Hey there! Your CG models are coming along quite nicely! I'm really not much for offering critique or criticism as each CG model here is nothing more than different 3D interpretation of the original Macross 2D art. Each artist who makes a CG Valk, or SDF-1, or whatever, brings their own ideas and styles to it. All art is considered subjective anyway, so there is no real right, or wrong way to do it, only what you and others enjoy, or do not enjoy. I just enjoy sharing my work, as well as seeing all the other wonderful artworks that others on this site share with us. ( keep it up you guys, being a BIG Macross / Robotech fan, I love having one place to go to to see all sorts of great 2D & 3D Macross art. Thanks to Shawn & Graham, this is one of the best fan site out there, PERIOD! ) Anyhow, sorry, I'm rambling again, the only real advice I can give you are my own personal insights and experiences I've had with doing my VF-1 in this thread, iF something similar to mine is what you are going for.
- Even with a crappy machine, you can still turn out a pretty high res model, you just need to work on it 1 piece at a time, then put all the pieces together once they are done. Until just a couple of months ago, I wask working on a crappy 5 year old Pentium 4 machine still on an old AGP bus ( CRINGE!!!!!!!!!! ) As long as you hide everything except the piece you are working on, it's not too bad. Even my SDF-1 scene which is around 2,000,000 ploys did ok on the old POS!!!!!! If you are going for the high detail look, then you want to use allot of geometry for your details, faking it in texture can work, but typically doesn't look quite as good. ( Really, the only actual difference between my VF-1, and others on this site, is that I went a little nutty with the detail. I tend to be a bit of a freak when it comes to adding TONS of unnecessary detail to all my CG work. It's a bit odd too considering my unusually SHORT attention span! )
- proportions: The proportions are a bit wierd whe it come to translating 2D art to 3D art, especially with the VF-1's. Unfortunately, in the series, The actual dimentions and proportions of the VF-1's CHANGE from one drawing to another, especially from Fighter to Gerwalk to Battroid and back. So I haven't even attempted the whole transformation thing yet with my VF-1. You can try to find the nice balance with the proportions between the different modes, and I have seen some on this site, that do a pretty god job of it too, but I found that with mine, quick Gerwalk and Battroid mockups show that it will never look perfect in any 1 mode if you go for the balance. So I built mine to look perfect in fighter mode, which makes Battroid look wierd,.( legs are too skinny when the good looking fighter legs go to Battroid legs. ) So eventually, I plan to rebuild some of the parts to proportions that look good in Battroid, then when I end up animating it, I will do a very quick morph between the parts that have changing proportions. ( quick enough so that you shouldn't notice it with the chaos of transformation going on! )
- Textures: Make the textures VERY HIGH RES!!!!!!! It is essential if you plan on showing your model up close. Mine are pretty much made from scratch, except, find yourself a good looking base metal photo, and overlay your drawn maps to it just so that there is a little bit of surface info coming from it, not just pure color. Right now, my model only has diffuse maps on it. Eventually I plan on doing bump / Specular / Reflection maps, as well as dirtying up the diffuse maps a bit as they are a little too clean right now. It doesn't look like it has seen any action!
So that is all the advice I can think of right now. The only other little things I could suggest, from an accuracy standpoint is, the tail fins are straight up and down, they should be slanted outward a bit ( 15 - 20 degrees if I remember correctly ), and I would suggest making the wings a little thinner, otherwise, looking great!
If anyone is wondering about the reference material I used, it was: Macross Perfect Memory Book, and screencaps from the Robotech DVDs. Below is a render of the VF-1 with no textures so you can see how much detail was done with geometry instead of texture, as well as a wireframe. I've also included a couple of texture samples as well to check out. ( Wing and a Leg )
Hope this helps, and let me know if you have any more questions, would be happy to answer!