Offensive and defensive systems
The dorsal surface mounted a large array of gun batteries. The batteries were arranged both on the port and starboard sides of the hull, as well as on the ridge in front of the command tower.
Built for speed, the Bellator sacrificed armaments to gain higher velocities than its Mandator-class predecessors. This philosophy separated it from its conceptual cousin, the Mandator III-class dreadnought, which was built to be larger and more heavily armed than the previous models of the series.
The Bellator-class had two reactors that protruded underneath the superstructure with armored bulges. It was propelled by ten large thrusters and four smaller ones.
The class was marked with a ridge-structure in front of its command tower. The tower itself was similar to the towers on a number of other Imperial warships, like the Imperial-class Star Destroyer and the Executor-class Star Dreadnought.
The Bellator-class dreadnought was a design based on the Mandator- and Mandator II-classes. It diverged from its predecessors by being shorter and faster and the design was referred to in the Imperial Military as a "fast dreadnought".
During the class's service period, several Bellator-class dreadnoughts were known to have docked at Naval Station Validusia for refueling and maintenance alongside other heavy warships. In addition, ships of both this class and that of its cousin, the Mandator-class, often flanked the Assertor-class Star Dreadnought in fleet formations during the Galactic Civil War since prior to the Battle of Yavin, largely due to that ship's role as a sector command and control ship.
At some point prior to the Battle of Hoth, Captain Firmus Piett and Admiral Kendal Ozzel of Death Squadron observed several Bellators that were part of a fleet gathering. The fleet included several battlecruisers and Star Destroyers and displayed maneuvers by entire squadrons of TIE Advanced x1 fighters. After the Arms Race campaign of the Galactic Civil War, at least one Bellator-class was involved in a fleet exercise that involved an Altor-class replenishment ship refueling multiple large military vessels, including an Assertor-class Star Dreadnought and an Allegiance-class battlecruiser simultaneously. Its presence during this time presumably had to do with the presence of the former vessel.
At least one Bellator-class dreadnought appeared to be in service with the New Republic during the Thrawn Crisis, flying in formation alongside a fleet of Imperial-class Star Destroyers that were adorned with the New Republic logo, as well as a Procursator-class Star Destroyer. The fleet was joined by the Heroes of Yavin, flying in the Millennium Falcon.
Behind the scenes
- "The design just looked so mean when I first saw it, like some very angry bear prowling the forest. The idea was a fast battleship/battlecruiser, built to hunt destroyers and worry dreadnoughts. I kept the dagger shape narrow and long, since it gave a real sense of menacing speed to the whole ship."
- ―Ansel Hsiao
This design originated as a background vessel in Dark Empire 2, drawn by Cam Kennedy. It was later remade as a detailed 3D fanon vessel by Ansel Hsiao and displayed on his 3D modelling site. The background ship had previously been cataloged by Curtis Saxton as the "anonymous star cruiser #5" on his technical fansite.
When Hsiao first saw the design in Dark Empire, he compared its appearance to a very angry bear prowling the forest. He envisioned it as a fast battleship/battlecruiser designed to hunt destroyers and even worry dreadnoughts. For his 3D work, he kept the dagger-shaped hull of the ship narrow and long in order to invoke a real sense of menacing speed throughout the whole ship. The class-name chosen by Hsiao is the Latin word for "warrior". Approached by Lucasfilm Licensing to provide artwork for The Essential Guide to Warfare, Hsiao submitted his own designs in addition to new models, along with their names. The names were recorded in LFL's Holocron continuity database. He also indicated that, if one compares the Star Wars ships to 20th century naval ships, the Bellator's closest equivalent was the HMS Vanguard.
Creating the detailed model, Hsiao gave it the designation of "Star Battlecruiser". It was later changed to "dreadnought" on the basis of the Anaxes War College System classifications created by Jason Fry for his book, The Essential Guide to Warfare. This was displayed in his seventh round of endnotes for the book. A similar change was made with the Allegiance-class battlecruiser, which on Hsiao's site was listed as a Heavy Star Destroyer.
In the book's endnotes, Jason gave several facts about the class as well as others done by Hsiao, which is now canon information. He also gave two accounts; in-universe and out-of-universe on the method behind the design of the Bellator. The in-universe explanation, supplied in the History section, mentioned the divergence of the Mandator III and the Bellator from their predecessor designs. The out-of-universe explanation was that the Essential Guide to Warfare accidentially combined separate design specs for the art and text for the famous humpbacked ship in Dark Empire.
In addition, according to Ansel Hsiao on Stardestroyer.net forums around the time Essential Guide to Warfare was released, both he and Jason Fry planned to make all the Mandator-series, in addition to the Bellator-class, humpbacked vessels similar to the one that appeared in Dark Empire, although nothing of the sort made it into the final cut by the time of its release. However, the intended humpbacked hulls of the Mandator-series was nonetheless implied in Jason Fry's endnotes.
In addition to Hsiao's book illustrations, the Bellator can also be seen in two other paintings, both by Tommy Lee Edwards. The latter of which uses a picture from Hsiao's personal gallery as a background, where the ship appears as one of the vessels closest to the bridge in the foreground of the image (the rear being partially obscured by Admiral Ozzel's head), and another of the same class is seen a brief distance away facing the bridge. The Hsiao picture in question was named "Strategic Reserve" by him.
According to Hsiao in a comment on his website, the armament for the ship consists of 16 heavy dual turbolasers, 48 quad heavy turbolasers, 40 octuple barbette heavy turbolasers, 14 quad heavy ion cannons, 108 strategic missile tubes, 288 light missile tubes (grouped into launchers of 24 tubes), 142 medium quad turbolasers, and 1568 light quad weapons (ion cannons and laser cannons) However, this has not been published in any official sources.
In a promotional video made for BioWare's online rpg game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, one of the shots depict Odile Vaiken watching a Star Destroyer (implied to be the Harrower-class dreadnought) being built. The details on the vessel correspond to a similar shot of the Bellator found on Ansel Hsiao's site, right down to gun placements and hull features.
Hsiao, commenting on this image, as well as an image of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer he originally made a 3D model of, that was used as part of a Star Wars Galaxies trading card, remarked that it amused him endlessly that LFL used his various 3D models in their own work (without his knowledge).
- Dark Empire Sourcebook (Indirect mention only) (Retcon)
- Star Wars Handbook 3: Dark Empire (Indirect mention only) (Retcon)
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 93 (Picture only)
- The Essential Guide to Warfare (Picture only)
- "Designing Warships" – Star Wars Insider 134
- Lead by Example
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Complete Locations
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Legacy Era Campaign Guide mentions large warships like Super Star Destroyers were no longer in use due to cost of upkeep.
- Dark Empire 2
- Star Wars Insider 134
- Lead by Example
- Three TIE/ad starfighters were seen flying in formation during the refilling procedure, which indicates that it took place after the Arms Race campaign shown in Star Wars: TIE Fighter, due to the TIE/ad starfighter entering the Imperial Navy after the events of that campaign.
- Hsiao's original art for comparison.
- Timeline 11: Rebirth of the Sith Empire
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – The Price of Victory (Card: Imperial Starfleet)
- Ansel Hsiao's gallery including the Bellator-class Star Battlecruiser.
- (First identified as Bellator-class dreadnought)
- Ansel Hsiao's forum post as he designed the ship.