I'm brand new (as a poster) to the forums, but have been following all of the awesome work of the Massive Black guys for awhile. I just watched Kemp's and Coro's tutorials on vehicle and weapons concepting, and thought I'd try my hand at my own vehicle (using the production techniques laid out in these tutorials).
So far, I've developed thumbs, a basic Sketchup model, and rough paints for a ship that pirates of the future may use. After some research and decisions about the narrative I was developing in the design, these were the criteria/parameters I came up with for the ship (I studied real world naval and air designs, NASA specs for future vehicles, ocean creatures, some role-playing ideas for the Traveller game and online communities focusing on space combat, to name a few sources); the following are some of my initial notes for the design:
Shape—stealth molded, “shallow draft and fast lines”
Capable of stealth in space and air, aircraft capable wings, molded air and hull
Cargo holds and drone deploys (up to four?)—crew quarters, carries up to 75 men and 14 guns, although retrofitted, living quarters can be cannibalized for cargo space and gun space
Large vessels are typically more capable in warfare, but smaller size is advantageous to pirates, mercenaries, and privateers because:
Maneuverability in airspace (outrunning warships in atmosphere)
Able to be dry-docked, water-docked, careened (beached anywhere and maintained, whereas warships need special docking quarters and infrastructure)—sloops work outside of the infrastructure
Less vulnerable (possibly) to information system corruption
Smaller crew and smaller management, upkeep
Smaller costs for maintenance and fuel, and available to private teams
Military vessels stolen, tend to fall into the hands of “terrorists” and mercenaries—some of these smaller ships are docked aboard larger warships, and are designed to chase down and destroy pirates
Pirates also upgrade their ships with top-of-the-line sensor and information systems, usually using robots and A.I.
2 Large Drives—main plasma drive, capable of hot, powerful accelerations, radioactive (can be used as a short range weapon)
Ion Drive-“cold drive”, harder to detect
Here are some initial thumbs:
And some shots from the modeling process in Sketchup:
And some painted mock-ups:
I'm tempted to go in and do a complete and detailed orthographic model sheet (like in Kemp's third vehicle concept tutorial), but I might just take this to a completed illustration and call it a day.
Your tutorials are really awesome and helpful, by the way. can't wait to see more!
My only problem is, since it's a pirate ship, how would they loot another ship? It looks really closed up, good for stealth, but maybe needs some airlocks with boarding craft or a hidden hangar for drones or something to let them do their thing.
*edit: nvm, didn't see you mentioned drones already XD it's all good then*
koof: I really wanted to avoid any straight shapes, because I envisioned this craft being able to enter an atmosphere, so I patterned the curves after some of the current aircraft we have today, and I wanted the ship to look stealthy and sub-like; I also patterned its shape after sea animals (like whales). I actually avoided any straight lines as an aesthetic choice. After creating this, though, I'd like to design another craft with more angular shapes, like you suggest, to get a contrast...
Radio24: the landing gear is really messed up on the design and not thought out, mechanically. It is something I'd like to go back to and redevelop. The thought behind the gear was that it could operate like standard landing gear on a runway, but also manuever and pivot to lock into and clutch onto landing "perches" in space or on larger vessels and stations. I have the idea in my head, but did not fully realize the design in the image, focusing more on the hull shape.
blargonaut: thanks for the comments about the drones and airlocks...even though I mentioned this stuff in my research, you made me realize that this information needs to be clearly described in the visual language of the model sheets.
Great comments, everyone. Thank you for the feedback...