Monday, May 10, 2010

ME P.1110 Part 1 : Back in business

After a long hiatus from card modeling, I'm back! :)

This time, instead of building other people's models, I have decided to start with my own stuff. This isn't the first time I've made attempts at designing my own models. Unfortunately, the past attempts all had a lot of flaws. Flaws which I hope I will get to correct, or even avoid this time around.

Tools of the trade
Now, to get started, my tools.

For designing card models, you need 3 tools:
  1. Modeling software - There are plenty to choose from. But for most of my entries, I will be using Metasequoia. Why Metasequoia? Well, because I already chucked in $45 for a license two years ago, when I first started to design my own stuff. It would be a pity to let $45 go to waste. Anyway, there are two free and in my opinion equally powerful (or even more powerful) alternatives -- Google Sketchup and Blender3d. If I encounter a major obstacle in Metasequoia later on, maybe I'll consider jumping to one of those two. But for now, it's Meta for me.
  2. Unfolding software - You'll need this to convert your 3d model into a 2d diagram that is ready to cut out, fold and glue together. Again, there are plenty to choose from. However, I'm using Pepakura, simply because this was the only available unfolder 2 years ago, and I already popped $38 for a license...hehehe....miser. Unfortunately, unlike modeling software, where there are free alternatives, I only know of one free alternative unfolder. I forgot its name though. Other options for unfolders are Ultimate Papercraft 3d and the Waybe plugin for Google Sketchup.
  3. Some painting software - Your 3d model will not elicit oohs and ahhs from your friends if they're just plain uncolored cardboard. (Well, if your friends are also card modelers, then yeah, you will be getting oohs and ahhhs even if your model is done in plain uncolored cardboard....) Anyway, you'll need some painting software to design your textures so that your models will look like the actual object they represent. I use both GIMP and Inkscape.
Additionally, you'll need some 3-view drawings to base your designs from. I get mine mostly from the Luft'46 website. I've a couple of books about Luftwaffe WW2 aircraft which also contain really nice 3-view drawings. But since my interest lies mostly on the what-if's aircraft of the Luftwaffe, I'll be sticking with the 3-views from Luft'46.

Getting started
Damn... after being away from Metaseq for 2 years, I've almost completely forgotten how to use this program. After staring blankly at the screen, I managed to re-learn the basic commands and steps.

For this exercise, I chose to model the Messerschmitt ME P.1110 'Ente'. It has a relatively simple, clean shape with no complex surfaces save for those nacelles on the side of the fuselage.

The first step involves saving a copy of the 3-view, then cutting it up into three separate bitmaps that represent the front, top and side of the model.

Firing up Metasequoia

I then fire up Metasequoia. Under Metaseq's default view, it will be very difficult to create an accurate model, even if you've got a 3-view design to choose from.

Remember the 3 images that I cut up from the original 3-view image? Metaseq's display can be divided into 4 subpanels. Each subpanel can be configured to display a particular angle of your model. In my case, I chose to display the top, side, front and perspective views respectively.

I guess that's it for now. More later.

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