Updated: December 24, 2011
For those unfamiliar with the name, Mechwarrior, also spelled MechWarrior is a profession in the fictional universe of BattleTech. In the mid-90s, there came a whole bunch of lovely DOS games, where you could be the said warrior and pilot BattleMechs, large robotic war machines that look somewhat like those bi-pedal monsters in Star Wars, which happened to be sexually assaulted by wookiees in the last installment of the much overrated series. Now, profession and fiction aside, these robots make for excellent 3D models, which is what I did.
The Mechwarrior is one of my latest models. I completed the model only this year, so it did not gather much proverbial dust on the hard disk before publication. Like my recent starship model, this one belongs in the whole new era of proper, realistic rendering with Kerkythea. So it's stunning imagery from the start, plus some fancy GIMP effects designed to add drama. And we shall have some commentary too. Follow me.
Like all my other models, this one was designed in Google SketchUp, then exported to Kerkythea. I'm also currently working on my POV-Ray model, so stay tuned for updates. One thing that I failed to take into account before exporting the model was its sheer size. In Google SketchUp, actual dimensions make little difference, but having a robot that is 6km tall is a bit of a problem when you do photon tracing. So I had to scale it down quite a bit before it could be used properly in Kerkythea.
My BattleMech is a lovely thing. There's the cockpit, shielded between two large jet engines that give the unit the required power for its electric and hydraulic actuators, as well as some thrust during the flight and jumps. On its back, there's another pair of flight engines, used to generate vertical thrust, and a small pair of wings for better lift. Now, the robot is not designed to fly like an airplane, more sort of jump-glide to very long distances in order to clear obstacles, like minefields, rivers and hills, and avoid being trapped. Most of the time, it should remain standing or walking, with occasional flight-like moments, similar to Russian Caspian Sea Monster ekranoplans.
The human-like stature is complete with two weapons-loaded arms, with a huge gun on the left side and a battery of missiles on the right. Then, you have the torso units with its coolers and a nuclear reactor, and a sturdy pair of legs. Notice the hydraulic lines and joints and all that. Looks fancy, don't you think?
Some zoom on the fancy details:
This is the integral part of the model really. Mechwarrior were all about running through the desert, exerting their steel toys and shooting guns all over the place. My BattleMech has a somewhat unusual configuration, but it still looks somewhat like the game originals.
The left hand powers a six-barrel 76mm chain-fed cannon with 92 rounds of armor-piercing ammo. This was the trickiest component of this work. The belt hangs and curves in all three dimensions before running into the large ammo drum attached in front of the left leg. Each individual round has its own little angle and tilt, just as you would have in real life. I spent quite a while perfecting the details, and I hope it shows.
I'm really proud of my work here:
The missiles aren't bad either. I armed my unit with two long-range surface-to-air missiles supposed to provide some cover against air attacks, and two 13-tube rocket launchers with 70mm unguided rounds.
Now, the same model, rendered with some cool and breathtaking effects, all using the free powers of GIMP. Nothing too special, but some shading and extra glare to create a grittier, more realistic look. In a way, this is self-flattery, so feel free to ignore.
Some more drama:
I really like these two:
Here's another shot from the same angle, with some clouds and blurring:
And finally, a great nuclear blast scoring near the robot, sort of like the real tactical battlefield:
Some teasers from POV-Ray
Working on it, still a rough design. I exported the model in high detail with glossy surfaces. Removed the background and with no shadows, so it looks less realistic, but this is just a quick sampling of what is going to come.
I'm not really sure what the full specs of my model ought to be in terms of speed, endurance, electronic warfare and countermeasures, radar, armor, horsepower, and such. I leave these details to you, so if you feel like filling in the blanks, you can send me the information. What matters here is the art, and I think this is a nice one. Well, I guess that would be all. Apart from the gun weapon unit, the model was relatively simple to create. But it was great fun, especially knowing there would be some fun rendering waiting for me at the end.
I shall reward myself with 9.5/10. There's more good stuff coming. Stay tuned.