Animating Spaceship, Trying to get rid of Vertex Group Skinning Distortion

I’m animating a spaceship for my brother in Blender for his Unity game. Unity only recognizes armatures for animations. I want to make the spaceship bank +/-22.5 degrees and the engines rotate +/-45 degrees depending on which way the ship is turning. I’m trying to animate it with vertex groups and armatures. I have 3 bones, one is named “Everything”, one is named “Starboard Engine” and one is named “Port Engine”. Each of those is also a vertex group in the spaceship mesh. I parented the spaceship to the model using Ctrl+P > Armature Deform with Empty Groups. The bones seem to move the proper vertices in Pose mode, but the bones that would rotate the engines deform it and squish it. How can I stop that?

Here is the file, if needed.

Thank you for your help. :spin:

Posting the file definitely helps to figure out your problem. Remove the Starboard & Port Engine vertices from the Everything vertex group should fix the problem. What’s happening is the verts in the engine are being deformed by the Everything vertex group & bone, which isn’t moving. So the engine verts resist rotating because they belong to that group. But they want to rotate because they have their own vertex group.

Note that the mesh object & armature object should share the same origin point, and their scale & rotation should match. The armature object has a -90 X rot, the mesh object doesn’t…