NX Refit

I have always loved the lower saucer of the NX
Yeah me too, it has a nice and functional vibe to it.
I like everything about that front sensor area except the two long protruding things. They read like weapons—I get a vibe like the nose cannons of a P-38 Lightning. Have you tried three flat circles (like the one you have in the middle) on that corrugated sensor as a nod to the 1701's three front circles?
Strongly agree on this, they do read like weapons. A lot of that stuff is kitbashed Reliant pieces, and need remodelling to bring them up to standard. I think the three circle idea is nice, but I might put some small projections in the middle of each one, just something that reads more sensor-y. :)
 
A phase array look might work as well.
And FWIW, you might actually make me like the refit because I am digging your take on it.
 
Yeah me too, it has a nice and functional vibe to it.

Strongly agree on this, they do read like weapons. A lot of that stuff is kitbashed Reliant pieces, and need remodelling to bring them up to standard. I think the three circle idea is nice, but I might put some small projections in the middle of each one, just something that reads more sensor-y. :)

FWIW, it is the shape of the protrusions that read as barrels of a gun. If you put a sphere at the tip (like how it is on the TOS Enterprise) it would help in making it read as more sensor-y, IMHO.
 
I thought I could take a shortcut and attempt to tidy up the low-poly catamaran mesh so they could be used on the final model. As you can see, that didn't exactly go very well :ack::
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So here is the redesigned and much neater catamaran mesh, ready for hull panelling:
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Ooooh that's intriguing. It would still be a recognisable feature, but change things up a bit. I could fill the space with projecting antennae and smaller dishes like I did on the front of my old Reliant model:
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Love this. The NX-01 should have been closer to this.
 
I like how you made your catamaran bits separate from the saucer…model kits should have done this, so they could be omitted.

A clean Millennium Falcon Disk with bits to be added or left out is something Snap Ships or others can do.
 
I haven't thought of it that way before, @publiusr but it does indeed allow for interesting opportunities for modifying the model. I must confess however that it was only made this way because making it all as one part is a huuuuuge pain, and I only do that if it's really necessary to the design.

This is probably where I'm leaving it this weekend: A lot of the main panels are modelled into the upper catamaran surface, I'll try and do all the finer stuff tomorrow.
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I wish we had actually gotten to see this upgrade outside the ship museum in PIC. At least it got canonized.
 
Despite the refit just being a background ship in those museum scenes, I was really glad that we got even that much on screen.

Edit - one more render for the evening: I'm leaning towards keeping the old NX metallic appearance, as opposed to a TOS matte finish.
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I am really loving the harder corners on things, particularly the catamaran modules. And your aztecking bump-maps are brilliantly detailed.
 
Little bit more refined, but I still feel it's a touch too contrasty on the details. Possibly a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. Will experiment with less varied hull panel brightnesses and see what I make of that on the next set of wip images.
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i like that just the way it is !
 
i like that just the way it is !
That's very nice of you to say. I'm going to give it some thought though; there's something about the surface features that are bugging me, but like I said, I could be losing the forest for the trees.

...aztecking bump-maps
I'm trying out a different strategy on this model - no bump maps, and simpler base/roughness maps. I prefer modelling to texturing at the moment, and I'm pretty used to the process of creating hull panels now, so I'm shifting the detail requirements onto the geometry, and then making simpler tileable maps. These can be easily varied in the material editor, and then supplementing those maps with decals for ship registry and names etc.

Below is a screengrab showing how the separate panels are assigned randomly different material IDs by the Material By Element modifier:
https://help.autodesk.com/view/3DSMAX/2022/ENU/?guid=GUID-2E6EA6FE-B177-4794-96C6-1F387859E4BD
I don't know if 3ds Max users on here know about this modifier already (you guys probably do, I just hadn't thought to use it for starship models...), but I've found it super useful for this kind of work, so it's worth a mention.

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