Romulan T'Varo-class Bird of Prey (22nd Century)

This is an Enterprise-era Romulan Bird of Prey for use in the fan film Star Trek: Horizon. In Star Trek: Online, this design is still in service in the 25th Century as the T’Varo-class light warbird, which is the name I’ve been using to identify it. I’m modeling it — as always — in Blender and will pass it along to Horizon’s creator Tommy for use in 3ds Max once finished. My goal is to build it efficiently and relatively quickly, so as to not be a bottleneck in his VFX pipeline.

So far, I’m still just working on the subsurf. There are a ton of imperfections and errors to smooth out still, lots of loop creases to add for edge definition, and so on, but it’s substantially better tonight than it was last night, so I don’t feel nearly as ashamed of posting it at this early stage.

The nacelles are just stubbed in at the moment and proved a far bigger challenge than I expected, due to their off-axis nature. At first, I tried to just model them whole, but the ended up looking lumpy and asymmetrical across their local axis. Ultimately, I hit on the idea to model the nacelle axis-aligned and then instance the geometry as a separate object, rotated into the correct position. This allowed me to mirror the two sides of the nacelle and made modeling it a lot easier. It’s not 100% bang-on to the ortho, but it’s very close. Right now, it’s still a very bare subsurf, with no control edges or anything and continues to be in dire need of surface smoothing, but at least they’re in-place now.

I’m using a nice, big 5-ortho render of the CG model used on Enterprise as my main reference, along with John Eaves’s concept sketches and a few episode screenshots. Having access to the big 5-ortho render is huge and making my entire process a lot easier and straight-forward.


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Getting closer to having a finalized subsurf for the hull and nacelles now. The geometry is all present, but some of it still needs a little massaging.

Notes on the things I know need work:

Anybody see anything I missed?

That design is quite lovely. Good work thus far!

Thanks Lushmoss!

Didn’t have any time to work on the model tonight (instead, watched the Bruins inexplicably lose to the Sabers once again, despite the Sabers generally being a terrible team and the Bruins being one of the best; why do we so often lose to them?), but I did kick out some high-res wire renders to check the topology.

Ignore the ugliness on the tail – that entire area is actually flat and will get optimized into a much nicer-loooking N-gon once the subsurf is frozen.

Here also is a quick animation (720p) to check for the way light falls across the surface as it moves:

For those curious, he’s how I made the wire show up:

I have one adjustment I want to make to the underside of the wings, but I think it’s ready to be frozen after that and then the detail work begins!

Tonight, I did an initial UV unwrap, froze the subsurf, spent some time optimizing the mesh (from some absurd > 600k triangle count down to 387k triangles) and then added the very first panel detailing, bringing the triangle count back up to 394k :smiley:

Etching some paneling into the weapon module. I spent far too much time on making the geometry ultra-clean here, rebuilding ugly bevels and polishing up polygons that you probably won’t ever get close enough to notice.

Not a lot of progress to show for the last three days, but been plugging away all the same. More panels and weapon ports! :smiley:

The weapon ports aren’t terribly detailed at the moment, which I’m giving very serious thought to remedying.

Been slowly plinking away at the underside hull paneling. The topology doesn’t at all match the location of the panel lines, which makes cutting them in that much more tedious and slow, but I finally had enough done that I thought it’d be worth sharing.

As a new Star Trek fan, and a lover of Star Trek Online, really, I must say good work so far.

Along with the noted lack of details for the weapons, I’m also agreeing with the paneling even though it doesn’t seem to be an easy problem to fix.

I wish you the best of luck with this project!

Thanks, Volothos!

Been busy over the past week or so and haven’t had a chance to do any modeling until today. Still paneling, but I’m getting pretty close to having all of the ventral body paneling etched in.

Finally started on the wing paneling.

Finished off the last two big panels on the wing underside and put in the main tail panels. They feel a little bare right now, but texturing will probably help with that. I’m thinking about adding a narrow raised ridge along the centerline of the tail, too, just to give it a bit more variation.

Finished etching in the top panels, though they still need to have their hard edges smoothed.

Rough to-do list:

  • Bevel wing surface panel edges
  • Etch main hull panels & bevel
  • Etch nacelle panels & bevel
  • Detail/unify the nacelle and the wing
  • Windows/rooms
  • Major structure details (bridge area, torpedo launchers, impulse engines)
  • Additional surface details as needed
  • Re-UVing
  • Texturing

amazing work there! I’m really digging it so far…keep posting!

Thanks, James_Z!

Been steadily whacking away at this. Just about done modeling. All the panels and windows are now in, with proper frames and rooms and everything.

Going to do one last detail pass in some of the more bare areas and then I think I’m done with modeling and on to texturing!

very nice stuff, can’t wait to see the texture stage :smiley:

Thanks, Craig Jones!

Finished up the modeling back in mid-June.

Disregard that giant bright-ass flare; I wanted to throw a little self-illumination panel on the top of what appears to be the bridge, much like many Fed ships have. Because of the post settings I generally use, though, it got mega blown-out. :wink:

Worked on UVs through the end of June and first week of July.

Now making progress on the textures.

I only just learned about Smart Objects in Photoshop. Super-cool. For those that don’t know about them, it’s a feature that basically lets you create a “sub-document” out of something, and then manipulate the whole thing as a continuous piece. So, for example, if you have a Smart Object that’s just a square, you can dump a bunch of layers into it, do all sorts of things, and then back in your main document, you use something like Warp on it and it distorts the entire sub-document. I used this on those front-most hull panels because the UV alignment didn’t follow the regular XY grid of the Photoshop document. Just extracted out the square section of panels, dumped it into a Smart Object, then warped the Smart Object to follow the UVs. Easy-peasy!

I’m calling the topside/fore part of the texture done! On to the underside/aft!

Finished! :smiley:

Looks great, wish there was animation now :smiley: