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Leonov 1: The Odyssey Begins by RobCaswell Leonov 1: The Odyssey Begins by RobCaswell
It’s possible you’ve already seen this image (and the others from its series) as they’re also posted in the gallery of Drell-7 (drell-7.deviantart.com/). This was a cooperative project between the two of us, with final art execution by Tom (Drell-7).

I kicked it off by suggesting the idea of trying to design the Leonov in a form that fits the description and details of Clarke’s original “Odyssey Two” novel. While Syd Mead’s design for the movie version was interesting, we both felt that a) it didn’t entirely fit the spirit of 2001’s design, b) it didn’t look like a believable extrapolation of Russian design and technology, and c) it didn’t fit the design criteria outlined in Clarke’s text. So we started with a clean slate and re-reading the book.

"The Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was not a thing of beauty; but few spacecraft ever were. ... Apart from the four huge propellant tanks that would be dropped off as soon as transfer orbit was achieved, Leonov was surprisingly small. From heat shield to drive units was less that fifty meters."

Once we had all the descriptive detail plumbed from the book, we both took our own independent pass on what the book’s details pointed to for a design. We compared our blind sketches and found out we had a remarkably similar vision for the design. From there we integrated our two works, and moved forward refining a shared design. We looked to modern Russian spacecraft for trends in coloration, materials, and shapes. The whole process took 3-4 weeks before we had a finished model.

Once we had the model in place, Tom went ahead designing and executing a series of illustrations that would take place at key points in the mission profile to show how the craft’s mission-specific design would change in appearance.

This first image show’s the craft just before departure, in its most fully loaded state. The Leonov is a considerably shorter design than the US’ Discovery spacecraft. A pair of Russian "Pods" does final installment work on the comm/sensor boom equipment.

Art by Drell-7 (drell-7.deviantart.com/). Design by Rob Caswell and Drell-7. Patch by Rob Caswell.
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:icongarryts:
garryts Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's brilliant - how did I miss these?

Whilst we're on ACC - and also reflecting on your recent journal post - I have been re-reading a lot of ACC recently (in fact I read the entire 1000+ page short story collection during a recent hospital stay!). ACC's books have become an alternate history; because he generally wrote as scientifically accurately as he could, his books set in the near/medium term future (when released) now seem like a possible future that didn't happen.

Again, thinking of your post, I do have a sense of being robbed of the future we should have had - particularly huge technological leaps being replaced with meaningless iterations of smartphones and tablet computers.

Anyway, great modelling - well done! :-)
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Professional General Artist
Yeah, but consider it's that "street tech" that allows us to have this conversation.... and to be typing in the most unlikely of places!

I sure miss ACC's input on our present and future.
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:icongarryts:
garryts Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know what you mean - but I would happily give that up for a world where we (took for granted) 2001-style orbiting space stations and Clavius base!
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:iconnuclear-fridge:
Nuclear-Fridge Featured By Owner May 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I really like the heat shield/sensor boom setup... a logical continuation of the Soyuz optical periscope used for approach and docking operations. They can't see through the heat shield, hence the sensors hanging out on a boom they can fold up when they execute the aero-braking approach.:thumbsup:
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner May 7, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks. Yeah, we did think through the engineering as best were able.
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:iconnuclear-fridge:
Nuclear-Fridge Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And it shows! I've been bothered by the movie's aero-braking scene for quite some time, and it's all down to the giant air bags they use for the heat shield. Leaving aside the validity of such a device, it runs counter to the "why complicate things, if the stuff we've used for years works?" design ethos the Soviets/Russians have regarding their spaceflight tech.

I mean, for example, what if one of the multiple inflatable bags hadn't worked? They're making their approach, and a little red light clicks on. Some valve doesn't perform as expected, and now they're about to get char-broiled. A giant ablative shield just makes more sense to me.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner May 12, 2014  Professional General Artist
The  main consideration with the inflatable shield is mass. And as the book illustrates, mass was at a premium with the Leonov which was trying to get there quick! Clark fully approved to the ballutes and had he thought of them earlier I wouldn't be surprised if he'd have popped 'em into the book. But you certainly make some good points about reliability and safety.
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:iconnuclear-fridge:
Nuclear-Fridge Featured By Owner May 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks. I'm a big fan of "keep it simple, stupid!" when it comes to spaceflight.
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:iconjdunk1971:
JDunk1971 Featured By Owner May 2, 2014
I like the workday aesthetics of your design.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
That was the goal: believably functional :)
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner May 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
Hm? You can send me a note with details and I can get back to you on this.
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:iconwilliam-black:
William-Black Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
This work impressed the hell out of me the first time I saw it over on Winchell Chung's Atomic Rocket's site - from the serious approach to the technical design right down to the aesthetics of hull color, this is superb in every regard.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks - and I'm glad you took note of our "Soyuz-green" hull color!
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
Indeed we have, even though there's little detail to go on. It might yet be a future project.
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:iconalderfek:
alderfek Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
From the heatshield/aeroshell to the radiators, this thing is great.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Hey, THANKS! I know we both feel it's those details and more that separate the men from the boys on spacecraft design.
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:iconandy1701a:
ANDY1701A Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
More great wok! Nice one.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks :)
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:icontechy-ben:
Techy-Ben Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011
Great design and wonderful images. Really captures the awe that is imagined when thinking of space travel.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thanks! While the design is a co-production of myself and Drell-7 [link] , the "art" is all his and displays his unquenchable passion and knowledge of the subject.
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:iconghostbirdofprey:
GhostBirdofPrey Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2011
Saw this on Drell's channel. Love it.
Have you two thought of drawing the Discovery as described in the first book?
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2011  Professional General Artist
Drell-7 had played with the idea a bit and maybe it'll see the light of day, at some point. I think our next 2001ish design collaboration will probably be the Chinese ship from the 2010 novel.
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:iconaran-munich:
Aran-Munich Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
great job
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2011  Professional General Artist
Much thanks!
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:icondinobatfan:
dinobatfan Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2011  Professional General Artist
Fantastic design work by you and Drell-7 both! While I liked the Leonov design in the movie, this looks better and is far more in keeping as a realistic extrapolation of today's Russian space technology. This just makes more sense. I love that you put an Orion Clipper in the background.

Way too cool!! :)
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2011  Professional General Artist
We were really guided by "what made sense", along with what Clarke describes in his pages. While the movie's Leonov is kinda neat and iconic in its on right, it's just not.... well, Russian! It has Russian insignia, but it stops there. We just went back to Clarke's words and, with a fistful of contemporary Russian space hardware pics, rebuilt it from zero.

I read the book even before it came out (I had a DelRey uncorrected proof manuscript) so my image of the events of 2010 were formed there. Thus when the movie came out, things like Mead's Leovov never really fit for me. Syd makes great ground vehicles, but I'm not so enamored by his astronautics creations.
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:icondinobatfan:
dinobatfan Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011  Professional General Artist
Good guidance there. I have to agree with you about the movie Leonov. I too read the book before the movie came out and loved it, however I just bought mine at a store. While not agreeing with the movie Leonov, I do like you and Drell-7's version much better, however at this point looking back over too many years, I don't really have any clear remembrances of what I thought of the book Leonov other than I couldn't wait to see what it looked like once it was up on the Big Screen.

I do remember being a bit disappointed that the effects looked a bit too "effects" like and not as real as they could have back in the hands of Douglas Trumbull, and really not liking when the ships made blasting sounds when their engines fired. I love the sounds in Star Trek and Star Wars, they somehow seem appropriate there, if not realistic but given what 2001 established it seemed really wrong to have ship sounds out in space in 2010. 2010 I thought was a good movie, just not a great one like 2001.
As for Syd Mead I do admire his work, but until you mentioned it here, I don't think I ever really given his spaceship much thought. I do like his interpretation of the Space Battleship Yamato though for the never finished Yamato 2520. I thought that was an amazing update of the classic Yamato. Have you seen this design at all? What do you think of it?
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2011  Professional General Artist
You DO have to dig out the details on the Leonov from the book. They aren't really all in one place, nor are they totally specific, though they ARE specific enough to discount the movie vehicle design. We had a fair degree of creative latitude in the design, so our goal was to adhere to Clarke's few design statement and blend that with what we see in modern Russian spacecraft design.... like that utilitarian green paint they always use :D That's a MUST!

I think I saw Mead's updated Yamato design, but it's been a while. I could see where he'd do OK there as it's a very stylistically driven design. I just don't think Syd has a real good sense for PRACTICAL aerospace design... and when you're doing Clarke, "practical" has to be your operative word.
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:icondinobatfan:
dinobatfan Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011  Professional General Artist
Yep, I can appreciate that. While I do remember the book describing the Leonov, I read it so long ago, and only the once, that my memory just doesn't remember the details. Other than I do remember it being very good, and looking forward to seeing the movie version of it.

Your discussion here and your pics of the proper Leonov do inspire to go back and read the book again. And that's NOT a bad thing!! :) I really love the book the first time. :)
I think you're right about Syd Mead and PRACTICAL design.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011  Professional General Artist
Do read it again! I think you'll enjoy it. It really was one of Clarke's best, IMHO. Right now Drell-7 and I are in talks about realizing the Chinese ship from the movie.
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:icondinobatfan:
dinobatfan Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
Oh yes, I do want to. It was really a great read the first time around. Did you by chance read the later two Odyssey novels? Were they just as good too?

The Chinese design would certainly be fascinating to see. I hope you and Drell-7 can actually make that happen. You both rock!! :)
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011  Professional General Artist
By my estimation the novels get weaker as you go. 3001, IMHO, can be skipped entirely. It seems like Clarke even lost track of his own continuity on that one. I didn't enjoy 2061 the first time I read it, but that's probably because I was expecting 2010. It's not. But on re-reads I've actually enjoyed it quite a lot more.
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(2 Replies)
:iconfastmax:
Fastmax Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2011
AH!! This is what I originally knew your work and moniker from.
This project.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2011  Professional General Artist
:D Puzzle solved! Yeah, this was a collaborative design project with my buddy, Drell-7. Fortunately we think much alike so our design work usually meshes seamlessly.
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:icontentacle3d:
Tentacle3D Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2010
Fantastic image.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks. Be sure to visit Drell-7's page, too. The bulk of this is his artistic vision.
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:icondimsdale00:
Dimsdale00 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010
This is a wonderful remake of one of the best sci-fi craft ever produced. I love the original by Trumbull's team and this immediately struck me as awesome! Didn't know you were involved, fantastic work here. This is #1 on scratch build list.
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks! Yeah, we both had a blast on this project... and we probably have a few more works yet to come from it,
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:icondimsdale00:
Dimsdale00 Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010
In factt, I loved this so much that I'm slowly working (with a much much better builder than me leading) on a kitbash/scratch model of it.

Can't wait to see more! Love Love Love this redesign
Thanks again for sharinf
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2010  Professional General Artist
Oh man - that's cool! PLEASE post pics when its done... or give me a URL. If you need any specific detail views, LMK.
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