UFO Compositing Tips?

Well, I did my first sketchup model yesterday, a very simple triangular ufo. However, I plan to use this for an upcoming project, and I feel that the ship could have potential if I make some minor add-ons and adjustments.

  1. What would be the best texture for a ufo?
  2. How could I make a realistic laser? (Not War of the Worlds quality, but not completely fake looking)
  3. How hard would it be to make the ship able to do some simple transformations, not complex at all. I mean maybe a gun comes out of nowhere or it looks like a triangle with rounded edges, but then it transforms into a ufo. .
    My last question (BTW thanks for reading this in the first place): I’ve seen the tutorial for modeling thrusters in Blender, and I was wondering if it would be possible for me to modify that effect to make the flames that come from the thruster a little more wispy and natural looking.