The National Space Centre, Leicester

I visited the UK’s National Space Centre, partly to get better references for a CGI “Skylark” rocket, and thought it was worth a blog entry. I’ll be publishing reference photos, for the benefit of other modellers, in a separate post.

It’s located on the outskirts of Leicester, and a bit of a pain to get to if you are not familiar with the local public transport system. Easy to spot by it’s distinctive shape, dominated by the Rocket Tower.

NSC Sign

The National Space Centre Web Site Continue reading “The National Space Centre, Leicester”

Soviet Manned Lunar Craft Designs

Galina Balashova

Before I get started I must give credit. The illustrations here are largely by Galina Balashova. Little known in the west, she was responsible for the interior design of pretty much every Soviet spacecraft. Combining Art and Architectural skills, it was her job to make the spacecraft a productive, pleasant environment.

Galina Balashova, left, presenting her designs
Galina Balashova, left, presenting her designs in 2017

If you have any interest in this area, the book “Galina Balashova, Architect of the Soviet Space Program” is absolutely essential, and is packed with elegant and informative paintings and drawings. 

Galina Balashova, Architect of the Soviet Space Program.
Galina Balashova, Architect of the Soviet Space Program.

Continue reading “Soviet Manned Lunar Craft Designs”

Krafft Ehricke’s Hyperion, a manned nuclear Mars mission

This is not the Hyperion by Phil Bono, (which you can read about here), but an earlier design from Krafft Ehricke, dating all the way back to the 1950’s. It’s for a manned mission to Mars, (no landing), and a fleet of 3 or 4 ships would be sent for mutual support. I got the information on this project from the always excellent “Atomic Rockets” site, including this plan, which is the basis for my mesh:

Hyperion Plans
Hyperion Plans

Continue reading “Krafft Ehricke’s Hyperion, a manned nuclear Mars mission”

The Slabship / Fury – Development and finished renders

An unusual one for me, as I take a crack at an original science-fiction design.

My objective was to  get something seriously large, primarily for use in Vue. My thinking is that I notice many great concept art pages have fairly abstract ships that are so big the more distant parts are afffected by haze, giving a great sense of scale. And as volumetric effects are a strength of Vue, I figure model in LW with Vue in mind. In practice this meant:

  • Keep the number of different surfaces low
  • Avoid clever effects that I don’t know how to do in Vue, including advanced surfaces
  • Avoid elements that would give a clear idea of scale, such as windows, hatches, stairs
  • Make it a long design so it’s easy to get the most distant parts lost in fog

Continue reading “The Slabship / Fury – Development and finished renders”

More explorations in Vue – Using Haze and Fog, 3d planets

I’m continuing to spend most of my graphics time in Vue recently, and I think I am starting to feel comfortable with it. I’m still getting occasional frustrations, but I’m feeling a lot more in control.

One lightbulb moment was when I realised I did NOT have to use the included billboard planet options for planets! But could use full 3d objects which then pick up the light from the Sun, and are properly affected by the haze and fog. A good example is the ringed planet in the banner image for this post, at the top. (Note the tiny astronaut at the top of the cliffs!)

And here’s another:

Alien cityscape with ringed planet
Alien cityscape with ringed planet

Continue reading “More explorations in Vue – Using Haze and Fog, 3d planets”

Some new Soviet Lunar program renders – N1 L3

After chatting to Matt, co-author of “N1 for the Moon and Mars“, I decided to dig out the meshes I did for that, and come up with some new renders. It was a mad dash to get it all out in time for publication, and I didn’t have time to explore all the options.

N1-3L at the launch tower
N1-3L at the launch tower, against a threatening sky.

I decided I have a bad habit of using good weather for most of my environments, this one is different! Continue reading “Some new Soviet Lunar program renders – N1 L3”

The Lightbulb Ship

This was based on an image I found, taken from the cover of the March 1961 episode of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Magazine of F and SF, March 1961
Cover of Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 1961

A really unusual shape, making the whole thing look like a cross between a lightbulb and a thermos flask. I suspect it’s meant to be nuclear , which makes standing around the engine area somewhat adventurous.

Continue reading “The Lightbulb Ship”

Mars Nuclear Thermal Spacecraft

I recently realised that I hadn’t blogged this design, which I did a few years ago. I realised this after seeing an image I had provided of it for a board game had been bodged onto a new background, and looked awful. So I figured I should get my version online ASAP!

This is a serious NASA design for a nuclear craft capable of reaching Mars.

Continue reading “Mars Nuclear Thermal Spacecraft”