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Friday, May 22, 2015

Design Day: Feral Bomber

Sorry for the lack of updates.  There has been a lot going on in my personal, professional, and writing life that has kept me from making regular updates.

So for today's irregular update, I offer up a design day following the development of another iconic Spiral War design.  This time, the Feral-F Bomber.  For those here who have read Spiral War: On Dagger's Wings, and if you haven't read it, get to it, you know the importance of this craft to the plot and our protagonists personal tale.

The inspiration for the Feral Bomber came from two sources.  The first was an old Mega Force Toy, the Strike Master Orbital Attack Shuttle's Booster.  I loved the configuration, and thought it would be great for spaceborne bomber craft.  The other craft that served as inspiration was the venerable B-52 Stratofortress.  Like the B-52, the Feral is intended to have a long and storied career, serving throughout the UCSB-GF conflict.

 I originally designed many of my craft using paper and pencil, and unfortunately most of those drawings are now gone.  If I can find them, which is doubtful, I will scan and attach the image.

I then transitioned to CAD back in the mid-90s and redrew the designs in TurboCAD.  While I still have most of those files, I cannot access them anymore, the version I used back then is too outdated for any program I have to read the old 2-D drawings.

Then in the late 90s I started using AUTOCAD.  While I have again lost most of those early images I do have some of early redesigns.

Feral-F Bomber, Circa 1997

The 1999 Spiral War (then Infinity War) Christmas Card featuring the Feral Bomber of the time with festive textures.  I made these for about 5 years, wonder if I should start them up again.
The original design kept with the Strikemaster tri-hulled design, but added torpedo tubes to the front end and a giant cockpit.  It also featured three turrets for self defense; one to each side and another in on the tail.  The craft also featured three gatling mass driver cannons under the cockpit for attack.  I played a lot of Wing Commander at the time and the Broadsword bomber served to inspire the design as well.
Featuring some old friends on the nacelle, and eight tubes of torpedo spitting death.
Wing Commander was a great game.

As I gained skills at texturing reworked the design slightly mostly by chamfering the nose up so that it was slightly more aerodynamic, just slightly.

Getting There.  The Major Salient features are there, but she just isn't the Feral, Yet.

These textures were not created by me, but served to show the direction that I wanted the design to take.  Now, the design, at this point, had some serious issues.  Those massive low slung engines and weapons nacelles would lead to major thrust imbalance and pitch up issues.  

Feral-F Bomber, Circa 2003

A radical departure in the design that eventually led to something else entirely.
Keeping the "borrowed" texture of the previous version I tried to come up with a more aerodynamic, and therefore faster, Feral-F Bomber.  The design did not go over very well with my friends, whoudl were my only fans at the time.  It was too generic, and didn't carry the weight of the old design, nor did it stand as well as an iconic symbol.

That didn't stop me from creating some variants however, including a Spaceborne Warning And Control Systems (SWACS) version.  Or a retextured version.

I always quite liked the SWAC Varaint, Just need to get around to giving the new version the treatment.

Then as a joke, I imagined a bomber that I christened the Untamed, it was a ridiculous design that carried dozens of torpedoes in two massive nacelles.
Count the Tubes, the Untamed carried 72 torpedoes in ready to launch tubes.  The Feral here, only 12.
While ludicrous in size and design, it did inspire the next redesign.

Feral-F Bomber, Circa 2010

5-Views of a deadly bomber
The Feral-F redesign would kick of my redesign launch of most of my craft in 2011.  For this rendition I wanted to go back to the roots of the design, and the triple fuselage.  In order to do that I had to correct of the thrust imbalance issue, that was easy enough to get over, I added engines to the upper, central fuselage.

On this design you'll also notice that I finally added maneuvering thrusters.  These were a long overdue addition.  Additional turrets graced the underside of the nacelles, giving a total of five, and adding much needed lower hemisphere coverage.  I also cut a bomb bay into the central hull, and as on the previous design added doors to conceal the torpedoes behind.
Each Rotoary launcher carried 6 Torpedoes, so the Feral can carry up to 18.  The central bay can also house other bombs for planetary attack missions.
Though hard to see here, the design now featured a rotary launcher for the torpedoes, much like that of moden bombers, like the B-1B and B-2 Stealth Bomber.

Landing Skids, deployed.

When it came time to texture the ship I wanted to give it an iconic look, and what is more iconic than Invasion Stripes?

What nose art?
With this redesign I also wanted to finally show some details that no other designs had.  In this case the Generator for the Electro-Magentic Toroid (EMT) Shield.  Even though it is almost always covered, it is there, an serves as a nice detail.  There are two of these, one buried in each nacelle arm between the ion screen  ports, and Gravitational Shield Emitters.

Shield Generators and hatches.  The two main crew hatches are visible here, as are the escape hatches, though not as clearly.  You can also see some discoloration ahead of the engines where the reverse thrusters have messed with the paint.

Another area  that got a fair amount of detail was the cockpit, though these pictures are not the best, sorry I need to redo some old renders.

There is a lavatory/rest space below the cockpit (not pictured)
Looking Aft, the Feral has seating for six flight crew, including the gunners.

Cockpit Interior, definitely needs new textures applied.

The engines even received a fair amount more detail, which illustrates the power of the craft.  Something this big has to have some serious power to move with any kind of respectable velocity.

In the words of Tim Allen, MORE POWER!!!

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