Each commander has his or her own coin that the commander personally gives out as tokens of appreciation for outstanding job performance, exemplary service, or above-and-beyond actions. These are a little bit different from Squadron Coins which can be purchased by members of the squadron as proof of their service with that unit. Commander’s Coins cannot be bought, only given. (For more about Squadron Coins or Challange Coins, please see the wiki article here.
As soon as she was assigned to the 22d Intelligence Squadron (22 IS), my Commander gave me the task of creating her first Commander’s Coin. I initially created some ideas (below), but they were rejected for not having enough “22 IS” in them (I thought the 3 guys was kinda funny though).
I then set off to satisfy their requirements by researching the Squadron’s history, and found that we are the only Squadron in our Group (the 707 ISRG) to perform all three missions of ISR: Intelligence Collection, Surveillance operations, and aerial Reconnaissance. So I thought about a coin design that could incorporate all of those elements. I came up with the below concept by combining pieces of photographs or drawings that would represent those elements:
The different features are:
1. Biplanes representing our original mission of aerial reconnaissance that…
2. …continued into the jet age.
3. A satellite dish representing “silver age” of surveillance.
4. And an high-tech-looking data corner representing the intel collection portion.
The first step to creating the coin in Blender was to make the coins edge by making a 256-sided circle, extruding the outer edges along the x&y for just a short bit, then deleting the interior leaving me the outer edge which I could then extrude along the z axis. Then I took the top/bottom/left/right-most faces and extruded them into the center to make the edges for the four corners, or “cells”.
Next was to create the satellite dish. There are two different methods placed on top of each-other. For the bottom portion (grid mesh), I took a plane, used the loop cut tool to give me the right number of edges so I could extrude out the grid mesh lines. I then rotated them, stopping every 15 degrees or so. Those 15 degree increments were then welded together to give me the support bars going from the center to edge:
The upper portion (detail mesh) took a UVsphere with all but one of the rings deleted. That remaining ring was then duplicated and spun around. A triangular receiver boom was added using box modeling and flattened out using scaling:
Next I used a biplane mesh created by TurboSquid user pauljs75. I place the aircraft where I wanted them, tabbed into edit mode and S > Z > .01 to scale them down the z-axis to 1% of their original thickness:
Lastly was to create the jet cell:
This portion was made by taking a torus and slicing it in half and shaping it for the outer portion, and using a circle+extruding for the inner portion.
The last portion for the back was to make the intelligence cell. For the network node map it was just planes and circles put into position. The wave form is two separate meshes, one white, one chrome in reverse. They were created with just a sub-divided plane with the edges pulled into position:
The front of the coin was created in Blender as a 2D image. I used text, circles and planes to create everything:
The final key was to sell the idea, so I made the following video and presented it to our squadron’s leadership (please view in HD):
After a few tweaks, the final design was sent off to be stamped. We ordered 200 2.5″ diameter coins and a few weeks later a very heavy box arrived!
I hope you enjoyed reading about how the coins were made using Blender. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them below. Thank you!