Kitbashing Spaceship Modeling Guide – Tips and Tricks Part-1

Kitbashing Spaceship : Final Results 01

Kitbashing is a modeling tech that allows you to use different model parts to make something totally new,

it works really great for scifi and mechanical models , through this article we will provide with everything you need to start building mind blowing spaceships.

Use this method to Improve your modeling techniques by integrating kitbashing in your pipeline , in this article we are going to guide you through the process of modeling , optimizing , texturing , and rendering the final model .

Being familiar with the following tools would be great ,

  • Blender  (3d Modeling Application)
  • Substance Painter (3D Texturing Application)
  • Unity Engine (A Fully Optimized Game Engine)
  • Keyhshot (High End Rendering Application)

Your first step to kitbash modeling is to collect models from different sources and use you imagination to combine them into your final peace of art ,

In this article we are going to use this amazing free kitbash library by greyoxide , Download this kitbash library from blend swap,

Once you got some models to use now its time to remember some helpful tips :

  • In this example we are going to create a lowpoly spaceship model , make sure to set your poly count target at early stage , trust me you will end up with lots of polys.
  • make sure to find parts that would fit into your final model without too much hassle.
  • Use linking , since you are going to use the same part multiple times liking to an original part makes sence and save huge time on texturing and decimation later if needed.

So what are you waiting for lets get started !!

Now the first step is to collect some reference images its always good to have some inspiration from the pro guys out there i usually use pintrest you may checkout these spaceship related boards .

Once you got these spaceship reference you like its time to create a visual board ,

use any photo editing program such as Photoshop or Gimp , just import all the images into one canvas and try to fit the different images into it , in the end you should have something like the image below,

Kitbashing Spaceship : SpaceshipDesignBoard-HWSSDestroyer-Redfaction

Its time to fire up that 3d modeling application , it actually doesn’t matter which one you use , since most modeling applications are capable of handling different model formats just import your models and your set to go

For this tutorial we are going to use Blender an amazing free open-source 3d application and then finish up with some substance painter texturing then render with keyshot , and create an optimized game model with unity .

Blockout Modeling

Try to start with a basic shape that defines your final spaceship model proportions , its ok if it looks crappy , adding details will make it look amazing later , take look at my results

Kitbashing Spaceship : BlockoutStage-Example

Once you are satisfied with your basic model its time to start adding some kitbash parts to make it standout to make the process as efficient as possible we are going to create links between the original model and our kitbash models

Using links would allow you to edit your kitbash models in one place and would save so much time when we start unwrapping and texturing   or decimating parts of the model to prepare for production or for use with game engines

if you would like to learn more about linking using blender check out this link it should get you started , also if you prefer to watch videos checkout this one it gets the job done perfectly .

Placing Kitbash Parts

I always start with the big parts of the ship , lets start with the engines the best way to do this is to go with trial and error , in the kitbash link provided earlier there are some different engine parts that we can choose from as a base engine .

Spaceship Engines

Now open the kitbash model file and find the engine you see fits , take look at different spaceship engines below.

Kitbashing Spaceship : Engine-Kitbashpart-Example

Link or import that model into your main spaceship file , now all you need to do is to have one original instance that you can edit later and reflect its changes on the other parts , in blender you can link the mesh from the original file then create a proxy  .

To create proxy in blender use select a linked object and then press CTRL + ALT + P.

The advantage of doing this , is that you can apply your changes to this part and it will update all of its instances in the scene .

In blender use ALT + D to get an instance of the object

Now you should have something like this ,

Kitbashing Spaceship : EnginePlacement Example

Usually how many engines you add to your spaceship depends on the size , small ships tend to have single or double engine , big ships might need more , it just makes sense doesn’t it !?

We have decided to go with 3 engines , 2 small and one large engine in the center , feel free to test multiple combinations and find whats really looks cool .

Kitbashing Spaceship Engines Example

Moving to Spaceship Main Weapons , Usually spaceship has more than one type of Weapon , such as missile launcher , heavy guns , and machine guns .

Placing Spaceship Heavy Weapons

Browsing through our kitbash files collection , we are able to find the following weapons pretty amazing and nicely fits or spaceship we are going to place 3 types of weapons

  • Heavy Missile Launcher
  • Heavy Long Range Gun
  • Lightweight Machine Guns

Kitbashing Spaceship : Weapon Kitbash Samples

Make sure to link all these weapon meshes to the main blender file , this will allow us to more easily texture and modify the look of these weapons , now its time to attach them to the spaceship feel free to explore , once ur done take look at or results.

Kitbashing Spaceship : Weapon Placement Example


One more note , dont over do it  make sure that everything you place has meaning and was put there for a reason this way you will end up with a more believable model and a better design .

Time to add these power cells , every spaceship needs a good power generation system and it sure makes them look cool.

Placing Spaceship Power cells

As usual we need to find a suitable base power cell mesh that we can modify later , we have chosen the following meshes as our power cells.

Kitbashing Spaceship : Powercell Samples

To place the power-cells make sure you put them where it seems like they are needed , for example near the main engines , and the larger weapons , this way the overall ship design would be more believable , also make sure to use different sizes for the same model,

Take a look at what we got after applying these guide lines,

Kitbashing Spaceship : Powercell Placement Example

Placing Spaceship Armor / Shield

To have a solid spaceship you need a strong armor that covers the sensitive parts of your ship , command center , engine room , and ammo bay , we will be placing armor peaces around these locations ,

How to choose armor peaces , its very simple anything that has a repetitive pattern can be used as a shield , take a look at the example below :


Kitbashing Spaceship : Shield Chain Example


As you can see from the example above , you can come up with different shield variation using different kitbash peaces , in our example we are going to use the following peaces for the ship armor.

Kitbashing Spaceship : Shield Kitbash Samples


And we got some amazing results using these peaces , keep in mind the need to randomize across the model try to avoid similar patterns or your model would just look boring and uninteresting .

Kitbashing Spaceship : Shield Placement Example

Placing Spaceship Utility Tools

Finally to complete this phase we need to add extra utility , like transmission tools and command bridge , and landing hangers.

After some searching we have selected the items below to be placed on the spaceship,
Kitbashing Spaceship : Extra Utilites Placement Example

We are going to distribute these part around the spaceship adding more details to the overall design , after couple of minutes we already have some nice results ,

Kitbashing Spaceship : Extra Utilites Placement Showcase Example

We really hope that you got a better results , once your done with this , the next step is to improve the overall spaceship hull and add some more details .


So finally this is our results ,


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Next : Some Extra Details and Poly Count Optimization (Coming Soon)


Thanks for reading i hope that you enjoyed this article  , feel free to leave comments and ask questions , ill be glad to answer