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!