Saturday, August 2, 2014


Not me, couple of years before I hit that milestone, but this is my 50th post according to my Blogger stats.
Few things on the go at the moment. First up, Michael Struck over at Neo-FX asked me to help out with a viewscreen for 'Star Trek: Renegades'. Must be a recurring theme for me - there was the window with a view for the 'Welcome To The Cosmos' teaser, the the Romulan viewscreen for 'Starship Farragut' and now this one. Here's the live action set and Scott Nakada's design.

The more recent release of Cinema 4D comes with a nifty Camera Calibrator utility that allows you to define x,y and z axes from an image and will then set up a camera and scene to match. Makes trying to align elements of the 3D model to the set a hell of a lot easier. Some work in Modo with some fix up in Cinema produced this result.

Still in the process of getting it textured and had to make some adjustments to get a uniform UV layout, then over in to Lightwave to get it textured and start on a lighting setup - still some work to do yet.

Meanwhile, back with Challenger. The pilot episode features the Phase II Enterprise. Initially, the production had hoped to be able to use Tobias Richter's new Phase II Enterprise, but, understandably, the folks at Phase II want that model kept strictly 'in-house'. My only solution was to build my own version based on images that Tobias had posted in a WIP thread over at SciFi-Meshes. There was talk of using one of the Phase II models that was available for download. However, those versions are all based on Matt Jeffries' unused Enterprise for the 1970's Phase II production. Tobias' version is something of a half way house between the TOS and proposed Phase II version - a practical choice to avoid expensive set rebuilding to match the 70's interior layout.
Here's the progress so far.

The Primary and Secondary hulls are essentially unchanged from the TOS version, allowing me to use an existing Enterprise mesh that I had already started. There's still a heap of detail to add from Tobias' version but it seems to be heading in the right direction.

Since this is my 50th post, I thought I would indulge myself a little. Apart from modelling Star Trek in a digital sense, I also collect the plastic kits as well. After adding another Enterprise kit to the collection, my wife asked how many versions of the Enterprise I actually had. Which prompted the following photograph.

I think I count sixteen versions to date, although I now have a 1701-C on its way to add to the collection. And for those that know me, yes that is an Abrams-Trek Enterprise on the upper right - might not be quite my Enterprise, but it is still the Enterprise to a new generation. There is an old AMT kit hidden away somewhere, but storage in a mice infested shed has seen it come to rodent nibbled grief - I'll probably replace it with the recent re-release which did away with the raised grid lines on the primary hull and went back to the smooth surface of the original 60's version. And let's not forget the Dinky version, which still has its box and plastic shuttlecraft and torpedoes.

Have I made any of the kits yet? No - maybe that's something to look forward to in my retirement...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

G5 Station

There was a request for a space station as part of the credits sequence for Challenger. The brief was for something TOS in look but not the bog standard K7. There was Masao Okazaki's Watchtower class station used in the Vanguard novel series, but Tobias Richter has already done an outstanding version of this which is appearing in 'Yorktown: A Time To Heal'. I had noticed the G5 station over at modelling site Tyken's Rift - an interesting kit bash between the AMT K7 and MPC's Pilgrim Observer.

I contacted the creator and asked if he would be amenable to me building a 3D model based on his design - he kindly agreed. I have made a few minor changes - but the essential design is the same. I still have some more detail to add, but this is where the 3D version stands at the moment.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

March of the Villains...

Been working on the title sequence for Jim Bray's Challenger. Since it is part of his 'Starship Anthology' project, he would like the titles to feature a number of ships as well as the Challenger. Since this included alien races as well, I needed to add to my collection of meshes. I started with Prologic9's excellent D7 and Romulan BOP available from Foundation3D. There were a number of practical issues with trying to get the models over in to Cinema 4D. In the end, I bit the bullet and rebuilt certain parts of the meshes, as well as converting the Lightwave planar mapping over to UV mapping.
First up, the Klingon D7.

I scanned in the decal sheet from the Polar Lights Romulan Battle Cruiser kit, and with a bit of Photoshop manipulation, was able to produce the Romulan variant of this model.

Still got some work to do - need to work out some specularity maps, and may add the engine details featured on the remastered TOS version.
With these two well on the way, I turned to the classic Romulan Bird of Prey. I'll probably offend some purists, but I added some paneling detail that I has seen in images of a garage kit of this ship, as well as insetting the window details rather than the extruded surface version that appeared on the original studio model. Again, more Photoshop fun with the decals from the re-release of the AMT kit. The bussard details need fixing up, and I need to work out some specularity maps.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Still Challenging...

Managed to get the bulk of the texture work done on the Challenger.

Scrubbed up quite well. I was going to add in some window boxes to give an impression of rooms behind the windows, but there is a push to get some animated footage produced, so that can take a back seat for the moment.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Up For A Challenge...

Making headway on texturing the Capital Ship for Polaris. I'd initially taken a different approach but TPTB wanted something more in line with the texturing of the Polaris herself. These are the results of the current phase.

On a different front, Jim Bray - who had been helping out the folks at Ajax on their restoration of the Exeter bridge set - is gearing up for his own production involving the USS Challenger. I'd taken an initial stab at building the Challenger, but when I'd heard that modeling god, Tobias Richter would be building her, I quietly put my version up on the shelf. Turns out that Mr. Richter has his hands full with Phase II and Axenar, so I dusted off my model and sent it over to Jim. He liked my take on the ship, so I have continued detailing.
Jim had built a kitbash to outline the design he had in mind - a variant on a TOS Miranda. I recognised the lines of the old AMT kit and sought to smooth out some of the limitations the kit bash had.

A number of people have pointed out that the dorsally slung secondary hull is a very Abrams Trek trait, epitomised by the design of the USS Kelvin. However, it seems that Matt Jeffries had toyed with a similar idea in some of his concept work for the 60's Enterprise.

So here is the current version of the Challenger - just about finished the detailing, few small elements to add then it's on to the texture phase.

I've taken some design cues from the Surya that I showed previously, trying to tie the Challenger to the design lineage seen in 'Ships of the Star Fleet: Volume One'.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

From the Hard Drive...

Real life has demanded a bit more of my attention  than I would like, hence I am still in the process of trying to texture the Capital Ship which is proceeding at a geological pace. Thought I would post a few images of a couple of projects which are stuck in  development hell while I try to find some free time.

First up is Masao's Archer Class Scout. The design was developed for the Vanguard series of novels set in the TOS timeline. There is a mesh available in Poser format but it proved problematic to convert over to Cinema 4D, so I elected to make my own version.

Needs some refining but a good start. Will probably serve as a springboard to start on some of the other designs over on Masao's excellent Star Fleet Museum.

Next up, the first pass at the Surya Class from Ships of the Star Fleet: Volume 1. Bill 'Tallguy' Thomas has already done an excellent version of this in Blender which inspired me to do a version for my Cinema 4D fleet. Still need to work out the details on the rear of the extended hull - most modelers go with a prototype version of the shuttle bays seen on the TWOK Miranda class. Also trying to work out whether I put an extended engineering deck on the upper surface, similar to that seen on the Coronado class.

One detail I have finally managed to nail down is the mesh detail seen on the eleven foot 1701 impulse engines. It looks like a fibreglass mesh that has been fitted to the outer curve of the engine - took me a while to work out how to model the mesh then shrink wrap it to fit the curvature.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Capital Idea!

More work on the Polaris front - this time a United Worlds Capital ship. Once again the original concept is by Jason 'Vektor' Lee.

Here's the model as it stands at the moment.

One of the challenging parts has been the greeble detail sections. The brief was detail similar to the flat aspects of the Nebulon B Medical Frigate seen at the end of 'The Empire Strikes Back'. I was initially a little stumped as to how to achieve this. Luckily, Modo has a replicator function which allows you to place mesh items over the polygons of a mesh. A bit of a climb up the learning curve and a few hair pulling sessions trying to wrap my head around how Modo treats its polygon normal vectors and how that determines the replicator placement/orientation and I finally managed to produce something that looked right.

More detail to be applied ( Fabio 'Meshweaver' Passaro's Nurnie collections are invaluable at this stage!), then it's on to texturing... More to come.