Ralph McQuarrie Battlestar Galactica Concept Design Completed

I have finished my models of Ralph McQuarrie concept designs for Battlestar Galactica, after many tries, I have worked on not only the Battlestar but also the Basestar, Starhound Viper as they where called in the novel and Cylon Raiders, I also plan on modelling a shuttle craft to fit this style and it will be my last CGI model for a long time.

So in someways, I am finishing my CGI modelling journey where I started with Battlestar Galactica when back in the early 2000s I made my first steps into it with Turbospace3d.

The scale of these models is larger than either TV versions
The Galactica
Length: 9091m / 29826ft
Width: 4291m / 14078ft
Height: 370m / 1213ft

The Basestar
Length: 12209m / 40055ft
Width: 12209m / 40055ft
Height: 6785m / 22260ft

Starship Dimensions: Battlestar Galactica (TOS) Part 1

Battlestar Galactica

Space Ship Dimensions


“what size is your ship ?”

 This is a question many have wondered about for years, especially when Galactica was first shown (same for Star Wars and the older Star Trek series) fans did not apparently spend too much time working out the smaller finer details. OK perhaps a few did when you see the amount of fan made blueprints or drawing from the period.

In 1978 a Battlestar Galactica Annual published by Grandreams in Holland and I rushed out to get one and poured over it in delight, reading some new stories and looking at some great art, when my eye spied a double page showing the vessels with some general stupefaction to consider.

Here it is, now read down to the length which is at 0.264 miles or 2000 ft.

(If you click on the Images they will enlarge)

That even then gave me pause for thought, 2000 ft. even at a tender age I could tell this did not add up (believe me or not), but I shrugged it off and continued to enjoy the book, I would read it every few years (I still have it somewhere). but as I got a little older that original thought came back to me that old thought, “it looks bigger than 2000 ft ?”. by then I knew the size of Star Treks USS Enterprise, which was 947 ft long, which I think also needs some revision of thought.

The difference in the apparent scale was too much, the Galactica appeared larger than the elegant USS Enterprise or its first big screen outing the Enterprise Refit, That is 1000 ft long .

Now the scale of the Vipers launched from the launch tubes are between 29 ft and 30 ft depending on what source you’re looking at, in another page we get to see the other estimated scale of both the Viper and the deadly and cool looking Cylon Raiders.

The full-scale mock-up of the Viper was 28.5 feet long, however this mock-up is proportionally shorter than the filming miniature. Currently don’t have any information about the difference but in the visual effects shots, the Viper should normally be considered longer. For these measurements I will be using the 28.5 foot length however.

The source of this information is on the ravensbranch website http://ravensbranch.allen.com/galacticasize.html

BSG Scale 003

So using the super model of both the Galactica by Folkrm and the Refit Enterprise at a 1000 ft by Dennis Bailey and I scaled a striped down Galactica to save on render times from 2000 ft up to another scale of 4150 ft (I forget the source) then to the Glen A Larson and John Dykstra supported scale of 6080 ft or 1 nautical mile.

BSG Scale 006

BSG Scale 004

BSG Scale 005

Even from here you can see that 2000 ft is not possible at all even without showing other images with the 4150 ft scale (because I cannot find them) and I think they are needless as the scale I do favour is the 6080 ft PLUS scale, the launch tubes would be smaller than the EVA hatches of the Enterprise.

BSG Scale 007
If you look at this image, you can see a 29 ft Viper just fitting the rim of the launch tube exit.

BSG Scale 008
Here you see the 110 ft shuttle launching from the bay and to my mind is as close to the scale they depicted in a numbers of scenes from the TV series.

In closing I think even the Galactica could be a little larger, if the scale of the launch tubes are a guide to go by, but not by much. The 2 mile scale, I think is by far too big!  but that is only my view on it, I know a few fellow colonial fleet members favour that scale. What are your thoughts, comments are welcome and feel free to disagree, but no insults or spamming or flaming comments will be allowed, respect the views of other posters

I will have a few more images showing the scale of the Galactica with the Enterprise A – D and the imposing Imperial Star Destroyers.

Starship Dimensions: Battlestar Galactica (TOS) Part 2

Battlestar Galactica

Space Ship Dimensions


“what size is your ship ?”

continued 2

I thought I mistakenly deleted these images sometime ago while not paying much attention to what I was doing, you can imagine my delight when I found them on a back up disk, It was to show the scale of a Battlestar along side a Cylon base-ship. I forget the scale I gave the base-ship

1Here is the Galactica and a Base-ship with the Enterprise in the frame to help establish scale. Galactica by Folkrm, Enterprise By Dennis Bailey, Cylon BaseShip by Raffs

2Head on view


Side approach

Starship Dimensions: Battlestar Galactica (TOS) Part 3

Battlestar Galactica

Space Ship Dimensions


“what size is your ship ?”

Continued 3

I want to show you all the key classic designs along side each other using the main ships from these shows, Focusing on the Battlestar Galactica using designs from other shows Star Trek TMP Star Trek TNG Star Wars, These following images are showing the scale of each ship with a very small degree of error as calculated by official sources

USS Enterprise Refit: length -1000 ft – by Dennis Bailey

USS Enterprise D: length – 2000 ft – by Prologic9

  Imperial Star-destroyer: length –  5249 ft or 1600m by Fractalsponge

Battlestar Galactica: length 6080ft by Folkrm

These are to scale and I was very surprised when I saw the Battlestar and the Star-destroyer along side each other, yet I feel the Star-destroyer looks more imposing because of its shape.

I always knew the scale of the original Enterprise and it refit would be just longer than the launch bay on the Star-destroyer given the scale of the rebel blockade runner in a little shorter than the Enterprise at around 492 ft approximately.

I liked this image the moment I saw the angle… the scale of the Galactica is so impressive.

Starship Dimensions: Battlestar Galactica (TOS) Part 4

Battlestar Galactica

Space Ship Dimensions


“what size is your ship ?”

Continued 4

I located some more renders showing the scale of the Galactica against other designs, including a single image of the Galactica given the 2 mile scale with the 110 ft long shuttle along side near the exit tube for the 28 ft or 30 ft long vipers, which I think add up to 13 feet high in total.

I would love the Galactica too reach the 2 mile scale, it’s a great size but the that image dispels the 2 mile long scale for me.. it looks wrong.. also an image with a Nimitzclass super carriers along side at 1092 feet which is really inspiring

Anyway that is my view.

I plan on building my own Galactica model sometime in the future,  basing on the scale of the Vipers and  Shuttle been given consideration.

What Size is your Ship 010

What Size is your Ship 011
I was happier with this image showing a Viper entering a decent sized hangar bay entrance. It’s the only area I would redesign.



What Size is your Ship 014

What Size is your Ship 015
I recreated the often used scene where 2 Vipers (Starbuck and Boomer) over fly the superstructure of the Galactica in pursuit of a single Cylon Raiders from higher up
What Size is your Ship 015a
I recreated the often used scene where 2 Vipers (Starbuck and Boomer) over fly the superstructure of the Galactica in pursuit of a single Cylon Raiders
What Size is your Ship 016
Galactica given the 2 mile treatment, note the 110ft long shuttle against the hangar bays/Launch tubes.
What Size is your Ship 019
Another recovered image with a 110ft shuttle entering a 2 mile Galactica

The Battlestar Galactica Scrapbook mentions that Dykstra’s team extrapolated the length of a the shuttle from the size of the windows to be around 110 feet. For practical purposes, the art director arbitrarily cut the scale in half and a 33 foot long section of the shuttle was built.


Ralph McQuarrie Battlestar Galactica Concept Design

Battlestar Galactica

As I mentioned in my Ralph McQuarrie tribute page. I started to rough out the shape of the model. Its dimensions are more difficult to work out, but with some trial error I think I have it worked at well enough to call the shape done before I go in and detail it.

My Guide image

Galactica 003This is what I think is how the forward head section looks like.

Galactica 005This is the rear view section…

I have spent more time working on this area as this is where all the action is in RMQ concept painting, there are a number of dimensional issues I need to adjust this 3D model and it requires I alter  the concept design a little…. notably the section that connects the engines to the central body of the Galactica. I looks to me as it that is wider on the mid section and narrows as it reaches the engine area…… I will have to think about that and perhaps take some artistic license to make it work as I hope it will.

For those interested in such things, I have enlarged the scale to just over a 6676 ft long, longer than the Galactica seen in the show which is 6080 ft long… this could change, but I get the impression from RMQ image above that this design could be even larger…. it will be interesting to see how will detail it…..In the future I will add a 6ft human to help reinforce the scale I am work with

Galactica 006I have added this image showing the proposed positions of the support arms to the landing bays

RIP Ralph McQuarrie 2012

One of the greatest science fiction artistic visionaries has passed on, I speak of Ralph McQuarrie the creative talent behind some of the greatest Sci-fi Movies and TV shows….

March 3, 2012

Ralph McQuarrie
Ralph McQuarrie at work

He influenced the look of the Original Star Wars films, later the Indiana Jones and the original Battlestar Galactica series long has his work inspired me and many others, due to this sad news I am posting some of his work here as a tribute to his work and memory

Star Wars RMQ (1)

Ralph McQuarrie Falcon

Y-Wing Approch

X-Wing Trench Run



These are some of my favourite concept paintings created by Mr McQuarrie for both the iconic Star Wars Movies and the Battlestar Galactica TV series.

His memory will live on in his work.


While some time ago I decided to remove these images to focus on my work, but I feel that this is a justified exception.

Galactica 001

You see a few days ago I started to do some early design work on his concept drawing for the Galactica.


Battlestar Galactica´s Landing Bay

Battlestar Galactica

At last a new post, this time Battlestar Galactica related again. this model goes back to a fan film that never saw the light of day, sadly. Long before I got into CGI modelling with Lightwave I use to have a go at working out how something works, there was always a problem working out the scale of the Galactica and there are just as many conflicting sources.

landing bay
Landing bay credit Peter Westberg

It was around 10 years ago when I started to wonder and give thought about how the internal arrangement of a Battlestar Landing bay would look and joining Colonial Fleets forum, I had the opportunity to exchange ideas with many fine people and artists there, who have in their time wandered about the very same thing, I found there some great AutoCad drawing by a fellow colonial fleet member known as Westy aka Peter Westburg who is no longer active on the forum (sadly) and he had created the outline of the Galactica landing bay you see above, So using my rudimentary computer skills I started to work out a possible internal layout.

Once I got into CGI, things changed and I had a change of building a model or making the attempt.

hanger bay 1
Looking down the length of the landing bay runway.

This was my first attempt at building a real detailed model, though I was hampered at the time by my than PC which was so under powered to go into more detail as I wanted to was not possible at all, all the detail is modelled from the ceiling to the floor below. the scale is not quite right but it worked well enough.

hanger bay 2
Some creative licence here as I have added a control room

Just another angle, I had a lot of help and advice  about how this area would look.

landingdeck 1
The bay is populated here with waiting Vipers, LandRAM and a landing Shuttle, note these are not to scale as these images pre-date the scale work I did for the Galactica

Yes the Vipers are suspended without landing gear created for it at the time so I had a go at building

I did build landing gear sometime later.

landingdeck 2
Looking forward to the landing bays large midsection airlocks to a bay just as long.

It’s all a matter of scale, and how big is the original Battlestar Galactica

There are a few ideas on it. But I am in favour for 6080 + long or 1 nautical mile as mentioned by Glen A Larson and John Dykstra, basing the scale (if I remember correctly on the size of the windows on the shuttle craft model, its scale is set a 110 ft long.

I will be posting some work on that asap.

Battlestar Galactica LandRAM

Battlestar Galactica

Colonial LandRAM

This is another model I built for an ill-fated BSG fan-film effort, non the less there is something I like about Battlestar Galactica land based craft over the Star Wars lot is you have tracks on the land craft over a hovering craft.






LandRams are normally carried within the shuttle craft carried by the Battlestars, the overall length of the shuttles are 110ft long, how it enters and exits is not known as it was never fully visualised on the show

Battlestar Galactica’s Celestra

Battlestar Galactica

The Celestra

This is my second model I ever made also in 2006 for a BSG fan-film that never saw light. A real disappointment when it disappeared from the web. But its a variation on the design in the original Battlestar Galactica series, simply there is not enough images of the Rag Tag ships to be sure how they are constructed.

The textures are not mine, they are by Marc-Laurent Magnier (Manga) which I had permission to use, but not to good effect on my part and I could have done a better job.

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