Now that I have the inspiration for the style of my short, being in homage to the classic Saturday Morning Cartoon openings, and vehicle based teams like Thunderbirds, Voltron and Transformers. I have started to look at more references for the design of the cells/ships, and how I can stylistically capture the visuals I want to portray, and have a reasonable and achievable design objective to reach in the given time.
For reference of a simple, yet effective method of designing vehicles for a 3D Animation, especially one that uses more conventional 2D Animation as an inspiration, I have looked at the work of Tim Reynolds (http://www.turnislefthome.com) who has a low poly style reminiscent of retro video games and early 3D modelling.
These vehicles I have included below are all his designs, and even though they are all low poly and relatively simple, they are all identifiable and unique.
I have also included some pieces of concept art for the game No Mans Sky, which features large scale space combat, these are good examples of how scale and depth can be shown in space by including other objects besides the ships like planets and various debris. But they also show how you can include colour, even in space.