Slow Progress

For some reason, mainly a desire to remain in full time employment, lock-down hasn’t given me as much time as I’d have liked to work on the Seafire. On the plus side I think I’ve got the instrument panel all modelled now, stand fast the hook lowered indication light which is just a copy of the one to the right of the VSI.

There’s still a bit of texturing to do but the hard part of marking up the gauges is done along with setting the animation limits, although some still need the coding to drive them written.

Incidentally if you’d like to know more about the Seafire, Mortons Books have just released a book on the type by the aviation historian Matthew Willis. Well worth picking up a copy, if only to point out what I’ve got wrong so far!

Finally I’ve set up a RedBubble shop with a few designs I’ve had lying around for a while. This was mainly because I wanted a British Pacific Fleet roundel sticker for my laptop and couldn’t find one anywhere!

Measure Twice…

Updating to Win 10 was relatively painless, except I seem to have lost the most recent model file! This shouldn’t have happened as the only thing on my C drive is the operating system and programs, all my model files, textures, essays, etc. etc. are on a separate drive and in most cases on Dropbox. Presumably I was accidentally working from a recovered file which was on the C drive, which got formatted when I did a clean install of Win 10 before Win 7 went end of life…

Helpfully Model Converter X let me recover the missing bits that had already made it to a P3D model so the only things I really lost were the instrument panels! Fortunately this didn’t take too long to make a second time and I’ve now done most of the gauges. Helpfully there’s normally a choice of options with most Spit/Seafire gauges, so I’ve gone for the ones in the Seafire pilots notes.

The moral from this story? Probably make sure your files are where you think they are before you reformat a drive!!


Just a quick post to show the beginnings of the interior. The instrument panel uses a lot of standard instruments that I’ve modelled before but as I’ve got dimensioned drawings for them I’m remodelling them. I should still be able to reuse the gauge artwork which will speed things up a bit.

Spinning Around

With a bit of time off over Christmas the external mapping is now more or less finished, give or take some minor animated parts that will go on a separate small texture. This has also let me check the different textures are aligned properly by applying the standard pattern camouflage. At the moment the textures are 2048×2048 but I’ll up this to 4096×4096 for the final product.

I’ve also modelled the four bladed prop, this appears to be more or less the same as was used on the later two-stage Merlin Spitfires. It was only used on the low-level Seafires with the cropped supercharger that gave combat power up to 2750′. The standard Merlin gave max boost up to 14000′ and was paired with the three bladed prop. Oddly although the Spitfire V came in normal and low-level versions as well it only seems to have ever had the three bladed prop.

With a single-speed single-stage supercharger as used in the early Merlins the cropped unit for the low-level version took less power from the engine . Hence although it was providing the same boost as the standard engine at 2750′ the engine was providing more power to the propeller, by a few hundred horsepower.


Before mapping the windscreen and canopy frame I thought I should probably finish making them. Then I thought I’d do something about the see through fuselage. Of course I still haven’t mapped the framing…

You can just make out the canopy jettison mechanism on the outside of the frame, which is a lot more Heath Robinson than I’d imagined. Basically you pull a cable which is routed to the outside of the canopy on either side. This pulls two bars forwards which are hooked onto pins that extend from the canopy runners through the framing. Once they’re unhooked the pilot used his elbows to push the front of the canopy wider and wind flow does the rest!

Just the canopy locking mechanism to do and then I might actually finish the external mapping…

Details, details, details

More details added to the fuselage. Some of which, such as the fuselage datum plates, only show up if you zoom right in which makes me suspect I may have overdone it…

I’ve also started on the cockpit door mainly so I can start the mapping for the fuselage before I model the cockpit. The animation for that will have to be changed at some point as it also acted as a lock to stop the canopy sliding forwards in flight/landing.

Hopefully I’ll have finished modelling the fuselage by the end of the week and can get it mapped next weekend.


Fishtail exhausts, tricky

After I made the last post I realised I hadn’t modelled the radiator under the starboard wing! That took a bit longer than planned due to real life getting in the way. Since then I’ve also added the early style exhausts that were predominantly used on the Spitfire Vc and Seafire IIc, the later style individual exhausts for each cylinder were used on most if not all Seafire IIIc but should be easier to model as they’re basically a tube!

Radiator now in place

I’ve also added the early rear view mirror, the Seafire III generally had the later one which was a half sphere. Again I’ll be making that when I update the II to a III. Most of the rest of the work on the external model is the various bumps around the engine and then cutting the access hatch for the cockpit.


So it turns out there are a lot of parts in the wing now. More than 200. So it’s taken me a few weeks to get all the mapping done. Now that’s finished I can finally mirror it and look vaguely symmetrical in flight!

It was only once it was in P3D I realised I hadn’t set the animations for the starboard gear and flaps but that’s only a few minutes work.

The propeller and exhausts still need to be modelled plus some detailing on the fuselage but other than that the basic exterior is done. The more observant may have realised I’ve basically now got a Spitfire Vc, not a Seafire. That’s intentional, the next step for the exterior after it’s all mapped will be adding the parts for a Seafire II, but I’ll probably release the Vc as well as it’s no additional work as long as I save a copy of the model file before I cut the hole for the arrestor hook!

Colouring In

Port gear leg in Quixel

Before I mirror the port wing etc. I want to make sure it’s all texture mapped so I don’t have to do it all twice! The gear is probably the most complicated bit to map and I’ve finally got the leg and the panel on the inside of the door done.

Also the port gear leg in Quixel

These shots were done in Quixel which lets you assign different materials to different parts and then produces the correct textures. Once I install the P3D v4.4 SDK it should allow me to produce PBR textures fairly easily.

Gear leg render, wheel removed for clarity

It doesn’t look quite as good in 3D Studio but at least it’s mapped now! There’s probably a similar amount of work to do on the gear bay and then the wing should be fairly straightforward… I’ll probably try and get the PBR textures working in P3D 4.4 before then so I can see how they look. By which I mean I’m hoping by next weekend!