This is not exactly a piece I am “currently” working on, but rather something I pulled out of my portfolio. Although, the last image represents a rendering I have done recently after adding some simple lighting and textures. I am showcasing this piece because it represents a milestone of sorts in my model building skills.
It started back in 1981-82 while a good friend and I were brain-storming, doodling, and writing about our own comic book concept. We formulated a HUGE 10 member hero team and while some of them had individual flight capabilities, some did not and needed some cool ships they could fly. This unique design accommodates 5 of the team members in 3 individual crafts that can link together to form one larger craft.
Combatra: property of Marvel Comics
I had of course certain characters in mind during the design process, such as the large ship in the back being piloted by a guy who is almost 8 feet tall, and the middle section being occupied by a pair of spy-twins. Looking carefully at the ship one can see the 80s design influences; notably: Star Wars, Battle of the Planets, and Marvel Comics’ Shogun Warriors. I was particularly fond of Combatra.
Almost as soon as I started using CAD in the mid 80’s I wanted to model this ship! It proved to be a formidable task as the tools and my skills were not up to par as can be seen in the 1996 version of this project. Finally (within the last year) I got up-to-speed with some more advanced modeling skills and have been able to fabricate a full-size 3D model of one of my favorite ships.
Each section can function autonomously, having its own propulsion, weapons and guidance systems. The fore-ship is called the Freebird. The smooth design, low-profile and heavy out-board type engine is designed for speed. The armaments include two embedded chain-guns able to fire an assortment of projectile-based or energy-based rounds depending on the cockpit configuration, and two extendable launch platforms with a total of 30 deployable missiles stowed on-board. The missiles can be configured for various uses before being loaded into the ship. The “skids” on the back are specifically for cradling the mid-ship and includes retractable docking nozzles. The Freebird also has a full communications array with basic tracking and detection capabilities, countermeasures, and limited deflector defenses.
The mid-ship is the Lunastell. Its tiny footprint, radar deflecting skin, quiet running engines, and noise dampeners allows the Lunastell to execute stealth missions effectively. The ship serves as an extension to the spy-master abilities of the twins. The cockpits of each pod are loaded with highly advanced tracking and detection capabilities as well as advanced communications and super-computing hardware, (these features are not shown). Data and communications between the two pods are linked via the connection arches in the middle. Specialized equipment is stored in secret compartments and the armaments include two spread-fire lasers mounted on the underside of each wing and two Vulcan cannon turrets.
The aft-ship is the Albatross. This massive craft is most notable for the four huge engines that are required to propel the three ships in their combined form (the Ragnorok). It also houses the largest member of the team as its pilot (as mentioned before). The nose is a large docking clamp that grasps the mid-ship in the combined phase and can fold shut when not in use. There are large deployable landing pads in the back which give the Albatross and the Ragnorok as a whole VTOL capability when needed. The cockpit is also designed so the pilot can slide back into an instrumentation-only mode that in addition provides extra shielding. In normal-mode the cockpit can store extra equipment or temporarily transport one additional passenger. This vessel is heavily armed with 3 wing-mounted gauss cannons, a rear facing Vulcan cannon, smart bombs, and the biggest weapon on-board. the awesome rail-gun which is lowered down from the belly of the ship during deployment. Defenses include heavy armor and mild deflectors.
While in combined mode data and communications flow throughout the Ragnorok via data ports embedded in the docking clamps and surfaces. The Lunastell acts as the “brain” of the Ragnorok and the other two ships cannot combine without it. Advanced systems in the Lunastell take control of communications, computing, tracking and detection routines of the other two ships while in combined mode. Some armaments go off-line and the spread-fire lasers have less rotation due to the wing combination. Primary control of the spread-fire lasers also transfers to the aft-ship pilot to allow the mid-ship members to focus on surveillance and analysis tasks. Navigation priority is routed to the Freebird. Main thrusters of the Freebird and Lunastell go off-line while navigational thrusters remain active leaving the Albatross with main propulsion priority.
As you can tell I am having WAY too much fun with this, but what can I say?