I realize that the Tiger's Claw has been artistically interpreted in at least four different ways. The primary way is that of the original WC1/WC2 intro. There is the Academy TV show version which looks mostly like the WC1/WC2 version. Then there is the film version (more on this below). Finally there is the Lexington-class Tiger's Claw in Super Wing Commander (we can more or less ignore that one in my discussion)... Now in the novels for the movies there were a couple of references I think which was trying to merge the appearance of what we saw with the movie and what we would later see during the "Vega Campaign" in WC1. It talks about retrofits to change the bunk layouts to something closer to what we saw in WC1, while its not specific it might also explain drastic changes to hull design as well. Clunky 'explanation' to be sure, but ok, let's assume that's true. Then there must have been a retrofit at some point after Pilgrim Truth? Or maybe during all that time it was spending in Hell's Kitchen in Stars and Truth. We also learn from those movie novels that the Tiger's Claw has multiple docking bays/flight decks for taking off from, similar to the version in Academy. I think it mentions Flight Decks A through C at least. Even in Freedom Flight there seems to be a reference to more than one "Flight Deck" as there is a reference to Flight Deck A-5. Let's assume that if it had a hull-retrofit/redesign that they kept the smaller docking bays as part of the design. Also from the Confederation handbook and the film we see that there is also main flight deck similar in function to what you see in WC1 (and analogous to a Naval Aircraft Carrier runway), although its location is between those thick "armored "bread loaves" you see in the film. But in any case they 'kept' that design feature although it was resigned and moved from its original location in hull retrofit. Now more importantly for this discussion is WC1 and Academy appearance. I was staring at the front of the ship, and something came to my mind. What if the "newly retrofitted" ship is capable of some kind of 'transformation' abilities? Like the main-flight deck/ 'runway' of the main docking bay is capable of 'folding' in upon it self to create more dagger-like shape, and had extendable armored plates to create a more armored 'fuselage' shape perhaps for better defense, or offensive capabilities (attack mode if you will?). This blocks the main flight deck, but also reinforces the structure of the ship to make it stronger against attacks. But forces fighters to have to exit from secondary flight decks. Maybe something similar to 'ablative armor plating' seen in Voyager or Batmobile armor or the ejection pods in Wing Commander Academy: Maybe not as dramatic as Macross transformation into a robot... but flight deck like surface folding and 'splitting' apart at 0:58-1:03 might also 'inspire' how such a transformation could occur to go from the appearance in WC1 to Academy. Although in my mind I see not spitting but having triangular sections that 'fold' 'upwards' and meet together, to form the daggered 'armored plated' shell in the front, and then extend-able armor to fill in any gaps. Of course the control tower would also need a way of 'raising' and 'extending' while being covered in extending plates; since it looks taller and more armored in Academy?