Saucer gets some viewports

ranger_refit_057The simple “dot dash” viewport system from movie era Starfleet.

I decided I would go ahead and install the viewports I had been avoiding for a while.  From a design standpoint, I wasn’t certain if I wanted to add them or not.  I knew that the Akyazi class, which also has a mere single deck within its saucer’s rim, had no such windows lining that outer circumference. I honored that in the construction of my own Akyazi class model the McCook, though she’s not completely absent of viewports elsewhere. Of course, those Perimeter Action Ships are not known for passenger ripe areas along their extreme outer edges.

Kevin Riley’s renders of his Ranger class Strider didn’t have any either, but being a work-in-progress, I’m simply not sure how far along he was on that front.  He did however, reveal his intent to add some slightly larger lounge windows on the upper aft of the saucer.  Nevertheless, I determined I had to try at least one version of this class sporting more side-scuttles than it currently had.  For this particular ship, I wanted to add those essentially movie-era “dot-dash” style viewports, originally introduced on the Enterprise refit in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and used in subsequent films on several other canon designs of the period.

To begin, I literally started with a circular disk at the saucer’s front center line and tried to size it by eye. This would be the “dot.” I then used the disk to create the wider “dash” version. Extruding them into cookie cutter shapes for stenciling, and angling them to fit the rim’s edge. I could then rotate them around the saucer’s central axis to any position needed. I played around with various patterns, but I didn’t want anything as wide spread as the larger Starfleet ships of the era presented them (Enterprise, Reliant, etc.). With the saucer’s reduced diameter and single-decked outer-edge profile, I settled with a simple symmetrical 2 dot, dash, 2 dot pattern. I tried to place them in evenly recurring intervals, but I had to alter the more sternward positions due to an overall shift forward in the aft reaction control thrusters. I also put in a couple of “dot” viewports flanking either side of the main gangways (though 2 on both sides might be overkill).

ranger_refit_060aI genuinely thought the viewports were too big until I compared this small ship with several larger Starfleet ships.

The shapes were stenciled and the resulting polygons were smooth shifted inward a minimal amount to create framed window sets.  I set them to a simple luminous setting with some minor glow features, but when I rendered them, I immediately thought they were gargantuan for the ship and that my efforts to eye things may have been futile.  I copy and pasted some elements from other larger starships (notably Riley’s Phobos) only to realize that they were nearly perfect and that this is just how big they would look given the reduced size of this scout vessel.  She really is a relatively small ship.  It seems my eyes nailed it after all (as rare as that is).  though they look like huge portions on a small plate, I suspect that helps sell the overall scale of the ship.

ranger_refit_058Currently just glowing, I’ll most likely add some low poly interiors to add some depth.

I suspect the simple white luminosity and afterglow alone makes the viewports appear slightly larger than they really are.  I’ll eventually replace that texture with something totally transparent and back them with some inverted UV textured boxes to help make them look like viable interiors from space.  I might even add those lounge windows that Kevin Riley mentioned was his intention.  Eventually I’ll have to turn to this ship’s rear end and figure out how I want to do the bays for the ship’s auxiliary craft.  I’ll probably also do another version of the class that has more of FASA’s original forward bulky launch bay still in place, but that is down the pipeline.

ranger_refit_059I’ll probably get rid of at least one porthole on either side of the gangway hatch.

ranger_refit_057aJust some post render processing in Pixelmator.  I was blending renders as well as playing with color highlights and exposure levels.

ranger_refit_057bAnother, less dramatic tweak.


~ by starstation on June 21, 2013.

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