The creation of the Scarab, part 2

Version 1.0

The Scarab is only a vehicle, not a character, but in many ways it’s the star of the show. Certainly we’d want it featured prominently on the poster. So getting its “look” just right would be crucial. We knew we’d be spending a lot of time and effort on the modeling phase.

Things kicked off with a bang when I got an e-mail from Michael Marcondes, a prominent C4D artist who had been following the project. He offered to do the Scarab modeling himself, as the basis of a surface modeling tutorial he was developing. We jumped at the chance, and the resulting model was a marvel:

Michael Marcondes' Scarab model
Model by Michael Marcondes

Seriously, how wicked are those leg mechanisms?

Back to Basics

Once we examined the model from all angles, however, we realized we still had a ways to go. We’d lost a lot of the roundness, the compactness, of the original concept. The Scarab is supposed to have a hunched-over, defensive posture, and we needed the model to reflect that. Here was where our art director stepped in with one of his trademark diagrams. In the image below, he identifies the key lines that define the Scarab’s silhouette. If we could preserve those curves during the remodel, we’d be most of the way there.

Scarab proportions diagram
Artwork by Matt Evans

To put it mildly, it took quite a few step-by-step revisions to get to the final model. I’ll spare you the hundreds of incremental screenshots, but here’s a brief rundown:

  • Rebuilt the rear shell into a single smooth unit
  • Reshaped the windshield for better visibility
  • Enlarged the grille and headlights to create a friendlier “face”
  • Resized and repositioned the legs to match the concept art
  • Recreated the inner leg rotators to improve range of motion
  • Built a large engine housing under the shell
  • Added new geometry to fill in the underside of the chassis
  • Reworked the exhaust vent at the back
  • Expanded and rounded the leg guards
  • Added an extra toe to the front feet
  • Created the full cockpit interior and seat
  • Modeled detailed controls for the cockpit dashboard
  • Added mounting points along the side and back for armor plating
  • Added shin plates and reinforced toe guards

(And that’s not even counting the battle armor!)

The Last Scarab

Was it worth it? Absolutely. The completed model beautifully captured the spirit of the original plastic Scarab while adding plentiful dieselpunk stylings and a crisp, comic-book flair.

Our star vehicle had arrived.

The final rendered Scarab
Model by Michael Marcondes, Sandi Dolšak, Magne Lauritzen, Steve Pointon