This model contains a set of RCS thruster nozzles and plumes of hot gas at a number of different detail and poly levels. Moving from right to left in the image there is a small RCS thuster at low poly, then medium poly, then high poly detail level, then there is a large thruster (for some sort particularly large spacecraft) and then 3 main engine nozzles, all three of them high poly with the one at the far left having a more detailed plume. The objects in this model are ready for animation and can be scaled to "switch the thrusters on and off", each plume is parented to a nozzle so moving the nozzle will allow the nozzle and plume to be fitted onto a space craft model. A text file within the zip archive explains how the thrusters can be fitted onto a ship and how they can be animated. Also included is a "cluster" object, a number of thrusters fitted into a bay which can be closed to protect them during re-entry or atmospheric flight, there are three clusters included, one with yellow flames, one with blue flames and one which has been animated to show how it can be used. The text file also explains how to alter the colour of the flames.
The thruster nozzles are textured meshes, the flames are smooth conical meshes with a displace modifier and some alpha texturing applied, the doors on the clusters are constrianed so that opening the master door causes the opposite one to follow.
This model renders in blender internal, not cycles, it is very fast to render so people with more powerful computers could turn up the subsurf modifier on the flames to make them a little more detailed. The render shown here was produced from the file exactly as it is when you download it, other than the camera position being a bit different.
This file should be very helpful to anyone modelling, and especially animating, a spacecraft.
Feel free to use these thrusters, flames, plumes and nozzles in your own animations or renders but please credit
"Send in the Jagdpanther on blendswap" and provide the URL of this page.
NOTE: This technique worked really well back in blender 2.65, but if you're opening this in the latest blender versions you'll need to, in the "Shading" part of the "Render" tab of the "Properties panel", set alpha to "sky" not "transparent". Otherwise the transparency of the plumes just becomes plain white.