This began life as something utterly different; the intention was to make a delicate fragile catamaran in an image whose predominant tones were to be silver, black and blue. Instead, I ended up with this lumbering, menacing ironclad, a cross between the Merrimack, a Viking longship and a Mark 1 tank.
The key to the transformation was the dragon head, which is a symmetric lattice based on a shape painted in PhotoShop. When I came to apply a texture to it, I ended up with a plated, metallic texture that suggested armour. The whaleback hull and the ram followed, and the war machine was well on its way. For a while it was going to be a tracked or wheeled vehicle but the problem of modelling the wheels sent me off in the nautical direction again, and the possibility to add a paddlewheel and a smokestack proved decisive.
The dragon head is the only terrain object. The rest of the scene is modelled using Bryce primitives with some Boolean operations. The smoke clouds are spheres with a variant of the 'Storm Cloud' texture applied.
Bryce 3D didn't exactly help in the construction of the image, writing files that caused a crash when I attempted to reload them. I lost a fair bit of time this way. However, I got there in the end.
What is it? Your guess is as good as mine. Clearly a war machine, but plainly a deeply impractical one. I imagine it as an 'ultimate weapon' in some future world that has reverted to near savagery: nasty, brutish and heavily-armoured.