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Jul 17, 2020, 09:27 PM
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Freewing SU-35 Phoenix Model Build


Going to attempt to blog the Phoenix SU-35 build.
Blender will be used to create the 3D model, Inkscape to paint it and Phoenix Builder to make it flyable in Phoenix.
I'll describe each step, but not specific Blender, Inkscape or Builder commands as those are discussed further in my Liddle Stik tutorial.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v4dhhleaaj...0v2.4.pdf?dl=0

Just beginning work on the Blender 3D model.
The three screenshot are of reference 3 view that I'll base the 3D model on.
Given I couldn't find any plans with sections, the 3 view and Freewing picture will be my references.
I size the top view for a100 Blender units wingspan, knowing that will scale correctly in Phoenix Builder.
Then draw a sizing box (yellow cube) that I use to get the side and top views accurate.
This is an important first step - get it wrong and you suffer later!
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Jul 17, 2020, 09:31 PM
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Fuselage


After studying the 3 view and pictures a bit, the fuselage is essentially three cylinders - a center cylinder holding the pilot, with one on each side for the engines. Each cylinder will need to be shaped a bit, of course, but cylinders are good starting points.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:32 PM
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Nose


Nose
The highlighted vertices were extruded to the left and then sized down to form the nose tip.
The rest of the nose was then shaped using multiple loop cut and slide operations followed by sizing to match the nose outline.
Quicker than it might seem with practice.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:36 PM
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Canopy


Similar to the nose, the canopy shape was created with multiple loop cut and slide operations followed by sizing to match the 3 view outline.
After that the canopy bows and lower boundary were added using the cut operation.
Not to worry - Blender loop cut and slide, sizing and cut operations are discussed thoroughly in the tutorial.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v4dhhleaaj...0v2.4.pdf?dl=0

As a final step, the fuselage was copied, creating an identical object named canopy glass.
After that, glass vertices were removed from the fuselage object, and the fuselage vertices removed from the canopy glass object.
The result was that the fuselage and canopy glass objects lined up perfectly with no overlap.

Hope this is making sense!
Jul 17, 2020, 09:37 PM
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Tail Cone


The tail cone was constructed using the same techniques we used for the nose.
Referring to the screenshot, the left most highlighted vertices were extruded and resized to form the tail tip.
The other vertices were then inserted and resized to match the 3 view outline.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:40 PM
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Engine Intakes


The engines started out as cylinders, but now we need to square off the intakes and complete the exhaust.
Squaring off the intake is made easier by creating a "helper cube" in the shape of the square intakes.
Then we carefully move the front engine vertices to match the square cube outline.
Last edited by rickp; Jul 17, 2020 at 09:57 PM.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:42 PM
better is enemy of good enough
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Adding the airfoils


But it doesn't look much like an airplane until we add the wings, stabs and fins.
I start with a symmetrical airfoil from an earlier project and then extrude and resize it to fit.
Wing screenshots are shown, and the stabs and fins were created using the same technique.
Last edited by rickp; Jul 17, 2020 at 09:58 PM.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:43 PM
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First prototype


So what's it look like so far? Pretty much like an SU-35 with lots of panels missing.
Still work to do, but at least it now resembles an airplane.
And in fact we could get what we have now flying in Phoenix, but not yet!

Next step, I think, will be to create a larger central fuselage to hold everything together.
Then perhaps we'll add the gear. Tomorrow.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:44 PM
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Fuselage "Glue"


Though it looked kinda like an SU-35, we need something to unite the fuselage nose, engines and airfoils.
So I created a new cube and massaged it until it seemed about right. This is the artistic part of creating a 3D model.
When you don't have accurate plans, you wing it based on photos.
First cut looks reasonable for now, so moving on to the gear.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:44 PM
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Gear


For the first cut at gear I initially copied and pasted the Mirage gear from an earlier project.
Needed to raise all the other objects up a bit so the gear rested on the red "horizon".
Also moved the main gear in toward the fuselage a bit.
And though it's not critical, I put the gear in layer 2, with the rest of the model in layer 1.
Placing different objects in different layers comes in handy at times.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:47 PM
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Engine Details


Needed to create engine intakes rather than blunt ends, as well as hollow exhausts.
The intakes are created by extruding the intake ends left, shrinking them a bit. moving back right, and extruding again.
With the last step creating a face and saving as a vertex group so it can be eventually painted black.
Much easier to do than to describe, trust me!

The engine exhaust is then created in a similar manner. Extrude, shrink, move, extrude, etc.

That was the left engine, which I copied to make the right engine.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:49 PM
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Paint Scheme


Now comes the magic!
The basic idea is that we project each 3D object as a flat 2D image, import that into Inkscape, paint it, and export the result back into Blender.
Ending up with a nicely painted image - going from the first screenshot below to the second.
What could possibly go wrong?

We'll start with the left wing, take it entirely through the process; and then hand wave the remaining objects.

The first thing we need to consider is that we'll be projecting images of our 3D objects straight down or straight to the side.
For our wing, we need to assign vertex groups to the top, bottom and wingtip.
That will allow us to easily project it three ways - from the top, bottom and side.
The next screenshot shows how that looks in Blender, and then in Inkscape.
Similarly, if you project all the objects and arrange then to our liking you get the next Blender and Inkscape images.
Then it's a simple matter to paint over the 2D projections in Inkscape, save the resulting image and link it back to Blender.

And, with nothing up my sleeve, Voila! A fully painted SU-35.
You might notice that the camo is not quite complete and we need to add a few other objects, but it's looking pretty good.
Last edited by rickp; Jul 17, 2020 at 10:07 PM.
Jul 17, 2020, 09:51 PM
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Adding Details


The painted prototype was pretty nice, but missing several things that add realism.
So I added nose gear doors, lower fins, a radome near the canopy, wingtip missile rails and extended the wingroot leading edge.
All that then needed to be projected to 2D for painting, which forced me to move some of the projects around a bit.
After that the camo was completed and panel lines added.
Last edited by rickp; Jul 18, 2020 at 08:28 AM.
Jul 22, 2020, 06:28 AM
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Great job. Really neat to see that you used Blender. Great program.


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