The recent update (Version 2.3) allows the proper use of the auxiliary slider. Its availability just SCREAMS for a variable sweep wing aircraft. What better than one of the most fearsome jets of all time, the Jolly Rogers’ F14 Tomcat.
These Navy jets inspired terror in the enemy from late 1977 through 1995. The dramatic angled twin tail and swept wings give this fighter the terrifying look of a descending hawk about to snatch its prey.
The fuselage was more challenging to draw than any aircraft I’ve worked on to date. It features dramatically curved surfaces blending a central body to the twin engines, that have nearly as much volume each as the main body. The result is a compound lifting surface that is simply gorgeous.
I found it easiest to attack the shape as a D shaped central fuselage with an attached engine. These were then mirrored into the full compound shape. When it came time to texture them, I decided the best effect would be to texture the front part of the fuselage with a side projected texture, and the engine and rear part of the fuselage with a top projected texture. Because of this, the final drawing has the fuselage represented by two separate objects. If anyone would like the working files with sketches included, just let me know.
The stabilizer is full flying, just like the real bird. I’ve also added a mix of aileron rotation to the stabs. I’m not sure the real aircraft used these, but it was just too hard to resist. It is a joy to watch the dual control moving these large control surfaces.
There are also Glove Vanes in the drawing. These are “supersonic stabilizers” that look like a pair of small wings that extend and retract just fore of the main wings. The reading I did says they are retracted at subsonic speeds and extend automatically at supersonic speeds, however some of the video I saw showed them extended during low speed maneuvers. I chose to retract them along with the wing sweep, letting them extend when the wings are not swept, simply because they look so cool that way on approach. Note that the reading I did said the F-14A was the only version with glove vanes.
You can find some inspiring video of the Jolly Rogers’ Tomcats and the USS Nimitz in the science fiction movie “The Final Countdown”. If you search for “The Final Countdown F14″ on YouTube, you can find really great clips of the flight scenes.
I chose to draw an AIM-54 Phoenix missile to hang from the aircraft. This was a long range air to air and was effective up to 100 miles away. This long range capability is reflected in the drawn missile’s capability. You can hit the enemy when it is quite far away.
The drawing includes only one other weapon. There is a flaring on the left side of the front fuselage that contains a gun control object imitating the M61-A1 Cannon. This cannon on the real jet can fire about 6000 round a minute, but only carries 676 rounds! The gun on the drawing is a bit unrealistic, but quite useful. It is set to fire 60 rounds a minute and can fire a ridiculous 20000 rounds before going empty.
The color scheme we chose is a bit unusual. Normally you see this scheme with yellow highlights. If you study the resources on the web, you will find the white highlight scheme. There are lots of good websites with information about the F14. One I found particularly helpful is here.
The new aircraft is ready to download on the user page. It is designed for version 2.x only, and the new “flame” option is set, so the jet exhaust looks especially real in version 2.3 and above. Download yours today and enjoy.
Good Digital Modeling!
Sunday Flyer Software