Sci-Fi Armoured Vehicle modelling project.


Background: This is a recent project I started, modelling some armoured vehicles as a professional project. For health reasons I’m unlikely to be able to get a conventional job, so I earn cash from home. One way is building models in Blender and rigging them in Poser; there’s a market for these if they are well made and well rigged, and I am very good at rigging them to make them easy to use in Poser. Note that some of the edges look rather sharp, they won’t look like that in Poser; the way the smoothing works is different to Blender and I am modelling with Poser in mind because I have to for this project.

So, this is set of vehicles I will be selling, hopefully ready by the end of September. Since rigging a set of tracks is a pain, I am basing them all on the same tracked chassis so I only have to rig the tracks once. Rigging tracks for Poser is probably much harder than rigging them for Blender, though I did it after advice from the person who invented the method I used, so it was easier than working it out myself would have been… :evilgrin:

The vehicles being based on a common chassis also reflects reality, as armies have done this many times in the past; it’s not always done, but it can save a lot of money if a suitable base is designed. So that out of the way, here are the current state-of-play images:


More vehicles in the set:


They look. :slight_smile:

I especially like the detail on the tracks.

Thank you!

The modelling of the tracks was the biggest challenge and also a very important factor in making the vehicles convincing. In addition, since they were made to be rigged for animation they had to be modelled with that in mind too. In spite of that I have a limit; Poser is not economical with memory and for practical use a vehicle shouldn’t have more than 200,000 polygons, actually a rather tight limit if you want your models to stand up to close-up use (I do). So far these are all under 150,000, though they have no serious internal details. The APC will need a fair amount of interior detail, and I may do more than the required two interiors (one for the APC, one for the IFV variant which has to make room for the turret magazine and so has fewer seats).

I haven’t decided yet but I may do an ambulance interior for the APC.

Some of the detail on the tracks is actually not modelled but is the result of applying a texture map and a bump map. When I have time I’ll add a pair of renders, one with textures and the other without, so you can see the effect of the maps on the apparent level of detail.

OK, couldn’t sleep so I dug out these and assembled them in PhotoShop; they show an earlier stage of the project when I was just finishing the modelling of the tracks. To check my work I rendered these, one with no textures and the other with the texture and bump maps applied; no extra detail is modelled in, the effect of extra detail comes from the bump map with a little help from the texture map.


Hi. Very nice modeling, love the details. Could I suggest that you work on the textures. Even if they are not meant for rendering but a tank with a used texture might be very interesting.

Many of the current textures are really little more than placeholders, and a lot more work is due on those in the coming week. I intend to weather the set moderately, not heavily, but they will get some weathering and wear. A heavily used set is a possibility, but that will come much later. I also intend to add other colour sets, like an “army green” and a few others.

Very nice,how did you do the sprocket wheel?

To get the tracks modelled around the sprocket properly and to get the sprocket to fit I started with just the track link pins.

I first modelled a single track link pin (a cylinder, that was hard :evilgrin:), then duplicated it around a circle rotating 24 degrees each time. One side of the driver tooth was then modelled, then mirrored and joined up to make the groove that holds the pin. That single tooth was spin-duplicated through the same 24 degrees several times to make the outer part of the sprocket. Once that was done I modelled a track link to fit a pair of the pins. I filled the middle of the sprocket outer plate and mirrored it to get the inner plate. The array modifier was used to model the tracks along the base, and then I manually positioned the ones around the road wheels and the return idler wheel. The duplicated links to wrap around the sprocket could easily be rotated into place then, by duplicating them and rotating about the middle of the sprocket by 24 degrees.

Oh, by the way, getting the track link length right was done by taking the centre vertex from each of two link pins, then joining them with with an edge; since I’d set Blender to show edge lengths I had the exact length displayed. Starting with the pins makes this easier as you’re just modelling something to fit from one to the next.

I’ve done tracks before so if that seems slick it’s because I’ve made all the mistakes I can think of in my previous attempts.:slight_smile: If it’s as confusing as hell then maybe I am not as good at explaining things as I thought… :wink:

I made these tracks single-pin links instead of the more common double pin links to help keep the polygon count down.

Cool,it’s fine i can understand everything you explained perfectly :slight_smile:

BTW how did you get blender to show the edge length?

For models like this I have to model in Blender 2.49b because the UV Unwrapping tools in later versions have a bug in them that’s a major pain on a project like this. So in 2.49b you have some options in the “Mesh tools more” panel of a buttons window; you can get it to show edge length; the other options are edge angles and face areas.


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At last I got back to this a few days ago; studying is keeping me busy so I get less time than I would like to complete this project. However I now have three interiors done for the APC. The standard fitted interior has folding troop seats so that it can be used as a troop carrier, a cargo carrier or for transporting a mixture of the two. It seats fourteen with all seats down as the seats each take two people. With the seats all folded there’s room for a lot of cargo.

The second interior is the “High comfort” interior, used by units that move soldiers large distances using APCs, or used for transporting VIPs in unsafe areas. The seats don’t fold so few of these would be issued, as it is much less adaptable.

The third interior is an Ambulance; I need to develop another version of the model with no exterior turrets for that, so that users can conform to the Geneva Convention if they want to; ambulance vehicles are not supposed to be armed at all. They may carry stored weapons such as rifles or sub-machine guns for the crew, so that they can defend themselves if they have to abandon the vehicle; these are not for use when the vehicle is operating as an ambulance. Although I have imported these interiors into Poser all of these renders are done in Blender as it is much faster to render images than Poser is.


OK, I neglected this thread for a while as I’ve been struggling to keep up with homework, work, and life events of a major nature. However the first product in the set is ready and has been beta tested; it is now being tested by a commercial site to be sold as a Poser product. The main promotional image (rendered in Poser) is attached; click to see it at the proper size:

Now the tanks are done and will soon be on sale the APC package will be next on my list.

That looks great, Fire Angel! I like the various configurations you’ve made available. The modelling and texturing looks very well done, I’m sure Poser/DAZ Studio users will be quite happy to find these vehicles available to them (I was once a Poser user myself.)

Thanks James. I hope these sell as well as my last product or better. I think because of the nature of Poser and the users, the APC package may be the better seller. That’s because an APC has more opportunities to be used with figures, showing troops inside, a squad leaping out and dispersing, people being carried into the ambulance etc. A lot of Poser users like to get their favourite characters interacting with something, so the APC pack will give them plenty of ways to do that. The tank pack is as good as I could make it, and the APC set will be no worse, but still the seating and interiors give users more options for use with the APCs.

Here are two more of the promo images so you can get an idea of the texture options that ship with the tank pack. The tropical camouflage is actually very effective and so is the urban camouflage. The tie-down kit and optional turret boxes help to give customers more options for adding realistic touches to a scene with the tanks in. There are lots of props that ship with the tank pack and there will probably be even more shipping with the APC package. You’ll need to click on these to see them at their proper quality, the forum resize uses rather heavy compression and doesn’t reproduce the full quality.

Now the tank package has been on sale for a while I found sales made it worthwhile puttng some extra work into the APC package. I’ve set that up and rigged the APCs themselves, plus the interiors. The interiors are separate Poser figures, designed to be used as conforming figures. With any Poser figure you can make conforming figures; it’s actually intended to allow clothing to conform to a human figure, a saddle to conform to a horse etc. However any time you want extra parts to be available to a user that can be loaded separately it is possible to rig them as a conforming figure for Poser to use.

The APC package is being tested now, so I’ve been preparing promotional images for the marketplace sites that sell my work.


More promos; Note the detailed interiors.


Final promos. As an APC is often used for cargo as well as personnel I have provided users with lots of suitable cargo props. Ammunition crates, food boxes, shells, drums full of lubricating oil and spare wheels and track links, that sort of thing. I tend to make lots of props for my products as they make useful scene fillers; I’ve seen images made by customers of mine where they’ve used the props but not the main product, so I know they like them.