Star Trek: Klingon Bird-of-Prey Haynes Manuel:
This is an "Owners' Workshop Manual" of the I.K.S. Rotarran (B'rel-class)type of ship. This is not one of the huge giant battle cruisers of the Vor'cha class that is capable of absorbing an attack by an entire fleet of warbirds or any known alien battle cruiser. The only warship in the Klingon fleet capable of executing the swiftness and elusiveness of ship-to-ship warfare is the B'rel-class Bird-of-Prey.
The Bird-of-Prey is the archetypal Klingon starship, a 139-meter long ship with seven decks and a crew of 36, replete with a cloaking device, high warp capability, with varied weaponry. It is a fast and deadly scouting and raiding ship that has been at the heart of the Klingon Defense Force for centuries. This design is a classic in the Star Trek movies and the first examples even pre-date Klingon spaceflight. Small fighters with the same basic layout have been in use since early planetary conflicts.
By the late 2370's, the design of the Bird-of-Prey had been settled for over a century, but ships were produced at a variety of scales from vast K'vort-class battle-cruisers to the scouting vessels. The Bird-of-Prey has variable geometry warp wings which means they can alter their angle for three distinct fight modes: landing, flight and attack.
Ok, now you know what the main thrust of this book is about. There are cutaways, an operational history, deck plans, a complete breakdown of weapons and defensive systems, propulsion and navigation, ships systems, a description of life on board from the bridge, bridge systems, crew, and shift systems. There is a fleet comparison, giving the reader a better idea of the variety of different ships in the Klingon fleet. And, of course, what book about Klingon's would not be complete without a dictionary. There are Klingon symbols through out the book giving the reader a feel of being on a Klingon ship.
The book is fast-paced and well-written, but not as well as some of the previous Star Trek ships-of-the-line. There are plenty of pictures in this book showing you what you are reading about. I find these examples to be very valuable when you are reading so you can get a handle on what is being described.
All-in-all, this is well worth the price, better when you can find it on sale, for any Star Trek reader. This book explains some of the Klingon arsenal and some of the finer points of what the Klingon are using when they go to battle against an enemy. This is a technical tour of the ship's systems, from the bridge and engineering rooms to the disruptors, torpedo launcher, and all the all-important cloaking device. Also, a history of the Rotarran's during the Dominion War.
All Klingon ships are equipped with some form of sub-light engine, and most of these ships are equipped with superluminal propulsion technology called warp drive. Klingon vessels are usually depicted as being heavily armed, equipped with particle beam weapons called disruptors and photon torpedoes, an antimatter weapon, as primary offensive weaponry. Later Klingon ships utilize cloaking devices. For The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, Klingon ships were designed by Rick Sternbach to reflect technology exchanges as a result of an alliance between the Klingons and Starfleet. In the prequel television series Enterprise, Klingon ships are designed to appear more primitive than those chronologically later in the franchise. The interior of Klingon vessels is very utilitarian in nature: this is intended to mimic an old submarine. Klingon ship names are usually preceded by the prefix "IKS", an abbreviation for "Imperial Klingon Starship."
Although several variants are seen throughout the franchise, design notes state that the Bird-of-Prey has two main classes: the B'rel-class and the K'Vort-class. Both classes used the same studio model, differing in sizes in proportion to other starships depending on variant. The B'rel-class is a scout vessel, used for espionage, skirmishes and raids, while the K'Vort-class is a light cruiser. Both classes are armed with disruptor cannons mounted on the tips of the wings and a forward torpedo launcher. Likewise, both classes are equipped with cloaking devices and are capable of impulse and warp speeds. With a crew of only 12 and a length of 160 meters, the B'rel-class is far smaller than the K'Vort-class, which measures 320 meters and possesses a crew of 300+. The interior of the Bird-of-Prey is similar to that of Douglas Trumbull's submarine-like designs for the K't'inga-class; some Birds-of-Prey are even shown with periscopes to allow the captain to personally target weapons. Despite relatively light armaments, Birds-of-Prey are shown to be effective craft; both the USS Enterprise and USS Enterprise-D are destroyed in part due to the activity of a Bird-of-Prey. Normally a Bird-of-Prey can only fire its weapons when it's not cloaked, but in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country the Klingons built a Bird-of-Prey that can fire its weapons while cloaked.
I enjoyed reading this manual as it filled in some of the holes in my understanding about what the Klingon's used and the incredible computer-generated artwork alone is worth the price. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.