Thanks, everyone, for your positive comments and constructive criticism [especially The Dagger for your detailed and graphical breakdown]. And I'm tickled that my project got a mention on the newsletter [even if Axem does report everything going on on HLP anyway].
I kinda liked the dorsal ridges, and put them in to make the ship look a bit more Vasudan-ish, but they seem to be unpopular. Does anyone think it could work if I lowered the cockpit a bit and so gave the spine and ridges a bit of a downward curve? I've already flattened the ridges a bit, so hopefully they don't look quite so odd/noisy.
Again, Vasudans are hard to design for, especially for a newb like myself. Even after looking over some MediaVPs Vasudan strikecraft for design pointers, I haven't gotten the Vasudan ships' distinctive scaled armor down right.
I agree with the coolness of the model, still I have some critiques.
As I mark in red in the picture, there are some straight lines that break the curvy vasudan feel (or rather my interpretation of vasudan ship philosophy):
I think some of the lines can be breaked relatively easy (see the blue lines). If you are using Blender, the lattice modifier is perfect for retouching the overall shape of the model, which is somewhat difficult to see when you are working on the details.
Finally, using square insets to add detail on your ship is not a good way to go (see last image). First of all, it's rather boring and doesn't worth the added polys. Get some curvy panels over or simple leave it to the normal map.
Dagger, I'll give that lattice modifier a try. Anyone, please tell me if you think I'm missing some obvious Blender function that would make the model look better, seeing as I'm still kinda new to Blender. I now realize [after not reading through ShadowWolf's tutorial properly and putting in a lot of effort on the current armor plates] that I could've made some better looking/curvier armor scales with judicious use of the Knife tool.
This is supposed to be a post-Capella design, well after the Terran-Vasudan alliance, so tech base fusion could explain some of its Terran-looking design elements, but I still think I'll edit it a bit more to make it look more authentically Vasudan.
By now, I've been fiddling with this thing for a little while and would kinda like to just move on to texturing. But better I spend the time to improve and correct this model now, so that it looks better for the contest, and [hopefully] in mods for years to come.
I do plan to enter the contest, providing I retain enough motivation to finish this project.
P.S. Does anybody find it odd that the FS1 Vasudan strikecraft, despite mostly being designed in-universe BEFORE the Terran-Vasudan alliance, look somewhat more conventional/Terran in design than the distinctly curvy FS2 Zod strikecraft?