Star Citizen: "Fully Functional" X-Wing

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Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Figured I'd post this up here as what I'm trying to do might interest many of you.

I'm currently working on a functional X-wing model for use in Star Citizen once private servers allowing mods and custom ships are up and running. One of my goals is to make it more or less completely functional. This means:

Completely functional landing gear and landing gear bay doors - This is a particular challenge as A) I've found references on the gear can be hard to come by and B) it may require some fudging to make them actually WORK and fit in the bays.

Accessible cargo compartment - Another challenge due to limited clear references. IIRC the only time we ever see the bay open is when Luke is departing Dagobah in Empire (I don't remember it being open in Jedi), and the lighting there is very poor.

Moving S-foils (duh).

Modeled interior systems (flight computer, repulsors, etc) as necessary for the component system. I'd even like to make the loading hatches for the torpedo bay accessible, and maybe even the S-foil maintenance hatch.

Accessible astromech slot (which means ALSO modeling a working astromech to manage the ship's systems. Getting Voice Attack to work with it would be a MAJOR bonus).

Working targeting computer and fully functional cockpit.

Other minutiae I can't think of off the top of my head but I just know will come up.

I actually started the model a while ago for another project, but have been working on updating it and bringing it up to SC's specs. I also recently started remodeling some sections to try and make them more accurate to the actual effects models (most of my early references were either the Fine Molds kits, which have some issues, and some third-party stuff), while also incorporating elements of the set mockups.

A look at what I've got so far:

FuselageNew.png

The fuselage is one of the parts I decided to rebuild from scratch, and much of my weekend so far has been spent working on this. Obviously, there's quite a few things that need work, here (cutouts for the S-foils and torpedo tubes, rear cabin and canopy windows, among other details).

RearDeck.png

The rear deck details have survived more or less intact from the old version of the fuselage, the only difference is tweaking the exact position of some components to account for the remodeled hull. One of the places where I will be deviating from official sources is that this is NOT the location of the shield generator or hyperdrive. There are three components on the rear deck: the astromech slot furthest forward, the power generator aft of the astromech, and the fighter's cooling system. This is the function as denoted by Joe Johnston's blueprints (which predated the film itself and, therefore, the WEG blueprints which more or less made all of their own stuff up instead. I'm REALLY not fond of how they've frelled things up) and it's an important system in Star Citizen, so there it is.

This also shows one of the first adaptations I had to make to the model itself for the X-wing to work: The nice and snug astromech slot we see on the studio effects models WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE (this exact same problem was later duplicated with the N-1 fighters in Episode I)! The astromech droid's feet are too large to fit in the opening an exact reproduction of the effects model provides, so I chose to widen it to properly accommodate the droid. This is one of a couple alterations that are more closely drawn from the full-scale set mockups, which ALSO had to have a larger slot for the droid to fit (best seen when Artoo is shown falling off Luke's X-wing after he crashed on Dagobah). I still need to model the lift that allows the droid to egress the fighter and other details inside the slot, but that's a lower priority pending references.

I'm also aware of the issues posed by the differences between X-wing models. One approach I've decided to take is I'm just going to use Star Citizen's component system to account for them. For example, I currently have the following engine cowlings modeled:

CowlingA.png

UL Red 1 and 5, UR Red 3

CowlingB.png

Red 1 UR

CowlingC.png

Red 5 UR, Red 3 UL

CowlingD.png

Red 12 Lower

CowlingE.png

Red 2 Upper

CowlingF.png

Red 2 Lower

What I did was model the "blank" cowling with only the features that are universal to all X-wings (at least as far as I could tell). The remaining details are a separate object, which I'll be using the component system to randomize, the idea being to allow every X-wing to look a little bit different. I'd love to do it for other surface features as well; wings, fuselage, and the engines inside the wing bays, and allowing the upside down S-foil hatch as in Red 5 and Red 2.

Incidentally, the bladed structure is one of the other features I took from the set mockup.

I am, of course, in need of some good references in a number of places:

Cargo bay interior, particularly the actuator and hinge mechanisms.

Landing gear bays and the gear themselves.

I'm missing the lower cowlings for Reds 1, 3 (though I THINK Red 3 might have used some combination of the Red 1 and Red 5 upper cowling on its lower engines and 5, the upper cowlings for Red 12). Any other cowling variations would also be appreciated.

The variations in the raised surface detailing on the wings and fuselage.

Astromech slot interior and droid's elevator lift.

Cockpit: Here's where I'm going to get specific on y'all. I know there's a thread with some very good references of the Empire cockpit, but I'd REALLY like to model the ANH version. In fact, what I'd REALLY love to do is have all three cockpits and make it another modular component reflecting avionics upgrades and such). Also, has anyone ever figured where exactly the S-foil switch is on these things? They always show the pilot reaching up above (I think) their right shoulder.

Schematics/blueprints of the S-foil assemblies. I'm not entirely convinced that I have the proportions of the S-foils and engines quite right, so anything I can use to compare and remodel as necessary would be a BIG help.
 

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Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Small little update:

FuselageUpdate.png

The canopy framework, outer torpedo launch tubes, the torpedo bay access hatch, and the slot for the S-foils have been cut out of the fuselage. I haven't decided yet whether I will (or need to) keep the hatch for the torpedo bay yet, as I don't know how Star Citizen would handle rearming of warheads or ballistic weapons.

I've tried to match up the shape and dimensions of the launch tubes as best I could, however this is subject to change, depending on whether or not it's actually physically possible for the torpedoes to fit THROUGH them when fired.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any information on what the "canon" dimensions of the torpedoes are supposed to be? Both the actual torpedo itself and its launch shell?
 

Ambaryerno

Jr Member
So right now I'm working on cutting out the opening for the cargo hatch, and I'm in need of feedback.

The only time in the series in which we see the hatch open is in this scene from The Empire Strikes Back:

starwars5script312.jpg

However the dimensions of the hatch don't match up with the visible hatch on the effects models, IE on Red 12:

kg_blue-12.jpg

My reference library is probably not as expansive as some, but I think Red 3's is about the same placement and dimensions (used as a cover to hide the lower mount).

So the hatch in Empire occupies almost all of that space in the lower hull just forward of the S-foils, but on the props for the original its much smaller. The Empire hatch also appears to be a straight line all the way aft, whereas the effects model has those indentations in the front and rear corners on each side. That would make some sense if it's part of the hinge mechanism, but that's clearly not the case on the Empire set mockup.

The set mockup for the original film isn't much help, as this feature is absent; it's only present in the miniature props.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how I should proceed with this area?
 

Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Here's a look at the torpedo bays thus far:

TorpedoTubes.png

Outer torpedo tube and port launch bay with the hatch removed. As there's no (to my knowledge) "canon" image of the torpedo bay from the production staff, I used the Incredible Cross-Section book as a starting point. This did require some changes, because the ICS scales the torpedoes much larger than the X-wing would physically be capable of firing based on the dimensions of the outer tubes. However after rescaling the assemblies, I was left with a lot of excess space because the torpedoes and their racks were much smaller, so I elected to split the ICS's single bay into separate port and starboard bays. The nice advantage this gives is allowing an armored firewall bulkhead between the bays. That way if one bay suffers critical damage that detonates a torpedo, it minimizes the chance of BOTH bays igniting. Granted, three 1-kiloton explosives going off INSIDE the X-wing is unlikely to NOT evaporate the entire thing anyway, but it's still better from a design standpoint.

Torpedoes.png

Torpedoes and their arming shells in their rack. The firing sequence is as follows:

TorpedoArmed.png

When the torpedoes are armed, the launcher arm pushes the arming shell and its torpedo forward into the rear of the inner tubes. The torpedo can then be fired.

TorpedoRotated.png

After being fired, the shell is withdrawn to its ready position, and the torpedoes rotate around the magnetic tracks on the rack, allowing the process to repeat.
 

Albertese

Well-Known Member
Fascinating. Though I was always under the impression that the proton torpedo was actually just the little cone. That's all it looks like in the movie. Not a whole long cylinder with a cone tip. Have I had that wrong all these years?

Great project, by the way.

--Alex
 

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Ambaryerno

Jr Member
The torpedo itself IS just the cone, the cylinder is the arming shell and remains in the magazine when the torpedo is fired. It's never actually shown on film, but it IS present in Joe Johnston's blueprints:

XWSWChronicalsFromRob.jpg

It's kind of hard to see here, but it can still be made out.
 

Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Been a while, but not due to lack of productivity:

FrontGearExtended.png

Forward landing skid, actuator, and oleo strut assembly. I did my best to match as closely to the set mockup, however when it comes right down to it, it would have just been flat out impossible to make it work without adjustments. The simple problem is the landing gear on the set mockup weren't designed to retract, so physically couldn't work; The "collar" above the ankle was too low to allow the skid to pivot, not to mention the pivot joint itself was a solid block. I also had to raise the point at which the actuator arm attaches to the oleo sleeve, otherwise the actuator would have ended up too long. As it stands, the length is already arguably pushing things a bit, but I wanted to maintain something of the set mockup's silhouette. The mockup also doesn't appear to allow for shock absorption on the oleo, and instead the strut is all one piece. I elected instead to make the strut two halves so the bottom part can telescope in. This will absorb the shock of landing as the craft's weight settles onto the gear (VERY important to protect the ship from damage).

FrontGearRetracted.png

Showing the forward landing gear in its retracted position. I need to make a few more tweaks, but otherwise it folds up quite nicely.

I will NOT be able to match the dimensions of the doors shown on the set mockup. It will, unfortunately, just be impossible to do so because of the problem I noted above. I'll instead be taking a page from the Johnston blueprints I posted above, which has the forward landing gear bay extend almost all the way to the rear of the nose cone. The bay will also extend somewhat farther back, just aft of the tip of the outer torpedo tubes.

I've yet to model the landing gear bay or doors. Does ANYONE have any good references of the bay and door interiors? This is proving to be one of THE most difficult parts of the ship to find clear images of. I know that one of the ILM models was modified for landing gear for the Dagobah scene in Empire Strikes Back, does anyone know of any photographs showing the bay detailing (fore and aft) on this model?
 

rbeach84

Sr Member
Ambaryerno, you're doing some fine work here. Although 'virtual' you are working out the kinks of a 'practical' model while paying homage to the original filming artifacts. I would encourage you to continue your process but with balance for 'practicality' when you encounter challenges such as interior features that may or may not have ever been visible on screen. Then you allow yourself the freedom to make design choices that reflect your own creativity & experience while avoiding being 'bogged down' & losing momentum. Some things will just have to be fabricated from 'whole cloth' as they say and still the results will be as valid as any other. Plus, yours will actually be workable!

Here is one thought on the Droid "slot": there is nothing that prevents the slot from having sealing 'doors' on them. For example, the slot's sides can retract a bit to allow for the feet to pass through, then extend back to match the 'shoulder' width once the 'droid is seated. Think how the tumblers in a keyed lock work. Added advantage is that the droid is firmly 'locked in' with nothing further needed. In fact, from a design standpoint and to allow for maximum compatibility with a number of 'droid types, the droid bay itself might be much larger space & be outfitted with modular inserts as needed for a particular setup. Sort of like a box with an oddly shaped item in it & custom fitted styrofoam packing blocks...

Another point is that the 'skid' on the landing gear could fold the angled part flat when retracted, so it has less a lessened vertical dimension when stowed. That is what I plan on doing with my Mill Falcon landing gear - use a hinge at the bend and a linkage that will flatten it during retraction.

Keep truckin'! Regards, Robert
 

Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Yeah, I'd considered having "doors" to fill in the gaps in the droid slot. There's a question of complicating the model TOO much, though.
 

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rbeach84

Sr Member
Hmm! What about creating a separate model of the 'standard droid bay' and use it to validate the interpretation you then can apply to the main model?
R/ Robert
 

Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Been a while since I've posted in this, as I've been tied up on a LOT of things lately, but am slowly getting back to working on some of these projects.

I was curious if anyone knew of reliable schematics for the T-65? I found a good one of the fuselage taken from the original effects models, but that was all it had, and I'm leery of a lot of the "official" works.
 

bigpetr

Active Member
Hello Ambaryerno, great work here. I am looking forward to your progress.

I do not know about reliable schematics, but reliable model is this model: http://scifi3d.com/details.asp?intGenreID=10&intCatID=10&key=572
I found it very precise in comparison with photo reference material. Most accurate free model I know of.

I also have x-wing model from Battlefront game with cockpit as seen in game. I do not consider myself expert, but I have studied x-wing cockpit and RED 2 x-wing for some time, so if you want to consult something I will gladly help.
x-wing1.jpg x-wing2.jpg
 

Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Yeah, I've got the BF model. One thing they missed on it (and in fact, seems to get missed a lot) is that the forward face of the shield projector boxes are asymmetrical. A lot of them put the same facing on all four, but there's two separate designs. The UL and LR wings have one, and the UR and LL have another. This even slipped in to the CGI models on ANH:SE (not sure about Rogue One's X-wings).
 

bigpetr

Active Member
You are right I checked BF x-wing against reference and even the overall proportions seems to be slightly off here and there. I think I believed too much to developers PR articles:).
If you mean this:), Rogue one has it right:
R1 -xwing.jpg
 

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Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Really hard to tell from that image.

It's also complicated by disparities between the effects models and full-scale mockups. IIRC, the mockups all have a flat back to the lower half of the sensor cone, even though the effects models are angled.

As an aside, although Rogue One was a step up over TFA with the X-wing markings (IIRC, there were separate markings for Reds 1-3 and Blue 1-3, whereas the T-70s all had the same markings, with Poe's just being a palette swap) I was disappointed that they didn't actually replicate the paint job on Red Leader's X-wing from the original film (I think they took Blue Leader and just swapped the stripe colors). Would have also been cool to see a scene where the front half of his fighter gets blown off to explain the distinctive blast mark his fighter had in the original.
 

Ambaryerno

Jr Member
BTW, just a little update:

HiRes.png


Right-click and View Image for full res.

The hull, nose cone, wings, laser cannon, and most of the engine components (still working on the variable details) have been beveled. I've also started adding in the materials, decals, and other details as well. Including the S-foil flood lamps! The idea with the pilot markings is that I have four textures: Blank, Full Stripe, Half Stripe, Double-Stripe. I'd script the game to read the pilot's callsign and then apply the stripes to his fighter appropriately.

I'm currently using DecalMachine for features like the shield projector grid and the ribbed surface of the engines to free up some polys. The problem is it wants to make everything a bare metal finish. I don't know enough about manipulating the Cycles nodes in Blender to get it to more of a painted plastic/fiberglass finish like the rest of the model, so am currently in touch with their support while trying to figure out what I need to change.
 

bigpetr

Active Member
Great progress (on E-wing too:)).

You have lot of details there, considering beveling and all the functional inner structers. What is poly budget for Star Citizen model?
 

Ambaryerno

Jr Member
Mostly just working on materials. I've gotten the shield grid and engine cans tweaked, and also started throwing panel lines on the S-foil.

VERY high-res render below. Right-click to view it full size.

HiRes2.png
 

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