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Traveller - Plankwell-class Dreadnought (v1.1)

By Shadowstate
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The Plankwell-class dreadnought is a 200,000 displacement ton behemoth of a ship and one of the largest warships produced by the Third Imperium. It is only dwarfed by the more massive and far more expensive Tigress-class. These ships however, were produced in far greater numbers and in far less time than other vessels in its class because of its modular design, which results in the ship's rather blocky appearance. The front and middle sections can be removed from the spine of the ship and swapped out with other modules for specific missions as needed.

This set up here has a central hangar module for the launch and recovery of fighters and other light auxiliary ships such as troop landing craft, bombers and gunships. The bow module is fitted with missile and torpedo tubes as well as two large bays big enough to hold corvette-sized capital ships and cargo. The rest of the ship is covered with various weapon batteries including meson gun turrets, particle beam cannon turrets and point-defense laser turrets. The primary weapon is a spinal mount particle beam cannon. The ship is protected by both nuclear dampeners and meson screen projectors.

The class was named after Grand Admiral Olav hault-Plankwell, a sector admiral of the Spinward Marches who led the defeat of the Outworld Coalition in the First Frontier War. He gained fame and infamy for a number of things - you can read more about this legendary character on the Traveller Wiki.


I modeled the ship in SketchUp and used Blender to help UV wrap the texture around the cowling near the bridge tower. I imagined this tower being able to rise up from the hull during battle and perhaps lowering during jump space travel. The other textures were projected on the hull in various parts and detailed in Photoshop.

Background image "From Nothing" created by cosmicspark and used with permission.
From Nothing by cosmicspark Thanks Tim! 

Update v1.1 - I re-rendered the ship against a transparent background and then Photoshopped it right over Tim's background image. Originally it looked blurry so now the background is the same resolution as Tim's original image.


The Plankwell was originally designed in 1981 by Paul Jaquays, (who is now known as Jennell Jaquays), for the Classic Traveller Supplement #9: Fighting Ships. I modified the design somewhat - in Jaquays' version the very bow of the ship is completely flat, but I angled it inward at the bottom which made it look more interesting. I also added a pod-like structure in the lower middle of the bow, where as her design is just a square plate-looking thing - almost appearing like a bumper and license plate of a car. Overall I think Jaquays' design just screams "1980s" with it's square appearance and sharp angles.

You can view Paul's original drawing here:…

For more info visit:…

The model is available to download here:…

The Plankwell-class Dreadnought is ©1981 Far Future Enterprises. All rights reserved

This image and the 3d model were created as fan art which is ©2015 JayThurman. This means I own the copyright to this derivative work. However, I have released it under the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial Share Alike 3.0 License which means you can use the 3d model for whatever you want, even modify it, or print a 3d model of it, as long as it's for personal use and you do not sell it for profit in any manner. If you publicly share a derivative work made using this image and/or the 3d model, you agree to release it under this same license and give me, JayThurman, written credit for the work I did somewhere within a description plus a URL link back to this webpage. If you do not do these simple things I will consider it theft of my artwork and will take legal action if necessary.
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Always thought the configuration for the "big" Traveller ships were strange and odd at best.
Colourbrand's avatar
Excellent detailing and excellent recounting of its history!

Not enough Traveller love - well done sir :)
I really like your work!
JonathanBluestone's avatar
Love this piece. If they had sense at all (the company who publishes the books) they would hire you to do all of their illustrations.
Shadowstate's avatar
I did ask Mongoose once, a couple of years ago, on their forum if they needed some 3d ship models for their books - this was back when I was unemployed and had a bunch of free time. The guy I talked to, I don't recall who, nor can I find the thread anymore, said if I wanted to design ships they'd also like me to do complete write ups and stats for them - the whole nine yards - basically come up with my own book.

I didn't want to do the write ups nor did I feel like crunching numbers and making game statistics all day. I'm sure they had gamer lackeys who could do that, but that was the deal so I never followed through. I don't know their OTU "Official Traveler Universe" well enough, nor do I really like it enough, to make my designs compatible. I just wanted to design something and have someone else figure out a use for it. Besides if I were to write a whole book I could do what people like biomass do and publish my own releases under the open game license and sell them online. I couldn't though, use anything from the OTU as it's copyrighted.

I also know another fellow here wbyrd I believe, who said he was offered to make a book for Mongoose, same deal - come up with everything - which he did I guess, and that he gave them a manuscript - that too was a while ago and so far it doesn't seem to have been published yet - Mongoose hasn't released anything new in a while except little "referee aid" books that appear to be mainly rehashed material.

I'm not knocking Mongoose or anything but I don't want to play the waiting game either.

Anyway, even if I were given the opportunity I'd probably only be able to crank out ships this detailed like once a month. I spent like two on this one alone because my free time was so limited. I have a bunch of uncompleted models I pick at in the meantime.

Oh and I was 3/4 done with the Plankwell when I fucking accidentally deleted the files for it. Yes I had a back up but, it was several steps back  - more like when I was 1/3 done - so I had to go back and redo a bunch of shit. That pissed me off!
JonathanBluestone's avatar
Ach, know that well. I was working on a new WESKER vessel for my own gallery and my XP emulator crashed. Eleven hours work gone - just tossed in the trash can and no chance of recovery in 'virtual PC' mode. I was seeing double I was so mad and why did it  happen? Still have no figured that part out, but it's like the emulator decided to BSOD on me from within Windows 7. The platform it was running on was fine, but the emulated OS had to be rebooted to fix it. No backup's either despite my creating one working file, one copy marked ''backup'' and one marked ''PUTP'' (pick up the pieces) as the folder they were all in was also deleted.
Shadowstate's avatar
SketchUp crashes all the time I have to save after every couple of steps or else I could lose hours of work. Usually I'll get the warning signs though when it starts to have sluggish performance and I know a crash is eminent so I'll try and make a quick save, but sometimes shit will just crash for just no reason. It's really lame when after a crash it just won't open the file anymore, like it got corrupted or something. SketchUp will crash while opening the file. Usually then I have to reboot the whole computer and try again and it will work but a few times it's killed the file I was working on and I have to go back and find an older save if I have one.
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