Jim Martin - Rodger Young History

This was the very first design I did for the Rodger Young. The script called for a long ship that could launch multiple troop landing craft from the sides. I began with something that felt sturdy and military. I remember the director, Paul Verhoeven, commenting that he wanted it to feel chunky and utility like a WW2 era design, but in space.


My Production Designer, Allan Cameron, liked the length of the ship and various details, but he wanted the front to feel more naval “ship-like”. Allan sketched a boat front and asked me to try some designs. I did these two, one with a faceted look, and one with a smooth look. He preferred the faceted one (2). That is the design that eventually made it to the model shop for construction.

rodger-young-02 rodger-young-03

This version was meant be a design for secondary ships docked at the space station. Possibly smaller than a "Rodger Young" class ship. The design is more abount launch-bay doors. More of a cruiser than a battleship.


This version was meant to push the idea of a “navy boat” concept. It has smooth sides, clean lines and meant to be more stream-lined. The design didn’t get any traction, and was set aside. I didn’t mind, it’s important to explore ideas.


My least favorite design I did. I tried a more “stacked” front. A bit awkward looking and not very ballanced. Sometimes it’s good to serve up one design that it’s ok to hate. It can help to reinforce the design that is actually “liked”.


Final thoughts. The Rodger Young is one of my all-time favorite design assignments for film. Looking back, I can see how I was channeling my boyhood love of the original 1977 Star Wars designs, and my love of the 1978 BattleStar Galactica designs. It was a chance to do the chunky, utility sci/fi design look I grew up loving as a kid. The model shop did an amazing job of bringing the drawings and elevations to life as a spectacular model!

Jim Martin, Dec. 2019

Find out more about Jim's work at "Starship Troopers" on his website: www.jimmartindesign.co