Submarine + aircraft carrier - Wicked!

Updated: April 12, 2014

Here's a brand new 3D gallery from me. Not an old one redone using realistic materials and such, but a complete new and unique design. It's a submarine, but it's also an aircraft carrier. You get it? I cannot take credit for this invention, because the Imperial Japanese Navy had sort of a thing just like this, launching seaplanes off the bow with a catapult when surfaced. All right, so I took the idea and developed it further.

My own submarine somewhat resembles the Russian Typhoon class, only it's even bigger. Like the real-life counterpart, it has twin hulls and a massive tower, with lots of weapons, dive planes on the forward bow, and a complement of ICMB aft of the tower, somewhat like the older Russian missile-carrying models. Last but not the least, let's not forget the flight deck. Wut! Take a look.


Gallery unveiled

This is going to be a long article, with tons of pictures and situations, so brace yourselves. As usual, I created the model in Google SketchUp, then exported it to Kerkythea. Then, I played a lot with water, reflections, realistic materials, wear, render conditions, and finally some post pimping in GIMP. I also used shadows and fog, as I've shown you in another tutorial, to get even better results. Finally, I went wild and tried to simulate a rocket launch based on Trident missile trials, added coast cities, ice, infra-red imaging, air shots, and other crazy ideas. You will want to scroll through to see them all.

Let's start with a few nice isometric, bird's view shots. The submarine is clad in old, worn gray steel, with the lower part colored in rusty orange, to help denote the displacement when empty or loaded. You can see the forward planes just above the water line, and the stern plane angling into the water.

Iso view, right side

Iso view, rear right

And here we have a coast in the background, adding to the realistic feel of the whole model.

With the coast in the background

To make things even more realistic, I opened the hatches on the fifth pair of ICMB, so you can see their blue-painted warheads in the top shots, and maybe even the atmosphere reentry spike. You will also love the faded serial number stamped into the side of the tower, as well as the ladder. All in all, quite fancy and sort of realistic.

Side shot

Tower side

The flight deck is an interesting thing. It's located in the front two thirds of the submarine, above and between the two hulls, with hatches that open to the side when surfaced, allowing the crew to launch a Su-27 like fighter on an interception or strike mission. There's no way to retrieve the plane, of course.

Flight deck

Dramatic view

Flight deck, dark light

Forward angle

Front view, dramatic

Here, you can appreciate the tower in more details, including the two rectactable quad missile launchers mounted front, which can be used to protect the submarine against incoming aircraft. I did not add too many weapons, in order to keep it relatively modest and slick.


Fog is cool

So here we go, as promised. Black & white images add to the realistic feel, and hard light infuses the images with that Cold War photo graininess, making it appear like something feature on a page of Jane's, before the Iron Curtain fell and speculations ran wild.

Rear view, fog

Fog, coast, black & white

Fog, coast, black & white, hard light

Evening and night shots, even cooler:

Evening light

Night shot

Aerial shot

Now imagine this submarine spied by a reconnaissance plane launched by a would-be enemy fleet carrier group. You might end up with a shot like this, with all the little dirt and specks and whatnot. Now, if you're totally witty and cunning, you will figure out where supposedly this photo was meant to have been taken. If you know the answer, then mail me.

Air shot

Hull & underwater shots

This ought to be interesting. Here's the submarine out of the water, in dry dock if you will, so you can fully appreciate its size and shape, as well as marvel at the fore six 650mm torpedo tubes, four of which are open, and the massive double-twin titanium propellers in the back. Should work for a decent speed of up to 30 knots or so. Notice the bulge at the back, which houses the sonar equipment.

Dry dock 1 Dry dock 2 Dry dock 3


And truly underwater, cruising, upsetting the bottom silt and whatnot or something:


Some more

With a slightly turbulent sea:

Slightly turbulent sea

Choppy sea, side

Choppy sea, side, black & white

Heat map! Yup!

Heat map

Best: missile launch!

And here we have a Trident missile, taking off. Notice, the fire and smoke are authentic, taken from the real footage of the said missile trials, so if you don't like it, complain to the USN please. Anyhow, took quite a bit of effort getting all the reflections and splash and bloom and whatnot right, but I like it.

Missile launch 1

Missile launch, zoomed

Missile launch in B&W


There you go, my submarine slash aircraft carrier model gallery. You must admit this is a rather cool idea, especally when you combine everything - sheer size, twin hulls, ICMB, a flight deck with a modern aircraft, anti-aircraft defense, plus a rusty, salt-eaten, well used looks. Throw in some coastal towns, some fog and special effect, and you get a lovely piece of work.

I truly enjoyed making this gallery, especially some of the post-processing in GIMP, which accentuates the great sides of the Kerkythea rendering program, truly the most magnificent piece of software I have come across in the last decade. Soon, we will have all my marine vessels bunched together for a task force shot. You will have the carrier, the destroyer, the hovercraft, and all the rest featured in one mighty article. For more about these other models, feel free to hop into my 3D art section and explore. Meanwhile, stay tuned.


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