July 21, 2006
The Universal Joint
Some history about this; forgive me, but I like to tell stories. And this is kind of a story about a story.
When I was in high school and studying Fortran and Cobol (computer programming languages of a bye-gone era for you young ones here) we were given an assignment to make an array containing data. The instructor provided the data he wanted us to use, including a list of made up names. One of the names was Sidewinder Jack. I thought that sounded like a character name, so I wrote a short story about him.
He was an independent freighter owner/operator bouncing around the galaxy. He was heavily influenced by Han Solo. When I got to thinking up a name for his ship, I wanted something like the Millenium Falcon, two words not normally used together but sounding cool anyway. Couldn't think of anything. So I tried car parts and one of the first ten car parts I thought of was a universal joint. Ah, I thought, Universal works because it's a spaceship travelling around the universe and Joint, as in slang for a hangout or your home, works because this guy lives in his ship. So Universal Joint it was.
The original drawings I did of the ship were based on the handle of a Schick razor (it had a cool shape). The layout was two decks with the bottom being the cargo bay and upper deck being quarters, cockpit, passenger section etc. That ship was mostly destroyed in the story.
Later I redesigned the ship and modelled it in Videoscape 3D on my Amiga 1200. The images below are the actual Videoscape model imported into Lightwave and not modified. The model isn't terribly impressive and if you know how Videoscape models were made you'll understand why.
Aeres reminded me of something in the original post on LWG v3; this new design was influenced by the cover of the UFO: Xcom game manual (see image below).
I've decided this ship needs a reconstruction. Especially since I recently borrowed my friend's Firefly DVD and watched that. Now, while Jack Turnbull was influenced by Han Solo, his ship the Universal Joint will be influenced by Serenity. Serenity has given me some ideas on what a lived in ship could be like. I never gave much thought to the interior, other than the front part is the cargo bay and the middle part is the quarters etc. With this project, I am going to build a complete interior for it.
The major components of the ship are: cargo bay at the front (longer section); crew section (stubbier section in the middle); cockpit/bridge (bubble on top); reactor (cylinder section); sub-light drive (behind reactor); weapon turret (above reactor) and the jump drive units (port and starboard).
So here for now are the images of the original Videoscape model, built sometime around 1992 or 1993. Also included is a picture of the UFO XCOM game manual which inspired this design.