Michael Rowland's
CPSC 3710 Project Page

My name is Michael Rowland (student ID: 001167516), and this is website is dedicated to my CPSC 3710 Project.

I chose to model the gun used by Captain Malcolm Reynolds in the sci-fi series Firefly (and feature film Serenity). Firefly is my favorite science fiction show and, although cancelled after only 14 episodes filmed, has an extensive fanbase. I initially wanted to model the spaceship Serenity, however since this is my first time using Blender, and I am fairly new to 3D modeling, I decided to choose a smaller prop from the show to model. Anyone familiar with the show should recognize this gun, and that was my objective... to choose something that fans of the show would see and immediately, or almost immediately, recognize. For those unfamiliar with the show, or this particular prop, please check out this Google image search.

As stated above, I used Blender to create this model (v 2.65). This was my first experience using Blender, and my only experience in 3D modeling was in a program called FS Design Studio, which is specifically designed for use with Microsoft Flight Simulator X. I found Blender to be easy enough to learn the basics, and due to the popularity of the software I was able to find tutorials, both written and video, to learn anything I needed to know. I also found that Blender is powerful enough to go WAY beyond what I did for the purpose of this project, and I may look into some of it's capabilities sometime in the future.

I do not find 3D modeling particularily difficult, but rather time consuming. This being said, there were areas of this project that I did have difficulty with. For example I ran into issues with making 'minor' mistakes without noticing and having to try to fix them later, which can be rather difficult. 3D modeling does not appear to be all that forgiving and when a mistake is made and not immediately addressed it seems to become very difficult to fix later. One specific example I had was an area of the model had a face connecting vertices that should not have existed, but I did not notice. When I finally did notice this error there were many faces and vertices connected to that area and simply deleting the face and/or vertices caused 'damage' to a significant area of the model.

I also had difficulty figuring out how to add textures to the model, but as I stated earlier, there are many resources available to help people learn how to do anything they need to do in Blender.

Without any further ado, here are some pictures:

High resolution image can be found here

This free script provided by
JavaScript Kit

I created the model by using basic shapes and manipulating them as I needed. I started with an image of the gun as a background so that I could essentially trace the image in order to get the scale right. I primarily used cubes and cylinders as the basis for the various parts and subdivided the edges to add more vertices allowing the cube to be manipulated into whatever shape I required. I found this technique to be effective, but I am quite certain there would be faster, more efficient methods. One significant issue I had with this technique was an eccessive amount of vertices where they were not necessarily required, which made it difficult to locate specific vertices in the complex web of vertices and edges.

To create the images I set up four light points and a sun light in order to limit the shadowing on the object. Without the additional lights too many shadows were created, making it difficult to see the various details of the model. For the different images I used different placement of the light points to accent the details visible in that specific angle.

In total, an estimated 25 hours were spent creating the model. I am fairly certain that if I were to do it again I could take advantage of what I learned and do it in significantly less time.