Attack of the Clones
by Curtis Saxton, Illustrated by Hans Jenssen & Richard Chasemore
Published by DK Publishing
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This is the latest entry into the Incredible Cross-Sections series. The book consists of detailed drawings of ships and vehicles from Episode II. Presented in cross-section format, the drawings reveal detailed inner-workings of the ships. The pictures are supplemented by text that discusses how the ships were designed, how they function, and their history. The ships in this book include: Naboo Cruiser, Zam's Airspeeder, Anakin's Airspeeder, Jedi Starfighter, Slave I, Owen Lars' Swoop Bike, Padme's Starship, Trade Federation Core Ship, Geonosian Fighter, Republic Assault Ship, Republic Gunship, AT-TE, and the Solar Sailer. The middle of the book features an enormous fold out picture of the Republic Gunship.
On a side note, author Curtis Saxton is the webmaster of the Star Wars Technical Commentaries hosted by TheForce.Net. Believe it or not, he kept his work on this book all a secret, too. Can you imagine!? :)
If you love the technical aspects of Star Wars, then this book is for you. Incredible Cross-Section gets heavily into how these imaginary ships might operate in the real world. The drawings crack open the hood and let you peek around in the operating systems of the ships. The beauty of this book is that it appeals not only to the nitpicky fan, but the casual one, too. If you want details on how the anti-gravity systems work, it's here. If you simply want to know the speed of a vehicle, it's listed, too.
If you want to know details about the ships beyond the films, then you have to have this book. Here's a sampling of some of the cool things you will find inside:
- The Naboo Cruiser fixes some of the problems with the Queen's ship in Episode I. There are two hyperdrives, more defensive capabilities, and stronger shields. Four Naboo starfighters can lock into the wings.
- The ASN-121 Assassin Droid tucks into Zam's Speeder in a hidden compartment. Her speeder can create a foul odor with it's exhaust and radiation around the front can make bystanders sick. It can travel at 496 mph.
- Anakin's airspeeder can travel at 450 mph.
- Here's what the book says about the Imperial logo on the Jedi Starfighter - "The starboard wing of Obi-Wan's craft is marked with a symbol of a disc with eight spokes. This ancient icon dates to the Bendu monks' study of numerology wherein the number nine (eight spokes joined to one disc) signifies the beneficent presence of the Force in a unitary galaxy. After the fall of the Galactic Republic 1,000 generations later, the Emperor will personalize this symbol by defacing the icon with the removal of two spokes."
- R4-P17 was crushed while repairing a trash compactor fault in! the KDY research shipyards over Gyndine. Anakin found "her"! and repaired her with an R2 dome.
- Owen bought his swoop from a Revweid merchant in Mos Nystram. It can travel 217 mph and is a Zephyr-G model.
- Anakin and Padme sneak onto Geonosis by lowering the shields and being mistaken for a falling asteroid.
- The Geonosian Fighter is painted to look like a porlceetin - a large venomous hexapedal creature found on Geonosis.
- Kuat Drive Yards secretly built the Republic Assault Ship and Attack Gunships for the Republic in retaliation for a Trade Federation assassination of a Kuati executive.
- Speeder bikes are stored in the back of the Republic Gunships.
- The sail on Count Dooku's ship is rare and unique to the Geonosian species. Dooku bought the sail from an antiques dealer near the Glee Enclave.
As you can see, this is a cool one worth checking out. And we're not just saying that because Curtis wrote it. ;)
If I was going to nitpick, there would be a couple of things I would point out. The first is that this book doesn't feature all of the ships from the film. There's no picture of the hyperspace ring that the Jedi starfighter attaches to. There are no images of the spider droids or the tank droids from the film. The freighter is also missing. They were probably left out in the interest of time and space, but it would have been nice to see them.
Jenssen and Chasemore are also fantastic artists. I've never seen such detail in drawings and I'm amazed at they can make these inner workings so realistic. However, they don't draw human faces very well. The only two clearly seen, Anakin and Obi-Wan, don't look very good at all. If they had looked more like the actors, the drawings would be flawless. But again, that's nitpicking. You're not buying the book for the human faces.
I'm not sure what to think about Zam Wesell's speeder emitting noxious fumes. I've never thought of a Star Wars ship emitting a "foul reek". :)