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Feb 02, 2015, 07:49 PM
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F7F Phoenix Model Build Log


First blog and first build log.
If this goes well I'll end up with an F7F model for the Phoenix Simulator.

First step was going through the excellent PhoenixBuilder tutorial at

Phoenix Builder - Basic airplane tutorial (26 min 9 sec)

Well worth watching if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Second step was choosing and learning to use a 3D modeling tool to develop something to import into PhoenixBuilder.
Decided to use Blender as I saw it mentioned somewhere and one of my sons is looking at it as well.

Blender tutorials are very detail as there's a LOT to learn. http://cgcookie.com/blender/cgc-cour...for-beginners/

Still working through those, but encountered a potentially show-stopping issue when I tried to import any Blender .obj file into PhoenixBuilder.
Luckily, fazerpileit over in the RCUniverse.com forums had discovered the secret - you need to check the "write Normals" box in in the obj export options.

From this point, my basic approach will be to build a relative simple profile version of the F7F in Blender and get it to work in PhoenixBuilder.
Presuming that gets done, I'll then attempt to build a complete 3D model in Phoenix (or find an existing one if I'm lucky).
Then I'll import that into PhoenixBuilder and turn it into a flying model.
Thinking that this will keep me busy for a while.

That's all for now. rick p
Last edited by rickp; Feb 05, 2015 at 08:51 AM.
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Feb 02, 2015, 08:31 PM
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Cant wait, It will be great to have more WWII planes on phoenix.
Feb 03, 2015, 08:48 AM
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3D Start Point for F7F


A big thank you to GunHed for sharing his Mythos Blender files so I could use them as a test case for Blender to PhoenixBuilder import. All that is working well now, and it looks like the Mythos 3D model is a rational starting point for the F7F as the basic fuselage shapes are similar. Need to make it dual engine and tricycle gear and work a bunch of details, but think I'm way better off starting with the Mythos than with a blank sheet of paper.

Cheers, rick p
Feb 05, 2015, 08:54 AM
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It Flies !


The Mythos, that is.
Easy to export the Mythos from Blender into PhoenixBuilder, but wasn't all that easy (for me) to turn it into a flyable model.
Somehow doing it for yourself is never as simple as the tutorials make it seem.
It was an iterative process as I went back and forth between PhoenixBuilder and Phoenix Simulator trying to get control surfaces moving and the prop turning.
Once airborne, I fine tuned control surface geometry to make it flyable, then returned to PhoenixBuilder to make the changes permanent.
Somehow lost GunHed's paint scheme along the way, and ended up with a "Navy gray" Mythos. But since the F7F was a Navy plane, it was probably fate.
In the end will figure out how to paint it, but for now I'm more interested in morphing the Mythos from a single engined tail dragger into twin engined with tricycle gear.

Cheers, rick p
Feb 05, 2015, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickp
The Mythos, that is.
Easy to export the Mythos from Blender into PhoenixBuilder, but wasn't all that easy (for me) to turn it into a flyable model.
Somehow doing it for yourself is never as simple as the tutorials make it seem.
It was an iterative process as I went back and forth between PhoenixBuilder and Phoenix Simulator trying to get control surfaces moving and the prop turning.
Once airborne, I fine tuned control surface geometry to make it flyable, then returned to PhoenixBuilder to make the changes permanent.
Somehow lost GunHed's paint scheme along the way, and ended up with a "Navy gray" Mythos. But since the F7F was a Navy plane, it was probably fate.
In the end will figure out how to paint it, but for now I'm more interested in morphing the Mythos from a single engined tail dragger into twin engined with tricycle gear.

Cheers, rick p
Any specific f7f scheme you are planning? (for us WWII history geeks)
Feb 06, 2015, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by benskoning
Any specific f7f scheme you are planning? (for us WWII history geeks)
Hadn't thought of that.
Was going to be happy with a blue plane with Navy markings that was recognizable as an F7F.
But am open to suggestions - do you have any favorites?
As importantly, do you have a favorite with readily available pictures or graphics?

Thanks, rick p
Last edited by rickp; Feb 06, 2015 at 08:11 AM.
Feb 06, 2015, 08:11 AM
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Twin Engine Mythos


Well that was fairly easy.
Used Blender to duplicate the spinner and propellor geometries and stuck one on the leading edge of each wing.
Imported into PhoenixBuilder and used the same parameters for everything but the engines - changed from one "medium electric" to two "light electrics".
As expected, flys pretty much like the single engined version - nice 3D ship.
This was my "proof of concept" - need to convince myself that I could create a twin that actually flew.
Nevermind that it doesn't look anything like an F7F - that's the next (big) step.

Cheers, rick p
Feb 06, 2015, 08:23 AM
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Turning a Mythos Twin into an F7F


Okay, now this part is hard.

Spent a couple of hours in Blender moving vertices around to get the fuselage to look more like an F7F.
That was like starting with a block of balsa and trying to carve an F7F fuselage by hand.
Was getting there, and it might eventually resemble an F7F, but would be pretty crude.

So going to rethink my 3D graphics approach for a bit.
This clearly is a solved problem as there are plenty of accurate models out there.
I just need to Google around a bit and figure out how they're doing it.

BTW, this is my first 3D graphics project - an interesting learning curve.

Update - gotta love Google - quickly found the motherlode at http://airplanes3d.net/index_e.html

Update - hmmm - maybe I should do a P38 instead as just found a great downloadable 3D model at http://www.colacola.se/expo_p38.htm

Cheers, rick p
Last edited by rickp; Feb 06, 2015 at 08:57 AM. Reason: insert "virtual aircraft" site URL
Feb 06, 2015, 12:37 PM
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Well, what ever you you, Please send me a early copy. I can get the in game tuning correct.
Feb 08, 2015, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by benskoning
Well, what ever you you, Please send me a early copy. I can get the in game tuning correct.
Thank you for the offer - could be a while depending on the level of detail in the Blender model.

Regards, rick p
Feb 08, 2015, 11:28 AM
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Virtual Aircraft Book by Witold Jaworski


Decided that a boost up the Blender learning curve was needed, so bought Mr. Jaworski's Virtual Aircraft PDF.

http://airplanes3d.net/index_e.html

May well prove to be the best $20 I've ever spent.

Cheers, rick p
Feb 10, 2015, 02:17 PM
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How about these schemes?


Quote:
Originally Posted by benskoning
Any specific f7f scheme you are planning? (for us WWII history geeks)
Considering either the Navy Utility Squadron or Marine paint schemes.
Unclear which particular F7F version at this point - F7F-2N for example.

Would welcome your perspective.

Thx, rick p
Feb 10, 2015, 04:26 PM
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I personally like the all blue 2nd one. This is your model, pick what you want.
Feb 15, 2015, 04:29 PM
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F7F Prototype flying in Phoenix RC


At the point of having a rough looking F7F prototype flying in Phoenix RC.

No attempt at realism, just wanted to start from scratch in Blender and end up with something flying in Phoenix that looked something like an F7F.
Now that I've convinced myself that the process works, I'm more enthused about investing the time required to turn the prototype into a reasonable model of the F7F.

FWIW, the virtual modeling guys turn out some very realistic looking models - incredibly so.
My goal is more modest - want a model instantly recognizable as an F7F, with accuracy and detail comparable to other Phoenix models.

Cheers, rick p
Last edited by rickp; Feb 15, 2015 at 04:57 PM.
Feb 18, 2015, 11:28 AM
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Beginning to look like an F7F


An interesting looking glider at this point. rick p
Feb 19, 2015, 10:07 PM
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Looking more like a real F7F


Here's a Blender shot.
Flying reasonably well in Phoenix RC, with a couple of tweaks to go.
And a bunch more Blender work as well - details and paint.

Cheers, rick p
Feb 20, 2015, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickp
Here's a Blender shot.
Flying reasonably well in Phoenix RC, with a couple of tweaks to go.
And a bunch more Blender work as well - details and paint.

Cheers, rick p
Great progress! As I said before, Feel free to send me a version to tweak the flying.
Feb 21, 2015, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by benskoning
Great progress! As I said before, Feel free to send me a version to tweak the flying.
Excellent timing on your post, as the plane looks and flys reasonable enough that I feel comfortable sharing. Thanks for the offer!

Sending you an IM.

Cheers, rick p
Feb 21, 2015, 08:45 AM
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Current Views


Current Wireframe and Solid view screenshots from Blender.
Looks like the solid view when flying in Phoenix RC, but the wireframe view is more impressive.
Need to work on the visual detail in several areas, then figure out how to paint it.
Painting may actually be more challenging than constructing the 3D model.

Flying wise the model is working pretty well, and Benskoning and another user have volunteered to help tune the flying characteristics.
Thanks guys.

rick p
Last edited by rickp; Feb 21, 2015 at 09:33 AM.
Feb 27, 2015, 04:12 PM
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Navy Blue F7F


So this painting stuff is a bit of a PITA.
Making progress though, but there is still a ton of detail work to be done.
First image is Blender wire-frame; second is PhoenixBuilder textured model; third and fourth are PhoenixRC flights.

Cheers, rick p


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