So I get part way though my Normandy project and suddenly a new, better idea occurs to me. I’ve decided to document my third attempt as I work on it but in the mean time here’s the first attempts.
So I’ve decided to lasercut the majority of this model, it’s the best, highest precision tool I have. I don’t really trust my ability to sculpt or sand so I’ll be using these techniques as little as possible. First step was finding a good 3D model. A short search on-line and I’ve found a mesh ripped from the game, awesome.
Next question is, if I want this model to be a meter long, what scale am I going to be using? Unfortunately there’s not really a consensus with the length of the SR2 216m is bounded around a lot claiming to have come from the designer of the in-game model although I cant find evidence for that. Regardless 216m reduced to a 1m model is neatly close to 1:220 scale. This is a railway modelling scale and that means I should be able to find people and buildings at that scale. I’d like this model to impress upon the viewer the size of the ship, even if they have not played the game so a few identifiable items as decoration will really help finish the ship off.
My next step was to break it into its component parts:
First engine (L+R)
Second engine (L+R)
For a brief, stupid moment I considered modelling the cannons and having opening doors for them but no, lets not get too silly.
The fueslage is by far the largest part, 87.5cm long so this is where I start. My plan is to see what Autodesk 123D makes of the file, I want to do as little cad as I possibly can on this! Unfortunaly the ultra high poly file just makes 123D cry. I’m going to be using a lowpoly model for 123D but keeping the high-poly game asset in order to check that I’m being as close to the source as possible.
And here is the result, not too bad but not playing to the strengths of a laser cutter. I have very high precision and accuracy in the X and Y axis but I’m always going to have a step in the Z axis of the hight of my material. I really don’t think I can reliably go below 2mm without risking setting fire to my workshop. By turning the slice direction though 90 degrees I’ll have the model much closer to the profile of the ship without needing to sand or fill.
And here’s the result, hundreds and hundreds of slices later this is a short section of the hull, you can see how much of the detail was retained by slicing the model in this direction. However a new problem presented itself as I was assembling the model. The parts could twist around the centre axis of the ship, even though there are holes for pins to hold everything together there was still quite a lot of flex in the model. Unfortunately it was compounded along the length of the ship, having it warp quite horribly in some of the other areas.
Next time, the second attempt: