Updated: January 6, 2023
I always wanted to architect a city. Not in any sort of megalomaniac, new world order kind of way, just a lovely digital 3D blueprint of a large metropolis. Only I wanted it to be futuristic, set a few hundred years clockwise, with towering buildings, hyperloop trains, drones, that kind of thing. Then I realized it would take me ages to get this properly done, and more compute power than my machines would allow. So, what about a compromise?
Oil rig? Sure thing. I just re-watched Diamonds Are Forever, and the inspiration was right there. Of course, a plain ole drilling and pumping rig would be too boring. So add guns and rockets, we must. And thus, an idea for a combat rig was born, part influenced by the 007 antics and part by WWII-era offshore AA platforms that the British used to defend against the German air raids. I'd like to show you my reinterpretation of that. Today, you will be witnesses (Hans Gruber narration).
Shaken, not stirred
My oil rig, if it can be called that, sits on three massive concrete supports, with anti-shock mechanisms to allow stable and level operation even in rough seas. Above, there's a complex, multi-story facility, which includes a number of main sections, several decks and buildings, a helicopter landing pad, and tons of weapons stations. Everything is clad in weather-worn armor.
I spent quite a bit of time working on the finer detail, like a fully modeled set of staircases of different heights, cross-beam support legs for some of the buildings, a crane that can lower a zodiac into the water below, several towers with radio antennas and radomes, and then some. Indeed, let us go into a bit more detail on all that fine detail.
It was great fun designing those, including half-floor decks. I added them here and there, with two main elements, one being the access to the main building, and the other being the access to the SAM platform above the main building. All of the decks come with extensive handrails, to keep anyone from falling over. Health and safety, of course.
The smaller, container-like units would presumably be used for ongoing operations. As you can notice, they all have doors, shuttered (blast-protected) windows, ladders to access the rooftops, and for convenience, AC and air filtering modules. Let us not forget the fire extinguishers or the reflector lights, either. Some of these units also feature machine gun nests, because why not.
The main building is used to house the rig crew, and also possibly includes things like storage, medical facilities, plus a control center, which is sort of required given the amount of EM equipment. I wanted my platform to be able to conduct independent air and sea search, as well as protect itself from attacks, hence the variety of antennas, radars, and alike.
The truly fun part, as always, was going overboard with my imagination and cramming all sorts of weapon systems onto my platform. I purposefully went for a mix of old and new, retro and hi-tech. Thus, for instance, you have SAM launchers, presumably somewhat like SA-N-5 and SA-N-7, but also ordinary 12.7mm machine guns sitting on tripods and WWII-like FLAK quad 20mm cannon. Perhaps they can't move that much, or fully cover the hemisphere around the platform, but they sure do look cool.
The rig also has several gun turrets, which look even older than the rest of the equipment. I wanted them to invoke the Dreadnought feeling, as they are big, ungainly, and can only fire in a very limited arc. Finally, the rig also has a quad 533mm torpedo tube launcher, which auspiciously hangs below the platform, designed to be rotated as needed and fired at any incoming threat.
I did reuse some of the elements from my previous marine models, like the battlecruiser and the FREMM. For instance, with only minor changes in the color and texture set, the zodiac is almost untouched. It does have a machine gun, this time around, but it's a fairly simple, almost trivial addition of an existing, ready component.
The cool stuff
Other than that, I enjoyed making the cross-beam support legs, the likes of which you'd see on electricity towers. They weren't too difficult to design, but they look busy, in a good way. Likewise, the little observation house near the helo deck is fairly nifty. Supposedly, someone would stand inside and make sure that helicopters can land or take off safely. If you look carefully, you'll see flood projectors, which should light up the landing deck, and don't forget the two cranes, designed to move and carry heavy loads about.
Another reasonably leet detail, methinks, is the external elevator box. It sits on a pair of rails, and can be lowered almost all the way down to the water level, so it can be used to bring people and equipment up onto the platform. Every good villain lair needs a dramatic elevator entrance. There are also several walkway (planks) underneath the top decks, where technicians can go, if they need to fix things, and ladders to climb onto less accessible, outside parts of the different structures. A bit less health and safety than before.
Enough is enough
I could go on for much longer, praising myself, but that would be silly. Moreover, at some point, I figured that my model should be ... complete. The main reason was, my computer was starting to stutter, trying to cope with the amount of information on the screen. It ain't a weak machine by any measure, but there were just too many polygons and lines to do computation quickly enough, all things considered. I realized just how much after exporting the model to Kerkythea.
Opening the uncompressed XML takes some two minutes or so. The rig weighs a wee under half a GB, and that's a lot of wireframe data, more than twice than what I had with the battlecruiser. If you think the Slavster is quite detailed, here I managed to break a fresh record.
So yes, there was more I could do, but like my notion of a futuristic city, I figured I ought to gracefully stop. The rig has "merely" half a dozen buildings, some three or four decks, a few hundred segments of handrail and stairway, plus a bunch of weapons and such. And yet, it's quite heavy. Adding more stuff would only make me test my patience without cardinally adding value or aesthetics to the model.
And there we are. My latest project, completed. Or at least, somewhat completed, given how much more can be done. But I'm happy with its 1940-1970 look, with the armored decks, the bulky turrets, the somewhat ugly asymmetric design, the chaotic setup, the crazy display of guns. Best of all, it sits there and beckons, so if I ever get bored, I can always go back and make further changes. It ain't easy for me to leave it at that, but that's another fun part of this latest experiment.
All in all, I believe any self-professing evil genius would gladly adopt this rig as its secret lair. The only thing missing is klaxon, so the villain's henchmen can announce things in over-slow, corny phrases. On that note, it's time for me to go back to my cave. If there are concepts or ideas you'd like to see drawn and modeled, feel free to ping me. Until next time.