RAVEN – Mazinkert Concept Design 2

Frames creaking and groaning with each labored thrust of her rockets, the Mazinkert bears her cargo of refugees across the stars, fleeing from a devastating attack on their homeworld. Among them is ten-year-old Raven; exhausted, confused … and unable to shake the feeling that that hulking, dreadlocked alien across the hold is watching him. They are running low on food and fuel, and on top of that, whatever it is that destroyed their home is now following them through the inky blackness of space!



According to legend (correct me if I am horribly horribly misinformed about this), the crescent moon on the Turkish flag, rather than being an Islamic crescent, is a reference to the Battle of Mazinkert in 1071. On that date, the Seljuk Turks defeated Byzantine forces in what would be remembered as the beginning of the end for the failing Byzantine Empire, the final stronghold of Greco-Roman culture in the Mediterranean world.


As one story goes, Alp Arslan, the Seljuk Khan, was roaming the battlefield when he saw the reflection of the waning moon in a pool of blood of Turkish warriors. This pivotal historical moment, if ever an event could be called such, foreshadowed the heaving death of Constantinople, and the beginning of nearly a thousand years of Ottoman dominance in Asia Minor.


This story of a dying moon watching over the final, flailing outward thrusts of a dying empire always struck me as almost poetic in it’s portrayal of the inevitable ebb and flow of cultures and memory, birth and death, hope and despair. And somehow that image found its way into the design of one of the key settings of “Raven”, the ageing space vessel that bears the titular character on his strange search for a new home.


The vertical, crescent shaped hull and sailing-ship design were established early, but it took hundreds of sketches to arrive at something that was both functional and visually appealing. But now here’s a dilemma, with the amount of brainstorming that went into the construction of this ship, I can’t decide which version of the Mazinkert I like the best!.


But first, to give an idea of the various mutations the Mazinkert went through:


To arrive at the final options, the design went through over 50 iterations…


The very first thumbnail sketch of a certain starship which would evolve to fill the starring role in the lives of a Boy and his Monster. Take of the four wings, turn it 90 degrees to the left, and suddenly you have the hull of a carrack, viewed from below!


Two elements of the Mazinkert are particularly key. First, this is a very old ship. Not bucket-of-bolts old. Not old like the Millennium Falcon is old. Old like that tractor you see on the side of the road; just the sight of it makes you want to shake the hand of the farmer who somehow manages to get that thing chugging across his field every day, year in and year out.


Secondly, the Mazinkert should evoke the feeling, both inside and out, of a wooden sailing vessel. Not necessarily the HMS Victory — it could be a small offshore vessel, a fishing boat, etc. Something definitely not up to the task of interstellar travel, or so it would seem! This is the original Apollo mission, the Kon Tiki in space.


Having said that, I have in my hands a series of drawings that meet the criteria for the story, the production design, and  look pretty neat on top of that! Each page contains a small number of modifications on the same theme; please leave lots of comments about what works and what doesn’t!


And the finalists are …


Making a slight departure from the strictly crescent profile, the SPACE TUGBOAT:



The STEAMPUNK (as seen from the aft). This one appeals to me because I can use some kind of futuristic glass-like construction material (space-glass? astro-glass?) to reveal all sorts of goodies under the hull, like winches, pulleys, masts, and even the bridge deck — the sorts of things that make a sailboat such a fascinatingly complex structure would be hidden by an all-metal hull:


The MOUSTACHE (a bulkier, more balanced structure). For a time this was my favourite; it has balance, strong form, and room to add little tidbits like girders and cables and such. Then someone said it reminded him of  Colonel Sanders. That kinda ruined it for me:


A little more FUTURISTIC. These ones are very similar to the final option (below), but they incorporate the backswept nacelle/masts of the ‘tugboat’ design:


The SPACE CARRACK (old school). Back to the basics — crescent, shiplike hull, with pairs of paddles across the beam of the ship that house the sails:


And finally, I created rough 3d models of all my favourite designs and did these fly-arounds:



  • Jace Kim

    hey man long time no see.

  • Lucas

    No kidding! Hey hunt me down on Facebook and let me know your email. I want to run something by you (darting eyes shiftily around…) something that may alter the future history of the world as we know it!

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