This is what I got to with the old model, including some early incursions into the metallic material for the fuselage and the crystal canopy. But during these two weeks I got the project into a halt I learned quite a bit about Blender!
I did a fantastic free tutorial from Youtube on modelling a 747 plane in Blender (you can watch it here if you want) and learned the basics on how to UV map and add panel lines using a bump map, plus some very helpful hints on lo-poly modelling, among those ones I learned that you can stretch the mesh to make sharp corners by using an “edge creasing” feature, which makes it awesome to model things because you don’t have to add more polys on the unsmoothed form and still get a sharp result. I did another tutorial on hard-surface modelling, so for this particular project I needed more skills on getting smooth surfaces with hard edges solved easily.
Here’s the result of the nose modelling. It not only took less time than the first time, it was also easier, cleaner to work with and smoother, since I was not adding more polys to try getting the sharp edges around the red crystal sensor thingie. So as a start, this was motivating. Sure, that probably meant I was not reusing the old model much, since it would take more time to delete polys and create creases again, decide what to delete and what to keep, than to straight up just model it again from scratch.
Notice not just the amount of polys I was saving here, but the economy of lines. Those purple lines are the ones with the edge creasing feature on. Also, since the nose was going to come of to form part of the robot’s chest, then it just made sense to model it apart, then take the edge vertexes, and duplicate them to continue on. Or I can also model the basic fuselage and make cuts, separate them as different entities to keep the smoothness, then create the edge flows and separations of the panels that actually are moving.
Also I had a lot more control so I could go a lot more precise on the details, like the nose thrusters and that airflow line strip. The image on the left is the new version vs the old version on the right.
This was a nice fresh start so it didn’t really feel like I was redoing the whole plane again from square one. It was actually very exciting to see it form again in front of my eyes.