Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Simple Vehicle: Rocket Launcher

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You should already know how to do:

  • Previous Simple Vehicle techniques

This section will recap and introduce:

  • UVspheres
  • Changing object's center


Two assumptions are going to be made here. One is that the rocket will not be launched in the future (use separate objects if you want to do that). The other is this is going to be a simple, simple design.

If you want to add options to your gun (think sight, trigger), go for it!

Create the Launcher[edit]

Start a new file and delete the default cube.

Add a cylinder[edit]

In  NUM1  view, add a cylinder mesh with 24 vertices with End Cap button pushed in ( or ON). We'll use 24 because the default 36 is overkill and will only increase rendering time. Rename and elongate the cylinder along the Y axis. This will be the length of the launcher (minus the rocket).

Noob note: if your cylinder shows up facing the wrong direction, then see the Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro/Aligned_to_view_issue page, that describes how to fix this problem with 2.48 and up.

Noob Note 2: on versions 2.6 up, the cap fill type should be set to "triangle fan."

Elongated cylinder

Extrude a tube from the right end[edit]

Blender3d Rocket launcher right end vertices.jpg

Circle Select (  C  ) the vertices at the right end, then extrude (' E ) them as region, and press  ESC  to create a copy of the vertices.

Scale ( S ) them by 0.7.

Invert the cylinder end to make a tube

Extrude ( E ) them as region toward the left, along the Y axis ( Y ); This will make the rocket launcher look like it's a tube.

Note: For older versions, which do not create end caps keep the previously extruded edges still highlighted. Then extrude ( E ) them again, and then hit  ESC , now merge the vertices at the center ( ALT  +  M ). If you did this correctly, 23 vertices should be removed, and all come together to form a group of triangles inside of the tube.

Extrude a tube from the left end[edit]

left end

Now work on the left end, by following the same steps used for the right end.

Noob Note: before starting on the left end, be sure to hit  A  twice to deselect the internal face you just created on the right side, which you can't see, unless you hit  Z  to show wireframe mode.

Create the rocket[edit]

For the purposes of this tutorial we will add the rocket on the left end of the launcher.

Finishing the rocket head

For a one piece rocket + launcher[edit]

Blender3d extrude and scale rocket.jpg

Select the inner ring of vertices using circle select ( C )

Extrude ( E ) the "edge" along the Y axis ( Y ) twice, then scale the new edge by 0.8.

Extrude the "edge" along the Y axis, and scale the new edge by 1.5.

Extrude the "edge" along the Y axis, and scale the new edge by 0.2.

extrude the "edge", hit  ESC , and merge ( ALT + M ) at the center to form the face for the nose

For a two piece rocket and launcher[edit]

  • Method 1: create a cone, rotate it, then extrude and scale to get the rocket shape.
  • Method 2: create a cylinder, scale it along the Y-axis, then extrude one side, scale to about 1.3, then extrude two more faces, scaling the first about 0.3 and merging the vertices of the second at center.
  • Method 3: Create a UV sphere with 4 rings, and model it - much in the same way as the penguin - into a rocket.

Create the mount[edit]

Having a launcher is nice, but we'll need to affix it to the jeep somehow. Let's add a mount to the tube.

Make sure you're in edit mode, not object mode!

Add a cylinder[edit]

Mount arm

Add a cylinder with 24 vertices with End Cap button pulled up ( or OFF), since we won't be seeing the ends.

Scale with the Z axis locked, to about 0.55, then move it to the bottom of the tube.

Add a UVsphere[edit]

Place the sphere

The easiest way to have a wide range of motion for the launcher is to use a ball joint. We can simulate one by just adding a UVsphere. The default 32 segments and 12 rings will be fine. This creates a smooth sphere.

You can think of the number of segments as being the wedges visible when the sphere is viewed as you added it. The number of rings then could be described as the depth of the sphere from that same view.

Resize and place the sphere at the new cylinder arm.

Reposition the center point[edit]

This next step will be important for continuing the tutorial. Get the 3D cursor to as close to the center of the sphere as possible. While the sphere is still selected after creation, you can press  SHIFT  +  S  and snap cursor to selection, putting it in the exact center of the UV Sphere.

Switch to Object Mode. Under either the Object menu or  SPACE  go to Transform > Center Cursor. This should move the large pink dot where the cursor is located. This will give it a new center of gravity around the ball joint, making it easy to manipulate later.

Noob Note: If you have already deselected the sphere, press  L  while hovering your cursor over the sphere. Make sure not to include any vertices from the attached cylinder).

Noob Note:In 2.69, I found this in the Tool panel, Object Tools>Origin>Origin to 3D Cursor.

Change the center of the object


Be in edit mode!

Apply subsurf, level 2

Select everything ( A  twice), and hit the set smooth button ( at the bottom of the links and materials panel).

This makes the ends of the rocket launcher tube too rounded, as real ones are squared up.

Square up the tube edges on the right side[edit]

On the right side (without the rocket sticking out) be in Face select mode

Blender 3d RL right side where to crease.jpg

 RMB  on one of the faces in the outer ring, then circle select ( C ), and select all the faces at the end of the launcher tube. You can also do a face loop selection by selecting a perpendicular edge to the loop with  ALT + RMB  in face selection mode.

Hit the set solid button ( at the bottom of the links and materials panel).

Crease the edges of the faces by hitting  SHIFT + E  and set it to 1.0.

Squaring up the tube edges on the left side[edit]

Blender3d RL left side where to crease.jpg

Now do the left side exactly like the right side.

Noob Note Be sure to deselect everything on the other side first ( A  twice )!!

Squaring up the rocket[edit]

Blender3d RL rocket where to crease.jpg

RMB on one of the faces in the middle surface, then circle select ( C ), and select the faces all the way around

Crease the edges of the faces by hitting  SHIFT + E  and set it to 1.0.

Final touches[edit]

Apply materials or additional items to the object and save for later use.

Do not forget to name the rocket for later use.