From the MoviesFor transit from their enormous Trade Federation battleships to the surface of their economically or militarily conquered worlds, Neimoidian officials travel in a distinctive shaped Neimoidian shuttle. Curved insect-like landing gears lower from the ship's belly, giving the craft's legs a pincer-like appearance as it settles on a landing pad.
Trade Federation officials such as Nute Gunray and Rune Haako used a Neimoidian shuttle to land on Naboo following their successful occupation of the planet, and likewise Viceroy Gunray used the same model of shuttle to escape besieged Geonosis at the start of the Clone Wars. The military leader of the Confederacy, General Grievous, used a Neimoidian shuttle for his arrival on Utapau following his failure to escape Coruscant with a captive Chancellor Palpatine.
From the Expanded UniverseThe Sheathipede-class shuttle is strictly for short-range transit, either across planetary surface or from surface to orbital space where a larger ship or station awaits. Like much of Neimoidian technology, the vessel vaguely resembles a large insect with its pointed landing claws. Passengers sit in a central lounge; most models favored by Neimoidian barons have automatic pilots, doing away with a cockpit in exchange for increased cabin space. The Lapiz Cutter, belonging to Viceroy Nute Gunray, had no armaments and powerful deflector shields.
General Grievous, having some distrust of automated shuttle systems, insisted a crewed cockpit be kept in the shuttle. Battle droids operated his vessel for occasional transit when his personal starfighter was not available.
Behind the ScenesThe Neimoidian shuttle design, developed relatively late in the production of Episode I, was first modeled from the Trade Federation landing ships. It resembled half a landing ship tilted vertically. Subsequent refinements curved the upper wings to better give an insectoid field. George Lucas requested that one of the dorsal wings be removed, to give the ship an asymmetrical profile.
Keywords: Databank - The Clone Wars, Databank - Episode I, Databank - Episode II, Databank - Episode III
Filed under: Vault, Starship
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