I would suggest "button panels" for where the escape pods are mounted, though this would require you to adjust the UV map... or, you could just put a normal map detail in the area. This conceals the escape pods from the outside, protecting them from minor hits and stray fire. When necessary, the panel bursts off after the crew has boarded, and the ship is ejected on a rail from the ship. Such a solution is more elegant, I think, and better fits in with the visuals of never seeing the escape pod launch ports that supposedly all or most FS ships have.
To illustrate, I have attached perhaps the worst bit of Paint-made concept art I have ever prepared:
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