This piece I pulled out of my portfolio is not something on which I am currently working. Although the last image represents a rendering done after adding simple lighting and textures, I am showcasing this piece because it represents a milestone in my model-building skills.
It started in 1981-82 while a good friend and I were brain-storming, doodling, and writing about our comic book concept. We formulated a HUGE 10-member hero team. While certain team members had individual flight capabilities, others did not, so we created cool ships for them to fly. This unique design accommodates five team members in three individual crafts that can link together to form one large ship.
During the design process I had certain characters in mind such as an eight-foot-tall pilot in the large aft ship while the spy twins occupied the mid-section. Looking carefully at the ship one can see the 1980s design influences, notably: Star Wars, Battle of the Planets, and Marvel Comics’ Shogun Warriors. I was particularly fond of Combatra.
As soon as I started using CAD in the mid-80s I wanted to model this ship! It proved to be a formidable task as the tools and my skills were not up to par, as seen in the 1996 version of this project. Within the last year, after getting up-to-speed with more advanced modeling skills, I have fabricated a full-size 3D model of one of my favorite ships.
Each section can function autonomously, having its own propulsion, weapons, and guidance systems. The fore-ship, the Freebird, with its smooth design, low profile, and heavy out-board engine is designed for speed. The armaments include two embedded chain guns able to fire an assortment of projectile-based or energy-based rounds depending on the cockpit configuration. There are also two extendable launch platforms with 30 deployable missiles stowed on-board. The missiles can be configured for various uses before being loaded into the ship. The “skids” on the back are specifically for cradling the mid-ship and includes retractable docking nozzles. The Freebird also has a full communications array with basic tracking and detection capabilities, countermeasures, and limited deflector defenses.
The mid-ship is the Lunastell. Its tiny footprint, radar-deflecting skin, quiet running engines, and noise dampeners allow the Lunastell to execute stealth missions effectively. The ship serves as an extension of the spy-master abilities of the twins. The cockpits of each pod have highly advanced tracking and detection capabilities as well as advanced communications and super-computing hardware, (not shown). Data and communications between the two pods link via the connection arches in the middle. Specialized equipment is stored in secret compartments and the armaments include two spread-fire lasers mounted on the underside of each wing with two Vulcan cannon turrets.
The aft-ship is the Albatross. This massive craft is most notable for the four huge engines required to propel the three ships in their combined form (the Ragnorok). It also houses the largest member of the team as its pilot (as mentioned before). The nose is a large docking clamp that grasps the mid-ship in the combined phase and can fold shut when not in use. The large deployable landing pads in the back give the Albatross and the Ragnorok, when combined, VTOL capability when needed. The cockpit design allows the pilot to slide back into an instrumentation-only mode that provides extra shielding. In normal mode the cockpit can store extra equipment or temporarily transport one additional passenger. This vessel is heavily-armed with three wing-mounted Gauss cannons, a rear-facing Vulcan cannon, smart-bombs, and the largest weapon on board—the formidable rail gun which is lowered down from the belly of the ship during deployment. Defenses include heavy armor and mild deflectors.
While in combined mode, data and communications flow throughout the Ragnorok via data ports embedded in the docking clamps and surfaces. The Lunastell acts as the “brain” of the Ragnorok, and the other two ships cannot combine without it. Advanced systems in the Lunastell take control of communications, computing, tracking, and detection routines of the other two ships while in combined mode. Various armaments go offline, and the spread-fire lasers have less rotation due to the wing combination. Primary control of the spread-fire lasers also transfers to the aft-ship pilot to allow the mid-ship members to focus on surveillance and analysis tasks. The navigation priority is then routed to the Freebird. The main thrusters of the Freebird and Lunastell go offline while navigational thrusters remain active and leave the Albatross with main propulsion priority.
As you can tell, I am having WAY too much fun with this, but what can I say?