Spacecraft - a futuristic look on aeronautics

Updated: March 15, 2008; April 30, 2011

The major advantage of spacecraft is that they can look any which way, for the simple reason of not being restricted by the atmosphere or gravity (more or less). While airplanes must have lift surfaces, the spacecraft merely need to be keep the cold vacuum of space from entering the hull. For all practical purposes, a beer can or a stuffed Teddy could be classified as spacecraft.

I have recently drawn a pair of these craft and will show them here. While not overly aesthetically pleasing, they do have some interesting angles. Fortunately, you'll be spared the drone of my usual commentary as talking about the features of these sci-fi gadgets is beyond even me. The proper lingo should probably include difficult words like hyperspace, subspace, anti-matter, phasers etc. To avoid future ridicule of me persona, I'll refrain from doing it. Talking about planes and castles might be excused; rambling about geek-rockets might not.


Well ... some commentary is still needed, after all. My first spacecraft elegantly some of its looks from the Star Wars fighters. It has four engines mounted on collapsible nacelles, inverted wings that serve no purpose in vacuum and a sleek, narrow, Century-era fuselage with a single-seat cockpit, and no place for R2D2. Oh, by the way, the most adequate name I could think of is Vampire. Go figure.

Spacecraft 1 iso right front

Spacecraft 1 left front top

Spacecraft iso right rear

Despite being a rather simple design, I think it does have its handsome side, especially the engine nacelles. The seemingly fragile looks of the perforated metal bars add to the overall looks. The dark-red color is a nice touch as well, you must admit.

Spacecraft 1 left rear bottom

Plus, the spacecraft is really imposing from all sorts of right angles.

Spacecraft 1 front

Spacecraft 1 right

Spacecraft 1 top

Spacecraft 1 rear

The engines are also quite cool.

Spacecraft 1 engine

Spacecraft 1 engine 2

Spacecraft 1 engine 3

Lastly, the cockpit.

Spacecraft 1 cockpit

The second spacecraft is a much, much bigger vessel. While the little fighter would probably measure only about 30-40 meters, this one is truly gigantic, about 700-800 meters. Let's call it Bear. Bear has a very aggressive, insectoid look, with a dropping nose and two colossal engines flanking the fuselage. While Vampire was stark gray with brave patches of red, this baby sports muddy greens and yellows, somewhat akin to Ferengi or Klingon ships.

Spacecraft 2 left iso

Spacecraft 2 left top

I have enjoyed making this model, especially the engines (again ...), but also the odd tail section and the somewhat elaborate fuselage spine. The spiky protrusions on the engine nacelles also add to the general effect of danger.

Spacecraft 2 top

Spacecraft 2 rear right bottom

Some more dramatic looks:

Spacecraft 2 right

That looks ugly ...

Spacecraft 2 front

Spacecraft 2 rear

Just to emphasize the size, the tiny gray strip slightly right of the gray triangle is supposed to be the ship bridge.

Spacecraft 2 cockpit

I'm really proud of the tail ...

Spacecraft 2 tail

Spacecraft 2 ridge

A few zooms on the engines ... I really invested quite a bit in trying to make the engines interesting.

Spacecraft 2 engine nacelle

Spacecraft 2 engine 1

Spacecraft 2 engine 2

Kerkythea images

Here's the same pair of models, only re-created using Kerkythea, after exporting them using SketchUp Importer for Google SketchUp and rendered with photons and ray tracing and magic and whatnot. You will like this. My dream of making near-realistic models is coming true, finally. Nirvana. Spledidski.

OK, so we have two ships, the slender: Vampire, which is about 30-40 meters long and Fatso, which is about 600-700 meters long. Now, let's see them again, this time against some stunning space imagery straight from NASA's bakery. First, let's see what my Aniken Skywalker wannabe can do. Here's a nice poster image:

Spaceship 1

And the same one, only in dark metal tones:

Spaceship 2

An image from below:

Spaceship 3

Zooming on the sexy engine units:

Spaceship 4

Deep-space exploration begins here. The images were all taken from NASA's archives and untouched, except placing the model and slightly tweaking the lighting. The images do look a little flat, but that's expected, since there's no light dispersion in space, which makes the spacecraft looked decaled. But if you take a look at real imagery from orbital vehicles, you'll see the same effect, so I'm all covered here.

Space 1

Space 2

Space 3

Space 4

Space 5

Space 6

Now, Fatso:


Bottom view

Engine nacelles and the elaborate, shiny struts:

Engines 1

Engines 2

Space images:

Space 7

Now, this is one of the best images. It looks like one of them Star Trek scenes:

Space 8


This one ain't any less good either:

Space 9

And here's Batman:

Space 10


Some third-party images were used for the model backgrounds. I would like to thank the creators for their beautiful and inspiring work, which made into my models.

Space backgrounds taken from NASA.

That would be all.

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