I had never created a large ship before. By large I mean 5-6" inches long. Most of the fighters are about 1/4" (6mm) and fairly simple. Big ships need a lot of details, otherwise they look out of scale. This was going to be a lot of work, but I was excited about it.
The ship is supposed to be a carrier vessel -- a big ship that deploys smaller fighters in battle, very similar to a modern day aircraft carrier. This vessel had no precedent, so I had to come up with everything from scratch. Unlike the two sets of fighter, there was no style to imitate. After some brainstorming and image searching I had two sci-fi vessels as inspiration.You may recognize these as the Trade federation Battleship from Star Wars I, and the Bentusi trade ship from Homeworld.
The idea was a doughnut shaped vessel with a central command bastion in the centre. This was something I hadn't seen often. Tactically it offered some advantages over a traditional wedge-shaped ship. The inner surface of the ring was safe from enemy fire, so I thought that might be a clever place to put the openings for launch bays (any opening in your armour is a weak spot). The outside edge of the ring would look well armed and armoured. The inner bastion would house the crew, command, and reactors. It would be armoured at the upper ends, less so in the middle.
The first attempt (unfortunately I lost the image) looked a bit silly. The outer ring looked the same as the final version, but the inner bastion looked like "a Disney Castle", as one fellow put it. It was a struggle to get that part "right". Another fellow finally gave me the suggestion I needed -- offset the inside edge to create the outer edge of the bastion. It made the bastion look a little "beaky" but seemed to fit so much better.
After a few more tries I came up with this:
The model is made of three parts -- the outer ring, the inner bastion and the tiny turrets. It needed to be split for printing purposes. The support structures would have been a mess if it was all one piece. Plus I needed to paint the inside and I was pretty sure I wouldn't get my brush in there with everything in place.
Here are the builds:
After some cleaning and sanding and painting it looked like this:
I was very happy with this design. It's available for printing in 3 separate parts here. It is known as the "Rushi Battle Carrier". It's a bit expensive, but it's rather large! (4.5 inches long, 3.3 wide) See below, with other model vessels for comparison.