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”

Chelomei’s UR-700

Back to the space hardware, and my latest major project.

Project History

This is Chelomei’s UR-700, intended as a universal rocket, (in various configurations), and a competitor to the N-1.

This was a real monster, and basically consisted of a cluster of no less than nine Proton rockets. This was done so they could be comprehensively tested at the factory near Moscow, and shipped on trains to Baikonur for assembly. The Proton started as the UR-500, an element of this design. The engines were built and tested, but there was no appetite to start again, cancelling the N-1.

Continue reading “Chelomei’s UR-700”

Cosmic Postage Stamps – 1

I was recently given some postage stamps, mainly covering the achievements of the Soviet Union during the early days of the Space Age.

It occurred to me that they might be of interest to those who read this blog. After all, there can’t me much astronomical art that is more widely seen. And probably no other space art that people get to lick…

Postage Stamp

Early Soviet satellites, on a 1 ruble stamp. Continue reading “Cosmic Postage Stamps – 1”

Next project – Phil Bono’s Hyperion

Next up, another classic design from the fertile mind of Phil Bono, the Hyperion.

This is a large single stage to orbit (SSTO) design, which can launch via a rocket sled, (should there be a convenient nearby 1 mile high mountain, anyway).

Continue reading “Next project – Phil Bono’s Hyperion”