By: Osama Rizvi
For my project I decided to model an airplane. More specifically I modeled the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog).
I initially researched the various techniques that are used to model 3D objects and I attempted modeling it with a variety of methods. For my first attempt, I started by individually placing and positioning vertices, but that quickly turned to be extremely tedious. For my next few attempts at modeling it – I used a technique called Box modeling. I started with a basic cube and cut, extrude and otherwise modified that cube until I had something resembling my plane. At this point I ran into a lot of difficulties getting the nice curvature needed on the plane’s body and so I had to go back to the drawing board.
For my final and most successful attempt I used the same set of techniques as box modeling, but instead of starting with a cube I started with a cylinder. As the cylinder was already curved, I could easily shape it to form the plane’s body. For the wings, it was a simple matter of extruding them out from the cylinder. The engines, cockpit, landing gear and gun however were modeled as separate objects and then later combined into the main model.
The engine’s outer shell was modeled in an identical model as the plane’s body – extruding, and resizing a cylinder until it had the shape required. For the turbine inside the engine however I used a circle cut in half to form a dome, and around it I generated a circular plane for the turbine blades.
The cockpit and gun were both also modeled as cylinders – the gun being simply a scaled cylinder and the cockpit being a heavily extruded and scaled cylinder.
For the landing gear – I actually took a completely different approach as compared to the rest of the plane. I laid down the set of vertices which roughly formed the shape of the landing gear and then I built it out from there. The wheel itself is simply a modified torus shape.
I had three main points of trouble while building the model – the first – modeling curved surfaces.
My initial attempts were to create the curves by hand but they very quickly failed, and it took a number of attempts before I realized that I could get Blender to generate shapes with curves that I could then modify to my requirements.
The second difficulty was in applying the textures – finding high quality photos which I could use and then getting them to line up so they’d appear properly was quite a challenge. In particular the cockpit was extremely difficult to texture properly as there weren’t many close up photos that I could find at the right angle. After this – the wings also gave me some difficulty in texturing. The main body of the wings textured without a problem, but along their front edge – due to the extreme curve present, all the textures simply stretched out and wouldn’t blend properly with the rest of the wing.
The last challenge I faced was while doing the final render of my model. The textures applied to the nose of the plane seemed to have problems with rendering properly. Curiously – If you view the model without putting it through the ray tracing renderer – it renders just fine.
Screenshot from blender showing nose texture as it should be