Wednesday, December 17, 2014

North American Aviation X-15 - Update: Pilot, Third Skid and Wing Pods

In the North American Aviation X-15 Cockpit, the pilot has had an update to the texture. I'm not the best when it comes to creating a 3D model & texture of the human body, but this one is just a functional 3D model for the external X-15 3D model.

The Third Skid is now textured. However, I'll be altering the 'Aircraft green primer' as I'm not happy about it. Also, from the pictures I have, the animation doesn't 'work'. So,  I'll be altering parts of the third skid to make it 'work'.

I've added the the wing pods for experiments on the X-15, both wing pods are different. The wing pod on the Starboard side (near) has cameras pointing forward and aft of the X-15. The port wing pod (far) has an experiment mounted in the forward section of the wing pod.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

North American Aviation X-15 - Third Skid Gear

I've now added the third skid gear to the North American Aviation X-15 3D Model. It was flown on X-15-1 for it's last 12 flights and on X-15-3 for it's last 14 flights. This is a very approximate 3D model.

There is a reason why it's a very approximate 3D model, I've only got two images to work with. One image is from a book titled "Hypersonic: The Story of the North American X-15" by Dennis R. Jenkins & Tony R. Landis. The other image is from an accompanying book called  "X-15 Photo Scrapbook" by the same authors. However I don't have the second book, but luckily found an image from the book.

I've asked Santa/Father Christmas for this book, but the elves haven't reprinted this book in years. If you have this book and have no requirement for it, I would be happy to purchase it from you.

This is one of the images:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

North American Aviation X-15A-2 - Canopy

The 3D model of the North American Aviation X-15A-2 now has the oval windows for the canopy, complete with port side eye-lid. Tomorrow I'll add the hinges and opening mechanism for the eye-lid.

North American Aviation X-15A-2 - Rear Textured

Long day re-creating the UV map for the North American Aviation X-15A-2 3D model. When I added the rear fuselage extensions to be flush the the nozzle, it screwed up the UV map for the rear section. I've repositioned the UV map manually, because if I did it automatically, it would completely reset the UV map for the fuselage and re-positioning all of the fuselage parts would of taken longer. Guess it's a limitation of Wings 3D, but I can live with it. I've also added 'improved' vents and jettison pipe on the rear too.

Defiantly next, I'll do the canopy. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

North American Aviation X-15A-2 - Rear Details

The rear of the North American Aviation X-15A-2 is now modelled. I've omitted the the texture as when I added the new parts around the XLR-99 engine, as the UV map lost some of it's mapping around the rear and look very distorted and psychedelic. I'll look at this when I've re-modelled the two trailing vents pipes
The Canopy I'll deal with later,

North American Aviation X-15A-2 - X-15 to X-15A-2 Modification (Pimp up my Rocket plane!)

I've stretched limo'ed the North American Aviation X-15 into the X15A-2. Noticeable modifications are:

  • Add 29 inches to the fuselage. Done, see picture below :).
  • Add 6.75 inches to the Skid Gear. Not to sure where it is added to. It appears to be on the main section. If this is the case, it's an easy modification.
  • Canopy to have the oval windows and 'Eye-lid' on the Port side. 
  • Finally some modifications to the rear section of the fuselage for the additional H2O2 / Helium tanks.
The hardest part will be to modify the cramped texture file for the extensiosn, but there *should* be enough room. Fingers crossed...

I know I've got the wrong texture file, this is just for illustration purposes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

ISS Renders with 3D models of the Space Shuttle, Soyuz and SpaceX Dragon

I been experimenting renders using Kerkythea. I've created renders of the International Space Station (ISS) 3D model. I've added the Space Shuttle, Soyuz and SpaceX Dragon to the renders. The Iss is not complete as it's missing some Russian modules and Solar Arrays.

Please tell me what you think.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Battlestar Galactica Viper MkII - Part 6 Cockpit, Final details

The 3D model of cockpit for the Viper MkII is almost complete. All the main switches, dials, instruments and screens are in. This cockpit is based upon the second version of the Viper MkII cockpit in the TV series. The biggest difference between the first version and this one is the addition of a small screen in the lower right of the centre section of the forward panel. The third version removes the three centre engine dials near the centre joystick/yoke. 

The last item to add to the cockpit is an ejector seat. I'm going to use a mixture of a real ejector seat and the headrest section of the seat used in Battlestar Galactica. This is because the one used in Battlestar Galactica wouldn't fit a parachute behind the pilot and it looked like it needed to be comfortable for filming ;)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Battlestar Galactica Viper MkII - Part 5 Cockpit and External movie

Couple of movie clips showing the 3D models of the Colonial Viper MkII.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Battlestar Galactica Viper MkII - part 4 Cockpit

Yesterday's and today's lunch time was spent added a 3D model of the cockpit to the Viper MkII.

The first photos and images I had found on the internet gave more than enough to work with. I started the bear bones of the cockpit layout and then later that night, I settled down to watch a few BSG episodes. I then noticed that the centre panel was different from the prop photos I had from the Viper in the first series. After a little bit of digging on the internet, I found out that centre panel had changed a few times. Long and short of it, I'm sticking with the first version :)

I've also added detail to the centre engine as well. This is a best guess, as Zoic 3D model in the series, prop photos and drawings conflict with each other. So I've gone with the best guess approach. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Battlestar Galactica Viper MkII - Part 3 Details

The basic 3D model is now complete for the Viper MkII and I've moved to the next phase of adding details to the model. I've added the refuel/Plasma details along the sides of the forward fuselage, started to and details on the aft engine sections, and added details to the side engines. I've also tweaked the main fuselage material to look better.

I was going to do the cockpit but the drawings I have don't match the production set cockpit. I'll come back tot he cockpit later and create it basic upon the production model

A good yet limited resource I have found is the drawing and photo on I wish I could get my hand on copies of the blueprints...

Just going off topic, I have 5 favourite fictional spacecraft, which I can't, and never will have an outright favourite. These are: 

  • Viper MKII from the 2003 series.
  • The original Viper from the original series.
  • UD-4L Cheyenne dropship from Aliens.
  • SA-23E Mitchell-Hyundyne Starfury from Bablyon 5.
  • Eagle Transporter from Space: 1999.

Battlestar Galactica Viper MkII

It's been a long time since I've looked at this project. I've added details to the engine nozzle on the 3D model of the Viper MkII. Also, I've reworked the wings to have the wing tip pods and improved the general shape. 

Next, I'll look at the cockpit and canopy

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

North American Aviation X-15 - 3D model of X-15 Pilot

I can create planes, spacecraft and cars and other object, however I'm crap at creating 3D models of 'natural' objects such as humans, animals, trees. It just something that I've struggled with, even drawing them. Guess I don't have the 'natural' draw gene.

However, I've created a *very* basic 3D model of a pilot for the X-15 project. Details such as harness and hands need to be added. Hands could be important ;)

I've also managed to model the Vertical Stabliser pedals in the cockpit, based upon two photos. They are very crude, however it's better than nothing and I'll refine the shape at a later date.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship from Aliens, available for download :)

I've uploaded a basic 3D Model of the UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship to my Downloadable Resources page. It's in Wings3D format, which is a free application and can be downloaded from

It is not an exact 3D model, and I've omitted a lot of detail components.

North American Aviation X-15A-2 -Texture space (part 3)

My next problem is I would like to use the existing texture file of the X-15 for the X-15A-2. However I have to add a extra section to the main fuselage. I don't want to re-create or make a new texture file, I just need to alter it.
Draft Texture file

It's a bit like a jigsaw, without the finished picture. I think, for now, I'll move the Wings over to the left and move the landing gear and small details over the the right. However I can take out the other Aircraft number out

North American Aviation X-15A-2 - External Tanks (part 2a)

A 360° movie of the External Tanks for the X-15A-2 3D Model. It would be great if I could add the full 3D model in an embedded browser viewer so you can all rotate,  pan and zoom.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

North American Aviation X-15A-2 - External Tanks (part 2)

The riveting process on the X-15 is taking a lot longer then I expected. Meanwhile in the paint booth (Texturing), I've completed the first texture graphic for the 3D Models of the external tanks for the North American Aviation X-15A-2.

I've identified a possible two other 'paint schemes' for the external tanks. Please can anyone else confirm that there are 3 paint schemes or more: The paint schemes I know of are the 'test tanks' (above), the external tanks without the 'colourful' markings (plain metal)  and the one below.

Thanks in advance for any help you provide. :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

North American Aviation X-15 - Riveting

I've now got to a stage were I'm happy with the 3D model and texture of the X-15. Now for the 'Devil in the detail' part, adding the rivets and other surface details. When I've added all these on the texture file, as a separate layer, I'll create the Bump/Normal Map to give an added effect to the 3D model.

I've been looking for a way I can easily add the rivets and surface details on to the texture file. The best way I have found so far, is to use Inkscape to add lines where the rivets are, then change the style of the line to dotted. Then import the texture file in Wings3D, check it, and then return to Inkscape to make any changes and re import if required. So I've been swapping between Inkscape and Wings3D all morning. Multi Monitors are very useful. think I get two large widescreens monitor after this is done!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Buran / OK-GLI (BTS-02) 3D Model - Part 6

Amazing what you can do with 2 lunch breaks. I've copied the Buran 'Standard' 3D Model and created the OK-GLI (BTS-02) "Buran aerodynamic analogue" 3D Model. The Nose Landing Gear was a bit of a challenger and in the end, I just modified the existing landing gear to suit.

Still some tweak sand modification to do, but it's almost there.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Buran 3D Model - Part 5

[Russian mode on]
Comrades! The Superior Soviet draft 3D model of the Буран is complete! Let us rejoice on the American's Independence Day.
[Russian mode off]

Seriously, Happy 4th of July to you all across the Atlantic pond, and where ever you all are.

Even though there are some tweaks to the external 3D model to be done, I'm quite please with with the Soviet Orbiter Buran. I'm also tempted to do the OK-GLI (BTS-02) "Buran aerodynamic analogue" version too.

Directly comparing the 3D Models of the Soviet Orbiter to the US Orbiter is quite interesting to see something that looks very similar, but to have to have all the minor differences that your wouldn't notice until you compare them when they are next to each other. Which is better? neither IMHO. Both are as good as each other :)

...and before you ask, I don't know if it's going to be in a future simulator ;)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Buran 3D Model - Part 4

Main landing gear completed for the Buran 3D Model. Once again, I'm not going to add all of the details.

Next, landing gear bays.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Buran 3D Model - Part 3

Nose landing gear completed. I was tempted to added more details, but or my purposes, this is sufficient for the 3D Model of Buran.

The drawings and diagrams I'm working with gives me enough information to create a detailed 3D model, however, my 3D model doesn't compare to this one at The link was supplied by DaveS in my previous blog entry. Thanks DaveS :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Buran 3D Model - Part 2

In my lunch break today, I completed the 3D model of Buran's version of the orbital manoeuvring System, and the tail section. Simple. Next task, landing gear, not so simple, no drawings, no decent photos, no video...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Buran 3D Model - Part 1

Recently, I've been reading "Energiya-Buran The Soviet Space Shuttle" by Bart Hendrickx and I've always thought that the two orbiters were almost identical. Well, I was wrong, as I've discovered when I started to 'alter' my standard 3D model of the US Orbiter to look like the Soviet orbiter Buran.

The main differences I could tell before I started to create the 3D model was that the Soviet Orbiter has the nose gear further from the nose, no OMS pods and the lack of main engines. After a an hour of modelling, I started to notice more  and more differences that you can't really tell from photographs.

  • The wings on the Soviet Orbiter are slightly more forward.
  • The wing profile and leading edge is completely different, compare to the US Orbiter
  • The after the payload section on the US Orbiter, the rear section extends out slightly, on Soviet Orbiter, the 'rear' stays almost in line with the payload section.
I'll probably notice more differences as I add more details.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

North American Aviation X-15A-2 - External Tanks

I've created the external fuel tanks for the X-15A-2. The actual 3D Model for the X-15A-2 itself is still 'Work-in-progress'.

The cramped texture file needs to be altered so the it incorpates the extra 29inches of the X-15A-2. What I'll probably end up doing is shrinking minor elements of the texture file.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SpaceX Dragon - Rendered with Kerkythea

Been playing with another render application today called Kerkythea. I think I might swap to it for the X-15 Hangar scene as well.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

SpaceX Dragon - On Orbit Configuration

This afternoon I started on creating a 3D model of the SpaceX Dragon. Information is very scarce, as it's a commercial private venture. However, and amazingly, I've got enough information to create the Dragon capsule and the trunk section. Already I've completed the Solar panels and hopefully I'll be finishing the trunk section by the next weekend. Thruster sizes and details on the Dragon Capsule, is non existent.

I'll probably do the Falcon9 (and variants) later, as I want to focus on this 3D model for the ISS 3D model.

On a personal note, I admire what Elon Musk and his company have achieved for the space industry, as well as other new companies are now doing, providing new, affordable, solutions to space travel. I think we're now definitely in a new era of space travel.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

North American Aviation X-15 - Hangar Render

I've been working a rendered scene using 3D Models of the North American Aviation X-15. Here are two X-15 one with the Boom Nose and XLR-11 engines and the other with the Ball Nose and XLR-99 Engine.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Soyuz model

When the Mir model, I created a basic Soyuz model. I'm tempted to create the full rocket and spacecraft. I've got some information, but it's a mixture of older and newer drawings of the spacecraft and launcher.

This is the Soyuz spacecraft so far:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mars Science Laboratory - Science Instruments SAM & CheMin, Cameras MARDI and Hazcams (Part 6)

My 3D Model of the Mars Science Laboratory Rover, Curiosity, is now equipped with a couple more science instruments. These are Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument, or CheMin to it's friends and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite.

Left is SAM and right CheMin

I've also added the Hazard Avoidance Cameras (Hazcams) and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) camera.

Front Hazcams and MARDI 

Rear Hazcam, Left camera has the Lens cap in 
the open position.