New 3D design: VSTOL gunship

Updated: May 16, 2022

I'm on a spree. But not the river. More like digital art stuff. Recently, I've started doing 3D designs again, and the experience has been a thoroughly fun one. I would also like to believe that my models are precise and realistic, but then, you ought to judge. There's a new ship, a monster truck, and a steam locomotive. To wit.

The fourth model takes on a brand new concept I've not tried before. A VSTOL/tiltrotor plane similar to MV-22 Osprey, but also inspired by the fictional Y-32 gunship from the ArmA 3 first-person shooter. So I decided to see what I can do here, making sure everything looks the part. Let us commence to proceed, shall we?


Every detail counts

My aircraft closely follows the ArmA example. Notably, there are vertical lift/hover rotors in each of the wing, a passenger section with side doors and a rear-loading ramp mid-fuselage, and a somewhat gunship-like front end, with an undernose cannon turret. However, I did want some artistic freedom, so I changed the typical gunship pilot-and-gunner seating arrangement from vertical to side-by-side, more like CH-53 or SH-60. However, the Dedocraft also has stub wings with weapon stations above the combined fuel-and-landing-gear sponsons.

Sketchup 1

Sketchup 2

Ignore the markings, I went for any which color combo, so.

On a purely fictional level, this VSTOL thing has a crew of two, a 12-seat passenger compartment, two turbofans with thrust-vector nozzles in the rear, and is armed with a twin-barrel 30mm autocannon, eight ATGM, two short-range AAM, and two unguided 127mm 19-tube rocket pods a-la American Hydra.

Gunship 1

Gunship 2

Gunship 3

I took extra care designing the cabin - it's not just an empty space, it has instrument panels, seats, everything. Similarly, the passenger space is fully modeled. After all, I wanted to render the model once done, and the only way to achieve realistic reflections and light dispersion is to create all of the visible surfaces, inside and outside.


Side view

On the same note, I added a landing gear, but then also slightly modified my craft to include a version with a retracted gear set. Similarly, I used two sets of camouflage patterns, one in distinct Middle Eastern tricolor, and one in a somewhat modern blue-gray shading. I also added strobe lights on the tips of the wings and the fins, because that's how it's meant to be, right.

Flying, from below

With the landing gear retracted; the nozzles are still turned down.

Warming up!

Next, I tried some over-the-water shots, including hover scenes. I looked for some (public domain) USN photos, and sampled the pilot and water ripple textures, to add a more realistic feel to the images rendered in Kerkythea. Overall, I am quite pleased with the results.

Standing on the ground, in the grass

Strobe lights

Some strobe lights, because why not.

Flying over water 1

Flying over water 2

Flying over water 3

And lastly, with the engine exhaust nozzles rotated for horizontal flight.


There you go, me hearties! Hopefully, there will be joy and appreciation for this kind of fun. After all, art serves no higher purpose than the illumination of the mind, but then, that's what makes it so special. It did take me a while designing the aircraft, probably 50-60 hours. I had to redo the wings and the top section a couple of times, until I was happy and pleased with the result. And I'd like to believe I learned a bit more on how to make even more complex shapes in SketchUp, efficiently that is.

Now, onward to the next adventure. My next project is going to be rather interesting, but I will not spoil it. As always, there'll be a solid combo of mechanics, weapons and size. This should be quite fun. In between writing books, 3D art is simply delectable. Well, we're done. Feel free to email your comments. See you.


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