Page created Sunday, January 17, 2010

Revised June 8, 2012




(Warning: Graphic Intensive Page!)




In April of 2009 our local role-playing gaming group was playing Trans Human Space. I expressed an interest in modeling our ship, and someone in a forum suggested Blender. I found it, installed it, but could not get it to do very much. Sometime later I uninstalled it and forgot about it. In mid November, a new member of the Cajun Clickers Computer Club came forward and offered to teach workshops in Blender. I attended the first one, reinstalled the software and the rest, as they say, is history! After March, 2010, I pretty much stopped Blending. In March, 2012 I decided it was time to get back into it. I forced myself through the pain of learning version 2.62, which was quite a change fro 2.49…but wroth it. I'm delighted to be Blending again. And, to boot, thanks to Shapeways my Blender models can become reality.



Catalog of Ships


Arkenstone & Shuttlecraft


Freemen 2

HMS Valhalla (Worlds Of Honor)


Things that aren't Spaceships





I created the fusion/hyper driven Arkenstone in the early 1980s. Unfortunately I lost the original pencil and graph paper drawings when we moved from Tennessee to Louisiana in 1988.  The basic parameters of the ship remained in my head, and in mid 1997 through early 1998 I created it to scale in Corel Draw.  (Being lazy, I used conventional home architectural symbols in the drawings!) Starting in late November 2009 and finishing in mid February 2010, I have the exterior, control room, lounge, shuttlecraft and hanger completed in Blender. (I created the computer and touch surface displays for the control room in Corel Draw and imported them into Blender as image textures. I found the textures for the bulkheads and decks as well as the warehouse walls and floor at ) In March and April of 2012 I continued with the ship, making some very minor changes in the exterior and continuing with the interiors.


Plan drawings and renders are shown below.


Click a thumbnail for a full-size image


The ship is 250 feet long by 50 feet by 50 feet. Maneuvering is provided by low thrust reaction-less thruster discs mounted on the hull so that the ship can thrust along any axis. Interplanetary travel and positioning for hyper travel is provided by four high thrust HE3/ single-H fusion reactor-drive sets. Faster than light travel is provided by a hyper drive which is controlled by a dedicated hyper spatial computer. All major ship's systems and controls are triple redundant for reliability. The hull is a custom grown single molecule which stops 50% neutrinos. The last row above are new renders, showing a better exhaust, the ship near a beautiful blue nebula, and finally, all you can see just before I disappear into hyper-space.



Click a thumbnail for a full-size image


The ship’s control room is fifty feet across and fifteen feet deep, large enough to also serve as a rack room; there are several equipment cabinets and racks co-located with the ship’s controls and displays. There is a large display screen mounted in the center of the forward bulkhead. Directly in front of it is a semi circular main control console. This houses three wedge shaped panels. The top surface of each wedge is a touch sensitive control area. Each wedge also has a dedicated display screen mounted perpendicular to it. Controls and displays for any ship’s system can be called up on any wedge and/or display. They can be ‘mixed and matched’ as I desire.


The long panel to the left of the control console houses dedicated controls for the four fusion reactor-drive sets. The smaller panel located to the right of the control console is dedicated to navigation and optical star sighting.


The ship employs induced gravity. The lift/airlocks, shop deck, cargo hold and other areas are designed to be subjected to microgravity. There are nets, tie downs, and hand holds placed strategically throughout these areas.


“A” deck is designed to be continuously subjected to .75 g. Since the induced gravity system is triple redundant there is little chance of “A” deck being unexpectedly subjected to no-weight. The deck can be prepared for microgravity by placing loose items in lockable drawers and fitting covers over desks and tables. The pool room is watertight. The hot tub is normally covered. Seals can be snapped into place over the flush toilets –I refused to even consider installing zero g sanitation fixtures.


The shop deck is where I make my living. It includes storage for raw materials, and a CAD-E/CAM (Computer Aided Design-Engineering/Computer Aided Manufacturing) system. I also have a complete fabrication area, and equipment to do small production runs. I can design, build, manufacture, ship, deliver, install and startup product anywhere in this part of the galaxy.


There is a loading crane mounted in the overhead of the shop deck. The plates in the center of this deck can be removed allowing access to the cargo hold. With the plates removed and the cargo bay doors open, the entire area can be exposed to vacuum for loading/unloading or construction of projects in space.


BTW, the "Arkenstone" is a mythical "large, white gem." The hull of the ship is a dazzling white.


The ship’s lounge is located immediately aft of the control room on “A” deck. It is approximately twenty feet by twenty feet.



Click on any photo for a full-size image


The left hand picture is looking down into the lounge from above. It is oriented to correspond with the “A” deck plan view. Note that the hot tub is normally covered. Yes, that is redwood planking! In the right hand picture, I am chilling in the hot tub, sipping coffee and catching up on True Blood while traveling through hyperspace.




Click on any photo for a full-size image


In the left hand picture, the forward lift/airlock door as well as the door into the control room are slightly open. (Note that the lift door is ten feet by ten feet.) You can also see the security panel for the control room door, as well as some of the home theater speakers and electronics. Panning counterclockwise, the right hand picture reveals the security panel and door for stateroom #3 as well as one of the floating armchairs, which has a keypad embedded in one arm.



Click on any photo for a full-size image


Continuing to pan counter clockwise, in the left hand picture you can see a bit of the hallway, the wide couch and the steps leading up to the hot tub, as well as the powered massage table. The double doors in back of the hot tub open into the master’s stateroom. The middle picture shows the door to the ship’s dining room, and the door to stateroom #2 as well as another floating armchair and a storage unit. The right hand picture completes the pan around the lounge, showing the door to stateroom #1 and a second, smaller storage unit.  The storage units, coffee table, massage table, couch and armchairs are models I found at and modified. The water procedural texture is based on a great water tutorial which is now offline.  As usual, image textures were provided by 


Click on any photo for a full-size image


The top left picture is the Arkenstone's hyper-drive bay, with the h-drive running. Middle picture is my office. Sorry it's a bit of a mess, but I'm a working engineer. Mess means work. Work means I get to eat, and refuel my ship. Top right is a wider shot, showing the Galactovue switched off. The bottom left picture shows the Galactovue running. Bottom middle is me, changing neighborhoods. Finally, I'm taking my ease, relaxing in Earth orbit.


By the way, a Galactovue is a device for displaying holographic maps of the galaxy, or at least a portion of it. The device was described by Robert Heinlein in Citizen of the Galaxy, published in 1957. (I frequently borrow from Mr. Heinlein.)



"What’s even more fun is that once you get all the calcs done, I can feed the whole mess into the Galactovue, and see a really nice 3D representation of the entire trip along with readouts of the actual figures. The Galactovue uses the hyper-calculator’s database and the nav system database; I can access data on a planetary level on up to an interstellar level. It’s a good check on what we think we are going to do. If we’ve made a mistake something won’t look right on the Galactovue. Handy gadget." –me, writing about my ship.
Look closely at the pics of my office, there are a couple of in-jokes. (Hint: I built this stuff using Blender.) Note that the couch, desk and safe are not mine, I found the .blend files online and modified them to suit my needs.


Arkenstone's Shuttlecraft


The shuttlecraft is a ten foot sphere. Half of this is a clear canopy which can be recessed into a slot in the craft’s hull. There are no seats, the pilot and passenger lie flat on a padded floor.


To enter the craft you raise the canopy, climb in via handholds and stand on a platform. There is a shelf where you can tie down your luggage. Strap yourself in, lower the pilot’s control panel into place and seal the canopy. The canopy also provides a heads up display for the pilot.


Thrust is provided by five reaction-less thruster discs mounted on the hull so that the ship can thrust along any axis. The craft does not employ induced gravity, you will feel the acceleration. A wise pilot will always orient the craft so thrust is provided by the rear mounted thrust disc. (Note, I grabbed the human model from a Blender model repository and modified it.)



Click a thumbnail for a full-size image


Arkenstone’s Hanger


When I have to stay on Earth for any length of time, I land my ship in a large warehouse that I've converted into a hanger/refueling station. (Getting the roof doors installed was a bear!) I have a process skid and storage tanks installed for FARM (Fuel And Reaction Mass) which must be kept refrigerated and under high pressure. The skid also provides the ship with utilities: Power, Water, Oxygen, Nitrogen and Data. (PWOND).




Click on any photo for a full-size image


The landing legs retract into the hull during flight. They hold the bottom of the ship ten feet above the warehouse floor. The forward lift/airlock outer hatch is 10 feet x 10 feet. The gangway for the aft lift/airlock is on the other side of the ship.




Click on any photo for a full-size image


The gangways, railings and platforms fold up and retract into the hull during flight. By the way, that’s an escalator, not stairs. Makes getting in and out of the ship very convenient, especially when my SO is wearing heels. The outer ‘lock hatch is slightly open. In the right hand picture  you can see the security panel that controls access to the ‘lock. The buttons are one inch square, to accommodate spacesuit gloves.



Here you can see part of the refueling operation. In addition to two large built in FARM tanks, I can load smaller auxiliary tanks into the cargo hold in lieu of cargo for a longer trip. There is a forklift positioning an aux tank to be lifted into the hold with the ship’s loading crane.






Click on any photo for a full-size image


Product from the FARM/PWOND skid is transferred to a motorized service cart via flexible hoses. The cart can maneuver to the FARM/PWOND access panel in the ship’s hull, or to the auxiliary tanks. Delivering product to its final destination is done via more hoses.




Here is a close-up of the ship’s FARM/PWOND access panel, and the cart. You can see the cart steering and feed controls, as well as some of the connecting hoses.






Click on any photo for a full-size image


These two pictures show the FARM/PWOND skid and storage tanks. In the left-hand picture you can see a six foot high blue control cabinet mounted next to a pipe support.


 Looking straight down from the warehouse ceiling


Obviously, once I discovered Shapeways I wanted a printed model of my ship! This desire expanded to the point where I decided to create a simplified diorama of the warehouse/hanger.


Above is a render of the warehouse/hanger, below is the real thing Here is the dioram in place in my office. The next project is the ship's sphereical shuttlecraft, which is currently in production.

BTW, you can see a lot more of the diorama, and other things, on my Facebook page at


HSTV Ekaterina


The Heavy Space Transport Vessel Ekaterina was originally designed by game designer and GM Michael Scott around 2003. We used the ship when playing Trans Human Space off and on for the last several years. In late 2009 and early 2010 Scotty, inspired by the ill fated Defying Gravity television series, decided to redesign the ship. He provided me with his drawings done in Corel and I created the ship in Blender. The ship is built in accordance to GURPS THS ship building rules. E-Kat is 350 feet long. The command module is 30 feet in diameter, and the rotating spin pods create a circle with a 110 foot diameter. (By far the most difficult aspect of this model was the truss, see close-up below. Next was the command module, I had to make liberal use of Booleans. To date I have not textured the model.)


Here are the GURPS THS design specs created by Scotty (PDF format)



Click a thumbnail for a full-size image



Freemen 2


The Federator/Freemen 2 was designed by my wife Karen Morton for use in her science fiction novel The Phoenix Revolution, Book 1. She originally sketched the ship in mid 1997. In January 2010 she created the ship in Corel Draw to scale using her sketches as a guideline. The Freemen 2 is approximately 130 feet long. It is 66 feet high and 113 feet wide at the stern. I completed the Blender models in mid February 2010. I found the image texture for the hull at


The Federator was designed and constructed underground on Sedona Minor by the Prentiss 7 division of Haverford Industries in conjunction with the Human Confederacy. The three deck prototype craft uses VTOL chemical thrusters for takeoff, jet engines for atmospheric flight and fusion drives for interplanetary flight. It employs a Straczynski drive (named after J. Michael Straczynski) for hyper travel. The ship mounts plasma guns for offense, and uses force wall generators for defense. When the ship enters an atmosphere, wings are unfurled for atmospheric braking. The hull of the ship has a special finish that is radar/sensor transparent. In between the hull plates are hundreds of tiny nozzles that are used as thrusters for low speed maneuvers in space.






Click on any photo for a full-size image



 HMS Valhalla


Since 2006 or so our gaming group has been playing in the Honor Harrington universe. In 2009 we playtested the RPG Worlds Of Honor which may be published by Ad Astra Games. My character served as XO on board the Reliant class battle cruiser HMS Valhalla. I decided to throw together a quickie model of our ship. On reflection, I'm not happy with this model, so I'm going to put in the effort to make a better one.


Wedge up, looking for Peeps!


Not Spaceships