The Hydra Submarine. Surprisingly, real submarines from past and present come in myriad shapes and layouts. In my initial sketches I tried to play with as many unusual layouts as I could, also offering awkward concepts that could work both below and above water. Counter rotating props amidships, big wing shapes, outriggers and multiple engines.
Director Joe Johnston gravitated towards a simplistic barrel fuselage with a highly visible cockpit for filming reasons, justified by advanced Hydra glass withstanding high pressure. In the early stages, the cockpit was inspired by German aircraft Messerschmitt Bf 109. (The final design of the boat would in its simplicity and compact size somehow resemble a Japanese Yokosuka MXY7). I added two trim tanks in the fuselage undercuts, a snorkel and spend some time on the propeller-rudder assembly in the rear including a functional linkage. The position of the props was tailored towards the story: Soon-To-Be-Captain America would dive after the submersing villain, so either the props would add some cool underwater action our hero has to deal with or simply, be in the way. For the latter case, we studied the alternative of two propeller pods on outriggers to clear the path to the cockpit and simplify the scene, which at the same time renders rudders obsolete and facilitate the set built.
We all agreed on the outrigger layout, looking more entertaining and also interesting when floating on the water surface. Another thought was to see propeller action in the background of close up shots of the pilot. That thought gave in for a bigger change, the replacement of props with water jets as a response to Marvel’s favor of visually more advanced Hydra technology. In the same final clean up pass, the canopy became more streamlined too (top rear view image final design). The digital design data was send to workshops, where the entire vehicle was crafted as a water tight set piece and filmed live in the cold waters of Liverpool, England.
Design stage 2. A simplistic tubular fuselage is established. Twin props with external controls have a crude and believable look.
Design stage 3. Propellers moved to outriggers to be seen in camera. They were replaced in the forth stage by advanced water jets, and a sleeker cockpit.
Final movie set build. The real set built in the water of Liverpool harbor, with final water jets, streamlined cockpit, and no markings.
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