Friday, October 4, 2013

Into Shadow

While not a true artificial intelligence, the Hannex/ASECOR 'Herakles' represented a substantial breakthrough in both spacecraft and autonomous control systems design. Introduced into the private security market late in the decade, the Herakles I gave independent and short-haul transport concerns an affordable security solution in the form of a fully palletized short range fighter.

Barely 8 meters in length, the Herakles could be operated from a hangar the size of a standard XSE shipping container and could be carried in external cargo stowage in a number of configurations. By using a control core of picoformed nickel/palladium, the maintenance and survivability problem of organic material was avoided, and shielding mass could be reduced correspondingly. External command input could be minimal for most applications, but lack of sapiency certification prevented legal use within Treaty Sphere space. This was of minimal concern for most operators, as the primary market was operators in the outer system needing cheap and effective escort for cargo ships.

Operating a range of modular beam and missile weapons, the Herakles could be configured to deal with threats from zombie swarms to borgsats. While not a match for the more organized pirate concerns, the system proved effective enough to discourage even these attacks. Later marks introduced switch-on-the-fly weapon pods in addition to the refueling facilities fitted in the hangar module.

Here we see a late Mark I upgraded to Mark II standard. The auxiliary radiators fitted to the heat exchangers are a distinct element of the subtype. It's been deployed to sweep for mines in the Jupiter Trojans preceding survey work.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Silent Sea

This is a sort of glorified mood and atmosphere study for the interior of the Titan City aerostat. Originally I had wanted to push this much further, but my tools and techniques have changed so much since I started the piece that I decided to just let it be in the end.

Possibly I should have just discarded it, but I’d grown attached and since the final product will be words rather than images, I decided to indulge myself.
I regret nothing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Alt 1948 Infantry Weapons

I took a little time and revisited the idea of creating fictional infantry weapons based on mixing different historical weapons together. Originally I was going to do something much more elaborate, but other factors intervened. Hopefully this is still of some entertainment value, if not use.

Like my designs from a few years ago, I wanted to create an ecosystem of small arms like you might see in the 1943-1952 time period, which would mean a mixture of of machined and stamped components with furniture of wood and Bakelite. Optics would be basic. Here are some notes on the individual guns:

Machine Pistol- This was originally a doodle of what it might look like if the features of an MG 42 were put on a bolt gun. To try and make the very short barrel make a little more sense I added some elements from the Manchester SMG and one of those vertical foregrips everybody thought was cool a couple years ago. (Yes, your groupings would probably be about the size of a bus.) The magazine is a quad-stack affair.

Automatic Carbine- VG1-5 plus bits from the FAL and that odd peep sight from the first version of FG 42.

20mm Anti Tank Right- Solothurn, Type 97, and the Boys all mixed up. Also a sort of shaped charge rifle grenade based on the Stielgranate 41.

Light Machine Gun- Rhinemetall did some interesting prototypes after the war based on the MG 45. I've mixed these with the reversible feed direction of the MG 34 and some experimental FG bits while adding the odd drum from the MG 13. I've added back in the barrel change capability of the MG 42, though in the LMG role that might not be necessary.

Autoloading Revolver- Mateba + Webley = Party all night.

Anti Tank Projector- I'm not sure that there are any anti tank rocket weapons that *don't* have a piece or two in there. A note about the warhead: The lugs on the side are my attempt to visualize some sort of mechanism to tilt the hollow charge warhead to convert glancing hits to solid ones- plus it makes it look meaner. =P

I've used guns as an example here to show how you can use existing elements to get something that looks novel while still seeming familiar. The same process can also work well with architecture, vehicles, or equipment. Originality is a tricky question when designing things like these. Of course you don't want to rip somebody else off, but you also want to your designs to do what they need to do for the project you're working on. A gun that hints at the time period and nationality of the soldier wielding it makes it so that exposition is less needed elsewhere. When you're designing things you're telling part of the story. Oftentimes the best way to do that is to give the audience some familiar elements they can latch on to and use that to draw them into what's different.

It seems like there's a lot of retro designs out there, but fortunately there's a lot of interesting historical designs draw upon and mix up.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Dust of Mars

I finished up an old speedpaint I found while cleaning up my files. It’s like the 1980s never ended, but I liked the colors.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Wreck of the von Kessler

Following the Conquest, the eyes of Earth found purchase upon wider realms. Where one world had become two, two became five beneath the four crowns of the victorious blue world. As Mars yielded her secrets, the shipyards of Luna and Telemachus Minor birthed ships embodying the unearthed knowledge of lost races. With this, a tide of steel flowed out from Sol, seeking to turn the five worlds into a dozen, or perhaps a hundred.

The SMS Markgraf von Kessler was a cresting wave upon this tide, though that didn’t save her from the hunger of a haunted universe. Here she drifts above a nameless world that would eventually be known as Sargon IV, though the mystery of her cargo and her loss are still not fully understood.

Dedicated to all those crossing a wide abyss to an uncertain hope.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tablescapes Concept Art

Recently I've been doing some concept art for Secret Weapon Miniatures for their new range of modular wargaming terrain. They've got a Kickstarter campaign going for it that has a few hours if any of you tabletop players are interested at all:


Thursday, April 11, 2013

1927 Calumet Sixty Special

 Some time ago I made up this concept for a flying car. In the absence of the future we were promised, I've decided to model it. I always liked the idea, and it's aged fairly well.
It's just a start, but my evenings are my own once again, so you should see regular progress posted here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Completed Spider Tank Illustration

I completed the spider tank illustration, though by no means am I done with the model yet. There's some tweaking to do on the other side and the back, and it still needs to be rigged to show off the weird suspension.

I think I figured out a couple things while I did this.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Front is Almost Done

I'm almost done with the exterior modeling on the spider tank. I need to add lift hooks and some grab handles, as well as some other little stuff. The back needs more work, but the layout of the top and sides dictates where I'll put the exhaust and the rear stowage, so there isn't a whole lot to decide.

I have some different experiments I want to do with texturing and animation, but it may be awhile before I have anything interesting to show on that front.

I'll probably do some paintings next.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hatches, in closed and open states. A full interior is planned. Inner hatch details are still in progress.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

More Progress on the Spider Tank Model

There's still a lot to do, but I've made some progress on the model:
Earlier, I tried messing around with some Mental Ray materials. Interesting, but further refinement could go a long ways:
I should have more updates soon.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Object C

New vehicle concept, just for fun:

The war ended, the tide rolled back. Left behind were countless tragedies, and not a few mysteries.

The First Lord referred to *this* mystery as 'A jester to the Court of Mars' in a letter to his son, and most of the high command referred to it as Object C, when they referred to it at all. It was found in the desert, at some sort of research facility. The documentation was never good, and both the war and the circumstances of this discovery clouded things further. It had started life as a heavy cargo tractor of the sort converted to artillery duty in large numbers some years ago, but had been fitted with a novel weapon system. The nature of this system has been a source of discreet research and speculation since the end of the conflict, but to no productive end.

It would seem to fire some sort of liquid, though a plasma based system had been theorized at first. Tantalizingly incomplete, a number of design features and a novel use of materials suggested that it was based on some sort of rediscovered Founder technology, though this was impossible to prove. Indeed, when the base was searched for documentation, not only was none found but it was discovered to be not just deserted but devoid of all life (down to the bacterial level) and bereft of all organic matter. A lengthy investigation yielded nothing, but was the subject on intense speculation by all involved. Evidence of anything from an as of yet unclassified apex predator to interdimensional travel was rumored, but never materialized.

Currently Object C is in storage at Base South, awaiting restoration.

3D Spider Tank

For starters, I'm sorry this blog has gone more than a year without updating. Infant mortality among blogs is pretty high, but I'm still here and I want to develop this venue more as a place to share works in progress, tutorials, and tangentially related material. I'll be revamping shortly and be using that space to display completed work.  It'll also show up here, of course.  My page at is my most current portfolio, but that green background gives me a headache.

Anyways, some time back I did a painting of an 8x8 armored car that was exploring the 'spider tank' cliche from the direction of superficial realism:
The vehicle backstory is this: An aging APC chassis converted into a rocket artillery unit. The batteries lower and are reloaded hydraulically from a magazine between the tube bays. Normally, the gun would be traversed to the rear when firing rockets to prevent damage to the barrel and muzzle brake. In this case, the commander has left the gun deployed to be able to more quickly engage infantry or light armor. This is the sign of either a highly experienced or dangerously inexperienced crew.

The painting was well-received and I found myself wanting to 3D version of it for some time, especially to explore the layout and action of the drivetrain and suspension.
This is just what I've got so far, though it's going pretty quickly. Most of what I've done lately has been for work, and not the sort of thing I can share because of my NDA.