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Thread: U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

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    SFM Guru McC's Avatar
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    U.S.S. Coronado, Katana Class Starship

    This one's going to require some backstory. But please do read it, as it will answer what are sure to be inevitable questions.

    In 1991, the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual came out, as a codified version of the show's technical bible intended for public consumption. At the very end of the book, the authors (Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda) included a set of four drawings for the potential future direction starships might take, ranging from familiar to bizarre. One of those designs has a pretty clear lineage in becoming the Sovereign class (albeit with a widened saucer, rather than the elongated one that Sovereign ended up with). Another of those designs, though, had an interesting arrangement of modular segments comprising its saucer, along with wide warp nacelle pylons meant to allow the warp nacelle position to change mid-flight (an idea that would eventually manifest with Voyager's variable warp nacelles).



    An artist you might have heard of, Mark Kingsnorth, made a rough model of this ship in the late 1990s that gained some notoriety. It came to the attention of a fellow named "Jester", who asked for Mark's permission to use images of the model on a Star Trek IRC-based role-playing game website. The name of that game was U.S.S. Coronado...and I was one of the players.



    Mark's interpretation didn't quite fit with what Jester wanted out of the ship. Jester called it the Katana-class, a frigate-sized ship centered around two major technologies: the launching of small, one-man fighter craft and the use of quantum slipstream drive (originally featured in the Voyager episode "Hope and Fear"). A neophyte CG artist myself at the time (1999), I offered to take a crack at providing Jester with an "in-house" version of the model that we could use to make any sort of shots he wanted. I knocked together a (by current standards) crude model in trueSpace, and away we went!



    Later, in 2003, another player (and close friend of mine) on Coronado would build a new set of 2D orthographic blueprints, riffing on Sternbach's original design and incorporating the various design elements that Jester had always intended for the game, namely the "slipstream" deflector as seen on Dauntless in "Hope and Fear" and catapult-style hangar bays for the ship's Spectre class fighters. Having improved in skill significantly since the first trueSpace model, and now working in LightWave, I used these blueprints to make a new model of the ship.



    The game ended in 2004, after 7 full years. Jester chose to end it then, since it mirrored the seven seasons enjoyed by TNG, DS9, and VOY. As a gift to both Jester and a wedding gift for the blueprint maker, I had a 36x24" poster of the ship's ortho renders and a few action shots, accompanied by specifications and signatures from many of the players, printed out for each of them, as well as myself. My copy currently hangs in my living room.

    This year marks the 10th anniversary of Coro's last game, which took place at the end of August. For the finale's decennial, I wanted to create a new model that goes back to the sources that first inspired Jester -- Sternbach's original design and Dauntless from "Hope and Fear" -- and more intelligently incorporate design elements that would speak to the Katana class's lineage -- namely, those seen on the Sovereign class.

    (Side note: Mark Kingsnorth went on to revisit his original take on Sternbach's design, which has gained quite a bit of notoriety as the Insignia class.)

    So far, I have been focusing on locking down a completely new approach to the aft saucer, taking a lot of cues from the Sovereign lines on the dorsal surface and trying to more closely match the Dauntless lines on the ventral surface. I've been doing a lot of quick, rough renders and mock-ups, then painting over them with my Wacom tablet in Photoshop to explore different lines and arrangements. I'm using the player-made blueprints as a starting point for scaling, but not treating them as sacrosanct the way I did for the 2003 model. The following images show the evolution of the model from Jan 9 through to today.

    Saucer design exploration, focusing on the flight deck and impulse area


    Stardrive design exploration, emphasizing the Dauntless-esque shape.


    My goal is to have the model render-complete by the end of August, 2014.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by McC; 5th Sep 2017 at 03:28. Reason: Updated thumbnail
    Then tells you when or next, than lets you compare. It's not hard, folks.

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    SFM Pimp Army evil_genius_180's Avatar
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    I have that book, I got a used copy of it ages ago. (in the late '90s) Of the four designs, that one and top right are definitely the best. The top left one isn't bad, but the bottom right one is just bizarre.

    On your ship, I definitely like what you're doing so far. Since this is supposed to be a more advanced design, getting away from the more or less Galaxy look of Mark's model makes sense. Though, his would work as an earlier class. For the saucer back, I like the elongated shuttle area and the one with the two round cut-outs, those both have great promise, in my opinion. I think the middle idea with the doodles on it looks good for the secondary hull/saucer connection area. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what you do with this design.

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    SFM Nugget jrhottel's Avatar
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    What is the relationship between this design and Mark Kingsnorth's Insignia design? The saucer is similar.

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    SFM Guru McC's Avatar
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    Thanks, evil_genius_180!

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhottel View Post
    What is the relationship between this design and Mark Kingsnorth's Insignia design? The saucer is similar.
    There's a giant post at the start of this thread that talks all about it. I spent about an hour writing it and gathering all the bits together to tell this exact backstory precisely to answer this inevitable question.
    Then tells you when or next, than lets you compare. It's not hard, folks.

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    SFM Nugget jrhottel's Avatar
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    I missed the side note on Insignia. Still this is to be a new design using the same source material?

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    SFM Guru McC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhottel View Post
    I missed the side note on Insignia. Still this is to be a new design using the same source material?
    Quote Originally Posted by McC
    Later, in 2003, another player (and close friend of mine) on Coronado would build a new set of 2D orthographic blueprints, riffing on Sternbach's original design and incorporating the various design elements that Jester had always intended for the game, namely the "slipstream" deflector as seen on Dauntless in "Hope and Fear" and catapult-style hangar bays for the ship's Spectre class fighters. Having improved in skill significantly since the first trueSpace model, and now working in LightWave, I used these blueprints to make a new model of the ship.
    Quote Originally Posted by McC
    This year marks the 10th anniversary of Coro's last game, which took place at the end of August. For the finale's decennial, I wanted to create a new model that goes back to the sources that first inspired Jester -- Sternbach's original design and Dauntless from "Hope and Fear" -- and more intelligently incorporate design elements that would speak to the Katana class's lineage -- namely, those seen on the Sovereign class.
    So, yes, basically.
    Last edited by McC; 13th Jan 2014 at 19:33.
    Then tells you when or next, than lets you compare. It's not hard, folks.

    Finished: Ambassador | T'Varo
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    SFM Oracle Aresius's Avatar
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    The bottom right one could've been the design for some tender or other bulk-freighter, not a state-of-the-art flagship...

    Nice work here, definitely seeing relations to the Insignia. And nice seeing the progression through the ages.
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    So is that fighter suppossed to be the wing commander 4 bearcat?
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    SFM Guru McC's Avatar
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    Thanks, Aresius!

    Quote Originally Posted by Knight26 View Post
    So is that fighter suppossed to be the wing commander 4 bearcat?
    Indeed it is! The Spectres were basically Trekked up Bearcats. For a long time, the only reference we had for what Spectres were supposed to look like was a painting of a Bearcat. I took a crack at modeling a low-res one, meant to accompany Coronado in her renders, when I did the second version of the ship in 2003. I'll probably do the same thing again for this one, going a little more Trek and a little less "hey, this is straight out of Wing Commander..." this time, too.

    For now, I just took one of the old renderings and slapped it on a box for scale reference.

    Finished merging the saucer and stardrive into one continuous mesh this evening.




    Still have some cleanup work to do before the subsurf is smooth enough, but it was far less of a bear than I expected it to be. I love how hunchbacked the ship ended up looking with the catapult platform drawn way far out into the stardrive. Before, the slope from what used to be the impulse deck was very gradual and kind of boring. Now? Coro is out to give someone a beatdown.
    Then tells you when or next, than lets you compare. It's not hard, folks.

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    SFM Obsessed Saquist's Avatar
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    MCC,

    I know the sovereign lines are attractive to a lot of people but remember how your internal layout works. That wedge on the top is an often mimicked style in fan designs and is the most space wasting part of the Sovereign. The wedge on the bottom is flat and thus is fine. But once you curve the hull of that wedge like every fan design does get useless space when you try to shove decks into those areas that suddenly cut-off and also cut off earlier than any other place on the saucer. The result is strips of decks because the wedge terminates the deck too soon. I determined it was better that such areas be storage bays or fighter bays and not quarters or work areas.

    This design looks like the Insignia and it only occurs to me now that Insignia class was perhaps meant to be that ship in the TNG Tech Manual. Amazing what he's done with the ship over the years..
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