I’ve started making new textures for the external model using Quixel, the question is are the rivets too subtle? In reality most of the air-frame is flush riveted so they don’t really show up until you’re quite close, but does this look realistic in P3D? First picture is a quite bad shot of the Fleet Air Arm Museum’s F1 that I took a few years ago, note although I’m quite close only the larger fasteners really pop out.
This next shot is in Prepar3D, ignore the shiny spinner that still needs to be textured.
Are the rivets visible enough? They’re currently only on the bump map so it’s just variations in the surface showing, which I like as it’s effectively what you get in reality, but is that enough for the sim? Any thoughts in the comments appreciated.
Incidentally I have no idea what the lumps in front of the Museum’s Firefly’s windscreen are, they don’t seem to feature on in service aircraft!
Lots of tweaking the various textures and finding references for bits of text around the cockpit and I think it’s pretty much done. There may need to be a quick re-render for the F1 cockpit as it was laid out a bit differently but that’s it.
The red on the radar screen needs to be changed to black to act as a mask for the land you wouldn’t be able to see due to the Earth’s curvature, once the maths is spot on. The only other bit of coding is to add the electrical circuit for some of the gauges as something seemed to change with P3D 4 that stopped them working.
Coming in to land at St Barts using FlyTampa’s scenery for the area, definitely worth picking up if you fancy a challenge. You should be able to make out a bit more detail on the main panel, and the gauges that aren’t currently working!
You can also make out the fixed and gyro reticles on the gyro gun sight, to see how they work here’s a WW2 instructional movie.
Once the Firefly is finally done next up is the Seafire. The Seafire lineage is a bit confusing but essentially the Seafire I was a Spitfire Vb with a hook. Learning from this the Seafire II was a Spitfire Vc with a hook and fuselage strengthening so it could survive more than a couple of deck landings. The Seafire III was a Seafire II with folding wings and some bits from the Spitfire IX, such as the larger elevator horns and air intake. For the sake of my sanity I’m only modelling the II and III as the earlier windscreen with the external armour is harder to model if you haven’t got plans with the dimensions on!
After some fiddling with the settings I think I’ve got some better results with the VC textures. They’re probably slightly more worn than you’d get in an actual service aircraft but due to the general darkness caused by the mostly black on colour scheme I think it looks better.
Here you can see there’s a bit more definition to the areas of black! I’ve also added more of the text labels the cockpit was liberally strewn with.
View looking forward, you can actually make out where the fuel cock is now, directly below the artificial horizon. For some reason the middle top position of the instrument panel never seems to have been filled with anything, despite the obvious lack of a VSI!
Finally below on the left is Specification 8/39 which was the original call for designs of a two seat, single engine, front gun fighter for the FAA, and on the right is Appendix B to Specification 5/40 which was the amended specification the Firefly was ultimately built to. These are both in a file on the Firefly at the National Archives in Kew, which is an amazing facility if you’re looking to do some historical research.
Current project development hell.
For various reasons this model has been lurking on my hard drive for a few years longer than planned. The only thing that really needs doing is sorting out the textures and tweaking the animations in the VC to line up with the gauges once they’re done.
I’m using Quixel to generate the base textures for the VC and then inserting the artwork for the gauges and cockpit labels. It’s fairly intuitive to work with once you’ve read a couple of tutorials and you can set up custom smart materials once you’ve found some settings you like. The only issue at the moment is the export function doesn’t really tweak the maps enough for Prepar3D as it’s putting a lot of detail in the Specular map that just doesn’t show up unless the light is in exactly the right place. I’ll need to look at generating some Photoshop actions to copy some of that detail from the Specular map to the Diffuse. At the moment though it’s looking like this.
The other problem I’m having is getting cockpit information for these early marks of Firefly. The instruments themselves are fine as they’re standard WW2 British parts but the rest of it is a bit of a mystery as the majority of references I’ve found, and surviving aircraft, are the later Mk 4, 5, and 6 which are quite different when it comes to the ancillary equipment.
Finally a post war ad from Fairey that I found while I was searching for Firefly stuff!