Cargo Vessel Design

I’ve had a little bit more time recently, so went back to a book cover project I was approached to do by an author to do at the beginning of this year.

The author approached me because he had seen this image, the ship design being similar to a ship he imagined in his latest book. We swapped several emails, but I eventually turned down the project for several reasons, not least that I wouldn’t have been able to get to it until April at the earliest.

I recently came across the emails again and they contained a basic illustration of the protagonists ship, as well paragraph’s from the book describing the ship. For the hell of it, I decided to have a crack at the ship. The key thing about the ship (and why the author liked my other illustration) is that the ship is a cargo vessel, with an external/visible bay that holds 3 containers.

Looking at the authors basic sketch again, it reminded me of something and so I dived into my folder of images of designs I like - as I looked through them I came across this. I knew that was basically the overall shape I wanted - more of a wedge than the authors sketch. The other thing on my mind was Gerry Anderson; I knew I couldn’t do a cargo vessel with an exterior container bay without referencing his work. The man that brought us Thunderbird 2 and the Space 1999 Eagle just had to be honoured in this somewhere. I was wandering through the Space 1999 catacombs when I saw a reference to this and this ...

Chris Foss AND an Eagle. That was it!

The key elements of design specified by the author were the location of the ships main windows, tractor beam device, cargo pods/containers, internal hold and access door, as well as main engines. My design honours these whilst stealing liberally taking inspiration from the Homeworld ship design, Foss’s early Eagle design and the Eagle design we know and love.

However, hopefully the result is something original!
cargo lifter thumb

I worked out the ship’s dimensions as carefully as possible to accommodate the internal layout as specified by the author - the one change I have made (had to) is to push a chunk of the main engines outside the hull at the rear.

I am pretty please with the cabin/cockpit area, as it melds the authors original sketches, the Homeworld ship and Chris Foss’s illustration together in a workable design. From the side you can see the Eagle-shaped window design. Again, with the Eagle in mind, the cockpit interior is largely a cream-beige colour scheme.

You can see further Eagle touches with the Airlock door, the red/white chevron around the FCS thrusters and landing thrusters (recalling the command module red/white livery) and the tubular framework in the cargo bay itself.

To save time, I re-used landing legs, engines, RCS thrusters, lights and comms array meshes that I had built for other projects. The cargo containers are by Dex and the landing bay is by Axeman3d, modded and retextured by me.

The other textures are from all over: the landing bay textures are mostly Dosch, the ship textures are mostly mine - many available here in Resources Gallery. The cargo container textures are Dex and Total Textures.

Sorry about the gratuitous use of flare; I have recently watched both the awful JJ-Treks and not yet fully recovered.