Since the last update, I decided it was time to work on the Observation Deck which has been left neglected for far too long. At the time of this writing I have decided to rename the Observation Deck to the Tactical Bridge to better suit its purpose.
The purpose of the Tactical Bridge is mostly for strategizing during battles and the rest of the time it is used for observation. It gives a better view of the ship from more angles than it is possible from the Main Bridge. Since it is focused on battles, the inside of the Tactical Bridge is equipped with only a limited amount of controls unlike the Main Bridge that is set up to control all of the ship’s functions.
Most of what was done inside the Tactical Bridge was pretty straight forward to model because I was able to use components from the rest of the ship. I first enlarged the interior and exterior of the room because it didn’t seem big enough. Next I replaced all of the wall panels and components I had put in there earlier with the utility panel design so it would everything would match the Main Bridge. I decided to reuse the curved wall consoles from the lower level of the Main Bridge along the back wall for displaying large amounts of information. The ‘wings’ on the outside of the Tactical Bridge started to get some detail that would get worked on more later on.
The next thing I did was add blast doors to the viewport. To fit the blast doors there, I had to increase the outer dimension below the floor enough so the lower blast door would be fully recessed into the hull plating. Just like in the Main Bridge, the blast doors have interlocking teeth and the doors are inside room behind the transparisteel viewport.
I then added the transparent map screen from the Main Bridge which I just found out is actually called a Com-scan Display Screen. The Com-Scan system integrates hundreds of sensors including those in the sensor globes which I added next. In addition to the Com-Scan Display Screen, I added 4 sitting wall computer consoles and wall boxes to the side walls.
Now that most of the interior of the Tactical Bridge was complete, I moved onto the outside. After debating it in my mind whether to go with sensor dishes or sensor globes, I decided that since the ship is more and more looking like a mini Star Destroyer that the globes were the way to go. The globes I designed don’t look like the ones on the Star Destroyers in the movies but based on their location, it is obvious what they are. Mine are not as complex in design and the bottom of the globes are recessed into the ‘wings’ to make them more streamlined. I actually modeled them twice: the first time I made them there were too many odd shapes created because I merged a sphere with the banding, the second time I segmented the sphere and spaced the segments by the width of the bands. The difference is barely noticeable but it is better now.
I started to add detail to the wings of the Tactical Bridge earlier before I got involved in the sensor globes. Now it was time to finish adding those details. In keeping with the design of the ship I added the same details from the edges of the wings of the ship. I also then added two smaller laser cannons on both sides of the Tactical Bridge.
The back of the Tactical Bridge needed something so I created some back plates for the wings and inset the back of the main section so it wasn’t just flat. Some slats were then added to the back of the wings. I intend to add more details like that to the rest of the ship. Generally Star Wars style ships have a lot more fine detailing that I am adding but being that the size of the SketchUp model is already huge I have to be more conservative. If I had a separate models for the exterior and interior of the ship then there could be more details added but I want to make a complete ship that can be freely explored and multiple files would make it difficult for that.
The top of the Tactical Bridge needed more than just the sensor globes so after studying the command towers on Star Destroyers, I decided on a long range forward sensor array. Now that it is done, it kind of resembles a LED light bar on a modern police cruiser. It would be used for detecting ships in the far distance as well as any obstacles in the way. After the sensor array was done, I decided to put one facing backwards mainly because I didn’t know what else to put there. I thought about adding some antennas but I think keeping it simple looks better.
The interior of the Tactical Bridge still needed more for it to be functional and to do that it needed a few more work stations. The idea of the seat on the curved wall console was inspired by the seat Admiral Ackbar used while commanding the Alliance Fleet during the battle of Endor but the way my seat worked was completely different. I decided to make a seat for the Tactical Bridge that worked the same as Ackbar’s. I had wanted to do this on the Main Bridge but there was nowhere for it to be by the time I thought of it. Starting with the seat from the curved wall, I removed the wheels and motors from the foot plate base and made it so the seat bracket mounted to the face of the foot plate instead of the back. I added back the seat base of the regular seats on the ship, removed the lower half and made a pole curve forward and extended it several feet ahead of the foot plate. I also added back the details from the seat back on the pilot cockpit chairs. Finally, I modeled a base for the pole to pivot on. The new pivoting seat can now swing the commanding officer around the front of the room to offer the different visual view points of the battle.
Admiral Ackbar also had two other Calamari officers at computer consoles flank his seat on both sides. I decided to add two computer stations in the same locations on the Tactical Bridge. I didn’t have any freestanding computer consoles so I quickly made some. I took the work surface of the wall computer consoles, cut off the top to make it shorter, made it only two feet wife. I added a base to the console and placed a finished console on either side of the pivoting chair.
The final thing I added to the Tactical Bridge was the ceiling. The ceiling is the same design as the ceiling in the Landing Bay, Engineering, the Main Entrance room and the Cargo Bays. I guess I could have done something more like the Main Bridge but again, the ship is almost too big for SketchUp and I don’t want to make it any slower to work with than I have to.
What’s next? I am currently working on more exterior details for the ship. I was going to include some of it in this update but decided it was not really part of the Tactical Bridge.