World War 1 Nieuport 17

This for print project represents the most ambitious aviation artwork to date. A World War I era piece featuring a French built Nieuport 17 and a German built Fokker DR.1. With a passion for history, military, and aviation, the project will be an emmersive scene right in the heart of a WWI dogfight between French Lafayette Escadrille pilots versus German Triplane pilots. The planes are being built in 3D as to economize on the use of the 3D models for other projects. It will allow to use the models in more than one piece of artwork with different compositions, as well as the use for profile renderings and technical illustrations.

The first plane David is starting off with is the Nieuport 17. As Follows:

Like with all 3D aviation projects, much research was done and i used 3-view design plans to help get the layout and proportions of the model going. Nose cowling and landing gear started.

Next comes the fuselage. Which blends from a rounded off shape to a very angular shape.

Problem with the mesh is a bulge occurred when trying to get the shapes of the fuselage to go together seamlessly.

All in all, nearly four derivations of the fuselage were built in order to go through some trial and error to get it right. Also started on the tale section.

With the fuselage shape complete, i moved on the wings. Fighter aircraft in the war were made of wood and canvas, the canvas was stretched so tightly that a "ribbing" effect took place and the modeling challenge here was to get that as accurate possible.

More refines and edits to the wings and tail section and modeling progress has been made on the tail, which will have the same ribbing effect as the wings.

Progress on the lower wings and tail section. The upper wing section begun and prepped for all the cutting and editing i need to do to get the ribbing on the wing.

Ribbing has been added and now more details emanate from the fuselage to the wings.

Took a break from the plane itself to concentrate on the radial engine. The LeRhone engine was a 9-cylinder engine providing over 110 hp.

Basically just imported the engine model in to the plane's nose cowling. Also did more work on the supporting struts for the wings.

The Nieuport 17 used a water-cooled .303 inch machine gun produced by Vickers Limited and used for many variants of Nieuports.

The Vickers model has been modified somewhat for fitting on the fuselage of the fighter, along with adding the gun site.

At this point, several small details are added such as more supporting struts as well as control wiring and adding the Vickers gun to the fuselage.

Here's a close-up of some of the detail going in to this model. With the addition of the Vickers gun and La Rhone engine, the project already has 650,000 polys. Truly high-resolution. It needs all the detail as i can squeeze in to produce a better print image.

Almost all the little details are done and texture painting will begin soon. Then eventually I will need to build the "pilot" as this will eventually will be a hi-res print piece.

Here's a side profile of the "mostly complete" model of the Nieuport 17.

Took some time and started on the Indian Head. It's a starting point of course. Starting off in Illustrator and will composite and add touch ups in Photoshop to comp on to the fuselage.

Made some small detail editions to the cockpit of the model. I wanted to give it some detail but not a lot as most print piece compositions won't be too close or focused there.

After the addition of some of the cockpit and some more of the smaller details. I added an old pilot model, from a prior P51 project and added in him just for the cool look of having a pilot sitting in this airplane. Eventually, a new pilot with authentic clothing will be built and added to the scene.

I've begun painting this beautiful aircraft. It's just in it's infancy stages but i am going for a very detailed and authentic look to this. More updates coming soon as i make progress.

Here's an update to the paintings. As of now this is good progress for the upper wing. Also, since this is intended as a print piece, the minimal texture map size is 4000x4000 pixels.

Same progress from another angle.

Here's a couple of renders of the painting i've been doing today. I'm attempting to strike a good balance of artistic license and reality. I want it to look real enough but also reflect this dirty work-horse look that many not be necessarily correct, but reflect the best of both worlds.

The texture mapping continues to go at a good pace. Work as of late to focus on the fuselage to get all the little details working. Tiles, bolts, weathering and overall dirty composition were implemented to give the plane some character.

Now things are really starting to come together. A vertical red, white and blue stripe was added as well an Ace of Spade with a skull and crossbones side insignia.

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