The Magic Of Dental Mirrors?

Strider gets new pennants, and some (as yet) undefined lighting.


ranger_refit_093cFrom bald spot to spotlight.

Although my model of the Ranger class scout USS Strider already has two Starfleet pennants on its ventral side, those two large “fin” structures on the dorsal side, which help tie the nacelle pylons into the main hull, stood out as a tad bland to me. Given their flat and widely exposed surface areas, I just felt they needed something more.

I thought about simply adding more greebles, but support craft tend to have a bad rap for going a little overboard when it comes to such detailing, so I decided it would be the perfect place to put more of that Starfleet propaganda to good use. The only reason I hadn’t already put pennants there, was because of their prominence on the ventral section, but that “bald spot” just screamed at me every time I looked at a render.

ranger_refit_079bMultiple pennant spotlights visible from this angle. Somebody’s too bright or someone else is too dull…


Of course, new graphics require new lights to make them stand out in the darkness of deep space, so I added some extra spotlights to the scene. The ventral spotlights are far brighter than the new dorsal lights.

ranger_refit_102dYeah, new spots definitely seem a little dim from this angle.


This inconsistency in their brightness makes it clear that, I must either ramp up the luminance of the new lights or tone it down in the originals (or a little of both).

The original pennants are lit from visible canisters embedded within the warp nacelles just beneath them, and obviously, the new spotlights will require some similarly apparent point-of-source for future renders. But before I begin boring cavities into the model’s hull or even adding the slightest hooded protrusion to act as some fake source of bright columnar light, I wanted the in-scene spots fully rigged and set-up for test render. That way, I’d be more effectively able to determine the best location of such a beacon. No spotlights from magic dental mirrors for my starship (though I gotta admit, that was a REALLY awesome idea by VFX crews when those first movies were being produced). 😉

As it turns out, I think I know exactly where I want to “nest the beam” so to speak, but I’m not sure if I want it recessed into the hull or merely attached externally as an add on feature.

ranger_refit_032dMight have to meet in the middle, as the ventral lights seem incredibly bright.


I also took the opportunity to replace the poorly scaled main gangway hatch, which was woefully small to any average sized human. I put my properly scaled 2D Starfleet officer next to it, and was immediately reminded of a scene from “The Corbomite Maneuver” where, due to its cramped interior, Kirk and crew were forced to “bend low” before transporting aboard Balok’s Fesarius. Resized, this main hatch, and its associated components, are no longer fully recessed into the hull’s edge, and do seem noticeably “bulkier” in relation to the saucer’s total depth. However, this ship is truly so much smaller than the average Starfleet capital ship (the saucer is only one deck thick at its edge rather than two), this result was simply unavoidable.

ranger_refit_062fTesting some new “mood lighting” as well.


Apparently, I had already fixed this error on the Mustang variation of this class, but I had no recollection, so this model now has yet another unique signature to distinguish it from its fellow Ranger class counterpart. Now I only need to remove the launch bays on the aft end of the Mustang and replace them with something more mission appropriate.




~ by starstation on September 16, 2015.

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