After working on my Starship Project for over a year it is finally finished! It’s not like I am tired of working on it because I have enjoyed working on it the entire time. There just comes a time when you have to declare a project done before it becomes the proverbial white elephant in the room.
In this final update (which it turns out to the longest and with the most pictures, 55 total) I have wrapped up all of the loose ends. I finished head and showers room as well as the stateroom bathrooms, furnished the cargo bay with cargo containers and a way to move the cargo, redid the furniture in the mess hall, created ceiling light fixtures, created graphics for the display screens and made miscellaneous changes.
I created individual stalls for the waste extractors; there is not much difference between these and ones seen on Earth. I decided to make the doors swing in and to make that work in the limited space, the doors are made in two parts where one side nests in the other. When the doors are swung inward the nested half would automatically retract to save space. The waste extractors are the same as the one in the brig.
On the opposite wall from the waste extractors I modeled the hand wash sinks. I used the lower half of the waste extractor as a starting point for the sink. I shortened it and created a bowl and drain. The faucet has buttons on top of it to control temperature and flow rate. There is a simple soap dispenser to the right of the faucet and a hand drier on the left side of the sink.
The shower stalls are one-piece units that hang on the wall in the shower room. They each have a built-in bench to sit on and a shelf for bath supplies. The showerheads resemble those trendy UFO shaped ones becoming popular these days. The showers are controlled digitally with a panel across from the benches. In the shower room I also modeled a bench for dressing with hooks above to hang clothing.
The details of the bathroom are quite boring and nearly make me yawn as I sit here writing about it. The elements of the crew bathroom are used again for the bathrooms in the officer staterooms. Moving on…
The next part I needed to tackle was the cargo bay’s container storage system. I couldn’t find a good example for the types of containers that would be used in Star Wars so instead I settled on ones you might see watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and beyond. The ones used in the later Star Trek series were typically containers that are actually used in real life that look sleek and modern and made of plastic. So I searched for plastic crates I liked on the web and came up with one that would work. I made some additions to the design of the containers I found: one being the ability for them to interlock when stacked, another being hinge less and lastly an electric locking mechanism that could also be used to track the container. I made the containers in two different sizes that can be stacked on top of each other interchangeably. I originally thought the containers need to be held in cages but after several failed design attempts I decided it wasn’t necessary. I settled this in my mind by making the many containers magnetized to hold together during transport. While working on the containers I decided to enlarge the engineering room and shrink the cargo bay down a bit to make it easier to view the inside of the engineering room.
After the containers were done I needed a way to load and unload the cargo bay. I know previously I said I wouldn’t be modeling droids for the ship but out of necessity I decided to make a cargo loader droid. Again I went to the web for inspiration and found examples of cargo droids on Wookieepedia. I liked what I saw but they did not seem big enough for the job. I finally decided on modeling something similar to the Viper probe droids that were sent to Hoth to surveil the Rebels in the Empire Strikes Back. They are plenty big enough (though a bit menacing) for moving the cargo containers but with too many arms. I reduced the arm count down to just four placing them in the corners of the droid. The droid didn’t need as many sensors as the probe droids so I left many of them out. The resulting Viper Cargo Droid is just what I needed and should surely scare off any looting Jawas lurking nearby.
To complete the cargo system I needed a vehicle to move larger quantities of cargo containers. For this I designed a repulsorlift pod with the cargo containers in mind. I found these on Wookieepedia and they were mentioned in a few Star Wars comic books. It is basically a floating platform piloted from the back that is powered by repulsor engines. The engines use imaginary space-time mumbo-jumbo particles that are harvested by black hole power refineries. The point is they defy gravity and effortlessly move stuff around in planetary environments or any place or ship generating it’s own gravity.
Before I made the cargo repulsorpod I took a slight detour. I got to thinking about the tables and chairs in the mess hall and how they didn’t go with the flow of the room. So, I ditched existing tables and chairs and came up with a new idea for chairs and subsequently their matching tables. The chairs are formed from just 3 pieces: two metal rails and a sheet of “transparasteel” (a strong glass like substance) that are bent into the final shape. The tables are made the same way to match and made to be long and narrow to accommodate more people. The new furniture works much better in the room.
Next I worked on lighting fixtures for ceilings in the rooms off of the main corridor. They’re designed to be modular and comprised of an array of recessed lights (resembling can lights) that are surrounded by a tapered bezel with illumination around the edges. They would likely be made in a shiny black material that would gently reflect the light. For the large open sections of the ship I created a small square array of these lights to be repeated evenly across the ceilings.
A smaller change I made to the ship involves the docking ports. Early on I modeled the docking ports to match those found on the Millenium Falcon but I was never quite aware of how they operate and even now I still don’t know how they work. But at the time I made them I left no way for them to open due to my uncertainty. All I did this time was add a hinge to the doors so they can open outwards. So now at least they appear to function. Someday when I get a better idea I will change it. Also, early on there was an outer ring that protruded past the doors but when I changed the hull design to have alcoves for the docking ports I got rid of outer ring. I added the ring back into the design to make it once again consistent with the Millennium Falcon.
From the beginning I knew that the display screens were going to need some graphics. Nearly every screen on the ship up until now were just blank and at some point in time I was contemplating leaving them that way to save on size of the SketchUp data file. After I blew way past the size limit of file uploads for the Google 3D Warehouse the file size savings became irrelevant. For the screen on the computers in the computer core I created a simple status display with statistical graphs on one side and a meter of some sort on the other side. For the weapon targeting displays I carefully positioned the camera between the gun barrels and created snapshots of their view. I put crosshairs on the targeting displays and they were done. Every computer console needed a keyboard so I created a keyboard graphic that resembles the layout of the keyboard I saw in an interior photo of (again) the Millenium Falcon. For the display of the cargo computer consoles I made an overhead shot of the cargo floor to indicate a visual record of the cargo bays contents. This is to help keep track of and to find all of the cargo listed in the manifest. I borrowed elements of the computer core displays placing them above the overview. I labeled the screen using a galaxy basic font that is used in Star Wars. The final display screen I created was for the engineering computer console that displays the status of all of the ship’s vital systems. Again this display borrows graphics from the computer core displays and portions of the display are labeled in galactic basic.
One final detail to the ship was added in the ready room. The ship needed an insignia to represent who owns it so I added a large logo of the Alliance to Restore the Republic also known as the Rebel Alliance to the back wall of the ready room.
There were many mistakes that were fixed and micro changes that were made in the completion of the model which are really too negligible to mention but effected the overall quality of the model. I tried to go through the entire model with a fine toothcomb and I think it is in pretty good shape.
My final work on the model involved creating all new scenes for the model to show off all the details and features. There are now 99 different scenes in the model. About a quarter of the scenes are not labeled and they are there purely to smooth transitions between scenes when the scene animation is played.
The production of the Starship is now complete. It was really fun working on it and I am already contemplating the next one I intend to model. In the next blog post I write on the ship I will unveil the name, make and model of the ship. I post a link to the model so anyone with Google SketchUp 8.0 can download it and take a look. I will post a final image gallery using the labeled scenes I created and possibly post the animated walk through on YouTube.
See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update: