Problems with Poles, aka why are tread covers the hardest thing I've ever had to model

Alright so, every single time I try to model a tank (which I have done about five times) I run into the exact same problem. I can kinda cover it up, kinda hide it a bit, but I really feel like at some point I need to figure out how to actually solve the problem instead of just put a bandaid fix on it.

The issue is with a particular point on the geometry… the tread covers, where a section of the hull goes over the treads. The corner right there needs to have five edges at least, to the best of my ability to tell. One going sideways around the main hull, one going upwards to model the thickness of the cover, one going sideways out around the treads, one going downwards to mark the lower edge of the main hull, and one going backwards to mark out the ceiling of the tread covers.

Now I have tried all manner of different things to make these poles look alright but every single time, once subdivided they clip through the model. I did try to model without subdivisions one time but I really dont know how to make it look smooth, plus I need the beveled edges to have that characteristic softer less geometric edge.

I’ve tried using creases, bevels, loop cuts… nothing really seems to work. Loop cuts in particular are a no go since they create a visible line in the smooth curvature in the rest of the mesh.

Basically, I just want an indent in the otherwise smooth surface of the hull. Anything which messes up the geometry of the rest of the hull and makes it look less smooth is a no-go. I’ve had a very similar problem with windows on rounded surfaces and trying to define their corners, as well, but with tanks are really where I have the biggest problem.

Please help I am at the end of my wits here.

https://ufile.io/xqdus9gy here is the most recent two attempts. If you go in ‘face orientation’ in view you can see that it clips through the mesh at the corners, and also has some distortion on the inner corner.

Have you a reference picture so we know what you want to archive, its hard just with a description.

Jaguar hull alone2.blend (872.1 KB)

A bit crude but not that hard to clean up.

what I want to ‘archive’? I am afraid I dont follow
and, I dont have a picture of exactly my thing, but the polish stealth tank PL-01 concept is pretty close. https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.7NDOw4vlCd0Ck8rJ5KtCcAHaEK%26pid%3DApi&f=1

The problem with this is that it creates a visible crease or bevel or, I dont know what to call it but a visible line in the curvature of the lower hull in between the two indents. I’m trying to avoid affecting the smooth curvature of the rest of the model.

Custom normals would probably work.

You would need a master mesh with good topology for the main body without any cuts and then another mesh with only the cuts and then use vertex groups and the data transfer modifier to copy the smooth normals over to where you need them.

I wasn’t able to use that exact model but looking at it gave me an idea of what I needed to do to make my own smoothed out hull, so I have now been able to finally (after three days of struggle) get my tank hull to look good without visible distortion (…I may or may not have needed to also add a multi-resolution and even do some sculpting to finally get it just right.)

At any rate thank-you for your invaluable assistance, who knows how much longer I could have banged my head against the wall trying to figure it out.