Phase II Enterprise

OK, this is the thing I’ve been working on, for those who didn’t get it already. I’ve always been intrigued by Star Trek: Phase II, the second attempt at a Star Trek TV series by Paramount that was doomed before it really got into production. Of course, the pilot episode became Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and many of the sets were used on the movies and even TNG, and some of the characters and stories were revisited on that show as well, but one wonders what would have become of Star Trek had that series gone through, as opposed to becoming a movie. We’ll never know because it didn’t happen, and everything worked out OK. We had the movies with the original cast, followed by TNG, DS9, Voyager, more movies and Enterprise. All told, a lot of good Trek, some of which likely wouldn’t have happened if Phase II had happened instead of TMP. Of course, the current state of Star Trek is sad, but at least we have hours upon hours of great shows and movies.

One thing I’ve always liked from Phase II was the model work being done at Brick Price Movie Miniatures, particularly the Enterprise model being constructed by Don Loos. Unfortunately, the model wasn’t high enough quality for the motion picture work as it was being built for television, so it couldn’t be used. Still, I love looking at Matt Jefferies’ sleek redesign for the ship, and at the 75% completed model that was being built. They were also working on a space dock that was significantly different than the one designed by Andrew Probert for the movie.

Anyway, I’ve built this ship before, but it’s been many years. As before, I’m using Jefferies’ updated drawings, cleaned up and made available by David Shaw. The drawings aren’t complete, but they give a complete enough view of what he had in mind for the Enterprise’s refit. There are also a few existing pics from the build in the Phase II book, which I of course have a copy of. In fact, I’m re-reading it while working on this. But, what I don’t have as far as references is where artistic license comes in. My goal is to do something between TOS and TMP, like maybe an intermediate design. Anyway, this is what I have so far:

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Return to CGI, Pt. 2

If anyone calling them self a Trekkie sees these images and doesn’t know what ship I’m doing, I’m going to have to ask you to turn in your Trekkie card. 😉

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The rear end of the engineering section is based on the one from TOS. I did it as close to the schematic drawings and the handful of pics of the incomplete model as I could, with a bit of embellishment of my own thrown in. That’s been the most time consuming part of this build so far.

Wildstar, Pt. 04

Unfortunately, I made a rookie mistake with this design. One of the things to consider when designing a space ship is how does your crew get on and off the ship? I have hatches planned, which will come in handy when the ship docks at something like a space station. However, I have no plans to give the ship the ability to land. Due to the way I designed the hull, it would require some really long rear landing gear. Plus, it would probably have to have some kind of long boarding ramp. It’s jut not practical. Of course, in some Sci-Fi (Star Trek, Blake’s 7, etc.) have some kind of matter transporter, or teleporter. Of course, this is good from a TV show budget sense, as using an effect like that is cheaper than shuttling the crew from place to place. Plus, it’s cool tech. Though, even if you have that kind of tech, you still need some kind of landing craft, as they had on Star Trek. And, indeed, we saw several Star Trek episodes where the transporters weren’t working for some reason or another, so they used shuttles. (except in “The Enemy Within,” where it would have made a lot of sense) Anyway, I don’t plan to have that kind of tech in my universe.

So, I decided to give the ship a landing bay. However, since I didn’t plan for it, I had to redo the paneling somewhere to fit it in. I chose the underside, since it required less work to redo the paneling there and because I could add a bay without breaking the upper hull design. My first thought was to do an inset with some doors inside it. Those doors would open into a bay. However, the only part of the underside that is curved enough is too far forward to put a bay forward of it, due to the shape of the front of the hull. So, I decided to add a structure to the bottom. This structure not only gives the underside ample room for a bay, but it also increases the ship’s internal space. So, the ship has a landing bay now for support craft.

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On The Rocks, Pt. 01

For years I’ve wanted to know how to do certain things. One of which is making asteroids. Doing planet and nebula shots is nice, but sometimes you just need to do different things. So, last week I got the March 2014 Lightwave newsletter in my e-mail. I get these because I’m a registered Lightwave user and, truth be told, I usually just glance over them and then dump them in the trash folder. Anywho, this month’s had a great picture of a space scene that an artist did with a space station and asteroids and a cool shuttle and some dudes in space suits. I clicked on it to get a better look at the picture, and found myself on a great “how I made this” page by the artist. Not only that, but he made a great video tutorial on making asteroids and an asteroid field. The basic mesh is pretty simple, but then you use procedural noise in the displacement node to get the funky shapes and procedurals for the textures. So, this is my first official asteroid:

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Mine doesn’t look quite as “rocky” as his do, because I used smoothing in my materials. It looks too pixilated without that, in my opinion. I honestly don’t even know how he made such a great looking image without smoothing. Though, he also used Lightwave 11.5, which may have a way to make that look better without smoothing. (or he used a smoothing filter in rendering) However, I can also up the bump on the material, which I’ll probably do later. I also had to figure out how to make his method work on larger rocks than he was making. His is 1m, mine is 200m. Fortunately, he had a link to an example file in his YouTube comments section, which helped me figure out why his method wasn’t working for me and what I had to do to fix it. Also, once I have a few more asteroids, I’ll make a field. I’m not just doing it with one rock. (boring)

Anywho, any Lightwave users who want to do this may want to check out the tutorial: http://www.cgarena.com/freestuff/tutorials/misc/space-station/aurora.html

More Lego Stuff, Pt. 04

More space Legos. The Space Transport. Though, I can’t imagine what it’s transporting, the cockpit is large enough for a single occupant and the cargo space is about big enough for his luggage. 😉

The X1 Patrol Craft (though, I wouldn’t want to patrol space in an open cockpit. ;))

The X1 was partly built in PCLinuxOS in my compiled version of LeoCad while I was installing some other software. 😀

More Lego Stuff, Pt. 02

I decided to put together a few of the “smaller” sets in the classic space series. These 3 are from 1979, which is a very good year, I might add. 😉

The only major import issue with these LeoCad models is the faces. trueSpace doesn’t like the geometry on the faces, so those were coming out bad. To fix this, I’ve been giving my spacemen plain heads and textured them in trueSpace with a smiley face texture I made last night in Inkscape. (I guess they all work in a space Walmart ;)) It looks just like the classic smiley head, but without the mesh errors. Once I go back to the SW stuff, I’ll have to make some more face textures for those heads, because none of them use the classic smiley.

Also, I tried to export one of my models to POV-Ray, but it keeps messing up on me. I point it to where the LGEO stuff is installed, but it keeps telling me that it can’t find LGEO. So, I’ve given up for now. I’ll try to figure that out when I’m not sick.

More Lego Stuff, Pt. 01

Yes, it’s more Legos. If you were hoping to see something else, too bad. For some reason, this is the only 3D I’ve been in the mood to do lately.

I wasn’t in the mood to do any work on the Death Star today. That’s a huge project that’s going to take a while and I’m going to have to work on it bits at a time so that I don’t get burned out on it. So, in lieu of working on that, I decided to do one of the old space sets, the Star Cruiser. Now, for some reason, from time to time, Lego released the same kit twice with a different number. This one was released as set #487 and set #924. They’re identical (even the instructions) and both were released in 1978, so it makes no sense to me. Anywho, I went with 924 because the instructions were in better shape. Anywho, it turned out really well:

LeoCad had all of the parts for this though, for some reason, they only had the small bricks and minifig chest with the emblem with a black planet. Since the planet in this set and most of the others from back then is yellow, I recolored it in trueSpace. I plan to do more stuff from the classic space series. 🙂

On a side note: these are Legos. They’re bricks, you put them together normally. It’s all basic construction, which can easily be achieved in LeoCad. I was looking at instructions from some of the newer kits and I was shocked at how complex they’ve become. They have all of these odd bricks, cams and pins and whatnot. LeoCad doesn’t like the irregular stuff, it won’t line up correctly with the grid snap turned on. You have to do it manually. It can be done, but it’s a PITA. I prefer the classic Legos with simple construction.