TOS Star Trek Part 05

This is a render I did to test how the bussards look, and I think I finally got them were I want them. I also got the color map done for the saucer top. I’m probably going to lighten the grid lines a lot. They’re correctly colored for graphite, though, which is a nod to them being put on with pencil on the original ship.

TOS Star Trek Part 04

The materials are coming along. I’ve tried to mach the colors of the ship from the TV show as best I can. Of course, nobody really knows what the colors were 50+ years ago. I used Gary Kerr’s painting guide for the ship, as Gary has tried his best to match what the colors were. Two places where I’ll definitely go off of canon, sort of, are with hull paneling and weathering. If you count TOS Remastered, the paneling is canon. My paneling will be subtle, but I want it to be there for realism and for looks. Another realism choice I’m making is to not do all that weathering they did on the TOS Enterprise. The reason for this is that it’s unrealistic that a ship is going to get dirty flying through space. While the are things that will mark up your hull, that would mean that the hull integrity is compromised and that would be fixed at a Starbase. But, there aren’t really any circumstances where a ship will pick up dirt flying through space. There just isn’t going to be dirt in concentrations in a vacuum. Even nebula gas isn’t as tightly concentrated as it’s depicted on these shows. Also, the navigational deflector and other systems would keep most of that stuff off of your hull. While it is canon that the TOS ship has all that weathering, it’s also keeping in universe to not do it, as other ships don’t have all that. Back in the ’60s, nobody really knew much about space travel. Astronauts were actually kept in quarantine when they returned in case they picked up any illnesses in space. Obviously, it was later realized that didn’t happen and that practice was dropped. I believe the weathering was applied for the same reason, because they didn’t know any better. It’s possible that, when they had more scientific advisors in the 1970s and onward that someone let them know that the ship wouldn’t pick up all that crap flying through space.

So, with all that, this is where it stands:

The bussards are a work in progress, but I like how they’re going so far. Also, ignore the sensor domes, that was an experiment that didn’t work so well. For textures, I’ll have 10 4K maps to make; color and specular maps for the saucer top, saucer bottom, engineering hull, and both nacelles. I’ve also got a couple smaller maps to make, for the teardrop and underneath the shuttlebay, as both have markings on them that will need to be textured. Also, I may do a texture for the impulse vents. Everything else is just going to be the colors they are. This pretty much matches the paint that’s done on physical models, as it’s usually just a solid color. There’s no need to texture solid colors. 😉

TOS Star Trek Part 02

I got the secondary hull mostly done on the Connie. The flattened out areas on the sides and bottom of the front area and the shuttlebay section are the more painful areas for this part. Both require a lot of work and a lot of polygon cleanup. Of course, the windows are also no fun, as each one had to be positioned, cut, inset and rounded. Plus, a few of the round portholes needed a bit of vert cleanup, but that’s to be expected. Other details include the shuttlebay doors, which don’t open, and other assorted bits around the shuttlebay. I figure if I ever want the bay to work, I can always build working doors and the interior. However, I have a bad habit of wasting time making that stuff all work only to never do the actual bay, so I figured I’d just do simple doors that mostly match what’s on the actual model.

The only two things left to do on this section are the navigational deflector and main pylon (neck) that connects it to the saucer. Then, it’s on to the saucer. For those who are wondering, pennants and whatnot will be added in the texture phase. With 4K maps, there’s no real advantage in quality to modeling the stuff, and there’s a lot of cleanup involved in stenciling it on the hull, to say nothing of the work involved in removing a name and registry from a ship. (It’s even worse if the ship has grid lines) Anyway, I’ll draw all of the pennants and other markings in Inkscape and put those onto the texture maps. I figured out textures in Lightwave 2018 earlier. Fortunately, it uses nodes similar to Blender, so I was able to quite quickly figure out how to add a map using the node editor. I successfully applied a color and spec map to one of my older models using LW2018’s Principled BSDF materials. So, I’m stoked about that, as textures are obviously necessary and will make stuff like adding those markings a simple matter for me. 🙂

TOS Star Trek Part 01

So, I’ve started a new project, separate from my other projects I was working on. My goal is to model many of the ships from Star Trek: The Original Series era, both canon and non canon. Unlike the Enterprise I was working on previously, this is an attempt to do mostly accurate TOS era stuff. Of course, accuracy is in the eye of the beholder, as there were no less than four separate models that represented the Constitution class during the run of the series, not including 3 and 4 inch models, used in scenes in The Corbomite maneuver and The Doomsday Machine to show enormous scale and used as Sylvia’s miniaturized Enterprise from Catspaw. First there was the 33 inch model, which was built as a study model but was used in almost all of the effects shots in The Cage, and made various other appearances in the series. Then there was the 11 foot model, used for most of the series. And, there were two AMT models built and used, one to represent the Constellation in The Doomsday Machine and one built to represent the Enterprise next to K-7 in The Trouble With tribbles. Post TOS, there was also Greg Jein’s model from Trials and Tribble-Ations and various CGI models, used on Enterprise and for the TOS Remastered episodes. All said, there are many models that represent this one design.

So, where I’m at. I started on the nacelles for the Constitution class, as well as other ships, last night and got those finished, along with the connecting pylons. I’ll work on the engineering section tonight. Since I’m working from blueprints, there was no need to block in parts, as is necessary when I design ships in 3D. I’m using Alan Sinclair’s blueprints as they’re my favorites and I’m also referencing photos from the 11 foot model just before its most recent restoration at the Smithsonian. I’ve found a few discrepancies between the actual model and Sinclair’s blueprints, so I’m kind of eyeballing the changes. The hope is to have at least a 90% accurate model. Now, I don’t plan to model things like screws. That’s just insane, and I do plan to have this represent a finished starship, not a model. Naturally, I’ll also be detailing the left side of the ship. 😉

Anyway, this is where it sits right now:

I’d say I probably have about 8 hours into this total, as I didn’t work on it constantly. A few of the things I had to eyeball included the corrugated cardboard around the nacelle end caps and boxes just forward of them, as well as the shapes of some of the bits, like the intercoolers. They were a bit more rounded on the blueprints I’m working from, but that’s inconsistent with the actual parts from the model. The grill pattern is also simplified, as what was on the ship in the Smithsonian isn’t original to the model and is also too complex for me to feel it’s worth recreating. And, of course, the bussard insides are just my interpretation of what was believed to be in there.

For those who are curious, I’m building this in Lightwave 2018. I found some tips and tricks online to deal with the issues I was having before with the reflections. For one thing, I was using older style materials before, and I also upped my samples on both my lights and the reflections prior to rendering these. I’m pretty pleased with how these are rendering. I’ll be using Lightwave moving forward. As much as I like the idea of Blender, I don’t like the way it does certain things. I also find that open source projects tend to lack direction, evidence of this can be found by the fact that they keep changing render engines and have overhauled their user interface twice in the past decade. But that’s just my personal opinion, others will see it differently. Either way, I like Lightwave better, so that’s what I’m using. Besides, I paid $400 for the upgrade from LW10 to 2018, so I might was well use it some more.

AMD Lawsuit

So, sometimes something too funny happens and you just have to comment on it. Apparently, AMD has settled to the tune of $12.1 million in their big “Bulldozer” lawsuit in the fine state of California. That may seem like a lot, until you realize it’s a class action lawsuit and the “average” payout per person is expected to be to the tune of $35.

Full story here: https://www.anandtech.com/show/14804/amd-settlement (opens in a new tab)

Wow, that was sure worth it! Now, why is this funny? Because I have one of those processors. (but I didn’t purchase mine from AMD or in California)

Now, I think we all need to be honest here. We knew all along those processors didn’t really have 8 cores. It’s a hyper threaded 4 core. I bought mine on a Cyber Monday sale back in 2012, so I got a great deal on it. Also, it’s a really good processor. I’ve used it for many a CGI render and it handles rendering like a champ. I just think it’s funny that people sue over this kind of thing. I mean, that payout of $35 is so huge! 😛

Raspberry Pi

I decided recently to clear up some clutter. Specifically, stuff that takes up a lot of space like old video game systems and cartridges. While that stuff is fun, the amount of room it takes up is pretty large. So, I’m going to box up all that stuff and put it into storage. Of course, I still love playing old video games. Enter the Raspberry Pi. A Raspberry Pi is a type of single board computer, which can be used for a number of things, including retro gaming. I ordered a Raspberry Pi 3B+ with a 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, 1GB RAM, Dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2. It’s a powerful device for something so little. I ordered that, some heatsinks, a retro gaming case and a power supply with a switch on it, and I got all that in the mail from Vilros today. I also picked up a SanDisk 128GB microSD card at work last night. Not including the controller, I just grabbed one of my PC gaming controllers, I have a little over $80 into this thing.

Everything assembled:

Yes, the door opens up to reveal the USB and Ethernet ports:

The side and back, showing the microSD, Micro USB (for power), HDMI and audio ports:

All put together, it’s a neat little package, about the size of a NES Classic Edition. In fact, this sort of system is essentially what the NES Classic Edition is, a single board computer that’s designed for game emulation. This one is just less restrictive. For software, I’m running Recalbox 6.0. Recalbox is designed specifically for creating game emulation systems. I chose it over RetroPie because I’ve used it before, as Recalbox has PC versions and can be ran off of a flash drive, which I was doing on an old computer over the weekend.

So, after getting the things from Vilros in the mail this morning, I got all excited and put the Pi and case together right then and there. Then I remembered the heatsinks. So, I took it back apart, installed those, then reassembled the thing. I’d like to say that was my last mistake, but I accidentally put the X86_64 version of Recalbox on the microSD. I realized something was up when my screen was all screwy, so I put the correct version of Recalbox on it, and it works like a champ now.

For games, I had plenty downloaded for various systems, so I just transferred them to the microSD. Note: you’re legally allowed to have ROMs of games you legitimately own, but we’ll just say that I have some I shouldn’t. 😉 But, it’s not like I’m hurting anyone, most of these games are ones the companies don’t make money off of anymore anyway, and the ones that are still sold for newer systems are a lot of the ones I legitimately own.

Anyway, this was a fun little project, and one I’ll be continuing to add to. The OS supports about 30 game systems and I have plenty of space on that microSD, so many more games will be added. Then I can finally start cleaning up some clutter.

Eaglemoss Phase II

So, I got this little beauty from an Ebay seller. The ship was sold out on Eaglemoss’s web store, that’s why I went to Ebay. It’s a 5.5 inch recreation of the Phase II Enterprise from the lost series in the 1970s.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this purchase. The model sells for $25 from Eaglemoss, when it’s in stock, plus shipping. I got it for $28, free shipping. So, not bad at all. The quality of the model is really nice. The saucer is die cast metal, the rest is plastic. I don’t know why it uses two different materials, but it does. The paint is pretty nice, but the windows on the underside don’t match up with the indentions for them. Apparently, this is an issue with Eaglemoss ships. But, it’s actually not bad and mostly isn’t that visible unless you look closely. The only minor negative is the seam in the engineering hull, but it is what it is. I still like the model, and it’s nice to see that Eaglemoss is doing even concept ships and other ships that have been seen less in Star Trek. The CGI model that this is based on was created by Ed Giddings, and I really like his rendition. The model also came with a cool magazine:

The magazine is nice. It’s not really long, but it’s got some cool info on it, including a write-up on David Gautreaux, who was going to play Lt. Xon, Spock’s replacement. He did play the commander of Epsilon IX in the movie, but Xon was written out of the film at his request when Leonard Nimoy agreed to come back as Spock. Unfortunately, the person who sent me the magazine and model put them in too narrow of a box and bent the magazine. I hate it when people are that careless when shipping stuff. But, otherwise, it’s a cool set and I’m glad I bought it. I have other ships and magazines on the way from Eaglemoss. 🙂

Phase II Part 04

I added lines to the secondary hull. I got as close to the lines on the Matt Jefferies drawings as I could, though some of them didn’t survive the passage of time. For some, I used the cleaned up schematics from the Phase II book and just eyeballed the placement. It does look like the Jefferies drawings have some more horizontal lines, but they’re harder to make out and very closely spaced. They’re also very straight, as opposed to how you’d normally draw a horizontal line on a curved surface. It’s possible those were indications of where the decks are for him to align things like windows. I think that’s highly likely as there’s no indication of these lines on the bottom view. The lines I added are the ones that most depictions of the ship include.

On a side note, I’ve been looking at the Eaglemoss miniature of the ship. Right now, I just have web images, but I do have my very own model of this ship on the way from an Ebay seller. (they’re sold out on Eaglemoss) I noticed they didn’t include any of the lines on the secondary hull, or the ones on the bottom of the primary hull. Now, I haven’t seen the ones on the bottom of the primary hull on any of the drawings, I just added those myself. However, the ones on the secondary hull are definitely on Matt Jefferies’ original drawings. Anyway, that’s just something I noted. I’m still looking forward to getting my Eaglemoss model of this ship. I’ll post pictures when I get it. 🙂