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!
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.
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.
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!
The locking pin (red cylinder in the image) for the Spitfire family undercarriage rotated 180 degrees depending on whether it was acting as an uplock or a downlock. The sloped face allowed the gear strut to push the pin out of the way once it was rotated. The rotation was achieved via a chain and cog controlled via cables connected to the undercarriage controls. Originally I hadn’t planned on modelling these that accurately, because it’s in the gear bay and it seemed a lot of detail for something that’s mostly obscured. But as the alternative was trying to give the impression of a chain with textures I ended up doing it anyway. The picture below shows where it goes, the cables having been disconnected for removal.
I’ve done a short video that shows a) how impressive the animation is and b) how hard it is to actually see in P3D because of the undercarriage and wing being in the way!
I’m slowly progressing the Seafire, but as mapping the undercarriage takes a long time and doesn’t make for great screen grabs I thought I’d take a break to add TacPack to the Firefly. I’ve got the cannons working so far, the next stage is to integrate it with the loading panel and cockpit switches, and then add rockets and bombs.
Practice runs were made taking out my frustrations on RyanAir! The gun sight is slightly low as it doesn’t account for the angle of the guns but that’s an easy fix.
The plan is to include this in an update with revised PBR textures for P3D v4.4 and the A2A rain effect for the canopy, hopefully in time for Christmas…
See that main gear leg, it’s been texture mapped. Exciting isn’t it? The overly observant may notice the brake pipe, locking pin drive, actuator jack, and inspection hatch which I’ve also added
I’ve been getting back to work on the Seafire while waiting for the next version of P3D to see if it brings PBR textures. The render below is the port gear, the red cylinder is a stand in for the uplock/downlock rod while I aligned the locking arm which is the sort of banana shaped thing! This will all be partially hidden inside the wing when complete so I’m trying to balance getting the right level of detail with only modelling what will be seen.
The scan is from the Air Publication for taking the undercarriage apart, it’s point of view is slightly to the right of the render and looking up from near the wheel. I tried rendering from a similar position but the lighting was all wrong! Hopefully by the end of the week I’ll have this finished off with the actuating jack, animation, etc. and can get it into the sim.
So with the Firefly out in both formats it’s time to start back on the Seafire. I tried a quick export to P3Dv4 to see how it looks and there don’t seem to be any major issues at this stage. The gear and flaps even animated correctly on the first attempt which is small victor!
There’re a few more bits to add on the main gear, along with the aileron hinge, after which I can map the port wing before mirroring it so it looks a bit less lopsided!
At the moment she looks a bit more Spitfire Vc than Seafire II, primarily because I have really good plans for the Spitfire marks! For the Seafires I only have detailed plans for the differences, e.g. external strengthening, tail-hook, radio fit etc. so it’s easier to make a Spitfire Vc and then modify it.
I’m also playing with adding TacPack to the Firefly, including an idea I’ve got for an extra little feature. Hopefully that will all be ready before Christmas.
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!