Did Someone Say Aztec?

Two Birds… One Sisyphean Stone…


Impala_test_014f2Got the hard stuff out of the way.

Finally got the Aztec patterns for the ventral hull in place, and managed to get two for the price of one (plus a tiny extra bit of work).
Since I’d used the saucer section from my Abbe Class USS Corsica as a foundation for this Lancer class USS Impala, I was happily able to transfer the newly UV textured surfaces back over to the Corsica model when I was done. I never got around to applying those lower Aztecs when working on the Abbe class, so this was definitely a twofer! Basically this meant the entire inner section of the ventral hull (just the sensor mound and concave sections minus the outer rim) had to be copy/pasted from one model to the other. Unfortunately, I had already begun some major changes to the Impala‘s underbelly; Specifically, I’d smoothed down that large wedge towards the aft which (with detailing) would emulate several Miranda class features. This meant I was going to have to put a little extra effort into replacing all those altered panel segments before copying them back to the Abbe.

Impala_test_005f3Aft most wedge of the saucer’s underbelly was customized to resemble Reliant elements from Star Trek II : The Wrath of Khan.


Luckily, that area on the Abbe class which houses its navigational deflector, had a set of uniform panels when I originally built the baseline primary hull. I had to excise that section while installing the Abbe deflector components, but I bothered to retain the unaffected hull elements in a backup layer. In true rainy day fashion, I was able to utilize them for the Lancer, which doesn’t exhibit that style deflector (though I now realize I never added any forward viewports, but that should be an easy fix).

Once textured for the Lancer class, those panels would serve no purpose on the Abbe. But by rotating them 180 degrees around the saucer’s central axis, they would easily serve as replacements for that section I’d customized for the Lancer.

Impala_test_018aTwo birds, one Aztec…


After all the recent copy/paste uniformity, I might actually have some fun individualizing textures for each of the ships’ remaining outer rim portions, which seem comparatively stark now.



I also took some time, just before the Aztec procedure began in earnest, to fix some topology problems and add a few more details here and there. Most of this ship’s impulse engine components came from a promising start I’d made toward building my own Miranda class a while back. I had to make some necessary modifications in order to make things fit, and I think those minor changes caused a few surfaces to loose that sterling planar flatness they’d began with.

impala-errorsGeometry errors sneaking past me. 😉

I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but eventually started to notice obscured chunks of the impulse grill and some rounded corners that looked like they were practically unraveling at the seams.

Impala_test_016aDetails additions and geometry corrections moving along

I tripled a number of ngon polys (more than I’d realized were there actually) to fix the topology errors and some resulting light bleed issues. I haven’t conquered them all yet, but it’s clear what I did helped to clean up a number of those impulse engine issues.

I’ll admit I sometimes let Modeler give me that false sense of security, which is usually smashed at the moment of render. Everything looks sweet at first glance until that render pops up in Layout, and you realize how lazy you’ve been. Whole structures are obstructed or missing, polygon surfaces appear flipped, and light is just passing through the corners and edges of your model like some drafty door in winter. And so, it seems I’m still learning the grand importance of planar flatness, and how nothing but three point polygons can unconditionally guarantee such perfection. To avoid confusion in modeler, I’ll milk the ngons and quads for as long as I can though.

Impala_test_011fGrill work on the extension’s aft corners is another nod to the Reliant fromTWOK.

I also added some UV textures and vent recesses to the nacelle pylons. The textures were only applied to the interior facings, but the venting details were modeled into both the inner facings and forward edge sections of the pylons. The corners of the extension section now have some little “grills” reminiscent of the Reliant as well. Both this grill work and the interior pylon vents are clearly different from either of my reference sources, but I’m still having fun shaking things up a bit more.

Impala_test_008bGangways got some more identification markings.

Both the Impala and the Corsica got some identification markings flanking their main docking ports. Planted on either side of these ships’ port-side gangways, these markings label each vessel as their own respective “Starship USS… “, both under the auspices of the “United Federation of Planets”. Once again, this texture tag was a bit of a twofer: requiring only that I create and map the geometry once, copy it to the other ship, rename its surface, and finally, insert a slightly altered image map reflecting yet another distinctive name. The VIP lounge is continually getting new features as well.

Impala_test_004h2Top view again to show some new phaser emplacements on the upper aft section of the extension.

I’ve posted some more shots and angles below. Some are not the most recent and don’t yet reflect every update, but I figured I would include them anyway.


Impala_test_012baExterior pylons get their little raised details back.


Impala_test_015cEarly experiment working on a UV map for the lower sensor dome spotlights. This one was a bit too yellowish.


Impala_test_010b1Meh. Similar angle at a slightly higher elevation.


Impala_test_017aNice long nacelle shot.


Impala_test_011eNew textures maps demand stern examinations.


Impala_test_001eExperiment with the specularity settings on the upper extension’s UV mapping.


Impala_test_018Comparison attempt 1. Proof positive, even starships have their more flattering angles.


Impala_test_019Comparison attempt 3. Decided I wanted a bit more “impulse” from both ships.


~ by starstation on June 25, 2015.

2 Responses to “Did Someone Say Aztec?”

  1. does the Abbe class have any shuttle bays?

    • She does actually; I just haven’t pounded that one out yet.
      Turns out, it is a very small bay on the starboard side of the primary hull, with access doors on the the dorsal surface of the saucer. Nothing fancy, it requires some intrinsic elevator action for even the most routine shuttle activity.

      Now that I have so much Aztec mapping done on both of these ships, I’ve been thinking about it more of late. Might be my next distraction. 🙂

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