I followed the toy pictures to start the first basic draft of the robot’s head and position it in the middle of the plane.
Up to this point, everything I had modelled for this project came from very reliable Hasegawa blueprints and pictures of that same actual model assembled and shot from lots of different angles, so this was the first time I had to model something while making sense of the inconsistencies of each version.
I was mainly influenced for the ejection seat by the anime, which presented a few angles that I wouldn’t otherwise guess about, and this amazing realistic rendition of the cockpit, which has actually become my texturing and colour target once the panels are bump-mapped:
Still, this is what Shoji Kawamori thought the seat would look like, and by trying to be as close as possible to the source idea, I went on to model something along those lines, while preserving the features that were more present in the film.
So the first stages of modelling began while making a couple of necessary poetic translations on things that wouldn’t make much sense and that will probably have some function that I don’t know a cheese of.
The cockpit interior design is amazing because it’s almost non-existent. Glass screens project the outside of the plane, creating a full immersion-like virtual environment. No idea where the cameras are physically located (I once thought they were in the rhomboidal openings in the nose but that doesn’t make much sense since it has two on top and there’s no screen above the pilot, plus I think they’re supposed to be manoeuvring thrusters); but this concept is my favourite part of the plane – as well as the forward swept wing design.