A parade of spaceships...

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Warped9, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    A little something non Trek and to keep myself into a different kind of modelling. And, yes, I'm still working on the TOS shuttlecraft.

    Awhile ago I picked up the wonderful Spaceship Handbook reference book as well as its companion the Saucer Fleet. My imagination was stirred by quite a few of those ships. In truth I know I will never have actual physical models of all those ships although I believe I will build kits of perhaps a handful of them.

    That said there is nothing stopping me from making 3D models of the ones I find most interesting and appealing. Certainly one of them will be the Rocketship Galileo which I can't help but notice looks like it could have inspired Space Ghost's Phantom Cruiser.


    Starting off this parade will be the Spaceship Friede (pronounced Freeda) from Fritz Lang's 1929 film Die Frau im Mond (The Woman in the Moon). I find this ship interesting for two reasons. Firstly, of course, I simply like the look of it. It has an elemental look without looking silly. Secondly is learning how much thought actually went into its design. While its depiction onscreen might be charming by today's standards it actually got a lot of basic ideas right. And when the creators make that much effort even if they do take some creative licence (the essence of good SF I think) then you can forgive a lot.

    Here's a scan of the model/ship from the Spaceship Handbook and it's from this I'll be working. It's interesting to note that like so many other fictional spacecraft that will follow in ensuing decades that there were differences between the filming miniature and the fullsize mockup used---and we have certainly seen that happen time and time again. :)

    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned...
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Here's a beginning.

    [​IMG]

    I've got to add windows and hatches and painting. There is also all those exhaust nozzles on the underside. The box like fins also need to be tweaked where they meet the hull.
     
  3. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Fixed the box fins and added the access hatch. Also gave it a touch of colour.

    [​IMG]

    The design is a variant of Hermann Oberth's Modell E Rocket design depicted in one of his books from the 1920s. There might be an explanation for the box style fins in the book but nothing I read in the Spaceship Handbook mentions the thinking behind the them. They do serve as supports for the ship's take-off, but what isn't apparent here is how this all works in the film. In the film the ship is standing in water for take-off, which is supposed to protect the ship from acoustic shock from its own take-off. Apparently it is somewhat similar to what is done with modern rockets prior to take-off (they're hosed down I understand) and that's where all that billowing smoke (actually steam) comes from.

    The ship is a multistage rocket just like modern rockets, and Oberth had all this worked out years before the film. Indeed it's why Fritz Lang contracted Oberth to a be the film's technical advisor. In the film, while the ship's crew and passengers lack any specialized flight suits, the film correctly depicts the effects of acceleration and zero gravity. I think a lot of the film silly except for the depiction of the rocket and its flight---those parts are fascinating not only in how it's shown, but in how essentially right so much of it is. And this was at a time when space travel was considered pure fantasy.

    Apparently a number of people have built working scale models of the Friede and flown them successfully. I understand it's also available as a resin kit from Fantastic Plastic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Where the second stage meets the first stage is presently just a visible geometry line, but I've just now done that line as an actual seam. As such it could show up in some shots (when rendered) and not in others depending on how the light falls on it. I'll do the same for the separation between the second stage meets the third as well as the access door since otherwise it would be totally invisible given it's the same silver colour as the majority of the hull. The windows will be done as slightly transparent pale yellow and I think I'll add a rudimentary interior. I haven't mastered lighting yet in Sketchup but I can try to add some illumination to the interior to show the windows off more.

    The exhaust nozzles shouldn't be too hard since I really only have to make one and then duplicate several times. Colour is largely conjecture since the film was b&w and the only colour reference on the drawings are that most of the hull is silver and we can infer part of it is black or dark grey.

    When I'm done I want to do some Photoshops of the ship going into space.
     
  5. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Looking good! Are you going to be completely faithful to the original models or are you going to add in any more of your own details?
     
  6. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One ship. Not much of a parade...

    Nice ship, though...
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I'm going to try to remain faithful, but already I've made a small tweak: I've added small rounded corners to the windows, but you'd only see it up close. The yellow tinted windows are from the drawing because I've no idea what the original windows were. I doubt they were one-way polarized glass or if they were tinted. I'd have to watch the film again, but I suspect they were just normal transparencies.

    Well, it's the first one, but I intend to do more. Given the nature of these ships they're generally not that complicated overall. I'll post a list of what I'm looking at when I get the chance.
     
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Okay, I'm not done yet, but here is a little f/x fun.

    [​IMG]

    Note that the one thing definitely missing is the exhaust flame.

    For those who have never seen this film there is one shot in it that I think is awesome. It's a shot of the ship going upwards into the distance and it's very quick where all you see is essentially the exhaust flame as the ship rises like a bat outta hell. Pretty damn cool for a silent film.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    While I might not be able to get through all of them these are the vehicles on my radar for this parade.

    Spaceship Friede - Die Frau im Mond (1929)
    Buck Rogers' Rocket Ship - Buck Rogers serials (1930-1940)
    Rocketship Galileo - Rocketship Galileo (1947)*
    Chesley Bonestell's Moonship - Conquest Of Space (1949)*
    Spaceship Luna - Destination: Moon (1951)
    Space Ark - When Worlds Collide (1951)
    Klaatu's Saucer - The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
    Mars Spaceship - Conquest Of Space (1955)
    Alien Saucer - Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers (1956)
    C57-D Cruiser - Forbidden Planet (1956)
    Cosmostrator - First Spaceship On Venus (1959)
    Jupiter II - Lost In Space (1965)
    Phantom Cruiser - Space Ghost (1966)
    Voyager - Fantastic Voyage (1966)

    *denotes these are books.
     
  10. Santaman

    Santaman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That Ship
    ^^ Hey, you forget Captain Future's "Comet"
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Getting the exhaust nozzles into place.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dying to see your Phantom Cruiser (hopefully from the original series and not the eighties version). As for Fantastic Voyage, I would rather see the Proteus from the movie rather than the Voyager (from the cartoon).*

    *P.S.: Neither one is technically a spaceship...
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The Phantom Cruiser should be fun. There's also the fact that there is room for interpretation in its design given that it's only been seen in animation. Mind you the Voyager from Fantastic Voyage was also only a one season wonder and yet it somehow merited a model kit while the Phantom Cruiser didn't (to the best of my knowledge).
     
  14. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    A lot of these ships are from before my time, when fans had visions of these huge single stage interplanetary rockets powered by atomic motors. As I little kid in the '60s I caught the tail end of the sensibility.

    It's somewhat ironic that a real starship traveling at a significant percentage of light, maybe even 90% or better, would likely have a shape reminiscent of those classic rocketships, to better pierce the interstellar medium (which isn't a true vacuum) and assuming it was made of truly advanced materials.

    It's been argued that maybe science fiction has been too successful and popular. The reality seen on the nightly news can't match the excitement of the cinematic visions played out for what has become a rather cynical audience overall. I hope that's not true, that we still have souls dreaming and aspiring to go "where no man has gone before." That aspiration got us into the air and onward to the Moon. I hope it can be regained someday.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  15. USS Triumphant

    USS Triumphant Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're assuming here that such a ship wouldn't have a warp field and deflector array to spread the interstellar medium before it came in contact with the ship. ;)
     
  16. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Well if it's in a warp field then it probably wouldn't need such a deflector system while in warp since the ship would effectively be not in normal space. But I was referring to a starship somewhat more likely within (conjectural) reach as we currently understand physics as opposed to something purely speculative. Presently a fast relativistic ship is just as speculative as a FTL ship other than the relativistic ship is easier to wrap your head around in terms of what we currently know.
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Now here's something amusing. If you do a Google search of images for "Spaceship Friede" you get some of the images I've posted in this thread. :lol:

    This happened before when doing my TOS shuttlecraft schematics and 3D model.


    More to the point I'll have to check the dvd for reference. Fantastic Plastic offers a kit of the Friede and on their build they depict it with a red band around the fuseluge just below the stage separation. Firstly I want to see if such a band is actually there given it's not indicated on the drawings in the Spaceship Handbook. If a band is there then I'm guessing that someone at Fantastic Plastic is assuming the band should be red. Or it could be just a quick and simple way to add colour to an otherwise plain expanse of silver on a simple shape. The Spaceship Handbook simply states the main colour is silver with half of the upper section painted black. Fantastic Plastic also went with amber tinted windows which, again, might be pure conjecture on their part.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Here are some screen caps from the film. At the top we have two nice images of the Friede's internal arrangement, more particularly the upper crew levels. From that one could get some decent idea of how things go together. This is bolstered by the next two images showing a cutaway mockup of the ship. The next image (third down on the left) shows us some underside detail---not much, but it gives me a better idea of how the nozzles fit with the bottom of the vehicle. The image next to it shows us the ship on its gantry. At first it looks like there's a band around the craft, but it's actually a collar supporting the ship for it to be lowed into launching position. The bottom pic on the left shows the ship being moved over the water tank where the film says the ship is too light to support its own weight so it is placed in water for launch. The last image shows the ship in flight after launch and I can't make out any band around the fuselage.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately there are no other clear shots of the ship elsewhere in the film. later in the film we see the fullsize mockup of the upper section after it has landed and thats not where the colour band is supposed to be anyway. Earlier in the film we saw the miniature mockup being studied before launch and it also showed no colour band.

    So from this I can only deduce that the red colour band added to the Fantastic Plastic kit was someone's personal touch to add colour.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Here are some elevations.

    [​IMG]

    I'm thinking that doing even a rudimentary interior is pointless for this since you can't really see anything for the shots I want to do and interior lighting won't really show or do much either. It's a shame there are no markings or colour lines on the ship because that would add a little something to a rather bare design. Hmm, maybe I could stray from original just a little... After all I did opt to show the delineations between stages by simply making them ever so slightly different tones of the same colour.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not done with the Friede yet, but here is a peak at what I'll be working on next. This isn't as thought through (in terms of realism) as the Friede, but it is pure pulp/serial sic-fi and the most recognizable image of a spacecraft in the 1930s.

    [​IMG]

    It was first seen in a 1930's sic-fi musical(?) called Just Imagine. Apparently the f/x were first-rate for the time, but for some dumbass reason the film was promoted as a musical rather than as science fiction. It essentially flopped partly because it was released not long after the stock market crash in 1929. The full-size mock-up ship would survive, though, and go on to feature in several B-films and serials, but it would become most well known as Zarkov's Rocket Ship in the Flash Gordon serials.