Distractions & Diversions
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Thread: Distractions & Diversions

  1. #1

    Distractions & Diversions

    The last several posts in "Fun Flying" about the Westland Lysander really should have been made here.
    It is one of the reasons I find that I can't seem to finish up the longer running tasks.

    Programming a new Gauge is a bit of tedious work and the way that I have things arranged, the task requires moving repeatedly between at least two computers. One is used for Internet access and to perform compiles of the actual .GAU file. The other is used to test the gauge in CFS. Even for a minor change, several steps are required.
    The computer used to run the simulator has mostly been recovered but still lacks the graphics tools and compilers to do any serious development work. My laptop is reasonably powerful but really not suited for gaming.

    I have quite a number of AFX project files on my Development Computer. Many of them are quite primitive but a few do have a very nice appearance but for a few "Little" problems. Those often look like good candidates for a very quick fix and a good dose of instant gratification. A couple years ago, the P-39D was one of those; A simple stretch of the nose gear looked like it would greatly improve the appearance. The Me 109E-Trop was also one of these projects that turned out to have much more wrong with it than it appeared. Recently the Lysander looked to be a pretty quick rework since all I was trying to fix was the dark canopy interior view.

    The attraction of these projects is that they generally are in buildable condition already and the results of a fix can be seen in a minute or two. There is (at least to start) no need for tedious planning or laying out of pieces so they don't interact badly.
    They don't require the 30-100 cycles of edit and test that are often necessary when tuning a flight model.
    They seem much less like work than my normal projects.

    Recently I thought that a repaint of the Me 109E-Trop would not be too difficult. It was pretty obvious that the textures to the Fuselage would need to be rearranged. I really didn't like the "Tropical" texture and had already "fixed" the Wings and Tail on my first encounter with this project.... or so I thought. It was also an opportunity to try out a texturing idea that had worked out extremely well with the Ki 61 in which a single large texture file was sliced into pieces and matched up on the model.
    ....The BIG difference as I found out was that the shapes of the Ki 61 are quite precise. Their dimensions are pulled from Japanese Model Art books with almost no guessing. A good profile fits almost perfectly.
    The Me 109E on the other hand has numerous shape problems and pieces that are not the correct size or not where they are supposed to be and drawings don't match up all that well.
    After a couple weeks of laying out new textures and switching between the Lysander and the Emil when one got to be too frustrating, I finally have a "reasonable" canvas. Since this is just a painting exercise, I haven't even started trying to fix the AIR file or DP file and may never get to those.

    Here is where the Emil stands today. The little square patterns are where textures join and are to confirm that the mapping between files is consistent. This is one of those projects in which I would probably have felt better about the result if I had started from scratch.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Emil_Dirty1.jpg   Emil_Dirty2.jpg  

  2. #2

    Quickie SCASM Patch

    As is usually the case with an animated Spinner, it disappears in Quick Combat leaving a large hole in the Nose.
    This Me 109E was no exception.
    Another problem was that the Slats would stay deployed regardless of airspeed.
    I tried changing the logic of when the Slats delployed, but no success.
    The end result with the Slats was to changed them to deploy when the Landing Gear was down instead of at Airspeeds below 135 Knots as was done earlier. This isn't quite right but isn't too bad for visual appearance.
    At long distance, the Flaps seem to jump free of the Wings a bit but I don't believe that is avoidable.

    The first quick attempt to fix the missing Spinner was unsuccessful. Although the Spinner could be placed on the QC opponent, there wasn't a way to distinguish between Player-flown and AI-flown which is wrong. I believe there is a way to accomplish this but it may need a lot more code tracing rather than a quick Band-Aid in an apparently obvious area.

    The point of figuring this business out is for any Messerschmitt 109 Projects that I may build in the future. I have always wanted to build the G-10/K-4 or a G-6 Cannon Boat though to have a good one, I certainly can't start with this project.

    Attached is a screenshot from a padlock view in Quick Combat showing the non-vanishing Spinner.
    8-sided Spinners look quite poor when animated and Aircraft Animator doesn't seem to get a very good alignment with the Propellers on this Project.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Emil_QCV2.jpg  

  3. #3

    Code Tracing

    The problem with code tracing is that when you know the destination, you may not know the conditions at the origin.
    The issue with the last "patch" was that I noticed that there were several calls to the "Return" from the display code for the Spinner.
    I simply changed the call to the "Return" to call a display of a different coloured (Green) Spinner.
    It would make sense that any call intended to display the actual Red and Blue Spinner would go through the code and reach the Return statement that was there. Sounds Logical?

    Turned out not to be so "Logical", especially when Machine-generated spaghetti code is concerned. There were many conditions that caused an exit by branching to the Return. After testing a few of the variables that caused a branch to the Return, I found one that seemed to work without problems.

    The rest of the SCASM edits were pretty trivial.

    Screenshots are of Player flown aeroplane and Quick Combat opponent. The gun flashes don't line up because the DP file doesn't actually match the new adjusted model.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails AnimatedSpinner.jpg   Emil_QCV3.jpg  

  4. #4

    Monogram Messerschmitt Me 109E

    The original drive to do this project was because I wanted to build an ancient Monogram Me 109E kit for nostalgia reasons.
    The problem was that this kit probably came with a lot I purchased years ago and the decals are ruined and the instructions are missing. The kit is almost simple enough to build without instructions but I wanted to at least confirm that all the plastic parts were present. Eventually I will get to this kit, but until then, I figured I would put together a similar looking Me 109E for CFS.

    The basic canvas is done. The paint job is going reasonably well.....
    Finding the basic colours for the Emil is proving a bit more challenging than I expected.
    The Battle of France / Battle of Britain was a transition time for German fighter camouflage.
    Apparently someone eventually figured out that a light coloured fuselage side was not really very good camouflage and there was a lot of field improvisations. I will ignore that for now.
    From what I can tell, the light coloured fuselage sides and bottom and wing and tail undersides were RLM 65 HellBlau (Light Blue).
    The Dark Topside originally was RLM 70 SchwarzGrun (Black Green) and RLM 71 DunkelGrun (Dark Green) but eventually the RLM 70 was replaced by RLM 02 Grau (Gray).

    In this time of Coronavirus, and with a mess-around project, my intention was to stick with the CFS / FS 98 / FS 5 palette of colours. (No place to buy extra paint!!!)
    RLM 70 is almost identical to Palette colour 105 but I am not using that scheme.
    RLM 71 is almost identical to Palette colour 106. That part was easy.... It was the ONLY part that was easy.
    RLM 02 is a weird one. It looks to have a touch of Green or something in it even though it is supposed to be just Gray.
    Palette colour 107 is a fair match as is Palette colour 90. I chose to go with Palette colour 90 to not have everything some shade of Green. 90 has a hint of Brown in it and many of the colour paintings tend close to Brown.
    RLM 65 is the worst of them. There is simply no exact match. Anything with a hint of Blue has too much Blue. Anything without is just simple Gray. The reduction to a palette feature of GIMP usually picks Palette Colour 20. I believe that is too dark, so I am using Palette colour 23 instead.

    I am also finding that the appearance of colours on my Game / Development Computers do not match all that well with my Laptop which I use for Internet access.

    We shall see how things turn out.....

    - Ivan.

  5. #5
    A few of the colours looked fine on my laptop and in comparison with Internet images but did not really look "correct" in the simulator. I am almost tempted to keep the dark areas just a single colour.
    The Monogram kit is SchwarzGrun and DunkelGrun but that is a slightly earlier paint standard than the Battle of Britain.
    In these screenshots, RLM02 Grau is now Palette colour 10.

    There are plenty of things that need to be fixed. The panel lines on the top side should be darker. Some panel lines should be lightened such as on the Rudder.
    Observe that the cross on the underside of the Wing has larger White areas than the version on the upper surface. This is correct.
    The Fuselage cross should also have larger white areas.
    The DP file is a pretty poor match to the model as is the flight model at this point.

    Just a little practice project for the paint crew.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Emil_PartialTop.jpg   Emil_PartialBottom.jpg   Emil_GunsWrong.jpg  

  6. #6
    This evening, a couple minor fixes were made to the DP file to correct the gun locations and ammunition weights which were incorrect. Boxes are still not matched to the model.
    The paint job is pretty much done except for a Geschwader marking and aircraft identification.
    The first version will probably carry the same Command Chevrons as the Monogram kit.
    After that, a couple different aircraft numbers and Gruppe identification marks may be added.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Emil_NeedsAssignment.jpg  

  7. #7

    GruppenKommandeur IV/JG26

    The paint appears to be done at this point, though there are always things that can be improved.
    The pilot has chosen not to paint the more typical yellow nose on his aircraft. Upper Fuselage has no gray for better anti glare effects. I believe the final result came out reasonably nice looking.

    Now to get back to one of the more interesting projects.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Emil_IV-JG26-1.jpg   Emil_IV-JG26-2.jpg  

  8. #8

    .....und sie heisst Erika.

    The visual appearance hasn't changed much since the last post.
    One obvious difference is the octane triangle just above the fuselage cross where the fuel filler would be.
    The chevrons are now a bit longer than they were before and I believe they look better.

    One of the issues that needed a lot of work was the ground handling.
    I believe that the typical '109 did not have s steerable tail wheel and relied on a blast of prop wash over the rudder and differential braking to steer on the ground.
    In checking out the other various Messerschmitt 109 that are installed on my Development Machine, I noticed that many do have a steerable tail wheel and many also have nearly no ability to turn on the ground without that steerable tail wheel. Even the stock Bf 109E suffers from that fault.
    I also found that often the contact points of the main landing gear in the AIR file are much too wide. When they are made as narrow as the actual model, the tendency for ground loops becomes much higher.
    Once these features were addressed, I found that the "New and Improved" Emil was extremely difficult to control on take-off and landing. Landing seemed to be the biggest problem and even when I was prepared for the bad behaviour, I found I was only averaging about 50% success in landings in staying on the runway without a ground loop or putting a wing tip into the ground.

    It turned out that the problem was a fairly subtle yaw and roll coupling effect. Fixing the landing issue also corrected some issues with handling in the air. It still isn't that easy to land, but it IS possible to get a pretty good landing almost every time. Directional stability once it is on the ground is still quite poor though.

    Take-offs are still a bit surprising. Applying full power too quickly seems to cause a serious yawing effect which is amazing considering how little engine power there is in this version of the 109.
    The Rudder modulation also seemed to be very non-optimal and while it was possible to hold a straight line on take-off, the control inputs were so small as to be invisible. That has also been adjusted to something my vast flying experience (!) tells me is more "reasonable".

    Emil also got a new Propeller from "Ivan's Propeller Factory". It was custom made to duplicate the original as much as possible (with a few corrections where appropriate). With the new Propeller, the engine reaches full RPM at about 170 MPH which is slightly less than before.
    Idle Speed was unchanged from the original.
    Maximum Speed at 15,000 feet critical altitude was unchanged as well.
    Speed at 500 feet dropped by 3 MPH.
    This seemed to be an effect of a Power Coefficient curve that dropped down to Zero much too soon (No propeller drag) and didn't match the Efficiency curve with DID NOT drop to Zero. There are limits to what correcting these curves and keeping them continuous will allow.

    My solution was to increase the engine power slightly from 1029 HP to 1051 HP at 500 feet. Nominal power for these engines at Sea Level is around 1100 HP but the numbers need to be slightly lower to generate a curve that doesn't get too extreme at medum altitudes. Speed at 500 feet was not fully restored (only 1 MPH higher) but speed at critical altitude was also increased by 1 MPH which is probably where it should have been to begin with.
    The graphs of the Propeller Tables are not as pretty as I would like but they are quite functional and are an extremely good match to the original M$ Propeller Tables.

    Next task is to get the Settings in CFS on my Development Computer arranged to make completing testing a bit more convenient.
    There seems to be a strange interaction with the "Num Lock" key in that trim controls do not always work reliably.

    - Ivan.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MinorTexture Update.jpg  

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