The Praedian Records

J.G. Phoenix

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Protected Cruiser – Prinz Heinrich

by | Dec 21, 2021 | Blog, Pinned, Space Engineers

She’s finally presentable in full.


The Prinz Heinrich is the oldest ship I’m still doing any work on. I can’t even remember when I began poking around with it, but there have been at least a dozen versions and over a year of off and on work, all culminating into this fully functional cruiser.

I don’t know when it happened, but at some point, the main focus of the Heinrich became trying to make the most extensive use of a particular mod as I could. You’ll see later on just how integral this mod is to the ship.

But I digress.

Take a look at this: The Original D-37 Timberwolf.

Prinz Heinrich and the Timberwolf

I prefer to build ships from scratch, but there’s something oddly compelling about the Timberwolf, something that had me coming back to tweak the ship more and more until I was well into my own project. The Heinrich looks nothing like the Timberwolf anymore, but that just tells you how much time I spent poking, prodding, redesigning, overhauling, and refitting it.


Heinrich’s story both in our reality and in the Cosmo Kaisermarine’s is one of scope creep incorporated successfully. For the most part. She was the first capital ship designed for the fleet and as such served as a testbed for all kinds of innovations.

Prinz Heinrich was originally a D-37 Timberwolf acquired by the Kaisermarine for research and development. Seeking to build on the design and create a large but nimble cruiser for the fledgling navy, they made countless changes to the ship in time. The changes began with the addition of preferred weapons a redesign of the propulsion systems to a more unified scheme.

The prototype cruiser went on to be modified extensively as the Kaisermarine’s new corvettes, frigates, and destroyers began to come online. Many of them incorporated design cues from Heinrich. Several new cruisers were also built during that period, but the fleet still lacked a mainstay heavy cruiser for the frontline.

As piracy and Iron Core (ICOR) activity increased around the fringes of the Kaisermarine’s territory, even experimental ships like the Heinrich were pulled into active service. There, Prinz Heinrich participated in many skirmishes, both as part of a small squadron, as well as on her own.

With real combat data to reinforce the direction of capital ship development, the Kaisermarine’s engineers set about designing two staple cruiser types for the fleet: the Leipzig class and the Admiral Hipper class.

As for Prinz Heinrich, she remained attached to the Kaisermarine’s Research and Development Bureau, but was frequently sent into battle fitted with experimental weaponry and modules. The fleet’s defensive shield systems were field tested on the Heinrich, as well as the Oculus and Nucleon point defense weapons. All of these and more became permanent fixtures on the ship as the Kaisermarine began a fleet-wide standardization program.

Prinz Heinrich has yet to be retired. Despite her aging hull form, the Heinrich remains one of the most diligently maintained and up to date vessels in the entire fleet.


Prinz Heinrich wound up with both more and larger weapons than her hull was designed for. Despite this, her overall firepower is considered, at most, moderate by Kaisermarine standards. The ship’s layout is heavily tilted toward defense.

1x Mark-V Atlas Super Laser

(So he says right before introducing a super laser)

Heinrich’s strongest weapon is the Mark-V variant of the Atlas super laser. This weapon along with the Epstein drive engines are why the Heinrich is significantly longer than the Timberwolf she’s based on. This weapon takes a moment to charge up, but the firing time is sufficient to hit and knock out multiple ships in one use with the right maneuvering. It’s next to impossible to use in a close in fight, but by that point you’ll want to save power for the shields.

While the Heinrich leans sharply toward self defense, given enough distance between herself and an adversary, the helmsman or weapon’s officer reserve the right to press that dislike button.

6x 480mm Hurricane Heavy Cannons

The Heinrich’s primary weapons are six 480mm guns in three turrets. The guns have an 800mps muzzle velocity and a 4km effective range. While these massive guns were intended for larger ships, Heinrich’s hull was just large enough to handle them in small numbers.

Extensive testing showed that these cannons are best suited to <2km engagements, where even small, fast moving Iron Core ships can be quickly destroyed with continuous focused fire.

2x RL6 Hydra Rocket Batteries

Prinz Heinrich‘s secondary weapons include two RL6 Hydra batteries. They have an effective range of 5km and are capable of utterly devastating smaller ships with successive hits.

These rocket batteries were intended to replace the Heinrich’s torpedo system, which was removed in the process of streamlining the ship, as well as giving her a clearer mission profile.

12x Oculus Orb-Point Defense Lasers

The Heinrich’s first line of defense are her long range Oculus lasers. She sports twelve of them and they can reach out to 1.5km to intercept missiles or chip away at the shields of approaching fighters. When all focusing on a target, they can quickly stack up a fair amount of damage.

5x Nucleon Energy Shotguns

The Heinrich’s final and shortest range weapon set consists of five Nucleon shotguns. While their range may only extend to two hundred meters, the intense scattering fire they unleash can utterly trap and destroy incoming ordnance, sparing the Heinrich’s shields or hull additional hits. They were implemented to compliment and support the Oculus lasers during intense firefights.

Once a smaller craft’s shields have been stripped away, these shotguns are capable of tearing through them with contemptuous ease if they draw too close to the ship, leaving behind a searing, unrecognizable mess.

Systems & Modules

The Kaisermarine tested most of their medium sized module concepts on Prinz Heinrich. This led to a lengthening and widening of her hangar, the installation of a powerful energy shield, a backup power system to support it, and external spaced armor.


Prinz Heinrich features a large internal hangar bay designed to carry a single large reconnaissance or utility craft. Multiple smaller ships can be carried if they have their own magnetic landing gears, but for normal operations, the Heinrich carries one AR type Cosmo Messer.

Defensive Shields

The shielding system employed by Prinz Heinrich is extremely powerful thanks to its plentiful reserves of power. It could even be considered the ship’s main feature despite being present on virtually all Kaisermarine ships.

(This was tested quite recently, and under less than ideal circumstances)

Power Plant

Prinz Heinrich has a primary and backup power system located in the engineering section. The primary system consists of three large reactors while the backup system constitutes six hydrogen engines and an extensive network of batteries located throughout the ship.

While working at full capacity, all of the Heinrich’s weapons, thrusters, and even shields can work in tandem, with the sole exception of the super laser. As the jump drives prepare their own charges ahead of time, the Heinrich can execute a warp jump to disengage at any time while not letting up the fight.

External Spaced Armor

Not all Kaisermarine ships use spaced armor, much less external spaced armor, but those that do follow after Prinz Heinrich.

Spaced armor in real life helps to defeat normal armor penetration rounds by causing them to deflect, tumble, or otherwise lose their penetrative and destructive power between the first plate they strike, and the next. In Space Engineers, the idea is similar, but meant to lessen the damage of area of effect damage caused by damaged blocks spreading their damage to adjacent blocks during heavy hits.

Heinrich’s externally mounted spaced armor frees up a massive amount of space within the ship for internal facilities while still offering good protection in the event of direct hits.

This type of armor scheme has a couple of weaknesses, those being area of effect damage to the mounting points, and deep penetrator weapons like UNSC MAC guns or specially designed ‘block thrower’ guns. The former is compensated for by a long connection between the plate and the hull, but remains a weakpoint, particularly on the hangar armor. The latter can only be countered by evasive maneuvers and a strong energy shield.

Search Unit

Prinz Heinrich has an older variant of the Kaisermarine’s search unit, a special module attached to the top of the ship. It features an independent sensor, a camera, and a spot light. As a subgrid, it operates using a single rotor and hinge. The search unit can be controlled from the tactial seat on the bridge, or from the weapons station (also on the bridge).

Inside Prinz Heinrich

The ship has a peculiar hull shape, and that owes largely to the internal layout. The interior overhaul freed up some space while helping me better link the sections of the ship behind the large hangar to those in front of it. The internal passageways take up roughly a third of the internal space while the rest is made up of the systems, conveyor tubes, and the occasional ‘cork’ acting as filler.

Mods & Scripts

Prinz Heinrich has a fair number of mods and just as many scripts running her, but I cut down on the use of the former as much as possible. Over time I’ll be phasing out even more required mods with the exception of four and any dependencies they have: The Aryx Weapon and Epstein drive mods by AryxErin, Defense Shields mod, and of course the Passages mod by AViegarien.

For most cases there isn’t much point in cutting down on the number of scripts, since they don’t require other users to download them from the workshop. They load in right along with the programmable blocks. With scripts, it’s more about quality control than anything.

Below are the complete lists of both the mods and scripts used for Prinz Heinrich. The Required Mods list is the one you should be chiefly concerned with when the ship hits the workshop. Loading the ship without these won’t be pretty. The Additional Mods list includes mods I recommend or at least use while working on the ship, but shouldn’t cause headaches or any other major problems if the ship is loaded without them.

Required Mods List:

Additional Mods List:
(Recommended or just used on a temporary basis)

Script List:

Survival Mode

I don’t do much testing in Survival Mode, so I can’t say the ship is survival ready. With the mod set used, her handling is fine, and she’s lethal in a fight, though. With a few small changes or additions, I think the ship could be made survival ready pretty easily, assuming she isn’t already.

There’s a difference between being survival ready and being efficient, though it’s ideal to be both when you can.

The Workshop

I’ll be uploading Prinz Heinrich to the workshop proper in a few weeks. A good portion of the information in this article will be covered there as well, but I’d like to do some test uploads to make sure I get this one right on the first try.

An Ongoing Project

While the ship has come a long way, she’s still an ongoing project. There are a few more things I want to do before I’ll consider her complete.

What still needs doing:

  • Repair projector (initially left out due to subgrid incompatibility)
  • Optimize the internals
  • Rigorous power system testing
  • Rigorous endurance testing
  • Storage limit testing
  • Complete conveyor system testing
  • Install a fully vanilla auxiliary thruster system (for convenience and to remove the DHI mod requirement)
  • Group each lighted passage section separately for per deck internal lighting control (pure hell, this one)


This concludes our look at the Prinz Heinrich, my oldest ongoing project and still my favorite to date.

Thanks for reading.


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