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June 8, 2011
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Into The Eye by Rob-Caswell Into The Eye by Rob-Caswell
This was a surprisingly quick image. For decades I've wanted to do an image of the MacArthur and Lenin dropping into Murcheson's Eye from "The Mote In God's Eye". So here it is.... at least a quick "version 1.0". They may have had their Alderson Drive Fields up during this whole leg of the journey - I don't recall - but if they did, I claim artistic license as this is more fun to look at that two pitch black watermelons in space.


MacArthur mode by Paul Lloyd with optimization by Atra-Hasis. The "Lenin" is actually Bazze's ramjet, flipped on its back, squished in the z-axis and stretched in the x-axis (oh man, I just destroyed the magic again...). 2D-3D composite with Photoshop custom background. DAZ Studio render.

From "Building the Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, collected in "N-Space" and "A Step Farther Out":

Long ago we acquired a commercial model called “The Explorer Ship Leif Ericsson,” a plastic spaceship of intriguing design. It is shaped something like a flattened pint whiskey bottle with a long neck. The “Leif Ericsson,” alas, was killed by general lack of interest in spacecraft by model buyers; a ghost of it is still marketed in hideous glow-in-the-dark color as some kind of flying saucer.

It’s often easier to take a detailed construct and work within its limits than it is to have too much flexibility. For fun we tried to make the Leif Ericsson work as a model for an Empire naval vessel. The exercise proved instructive.

First, the model is of a big ship, and is of the wrong shape ever to be carried aboard another vessel. Second, it had fins, only useful for at­mosphere flight: what purpose would be served in having atmosphere capabilities on a large ship?

This dictated the class of ship: it must be a cruiser or battlecruiser. Battleships and dreadnaughts wouldn’t ever land, and would be cylindrical or spherical to reduce surface area. Our ship was too large to be a destroyer (an expendable ship almost never employed on missions except as part of a flotilla). Cruisers and battlecruisers can be sent on independent missions.

MacArthur, a General Class Battlecruiser, began to emerge. She can enter atmosphere, but rarely does so, except when long independent assignments force her to seek fuel on her own. She can do this in either of two ways: go to a supply source, or fly into the hydrogen-rich at­mosphere of a gas giant and scoop. There were scoops on the model, as it happens.

She has a large pair of doors in her hull, and a spacious compartment inside: obviously a hangar deck for carrying auxiliary craft. Hangar deck is also the only large compartment in her, and therefore would be the normal place of assembly for the crew when she isn’t under battle con­ditions.

The tower on the model looked useless, and was almost ignored, until it occurred to us that on long missions not under acceleration it would be useful to have a high-gravity area. The ship is a bit thin to have much gravity in the “neck” without spinning her far more rapidly than you’d like; but with the tower, the forward area gets normal gravity without excessive spin rates.

And on, and so forth. In the novel, Lenin was designed from scratch; and of course we did have to make some modifications in Leif Ericsson before she could become INSS MacArthur; but it’s surprising just how much detail you can work up through having to live with the limits of a model.
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:iconcljohnston108:
cljohnston108 Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014
Very nice! But, judging by the Macarthur's name on the wings, some'n got flipped!
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2014  Professional General Artist
Yeah... the model has some UV issues ;)
Reply
:iconblacklion68:
blacklion68 Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013
Yes, both ships had their fields up and running. If I remember correctly, the trip was one of those hold you breath til we're there jumps.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Professional General Artist
Sounds right.
Reply
:iconickman:
ickman Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
Hey, did you send a copy/link to Dr. Pournelle? He might appreciate the art. :)
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
If you've got his addy, please feel free to drop him a line and point him to the page! :)
Reply
:iconickman:
ickman Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2013
Sure will. :)
Reply
:iconlesterwiley:
lesterwiley Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2011
You can now buy the model of the Ericsson and build it as the "Mystery UFO or a raveger-pirate ship or the Ericsson. It even has the story sheet and lighting kit.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yeah... unfortunately I've come to grips with the reality that most of my plastic modeling days are behind me, even though my basement still looks like a well-stocked hobby store.
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:iconlesterwiley:
lesterwiley Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2011
Well you can always buy one to display the kit unbilt in the box... As a foot note the disgn was actuly for an unrealized tv pilot by Geoge Pal for a tv war of the worlds sequelin the late sixties. The old Starlog magazine coverd it several years ago, you can find info online.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yeah, I think I recall reading that.
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:iconnicelabs:
NICELabs Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic! One of my favorite books and when I was 8 or 9 I had that very model. Your rendition is perfect :) Well done my friend!!
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks. It's one of my fave reads from my teen years. I think I've read it three times now... and I'm about due for #4!
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:iconnicelabs:
NICELabs Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
indeed.. it's great :) The younger brother of one of my best friends... he can build anything. When he was little he'd make paper airplanes out of graph paper. I'm talking models of F-16s... toothpicks for the missiles and all... the suckers would fly :P :) He's also the one that built the float our arcade had in this past winter's Christmas Parade... in his garage... a 12' tall, 14' wide Recognizer from the original movie TRON. Needless to say, we call him a Motie :)
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011  Professional General Artist
Ya could just call him "Brownie"? ;)
Reply
:iconnicelabs:
NICELabs Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
hehe true, though ironically we've been after him to redesign the coffee area at our arcade snack bar (Sinistarbuck's :D) for about a year now :P
Reply
:iconfastmax:
Fastmax Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2011
Hey!! It's the -glow in the dark- "Interplanetary UFO" model.
As Kermit the Frog, would say afterwards... "YeAAAAAe!!
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2011  Professional General Artist
See notes to "MJBivouac", above ;)
Reply
:icongrahamtg:
GrahamTG Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
OOoh very nice !
Reminds me a lot of the covers of those pulp sci fi books my Dad used to leave lying around when I was younger.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2011  Professional General Artist
Graham.... I AM your Father!!! :jarksaber:


Join me and we'll rule DA as Father and Son!
Reply
:iconcelticarchie:
celticarchie Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011
'two pitch black watermelons in space' :? what kind of SF are you reading!? :O

To quote Dr. Hooper from Jaws: "The men in that boat. They're all gonna die." :P
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011  Professional General Artist
"Melon Trek: Cruel Harvest"!!!
Reply
:iconcelticarchie:
celticarchie Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2011
Must be imported Sci-Fi, there is a lot of dodgy stuff on the black market. :D
Reply
:icondavidakerson:
DavidAkerson Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011
Ah, I recall Arch doing some pics of this design. It was only a matter of time I guess...
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
Hm? "Arch"?
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:icondavidakerson:
DavidAkerson Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011
Ah my bad for using nicknames, I meant :iconarchangel72367:
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
Ah - yeah. He did some fun stuff with the model, recently...
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:iconarchangel72367:
archangel72367 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Excellent! I knew it wouldn't be long!

I have read some short story collections of Nivin's but I haven't read the Mote books yet. (I feel like I have shamed my B.S. in S.F.)
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
Do NOT read the Mote "books". Read the book.... then spend the rest of eternity avoiding the sequel ;p
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:iconarchangel72367:
archangel72367 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Student Digital Artist
lol
Reply
:icondmaland:
dmaland Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Simple and excellent.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks, sir!
Reply
:iconmjbivouac:
MJBivouac Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
hey! I recognise that! The Leif Ericson if I remember correctly...and later the UFO Mystery ship...
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yup. That was Niven and Pournelle's acknowledged source for their MacArthur design.
Reply
:iconmjbivouac:
MJBivouac Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011
Is that a fact? I never heard that before.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yep. There was a piece on the making of Mote that was published in Pournelle's old collection, "A Step Further Out" (circa '78). It included details on the ships, like their sources, and also included the unpublished first chapter of the book.
Reply
:iconmagnaman1234:
Magnaman1234 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
Artistic Licene is a perfectly legitamate device when it makes for a more interesting image. In fact, it is often compulsory. :-)
I'd like to see your depiction of various types of 'Moties' sometime, too. AFAIK at least, they've never been depicted in art.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
I have some motie art by a friend, at home. Yeah, a motie "family picture" could be fun when I get the itch to pick up a pencil :D
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:iconabakon:
AbaKon Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional Writer
Near as I can tell, the Langston Field is pretty much up all the time. Which does make for some simple images but, as you said, creates a drab image.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
Maybe I should do up "the accurate version" for comparison?? ;)
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:iconabakon:
AbaKon Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Professional Writer
Please don't. That would suck.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional General Artist
And yes.... the ship name is backwards... so you can easily see what ship is following you in your rear view..... ;p
Reply
:iconptrope:
Ptrope Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's an effect of the Eye. yeah, that's it! :D
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional General Artist
Aye-eye!
Ay?
Reply
:iconbigmack61:
bigmack61 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011
They had their fields up, but that would be a boring image.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yep ;)
Reply
:iconkaranua:
karanua Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think your versions better, not quite sure myself about the drive fields being up but that was their usual means of getting around.
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional General Artist
They could just be doing a gravitational fall??
Reply
:iconkaranua:
karanua Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
not much control where the eye is involved, gravitational eddies for instance. I can see I'm going to have dig out the box containing the collected works of messirs Niven and Pounelle, excellent works the lot.
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:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2011  Professional General Artist
"Mote" is certainly in my SF top 10.
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