This project may seem scatterbrain, but that is because it is. To prevent boredom I have to move on to something else to keep my creativity going. Typically those who design stuff like this sketch it out on paper first and make several revisions before they even start creating a prototype model let alone the final 3D model or a physical model. That method probably makes the most sense but in my case I am completely digital and it’s out of necessity.
I started off creating a general layout of the ship’s interior in Photoshop but after that I went straight to modeling. I only had a general idea of what the exterior design would be. Pencil sketches of my ideas would really help but instead I let my ideas evolve as I model. Some ideas just don’t work and that is evident in the design of the main weapon as you will see.
In continuation of the last update it was now time to work on the landing gear for the rest of the ship. I learned a lot from the first ship I created and one thing I learned was the landing gear were way too inadequate for the size of the ship. I made them way too spindly and way too complex. This time I have made the landing gear simpler and much stronger in appearance. There are no visible hydraulic actuators and there are only 2 joints per landing strut. Once the landing struts are deployed, the hull of the ship rests against the side of the strut arms in addition to the pivot points in the 2 joints. The strut arms are 8 feet wide and 5 feet wide and would be solid in construction and completely unbendable (in theory). When folded they fit flush against the bottom of the hull. If they aren’t strong enough now, then go with the assumption that the repulsorlifts carry most of the weight when the ship is parked.
Another thing I learned from my first ship is that it has way too much firepower for its size. It is over 98 meters yet it has 12 quad laser cannons, 2 dual laser cannons and 2 single laser cannons. The Tantive IV Corellian Corvette at 150 meters has just 12 weapons total yet only two are really a threat to anything larger than a starfighter. At this point this ship was 292 meters long. At the time of this writing it is now 265 meters long. Due to its size and the fact that it is designed to carry a small fleet of starfighters, it should need just one or two heavy turbolaser cannons and supplemented by about a have dozen small turbolaser cannons.
I decided the main weapon would be a dual heavy turbolaser much like the ones of the Venator-class Star Destroyer. At first I thought I would mount it over the top of the turbolift midline in the ship that way it could be easily accessed by the gunner. The turbolift would go up inside the base of the turret and the gunner would sit a ways in front of the turbolift doors. The gunner would move with the turret and the seat would move up and down match the azimuth angle of the gun’s barrels. I proceeded to create the shaft for the turbolift and then the base of the cannon’s turret. Right when I was making pretty good progress it occurred to me that the gunner should be situated right over the pivot point of the turret like Luke Skywalker did inside the Millennium Falcon’s upper turret in Star Wars: A New Hope. The reason is for the gunner to maintain equilibrium and not feel the G forces of a centrifuge as the turret spins on its axis. So, when I decided the design wouldn’t work I deleted what I started and did something else.
After taking time to rethink the design and location of the main weapon I decided it would have an access tube like the Millennium Falcon instead of a turbolift. Before I completely deleted the failed version of the weapon I copied the profiles of the of the turret parts and used them for the smaller base of the new turret. Using the heavy turbolaser from the Venator-class as I guide I created the basic shape of its turret housing. I hollowed it out then added the part of the housing that surrounds to base of the barrels. Then I made the inner walls of turret house for the gunner. Then I added to end caps to the outside of the barrel housings. A grill was added to the front of the turret for detail.
For the design of the gun barrels I pretty much copied the profile of the barrels of that same Venator-class gun. That gun has a smaller barrel next to each main barrel. Because my gun will be smaller I left that out. The base of the gun barrel has something that looks like a basket which was inspired by a turret from another starship modeler. After the barrels were done I started adding some basic details to the outside of the turret. I added the stripe down the middle, beveled the edges of the back of the gun then an end plate, and added detail to the end caps. To finish the turbolaser I added sensors to be used as the sights for the gunner to use. The interior will be done later.
The last few additions I made to the model are just some minor details that add to the overall aesthetics of the ship. I added some detail to the edges of the escape pod section that is similar to the detail on the leading edges of, The Devastator, the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer from Star Wars: A New Hope. This same detail will be used again later on. I went around the ship and made the inset parts of ship a darker grey to add some contrast. Those areas will have “greeble” details added later. If you are unfamiliar with the term, greebles are those seemingly random details that are added to the surface of a model to add some visual interest but otherwise serve no real purpose. The final detail I added were some panels for the front of the ship next to the main viewport. My plan was for the photon torpedo launchers to go hers but now I am not so sure. But in any case this part of the ship needed something there.
What’s next? Further changes to the main weapon, more exterior details, a major change to the engine layout effecting the length of the ship, and maybe some secondary weapons.
See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update: