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Most empires created a large “tug” type starship. The Federation built the Ptolemy-class fleet tug using the same engines as the heavy cruiser and a very similar saucer. Because the expense to build a “support ship” tug was about the same as that for a heavy cruiser (and filled a berth in the cruiser shipyard), tugs were comparatively rare and always in great demand.
To haul their payloads, tugs use cylindrical cargo “pods.” These pods are also used by civilian freighters and vary in size (the standard Star Fleet pod is larger than the civilian freighter size). All pods have standardized connections and allow any tug or freighter to drop off a full one at a base or in orbit of a planet for unloading and promptly connect to a different one (already filled) and proceed to the next destination. The Federation fleet tug can haul up to two pods, connected end-to-end.
Unlike cheap and limited freighters, a fleet tug is a true starship, with facilities to deal with the unexpected, much greater speed, and some (mostly defensive) armament.
Originally built to haul the highest priority cargo for the fleet, tugs also became invaluable for setting up bases. Many empires also found even more use for their tugs as makeshift combat ships, using pods equipped with additional weapons and power reactors. Pods were also created with large shuttlebays, allowing tugs to act as carriers for fighter craft. There were always far more jobs needing doing than tugs available to do them and most fleets also built less-capable tugs from their smaller starship types.
The model presented here is the fleet tug with a single cargo pod (other versions will also be available).
The ship is available in a variety of materials. Ships are unpainted, use standard flight stands available from many sources, and, while designed for gaming, make fine display pieces.