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Everything you need to know about building airships my way.

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avatar Rossky
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
763
I've received numerous requests on how exactly I build my airships.
A lot of experienced builders would keep those methods to themselves to profit of the outcome being something only they could do but that is not what I want.

This will be a combined tutorial using content from various forum posts to already posted tutorials and screenshots so it's very well possible that you see something familiar in this tutorial.
If that's the case than thanks for following me like that!

So there you go - a tutorial about everything you need to know to build a ship like I do!








Before we start, grab MCEdit, Worldpainter and Worldedit. Google is your friend here.

  1. Get a clear image of what you want to build. This might take some time. Some of you need just a few minutes of imagining the type of ship you want to create. Sometimes you find a little detail that you want to overthink. Take your time here and it will surely show in the outcome since a solid design is the base of everything we are about to do!
  2. Grab a photo editing tool. I personally use MS Paint for this even though I have Photoshop. I heard Mac users have something similar preinstalled but I have no experience with Mac whatsoever so just bear with me here. All you need is a basic tool to make sharp pixels on a black background. They need to come without any sort of antialiasing. You need perfectly sharp pixels.undefinedThis is what I did with my current project. You basically want to make one half of the ship you want to build. Just paint the outer walls of the hull. Remember to keep it one pixel thick. Every pixel in the image will later be converted to one block so this is the step where you decide on the project's rough size.Once you are done shaping the outline, save it and open Worldpainter. In Worldpainter, you import the picture you just made as a heightmap and let the program create a minecraft world out of it.Remember to change the settings so the tool won't add ores, dirt and whatnot to the build. You want to go with one single type of block and nothing else.
  3. Once Worldpainter has created the map, hop into MCEdit and take out a slice of the huge wall it made in that new world. You want it to be one layer thick.Place it in an empty map or whereever you want to build the airship.Remember to leave enough space around it as you might run into trouble if you have to move it later on.
  4. Now that you have one half of the frame floating around, it's time to think about the shape of the ship's belly.Rule of thumb here is that you do not want to build a curve that goes beyond 45° for too long and that you don't want to make a sharp corner. There are exceptions to this but you are always getting a good result not doing that.Here are a few pictures that show exactly what you need to do.undefinedThe blue line marks the axis. This is what you start off with.undefinedundefinedIt's important that you start at the furthermost block, looking towards the axis (blue). Then you start shaping a curve towards the center until it meets the axis.undefinedGrab your worldedit tool and select the block touching the axis.undefinedand then select the block touching the outline.undefinedcopy the selectionundefinedFollow the outline pasting the selection over and over again. Be careful to paste it every time to walk one block.Go all around the outline doing this.If you want to leave openings for air intakes or heat vents, leave those out.undefinedSee how the curve you made before now wraps around the outline following it perfectly? that's what we want!undefinedOnce you're done you should be left off with something like this.If you look closely you can see the opening i left for an air intake.undefinedThe curve follows the outline.undefinedNow delete all the blocks to the left of the axis.undefinedand then the axis itself.undefinedas you can see, the curve we made earlier not only dictates the shape the ship has looking at it from the front but it also dictates how far the hull stretches downwards.undefinedAll that's now left to do is to mirror the entire thing and close the openings!On a large scale, this method left me with this:undefinedSame method, larger scale.
  5. Now cover the top of the build with a material of your choice. I usually go with wooden planks.undefined
  6. Time to add the first, very basic and rough features to the build. Most airships have engines or sails, right? Let's go with engines.undefinedThe grass line still functions as a guide, marking the axis.
  7. If your server or computer can handle mirroring a build of such size, a good trick is to cut the ship in half after you made sure the shape it takes when mirrored is the way you imagined. This leaves you with only one side to work on, saving you half the time.You then want to continue adding rough features that give your ship the basic shape.undefinedhere I added wings, cannons and engines. I also closed the front up. This is where we will have our ramp leading to the hangar.undefinedA cutout near the back end of the ship is a good way to put the engine and some pipes.
  8. undefinedundefinedDon't forget to mirror the ship from time to time to check if everything is still the way you imagined.
  9. undefinedI changed the colors to red and added even more features. A small wing was placed at the front as well as some more weapons.
  10. undefinedJust because you are building something huge does not mean that it has to be plain and boring and let the size be the only thing impressive about it. Put interesting stuff all over it!undefinedMirroring it from time to time to check if the overall style is still how I wanted it to be.undefinedTake your time with everything. If you aren't happy with even the smallest detail - rework it!
  11. undefinedAdd the superstructure. To see how this works just follow my tutorial on how to build it. No reason to worry about it. It's really easy!undefinedSome WWII references are very useful here. Depending on the theme you want to go for of course.Take a look at these for example.undefinedundefinedThe superstructure is a large pancake tower made out of floors of different shapes and sizes.
  12. undefinedThe way light works on your build has a large impact of how it looks. Lighting highlights important features or makes pitch black areas more interesting. Using depth in your builds also greatly enhances the effect of lighting.undefinedJust a few beacons placed around the walls make everything so much better!
  13. Guns don't stick out of the walls like chopsticks. Make a cutout to place them around the ship where they all have a special place.undefined
  14. undefinedUnlike naval ships, an airship will be seen from every angle. It is important that you put efford into the belly of the ship. No reason to keep it boring and plain!Large airships are happy to have a hangar to launch and accomodate smaller craft.undefinedMake a large cutout for the opening. on the side, not the bottom.undefinedThis is a weak spot of your build. Make sure to put some defenses there to fix that.
  15. undefinedAlways check back on the mirrored version. Is everything the way you wanted it to be? Continue detailing everything. If you find yourself being stuck at something, leave and do something different.
  16. undefinedThink about your build.The engines are large, easy to hit weakspots of your ship. Cover them up!You don't have to put a boring, plain plate over it. Split it into smaller parts and connect them with a darker plate underneath.Now the once vulnerable engines are heavily armored and 6 Cannons are protecting them!
  17. undefinedContinue detailing your ship.As long as you don't want it to be done, then it's not done. Simple as that!There is always something to work on and change. Put in as much time as you want. Every minute you invest will definately show in the final creation!Just be careful not to end up being as crazy as I am.
  18. Only thing left to do now is to fire the engines up! Use colored glass and mix in some glowstone to give it that impressive glow and look. Be careful not to go overboard with it. It creates some lag.undefinedundefinedThat's it.That's everything you need to know!Easy, right?undefined
Tags

1 Update Logs

Update #1 : 05/31/2015 11:29:52 amMay 31st, 2015

Fixed some awkward typos

Added picture of the (almost) finished ship.

1
11/08/2016 12:38 pm
Level 12 : Journeyman Narwhal
FireMC_Master
Awesome, Thanks
1
11/08/2016 2:52 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Glad I could help :)
1
03/31/2016 7:39 pm
Level 18 : Journeyman Blacksmith
Isno0214
Great tutorial! I made my first (complete) attempt in a couple of hours today, the 70 block length advice in the comments was really helpful. I was trying to build way too big and didn't have too much success that way. I didn't get quite the detail I wanted, but I think it's ok(?)
www.planetminecraft.com/project/first-airship-attempt/
1
04/22/2016 8:28 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Glad you found it useful! Thanks for sharing!
1
08/20/2015 10:23 pm
Level 76 : Legendary Fox
CraftyFoxe
Wow, it's pretty nice of you to show the behind what goes on to build these ships. This might be helpful in building my Thermos Carrier, maybe I'll try this out. But it does look quite hard.
1
08/20/2015 11:35 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Thanks! Just take your time on the details once the hull is done.
The rest comes together by itself :)
1
07/16/2015 4:58 pm
Level 45 : Master Engineer
Laserbilly
I'm considering making a big ship and I can't figure a good way to give the hull that nice pebbling/splachy color effect that you used on this guy.

The only way I can figure involves several steps and switching between mcedit and minecraft a few times. Is there an easier way?
1
07/16/2015 5:43 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
1 - build the parts you want to look that way with a block that doesnt appear anywhere else on the ship. (for me it was gold blocks)

2 - make a worledit selection

3 - //replace [block you built it with] 50%[block type 1],50%[block type 2]
1
07/17/2015 9:18 am
Level 45 : Master Engineer
Laserbilly
Uh oh. I've only used mcedit, is worldedit hard to figure out? Does it run on forge? Maybe I should consult with google instead....
1
08/02/2015 10:05 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
I thought I had replied to this comment... strange

Worldedit is quite easy if you know the basic commands. You should be perfectly fine with it when using a cheat sheet for a couple of hours.
1
08/02/2015 4:15 pm
Level 45 : Master Engineer
Laserbilly
Huh, and I meant to try out worldedit on my own but I've been playing around with chunky, instead.

It's really helpful for putting a big build in perspective! Anyway, I'll probably get around to figuring out worldedit sometime this summer...
1
06/08/2015 2:45 am
Level 71 : Legendary Senpai
TheOfficialNano
this post amazes me more and more each time i see it...
1
06/08/2015 3:23 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
You look at this frequently?
1
06/08/2015 3:35 am
Level 71 : Legendary Senpai
TheOfficialNano
somehow i just magically end up here often....
1
06/08/2015 3:45 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Oh...
Make yourself at home then :D
1
06/07/2015 9:10 pm
Level 18 : Journeyman Warrior
FaydingEchoes
The top one (Black/white) is Fuso. Since the bottom one doesn't have a mid-section turret it is one of the Kongo-Class.
1
06/08/2015 3:22 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
uuuuuh The first picture is Yamashiro in the front.
The second picture is Fusō. It is artificially colorized.
1
06/08/2015 12:52 pm
Level 18 : Journeyman Warrior
FaydingEchoes
I didn't see the midsection turret that enables me to tell Fouso from Kongo. I saw it on the top one, but not the bottom one. Eh, the Kingo and the Fouso don't look to much different anyway.
1
06/04/2015 9:02 pm
Level 31 : Artisan Pixel Painter
F4llenW4rlord
Favorited for easy access to this. I might try this out! What size would you recommend for your first airship?
1
06/08/2015 3:24 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
about 70 blocks is decent to have some room to work with without working on it for too long.
1
05/31/2015 9:01 pm
Level 54 : Grandmaster Architect
Skallord
Never thought about doing it this way. Very cool.
1
06/01/2015 9:23 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
thanks :)
1
05/31/2015 10:23 am
Level 57 : Grandmaster Grump
Art Dei Tech
Huh. I'm willing to twist a project up a notch based off this surprisingly easy tutorial. Thanks a bunch, mate!
1
05/31/2015 10:56 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Now i'm really excited !!
Gotta see it :D
1
05/26/2015 12:04 pm
Level 7 : Apprentice Architect
nclsb_
Thank you for this tutorial hopefully i'll be able to attempt this one day ...
1
05/26/2015 12:08 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Give it a try!
1
05/25/2015 11:17 pm
Level 25 : Expert Pirate
Cjak41
Im making a airship themed server and this greatly helps! Thank you very much, favorited and diamond:P
1
05/26/2015 2:01 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Thank you!
Sounds awesome :D
1
05/24/2015 5:42 am
Level 24 : Expert Toast
Frolishous
Ok
That was not short but there are some usefull tips.
(I was more admiring the pics than reading xD)
1
05/26/2015 2:02 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Well you know - haste makes waste!
1
05/24/2015 2:27 am
Level 50 : Grandmaster Mlem Mlem Bat
Droolie
Rossky pls b mei valentine
1
05/24/2015 7:56 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
I can't D:
1
05/24/2015 8:01 am
Level 50 : Grandmaster Mlem Mlem Bat
Droolie
i cri ;_;
1
05/23/2015 3:06 pm
Level 60 : High Grandmaster Mlem Mlem Bat
Insanity
cool, next time teach us how to build good ;)

jkjkjk, nice job though, looks like you put a lot of work in to this :)
1
05/23/2015 3:37 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
You see. I'm a builder, not a magician (even though some might think so). I can spark some ideas, show reference pictures and my own work but in the end, everyone will include their own style and imagination when building. I cannot teach that.
What gives great builds their "aura" is something you can't teach. It's something that develops over time or not at all.
1
05/25/2015 3:47 pm
Level 18 : Journeyman Engineer
Sethc177
Everybody has their own style, and that's what makes every build unique in it's own way.
1
05/23/2015 6:32 am
Level 37 : Artisan Network
somedaftmonkey
Really clear guide here! Nice tutorial :)
1
05/23/2015 10:30 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Thank you :)
1
05/23/2015 12:16 am
Level 55 : Grandmaster Taco
Gigorahk
Easy, give me a few days and find your competition ;)
1
05/23/2015 12:03 am
Level 45 : Master Engineer
Laserbilly
1
05/23/2015 10:30 am
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
I can only pass on my methods.
The ideas, motivation and talent i can not.
1
05/23/2015 12:03 pm
Level 45 : Master Engineer
Laserbilly
Lol, step 1, have talent!
1
05/22/2015 7:39 pm
Level 70 : Legendary Demolitionist
Springstof
Awesome! Thanks for the tutorial. I love to see new ways to do things :D
1
05/22/2015 8:15 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Thank you. Same here, taking new approaches is always refreshing !

Btw you are horribly underrated.
1
05/23/2015 6:57 pm
Level 70 : Legendary Demolitionist
Springstof
Well, I'm not trying to become famous :p

I just like doing what I do best.
1
05/23/2015 7:11 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
I think we can all relate to that :)

Still, that quality of work deserves more attention than it gets. It's very motivating to see and get positive feedback when putting a lot of efford into something but on the other hand, it's very demotivating if you expect it and don't get it.

Keep up the good work!
1
05/22/2015 6:31 pm
Level 42 : Master Unicorn
AirshipsEverywhere
Great tutorial!  I like how you emphasized considering the placement of armor and defenses, like over the engines.

Mac does not have any pre-installed art program, but there are several free ones on the App Store (I use Paintbrush when I'm not using Photoshop).
1
05/22/2015 6:39 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Thank you and thanks a lot for clearing that up!
1
05/22/2015 4:51 pm
Level 41 : Master Architect
Shizenokami
XD
very interesting and i love the final picture ^^
thank you for this post ;)
1
05/22/2015 5:02 pm
Level 59 : Grandmaster Paladin
Rossky
Glad you liked it :)
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