heat sinks, chaff and ecm to protect her from attacks from pirates. She looks like a rounded house-brick and handles as you’d expect – leave lots of time to slow down for a landing. The Lakon T series ships tend to be referred to as Space Cows so I chose to name mine Nyati – That is Buffalo in Shona.