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.