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3DElite Cobra mk III (again)

confusionconfusion0 Posts: 0Member
edited June 2011 in Work in Progress #1
A couple of years ago I posted a Cobra mk III from the Elite/Frontier games mesh on this forum. That thread seems to be gone now. Never mind...

The previous project stalled because I got stuck - just didn't know how to continue. A possible reason was that I didn't have a clear picture of the end product in mind. That has now changed.

I present my "sensible" Cobra mk III. It is still early days but I think the basic concept is sound.

The guiding principles:
  1. There can't be a part added to the model where I can't say "that's the aft thingygobble which serves purpose wossname"
  2. It should be true to the original Elite game meaning that it cannot fly in an atmosphere and it is limited to left/right roll and dive climb maneuvers. No "'planes in space" for this post. The location of the gray items indicate engines and thrusters.
  3. Since this is a startship capable of interplanetary travel in normal travel (and travel between solar systems through hyperdrive) it needs to be light weight and doesn't need thick iron plating like a WWII tank. The mesh has no panels at the moment so I can sort out the insides but I will add some later to protect against "space dust"

As you can see it is quite rough. What is missing is the structure to secure the cargo containers (purple bits), fuel tanks and the retro thrusters. Once that is sorted out the actual modelling begins.

Some proper help and constructive criticism especially from someone who actually knows something about engineering would be greatly appreciated (don't look at me I trained to be an actuary :p).

Looking at it now I think I may have overdone the "cage" in the sense that the main supports are too thick. Hope to fix that tomorrow night.
Post edited by confusion on


  • KadaeuxKadaeux0 Posts: 0Member
    Looks like a good "background" start. I think the Cargo Pods need to be arrayed in a more logical fashion, right now only the rear row seems designed in the right way.

    Other than that. Curse you. I may have to do my favourite now.

    The Imperial Courier and Trader from Elite II :p
  • confusionconfusion0 Posts: 0Member
    Yeah the Courier and the Trader are beautiful ships. The problem with the Courier is how to model the ship when the engine pods are extended for flight.

    In Frontier/FFE they seemed quite thin when you consider that they have to transfer an enormous amount of force from the engines to the hull. You can model them thicker but then you lose the gracefulness of the design. You would also need to think about the mechanism for extending the arms.

    Right now I'm having enough problems with the Cobra mk III.

    Can you expand a bit on what you mean by the cargo pod arrangement not looking right? I basically started with the back row (with the most containers), duplicated for the other rows and then deleted all the containers that would "stick out" outside the outlines defined by the original Elite mesh.
  • DannageDannage236 Posts: 634Member
    I say load up the ol space traders manual and get a feel for the interiors they showed in there. Doing my Elite Viper was the most fun I'd had with a model, I think. Remember that a fuel scoop needs to be able to collect cargo, so your cargo bay needs to be accessible from the bottom rather than the sides. Do you have gun mounts on all 4 ortho ports? :)
  • CoolhandCoolhand241 PhobosPosts: 1,273Member
    I'm not sure what you mean by elite not being like planes in space, because thats exactly what it was like... to turn a plane you dont really use the rudder to turn and steer is like a car or a boat, you roll and pull back. Never played a flight sim?

    The frontier / ffe versions were far more like spacecraft and not at all like planes. Why not put a full set of thrusters on it? Also the only reason you couldn't take a ship into atmosphere in elite was due to technical limitations of the platforms, i'm sure had the BBC micro and other 8-bits been more powerful you'd have been able to land in elite.

    Anyway, don't want to bog the thread down in discussion of the games and arcade vs 'proper' physics, just my 2p.

    In engineering terms, if you're building a tubular frame "chassis" you'd probably want to make sure its all triangles, so that big area making up the side, you'd perhaps break that up into 3 or 4 triangles so you have a sorta IZIZIZI pattern. However, you don't really need a tubular chassis, a monocoque shell would probably be more realistic for it but its a fictional ship so no approach is 'wrong' really.

    also, this may be of interest to you....
  • PagrinPagrin171 Posts: 0Member
    Dannage's comment about the fuel scoop is a good point, but also take into account you only need to store 20 cargo pods. The 35 pods was for an extended cargo bay.
    As for the thrusters, you will need some forward facing thrusters as well, because the Cobra could slow down. To do that in space you need to be able to generate forward thrust, to counter your forward motion.
    From an engineering point of view, thrusters tend to be in clusters, near corners if possible. Because the further away from the center of mass the more effective they are at creating a roll effect. But if you can group them, you can use a single "engine" to produce thrust, which you release out of a few nearby thruster ports, that can be opened or closed as needed.
  • confusionconfusion0 Posts: 0Member
    I played my fair share of Elite on the C64 and FFE. I also follow the development on Pioneer with interest - at the moment the OS X version of alpha 11 crashes on launch:(

    The "planes in space" comment was more about there not being a need for a starship to be aerodynamic or have giant intake vents.

    In terms of progress I'm still messing about with the internal structure. I don't want to become too bogged down with the need to be "true" to the original game manual. The idea is that the inner bit needs to be very strong to handle the stresses of the main engine. At the moment the beams intersect the engines which I want to fix tonight.

    My understanding of space frames (from wikipedia, but what can you do?) is that pyramid and triangle shapes are best and that the force should be put on the tip of the pyramid so that it is evenly distributed across the beams. I would like to think that by the year 3200 some super strong materials will have been developed that can handle quite a bit of abuse so current engineering techniques will probably be obsolete by then. Space frames do look cool though - just look at the Arial Atom!
  • CoolhandCoolhand241 PhobosPosts: 1,273Member
    Ok i see what you mean about that, in frontier you had to buy atmospheric sheilding, my interpretation of this is that it produces a shaped field around the craft, allowing atmospheric flight. If you didn't equip the sheilding, you'd fly very slowly or explode.

    As far as construction goes, i think whatever material we'd still be using triangles to make this type of shape as a frame.

    I say that because we want it to be as light as possible while maintaining rigidity and strength the triangle is the best shape for accomplishing it, you're not going to discover new useful construction geometry no matter how long you give it and these rules apply whether you're using sandstone or carbon nanotubes. To put it another way, you don't have to use triangles today even, but you'd have to really overengineer the shape you use making the vehicle heavier and cost more for the same strength.

    You could perhaps just run a support lengthways from top/rear to bottom/front along that face and that would probably work fine, but it might look more interesting broken into more triangles, hence my original suggestion... but take it or leave it.

    oh and i didn't even realise there was an osx version... maybe just wait for the next one along?
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