I'm not sure when or how I first became acquainted with the Google SketchUp 3D modelling program, but I do know that I immediately recognized it as a powerful tool I could use to fulfill a childhood dream: to build my own spaceships!
When I started out, well, I didn't know what I was doing. Some of my early work was... atrocious. Eventually I decided it would be best for me to try and sharpen my skills by adapting other designs into 3D models before focusing on my original work. My first such attempt is what you see before you: adapted from the Legend of Galactic Heroes anime epic, a 3D model of a Free Planets Alliance battleship, based on the design of the Patoroklos that appeared in the first episode of the OVA series.
You can download the model for yourself HERE.
Because this particularly model was created some time ago, I really don't have too awful much to say--and, well, the fact that it's not my own design gives me even less to say about it--but I would like to share some things about the design process.
Starting out, I really didn't have much to go with. My only real, accurate reference was a very small .gif image, measuring about 40 pixels wide by 8 pixels high. Fortunately, the FPA battleship really isn't a terribly complicated design--it's very easy to discern the overall form of the vessel solely a lateral view.
So, basically, once I had an oultine of the lateral shape, all I need to do was widen it up, and then fill in the necessary details on the ventral and dorsal hull. As you can see in the above image, my detailing wasn't exactly animation-accurate, but I felt it went well with the overall design of the ship. Some tanks and hatches never look out of place on a "primitive" starship, after all.
One thing you may notice is the "hull plating." When I made the model (and even today) I wasn't terribly keep on using textures. To give my model a more detailed look, I eventually found a simple but effective method: I'd simply draw a rectangular form on a flat plane and raise or lower it slightly. The ultimate effect is to make the hull look less uniform, without cluttering up the design too much.
Here you can see the first real indication of my personal bane: interior details. The bridge sucks, I freely admit. I'm happy with how most of the model turned out... but not the bridge. It's just ugly. It's based on how the Bridge is depicted in the OVA series, but lacks the necessary detail and cohesion to fit in with the rest of the model. I should also point out that because we never really see any good, exterior establishing shots of the bridge, I essentially had to guess at its size and location. Ultimately, I think I probably overestimated the bridge's size relative to the rest of the vessel. Oh well.
One change I did make versus the original design was to accentuate the "ducts" and to make the angles of the hull a bit sharper. I don't have the slightest clue what function the ducts serve, but they sure do look cool, huh? I also used red to color the "interior" bits of the hull here to make it stand out more.
And that's my FPA Battleship. As I said, I'm mostly pleased with the model. I was mostly true to the original design, but did deviate in several instances. Can you spot them all? I've tried to share some decent images of the model, to show it off from what I think are some cool, if not impressive angles (I really love some of the shapes at play here). But, still, I would recommend downloading the model to view it for yourself, from any angle or dimension.