Although it took me a long time to come around, these days I’m a pretty big fan of digital building. Full disclosure, I used to think of it as cheating because it seemed like a completely separate endeavor to have the luxury of every part in every color at your fingertips. Building is supposed to be difficult, damn it and chock full o’ limitations that force you to be truly creative. I was also convinced that the program allowed you to cheat by requiring no interior structures or solid connections. However, after speaking to a few really great digital-only builders and trying my hand at the usual programs with limited success, I think about the topic differently now. I still consider the two styles entirely separate, but each as it’s own inherent value.
Some of the of the most creative and innovative building I’ve seen in the Sci-Fi genre in the last few years has come courtesy of digital building. One of the best examples is the work being done by relative newcomer Matt Mazian. I wish I could tell you more about him, but Mr. Mazian’s Flickr profile is empty and he doesn’t seem to have much to say. Matt lets his building do the talking and I think you’re gonna like what he has to say.
The Antares Starship was just posted today and it immediately stopped me dead in my tracks. In the old days I would have shrugged and thought “yeah, but it’s digital” and moved on, but today I just opened up another window to blog it. While the Antares doesn’t feature the unique geometry of his previous builds, Matt makes the most out of a fairly traditional starship shape. Where the build really separates from the pack is when you flip it over to see the dark gray texture of the underbelly. The look recalls several franchises: Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars and Mass Effect to name a few, but without being too literal about it. What franchise fanboys don’t understand is that nobody wants to see another god damn X-Wing, they want to see something inspired by the X-Wing. I really appreciate the builder’s perfect use of little pops of color to catch the eye on an otherwise drab color scheme. The colored bucket handles were the perfect choice to break things up.
You have to go a little further back in time to really appreciate Matt’s innovative design style. This orange and teal number is called the O-Shadow Starfighter and it’s unlike anything I’ve seen in the genre. It kind of reminds me of nnenn’s work in both shape and color, but even more unconventional. I don’t throw the comparison around lightly, this guy really has a different take on spaceship design, even if some of it based on concept art. This O-Shadow in particular manages to do the hardest thing within Sci-Fi building: to look truly alien.
I don’t want to spoil all the fun of discovering Matt’s vision, so I’ll leave you with the Turtle Aeroship from 2014, the year he hit the scene. I may not know much about Mr. Mazian but I think it’s safe to expect great things from him in the future.