Starship Project Final Update

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:

A long time ago…

I’ll be posting the next update (possibly final update) for my starship project soon. But as of today it just occurred to me that I have been working on this model for over an entire year! I started on it on October 12, 2009 and it is still not finished. Of course, I continue to enjoy working on the project I just never expected it to take over a year to do. At some point I will have to declare it done and beyond that I may revisit it for a “refit” later on.

There are some things I would like to revise that would require me to considerably tear into the model to fix. The main revision I am considering is making the heights of the walls consistent on the top and bottom levels of the cargo, engineering and bridge. This would probably also entail making the walls of the rooms along the main corridor the same height as the mid level of the cargo, engineering and bridge. Furthermore, I would also want to make the floors in the large sections thicker than the current thickness of 3 inches to be more consistent with ship seen in Star Wars. Doing all that would require the outer hull to become larger to accommodate the new changes. I have many other changes I can see making as well: recessing the main weapons into the hull and make it so the pop out of the hull when in use, replacing the landing struts with beefier legs that flip down instead of the current scissor mechanisms, adding porthole windows to select rooms and replacing one airlock/docking port.with a conference room.

Now you can get the picture why the project has taken so long: I don’t know when to call it done.

Starship Project Update 16

I had previously said in my last update that the next update would probably be the last starship project update but in reality there is still a lot to do. A lot of time has passed since update 15 and that is due to other SketchUp projects taking focus. The Infirmary and the Brig are now done to my satisfaction and they are the main topic for this update.

The first thing I did this time was to define the spaces for the head and showers. I removed the second door to the head and showers because there was no reason for a separate entrance. For the interior of the room I added a dividing wall right down the middle and put a pocket door on it close to the entrance. The first half of the room when entered will be the head and the other will be for the showers. These rooms will be finished by the time of the next update.

I then moved on to creating the space for the Infirmary and the Brig. The brig only needed to be a small room so that’s why I placed these two unrelated rooms in the same hull section. I made the space for the brig a quarter of a room and I left the rest for the Infirmary.

The brig is made up of two rooms: the entry area and the actual cell. The entry is is just one standard wall panel deep and the cell takes up the rest of the space. The cell has solid black walls making it the only room on the main ship without modular walls. The cell door uses the same design as the pocket doors but with a reinforced transparasteel windows. Next to the cell door is an additional transparasteel window on either side of the wall that the cell door slides between. The cell door is only operated by the internal entry door control panel for obvious reasons. Inside the cell is a padded bench for sitting or lying on. Attached to the end of the bench is a waste extraction unit (toilet) which I just realized I left out a sink, oops. I’ll add a sink later.

For the Infirmary I needed to accommodate what, in Star Wars, is called a bacta tank. It is basically a tank filled with a substance, called bacta, which has special healing properties. The injured patient is submerged in the bacta and suspended with a harness and breathe with an apparatus. They stay in the tank until they are sufficiently healed. The problem is that there is enough headroom in the room to lower someone into the tank from the top, so I had to lower the floor and raise the ceiling. I built stairs into the floor at entrance of the Infirmary. I then modeled the tank and a platform at the top of it. I put a ladder panel on each side of the platform to allow access to it. I then made a simple frame with a winch to lower the patient with the harness into the tank.

I took a break from the project for a while and when I returned to it to finish the rest of the Infirmary. I created the control panel for the bacta tank which finished that part of the room. I then went on to designing an exam table. I didn’t have much to go on so I designed the exam table similarly to the operating table seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I built in a full body scanner that is hinged over the bed surface. The scanner is mounted to a track underneath the table. I put in two of these tables on the back wall. There needed to be a display behind each table so I designed them based on the computer console display screen. I then added a computer console next to the exam tables. Because of the lowered floor I had to make the patient displays low enough to be at the proper height. When they were finished I didn’t like it because it took away from the modular design of the ship and it made it hard to add storage to the room. So it occurred to me that only the floor for the bacta tank had to be lowered. I moved the stairs to just in front of the tank platform but making it only wide enough to walk down it. I then fixed the patient displays and computer console to make them the right height. The last thing I did was put some storage cabinets by the door.

While the ship is still not finished I still accomplished a lot this time around. The only things remaining to be done (until I think of more) are the fixtures for the bathroom facilities, more interior lighting, shipping containers for the cargo section and graphics for the display screens. I might also reconfigure one of the airlocks into a conference room with a round transparasteel window. I mentioned a small morgue in the last update but there is just no room. I will figure something out. I won’t be adding droids to model which would be cool but I think that will make the model way to complex and big in file size.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Starship Project Update 15

In my last update I said that I was going to work on 4 things this time. Well, that didn’t happen but for good reason. I didn’t create Hyperdrive motivators because I found out that a Hyperdrive motivator is the same as a Hyperdrive generator and I already made the generator. I didn’t move the main entrance of the ship because I couldn’t find a feasible place to move it to. I wanted to move it to the airlocks because that makes the most sense given that the Millennium Falcon is configured that way. The reason why I can’t do that is the fact that the lift would have to be able to raise or lower the people more than 22 feet. That’s ridiculous! So what I did accomplish was the kitchen equipment and the rear facing weapons.

For the rear facing weapons I started by modifying a quad laser cannon. I just took a half of the quad laser cannon, removed the disc and created a hinged mount for it that restricts horizontal movement (5 degrees inward and 15 degrees outward to avoid shooting the sub light engines or bumping the side of the ship). The mount housing pokes through the wall of the cargo section and has a round door accessible for maintenance inside the cargo section. There are 2 of these dual laser cannons on each side of the cargo hull.

For the kitchen equipment the first thing I modeled was an electric range. This may seem funny putting something like this on a spaceship that isn’t even from Earth but if you watch Star Wars – Episode II: Attack of the Clones you will see something similar in the scene in Dex’s Diner. It hangs on the wall in place of a wall panel and has a smooth glass top. I also created a matching range hood for each of the 2 ranges.

Continuing in the kitchen I created modular cabinets that match the style of the electric range that also hang on the wall. One of the cabinets was then further modified to become a sink. As you can see in the pictures the sink is again similar to a kitchen sink found on Earth but why reinvent the “repulsorlift”. What is different is the faucet which is operated by buttons that set the temperature and the flow rate right on the spigot.

And finally every kitchen needs a trash can so again I created one in the style of the electric range and again it hangs on the wall. I placed 2 more of these trash cans on either side of the Mess Hall entrance.

The final thing I did this time was add 2 additional landing struts in the back of the ship because I felt just two in the back were inadequate.

Along the way I also replaced all 2 3/4 and 2 1/4 panel walls with 2 1/2 panel walls to reduce the amount of components. This doesn’t reduce the file size by much but I’m trying to optimize the model as much as I can. As it currently stands the model is 17 megabytes.  I plan to upload the completed starship to the Google 3D Warehouse once done. The 3D Warehouse only lets people upload models up to 10 megabytes  so I’ll have to break it up into pieces and people will have to reassemble it.

What’s next now? The head (bathrooms), the brig, the infirmary with a small morgue and possibly some ceiling lighting. Update 16 will likely be the final update where I will declare the project finished! One problem though, it still doesn’t have a name…

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Starship Project Update 14

Once again I have broken my record (like a broken record) of snapshots for these starship updates with 40 pictures. This time I worked on the rest of door controls, the elevator controls, but most importantly I created the new engineering section in its entirety. There also were some more inconsistencies and minor underlying issues were solved.

The first thing I did was to fix the table design in the mess hall so the ridge would no longer be in the way people sitting at the ends of the table.

Next I made the controls for the main elevator on the bridge. They are all based on the design of the pocket door controls I designed earlier. I then added the controls for the “Jeffrie’s tubes” which are identical to the bulkhead door controls. Once I was done with the control pads I added detail to the outside of the pocket doors so they match all the other doors on the ship.

Most of the shortcomings I mentioned in the last update were taken care of this time in the form of the new engineering section. The first thing I needed to do was to move the cargo section back by 22 feet to make room for the engineering section. That required me to lengthen the hull plating to cover up the new gaping hole I created. I copied the cargo section and pasted it above the ship so I could turn the copy into the engineering section. I shortened the newly created section and cut out a hole for the bulkhead doors. Then I had to make the front wail of the cargo section flat again. I then reconfigured the wall panels to cover the walls. I also removed everything from the cargo section that would now be located in engineering. I didn’t make any snapshots until I finished creating the empty engineering section because it was just boring busy work. I then moved the engineering section in place in front of the cargo section.

Continuing the work on the engineering section I extended the crown lighting under the upper floor and added columns to support it. Once that was done I moved on to modeling the hyperdrive equipment. I decided to place the hyperdrive generator on the lower floor of the engineering section on the front wall. It’s design is based on the hyperdrive I saw in the cross section drawing of the Millennium Falcon I mentioned in the last update. I found only one other example of a hyperdrive generator online but it was just a monolith with a lot of detail that I didn’t want to add. I made the generator upright as opposed to flat so it would fit against the wall. I added some tubing at the bottom of the generator to connect to the wall. These manifolds connect the hyperdrive generator to the four power generators and to the hyperdrive motivators that will later be added to the outer hull.

Since I added manifolds to the hyperdrive I decided the power generators needed exhaust manifolds. I created these in the same way as the small ones. The pipes wind upward, then converge into one then the pipe widens and connects with the ceiling. Above the exhaust pipes I created a round vent on top of the ship to expel heat and gaseous vapors.

The next job was to design the computer core for the ship. I decided on placing the computer core on the lower level back wall of the engineering section. To make it fit I extended the floor above to create enough depth underneath so the computer core wouldn’t extend past it. For the core I decided to make it a network of several (10) computer racks containing 6 modules each. The computer core would work much like modern distributed computing systems. Each CPU works autonomously with the others and share the load creating a powerful and redundantly safe computer core. In the middle of banks of computer racks I created a network cabinet that contains a central hub where all the computers in the core and the rest of the ship connect to each other (most likely with fiber optic cables).

And finally I decided to create some display screens that show a schematic of the ship from several views that would highlight problem areas going on in the ship. This was inspired by the the ones seen on Star Trek The Next Generation in the main engineering room on the Enterprise that have the same function. To do this I simply created a style making all faces black and edges orange and set the camera to parallel projection. I then took snapshots of 4 different views and combined them into a single image. The resulting image was then used as a material. I placed one of these screens on either side of the computer core. I also decided to put them on the main level of the bridge. In addition I create 4 blank screens for the bridge to be used for tactical or communication applications.

The ship is now about 95% complete. What’s next? Hyperdrive motivators, relocation of the entrance (Likely to have two: one entrance in each airlock), the kitchen equipment and rear facing weapons.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Starship Project Update 13

Drum roll… This time I have taken 38 snapshots for this update beating the last update’s record of 33. There would have been a lot more pictures to show except I kept neglecting to capture every change. Since the last update I have created the Escape Pods, the bunks for the Crew Quarters, the tables and chairs for the Mess Hall, ail of the furnishings for the Officers Quarters, the door keypads and a few cosmetic changes. Along the way I have discovered quite a few shortcomings in the design of the ship which I will address later.

The first step in designing the Escape Pods was deciding where to put them and how big to make them. I decided to put them underneath the main corridor because there is over 6 feet of clearance between the bottom of the corridor and inside of the outer hull plating. The maximum length of the escape pod was determined by the width between the hull plating section bracing at 16’8. The width of the escape pods was determined by the the width of the protruding strip of blue hull plating underneath the ship at 11’. The typical size and shape of escape pods used in the Star Wars universe would not fit within this space. They are typically barrel shaped and exceed the maximum length I need. The design I came up with is closer to the design of a small shuttle craft.

I created a panel for the bottom of the hull plating that will be blown off when a pod is launched. The panels are held on by exploding bolts that explode when an electrical current is passed through their pyrotechnic charges. I am not going to bore you (or me for that matter) by going through all the details of the build up of the pods but I will instead just outline their features. They are accessed through the top hatch of the pod through an access tube accessed through the floor of the starship’s corridor. When marooned, I mean when landed, on the surface of a planet the window in the front is used as the escape hatch. The pod can act as shelter while you wait for rescue or hide from Krayt dragons. They each have the capacity for 8 crew members with enough fuel, air, water, rations and supplies for 4 standard days. The outside of the pods feature 4 small ion drive thrusters for forward propulsion and 8 pairs of maneuvering thrusters. The escape pods are attached to the ship with 4 exploding bolts on brackets attach to the outer tube or the main corridor. To get in to a pod you pull a red lever on the floor of main corridor and the floor cover raises up and the access tube and pod hatches slide open. The 8 passengers slide down into the pod, they then quickly argue about who gets to be pilot and the aggressive Senator from Alderaan takes matters into her own hands and orders the kid, the Wookiee, the professor, the smuggler and the gambler to sit down as she takes the wheel.

The design of the bunks I created for the crew quarters was inspired by the ones in a cross section drawing of the Millennium Falcon found on Wookieepedia. Each room has 4 beds and there are 8 rooms total. These beds, while small, really beat the heck out of the ones in modern nuclear submarines. The width of the “cubby holes” are wide enough for storage to sit along side the upholstered mattresses with a shelf for personal items. It is important for the bunks to be comfortable for lengthy deep space missions unless it’s an imperial starship. In that case comfort is thrown out the viewport. What’s the point of padding when you’re forced into wearing useless plastic and fiberglass storm trooper armor? If there is even a hint of blaster fire you won’t even have time to discover your bunk assignments before playing humanoid shield.

For the mess hall chairs I simply removed the armrests from the standard chairs. For the benches I took the chair and made it 2 and a half times wider with two pedestal bases. For the tables I created a rectangular top with rounded corners and created a ridge down the middle as a way to divide the sides of the table. I then created a pedestal base with a larger circumference than the chairs. I just realized that with chairs at the long ends of this table, the ridge in the way of whoever sits there. That won’t work; I’ll fix that once I publish this. Next I created a surround for the kitchen pass-through with a counter to rest food trays on. I am debating whether there should be an actual kitchen or to just use automatic food dispensers. Obviously there isn’t room for kitchen staff on a small blockade runner so if it’s going to be a kitchen then I will have to create rude cafeteria droids to insist that no droids are allowed in line.

For officer quarters I adapted the crew bunk by turning it into a single bed. That was easy. I then created a desk by modifying the ready room desk design to be linear so it would sit against the wall. I then decided the room was rather empty and I decided to create a sitting area. I accomplished this by first looking for inspiration on the web. I found a cool modern couch design that I liked so I created my own version. It has rounded hollow arm rests that the seat cushion flows through and it has an adjustable back than can fold down if necessary. After I was done with the couch I created a “brewed beverage” table using a couch armrest tipped on it’s side with a multi-tiered table top. The room still seemed empty so I placed a second couch facing the other. I moved the desk and seating around until it all looked right. I was going to also model the interior of the bathroom but after I researched that idea I decided to instead forego that and make the door closed for now. Besides, when do you actually see the bathroom on the Millennium Falcon? You know there is one somewhere but do you really need to see it?

The last thing I did was to create the door control pads. I made the one for the pocket doors first. There is nothing much to them: Just some buttons and small status screen on a rounded corner rectangular plate. For all of the other doors I made a version with more buttons and a small speaker and microphone intercom. The 2 types of bulkhead doors needed the control pads to be mounted differently so I made housings for each type to fit on the door frames. I will make additional control pads for the access tube hatches, lighting and elevators and lifts soon.

I decided to clean up the names of components for better organization. While doing so I found a bunch of mistakes in the model that I needed to fix. The problems were just minor stuff like misalignments and and some inconsistencies. There is still a lot of cleaning up to do with the names of components which I will continue to work on.

As I mentioned early I have discovered some shortcomings that the ship has. The main entrance is on the bridge which could cause a security risk while landed on a planet or in an airlock. There is no computer core or a place for it. No hyperdrive! I wasn’t aware that the big engines on a Star Wars type ship are only for sub light speed. Hyperdrive uses equipment on the inside of the vessel. To house the hyperdrive and other systems there should be a dedicated engineering room. There are no rear facing weapons. That was the major problem with the most well known blockade runner, the Tantive IV. I will address each of these issues in future updates.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Starship Project Update 12

This update is very big this time. There are 33 images in the update gallery and the most so far. I created all of the weapons, the rest of the propulsion system and the main antenna. In addition to those items I completely overhauled the cargo section and extended the docking ports outward so they can dock with much larger vessels.

The first thing I modeled during this update was the Quad Laser Cannons. I decided on having 12 of them to go along with the 12 weapon stations on the bridge. This is an excessive amount of Quadlasers and would never be allowed in the era of the Empire but nonetheless I have made sure the ship is heavily fortified. The Tantive IV had just 2 dual laser cannons and 4 single laser cannons and if you’ve seen Star Wars then you know that didn’t go over so well. The design of the quadlasers my ship uses were based on the quad turbolaser cannons seen on the Trade Federation’s Lucrehulk class droid control ships. Since these guns are remotely controlled weapons there is a holocamera mounted between the the symmetrical gun halves. If the camera is knocked out somehow the gun could be set to automatically match it’s trajectory with a neighboring gun. A hole was punched through the hull plating panels to allow the guns to connect to the Jeffrie’s tubes below the surface. The panels without guns have a plug that closes up the holes. The plugs were initially round but I changed them to square ones with some detailing on them that didn’t look so boring.

Next I moved on to the Helm/detachable landing craft weapons. It’s weapons are 4 single stationary laser cannons (2 on either side) similar to the ones seen on your standard X-wing starfighter.  These cannons are controlled by the pilot or copilot of the vessel.

The final weapons I created are a pair of torpedo launchers. They are positioned below the main viewport on either side of the ship. On the lower floor of the bridge there are two rooms one either side of the ready room that allow access to the launchers for loading ammunition and maintenance. These are not based on any known Star Wars technology but are capable of launching various types of munitions including probes.

After some brainstorming on how to integrate the design of the cargo section with the rest of the ship to make it not look so much like an afterthought I came up with the idea to curve the outer hull around the edge of the cargo section. Along with that idea I realized that the docking ports need to extend past the width of the cargo section to allow the ship to dock with large ships without the cargo section being in the way. To accomplish these changes I started working on extending the docking ports. I took the profile of the outer hull and curved it 90 degrees with a an inner radius of 5 feet on the front side of the docking ports.  I then mirrored that onto the other side of the docking ports.  I moved the docking ports outward and created end panels to surround the ports.  After that I moved on to the cargo section. I curved the hull plating similar to the docking ports but just for the front of the cargo section. In doing so I erased the old hull plating. I also had to lower the profile of the cargo section’s chamber so it would fit inside the hull. I basically modified the chamber used for the bridge section by turning it 90 degrees and making the new back wall flat. I then had to modify the engines to fit the new shape of the cargo section.

Because of the change to the rear outer hull I had to reconfigure the front of the cargo section’s inner walls to match the new profile. Also, I made the following changes and additions to the cargo section:

  • Added alcoves to the cargo chamber to reconnect the cargo section to the Jeffries’s tubes.
  • Replaced front ladders with platform elevators.
  • Removed catwalk from front to back to open up the middle of the cargo bay.
  • Replaced lower catwalks with floors similar to the ones on the bridge and extended them around the perimeter. I added guard rails.
  • Added computer consoles without joysticks to serve as engineering stations.
  • Designed and added 4 power generators on the level above the engineering stations.

I then modeled the main communications antenna in the form of a dish. For the base I reused components from the quad laser cannons except scaled up and modified for the dish. I will add to the sensor array later.

The last stuff I worked on was finishing the propulsion systems. I added maneuvering thrusters around the docking ports and around the outer cargo section walls. Finally I added forward maneuvering thrusters to the back of the ship. I reused the engines from the detachable helm and made a new heat sink for them that fit against the rear hull. That reminds me; the detachable helm needs maneuvering thrusters too.

What’s next? Escape pods. Believe it or not the hull has enough room inside the lower part. At least I hope.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Starship Project Update 11

The project is moving forward quite well. But not the ship so much because it still doesn’t have maneuvering thrusters.  This time around I worked on finishing the Bridge and also completely modeled the interior of the detachable Helm.

For the Bridge I first designed and modeled a 4 man computer console station which would be used for tactical and communication purposes.

I then moved on creating seating for all of the computer consoles. The seats borrowed parts from previous Google SketchUp 3D Challenge entries I created (See Concept Vehicle and Library entries). I used the seat cushion, seat back and armrest brackets of Concept Vehicle and the seat pedestal from the Library chair. This was a big shortcut that saved a lot of time. I simplified the armrest pads by removing the arch.  These seats will be used all throughout the vessel with only simple modifications based on their purpose.

I created some simple view screens similar to Earth bound LCD TV’s for the top of the main viewport. They also have been placed on the back of the turbolift shafts.

The last thing I added to the Bridge is a desk for the commanding officer in the ready room. The desk has dual computer consoles giving access to reports and logs as well as the comm. system.

Now on to the detachable Helm interior…

I failed to make pictures of everything I did on the Helm at first but prior to creating the Helm controls I added some walls to delineate the cockpit. This also created two equipment/storage rooms on either side of the cockpit. For the Helm controls I simply modified the computer console input panels to create a station for both pilot and copilot or smuggler and Wookiee depending on who is in possession of the ship. I created a platform to raise up the cockpit for an easier look out the viewport.

The next job was to create an entrance for the Helm when it is detached and used as a landing craft. I settled on a simple lift gate design that will reveal the door.

I then went on to create the walls for the rest of the Helm. In doing so I repeated the use of the wall computer consoles used below in the Bridge.  I used one on each side of the craft and left openings for seating and beds for rotating Helm crew. I put in the back wall with the rear bulkhead door.

Cubbyholes were then modeled for the additional seating and beds. And of course I then modeled the seating and beds.

I added wall boxes To the back to wall just to add some interest.

I then added seats for the cockpit and gave them headrests. In addition to the seats I added some control boxes flanking both sides of the helm controls. And finally I added the tactical and communication station to the back of helm craft and a desk in front of the elevator behind the cockpit.

What’s next? Weapon systems, communications array, maneuvering thrusters and the rest of the internal fixtures.   I will probably also add minor details for the hull.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Starship Project Update 9

Note: From here on out the Control Module will now be known as the Bridge and the Bridge/Landing Craft will be known as the Helm.

Yet another big update on the Starship Project. This time most of the work has been done on the interior and more specifically the Bridge.

But first I designed the outer door/cargo lift for the cargo section. It is a simple design reminiscent of the design of the lift gate found on the back of an Earth bound small delivery truck. Yes, it is not so sophisticated but it gets the job done.

Back to the Bridge… I modeled some curved panels to bridge the gap between the side panels and the bezel of the main viewport. I then created the ceiling (again nothing special).

The next part I didn’t document with many pictures because it was just repetitive. I modeled the walls of the lower section of the Bridge creating the walls of the captains ready room (or office) in the fore section and another small room between the captain’s ready room and the entry room.  The cutouts of the floor of the upper section were changed to have a consistent overhang over the walls the floor is supported by.

To facilitate personnel to go from the lower to upper section of the Bridge I designed two small lifts on the back wall of the Bridge. The ladders in the cargo room will be replaced with these when I get around to it.

The next thing I did was model the main holoprojector in style of one seen in one of the Star Wars movies. I couldn’t help myself, I had to also add a holographic image of Chewbacca.

I then went to work modeling the computer terminals for the lower section of the Bridge. They are designed to be used to control the weapon systems, communications and in an emergency they can assume helm control. They kind of look half way between a console on the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 and one on the Death Star.

And finally I created an elevator and elevator shaft to take personnel from the lower level of the Bridge to upper the up to the Helm. To accommodate space to walk around the elevator on the upper level of the Bridge I extended the floor out and added support beams underneath.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update:

Starship Project Update 8

Oh, boy, I have really done a lot since the last update.

First off I had been working on the loading ramp for the command module, but after getting so far into it I decided it was way to long and steep. So I scratched the ramp and removed it from the model. After watching a recent episode of The Clone Wars I was inspired by the landing craft used by Mandalorian leader Duchess Satine. That ship has a platform that lowers down from the bottom of the ship’s hull instead of the never-ending steep ramp.

While I was contemplating the whole ramp issue I moved on to other things. I made a small change to the contouring of the cowling around the bridge/landing craft. No big deal there.

I decided to make the bottom of the hull flat to allow for more room in the command module and so the entry platform didn’t have to lower so far. Making the bottom of the ship flat also allowed me to shift the front landing gear inward so it would no longer interact with the contour of the hull.

For the purposes of later adding gun turrets later on, I rearranged the "Jeffrie’s tubes" so the turrets would be in the middle of the hull plating panels instead of the edges to make it cleaner looking.

I created the engines for the landing craft in the likeness of the engines on the snowspeeders seen in The Empire Strikes Back.

The next big thing I did was starting to create the wall panels inside the command module. For the back wall I tried my best to fit as many standard sized wall panels on to it within the confines of the shape of the shape of the room. This caused there to be a lot of wasted space, so instead I created the wall then redesigned the shape of the room to fit the wall.  After that I made the side wall panels with large openings left for computer terminals/stations to be modeled later on.

After I created the entry platform, as I mentioned before, I modeled the walls surrounding it and added the doorway in to it.

I then made another small change to model by making the standard wall corners rounded instead of squared off. I think it looks much better.

With the command module underway I finally got to modeling the main viewport (front window). I won’t bore you with the details in modeling it but instead let the pictures speak for themselves.

And finally I changed the hull accent color to a darker and more vibrant shade of blue. I also "painted" other surfaces this color to change the look of the ship a bit.

See the gallery below or here to see what was added this update: