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Thread: Seaplanes-Catapults-Battleships and Cruisers

  1. #1

    Seaplanes-Catapults-Battleships and Cruisers

    I'm finally ready to start this thread now that I think that I can explain what I have been working on for a few months now which started in April of 2017 with a desire to have a platform for one of my favorite aircraft: Curtiss SOC/SON Seagull. Paul Clawson designed this actually for FS2002, it was updated for FS2004 and then for FSX. Paul's README allows all the work that has been done because it is all freeware, with a lot of it actually brand new designed and will only be shared here with the permission of the other designers work that we have been generously given permission to use. The ships I have added platforms onto are from Klnowak's downloads from the USS Langley and his US Cruisers both available here in the Warbirds Library. I want to thank Arno for his fantastic MDCx program which made adding "hard decks" to the catapults possible. Very time-consuming but possible LOL!. Then to MOTUS and his Carrier Convoy Planner software which makes it possible to put the seaplane on the catapult at sea and finally Rob Barendregt for his RCBCO-20 (he now has a -30) which I use to launch off the catapults. (Don't ask me why my FSX doesn't like RCBCO-30 but after hours of his patient efforts with me, I use 20 it works for me. In 2017 I created the first US cruiser, USS Portland as an "airport" as did Mr Clawson with the USS Idaho he provided with his Seagull download. Before CCP it wasn't possible to put a seaplane onto a catapult or the deck of an AI ship. Here are some screenshots of the result I took this afternoon. The Seagull textures are all authentic. I use Steve Ginter's SOC Seagull book and Profile Publications 194 as well as United States Naval Aviation 1919-1941 and the Official Monogram U.S. Navy Marine Corps Aircraft Color Guide. The aircraft serial numbers are also accurate when I can find the information. Needless to say from my days as a professional model builder, I'm a stickler for the details. My wife says I'm too obsessive, "ya think" LOL! Anyway, that is the background to this extensive project. You will see a brand new custom interior Virtual Cockpit created for the Seagull by my good friend Ed Akridge from the information in Steve Ginter's book furnished to Ed with his permission to work with. In it are actual Curtiss Aircraft Co. Dwgs as well as the most detailed photos you will ever find of an aircraft. If you are doing a project, Google his book site he has tons of books on Navy aircraft and a great guy. Not to say he is an expert but the National Aviation Museum presented him with the Admiral Arthur W. Radford Award for excellence in Naval Aviation History and Literature.

    Anyway, the first set of screenshots I am sharing are of the SOC3 Seagull on the port catapult of the USS Minneapolis CA-36 off the coast of North Carolina.

    On the port catapult

    Custom 2D panel



    In the next post I'll show the custom VC and point out the custom gauges in the cockpit. I'll also share a couple of model updates with the catapults and how to program CCP to create the positions to place the seaplane on the catapult. I'll will add the repaint textures and new models for the Seagull to match the squadrons on those two ships in the Warbirds Library. I hope that you enjoy this thread as much as I am sharing with all of you. The folks here I talked to about this before posting it, said they were really excited to see Paul's Seagull get a new facelift after all these years. I think so too.
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  2. #2
    SOH-CM-2020 Cees Donker's Avatar
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    I'm on the edge of my seat! Can't wait to read more!



    Cees

  3. #3
    Richard.

    This is all great and exciting news. Looking forward to this new experience.

    I would be interested in knowing how to relaunch the seaplane after it's first launch,

    Especially after landing near the ship

  4. #4

    I've done that

    Quote Originally Posted by gray eagle View Post
    Richard.

    This is all great and exciting news. Looking forward to this new experience.

    I would be interested in knowing how to relaunch the seaplane after it's first launch,

    Especially after landing near the ship
    I will explain how I do it since I tried something and it worked.

  5. #5

    Second Installment

    When I first envisioned updating the Seagull, I wanted someplace to take off from or land at when not on the battleship or cruiser and after some searching found a lot of good information on Kaneohe NAS on Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii. I uploaded the Pearl Harbor scenery package to backdate the area and get rid of all the current highrises. Then I started searching and searching for photos. Finally I created the Kaneohe Naval Air Station in its 1941 configuration in ADEx and here are some photos. I used my hangers from NAS Alameda because they were really close to the photos. This should work in all versions of P3D up to version 4. If you test it out let me know because I am an FSX guy. When I first created the airfield I was disappointed to find out that in FSX (I don't know about other sims) the coasts are the same elevation as land the airport is on. Ed Akridge showed me how to flatten them so that when you "slew" the seaplane into the water it doesn't fall off a 6 foot cliff into the water, really stupid looking. NOW it glides in smoothly. The only way to get a seaplane off the ramp into the water is "SLEW". FSX won't activate the invisible tractor with [SHFT P] because its not on wheels but resting on the float.

    Notice how nice and flat the entry is into the water.

    This is the new VC with the old style of placard for takeoff and landing checklists. This is the hours and hours ofwork of Edakridge who won't speak to me anymore after I talked him into doing this. {JUST KIDDING} I really appreciate him and all his hard work. All the custom XML gauges are my handiwork no brag, just fact with a lot of help from the guys at FSDevelopers when I got stuck with what I wanted to do didn't work like I thought it should. Examples are the rectangular mag compass, the fuel tank selector gauge and the switch panel all custom artwork and xml coding. I learned how to match the fuel selector to the fuel gauge to the aircraft.cfg so that all values correspond. The Pilot's Right Hand Cockpit panel with the primer and the handles is all custom artwork and custom coding for the AIR PREHEAT on the top which is the carburator heater, the starter below it, then the primer from Dave Ekhert's Stearman with permission and the gun charger though it is dummy not functional since that is a function of the TACPACK which this is BTW. You can still fly it though if you don't have Tacpack installed.

    I used AIcarriers to generate the battleship USS New Mexico 10 miles ahead. When recovering the seaplane the ship would turn 90 degrees to starboard and then slow down which is what I did. You can see the wake which created a calmer area of water to land.

    another shot from a different angle

    Now coming alongside the port side of the battleship, the radio operator/rear gunner would climb out of his rear cockpit, straddle the open canopy rails of the fuselage and lean forward to be able to attach the hook of the crane to the lifting ring on the upper wing which is welded to the main stringer. Paul didn't model the ring. I may try and do this in MDCx if I can figure out how to do it. Its like a large upside down "U" shape. This is the first camera view I ever created. I downloaded and followed the SDK.

    Next installment I plan on showing how to attach a platform in MDCx to the catapult(s) of a ship. We're going to take the battleship USS Alabama which I hadn't done because my concentration was on the SOC Seagull and Alabama had Kingfishers. This just might interest those of you following the Kingfisher thread here. The same principles apply to putting an OS2U on one of Alabama's twin stern catapults.

    Til later....
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  6. #6
    Thanks for your updates.

    BTW have you seen this offering at simviation

    I know this is for FS2004

    It looks like prior attempts to accomplish what you are doing only with older sim.

    https://simviation.com/1/search?subm...sher&x=13&y=17

  7. #7

    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by gray eagle View Post
    Thanks for your updates.

    BTW have you seen this offering at simviation

    I know this is for FS2004

    It looks like prior attempts to accomplish what you are doing only with older sim.

    https://simviation.com/1/search?subm...sher&x=13&y=17
    I had not seen the USS North Carolina before, thank you I have added it to my file of battleships since it is dear to my heart having toured it a number of times and led the last school tour of our HBCA students last year. I was asked to be a docent when they heard me telling the kids all about so many things from MY Navy experiences. It is surprising how similar so many spaces were to the USS America. I would have liked to be a docent but back then I didn't have a car and Wilmington is 40 miles away from our home. I have other commitments now in Church.

    The USS Idaho is the one I am referring to above at the beginning of this post. Paul Clawson created it - its an airport scenery with a runway on the catapult. This is the first way I did it with the USS Portland with a runway on each catapult before I knew how to attach a platform to the catapult thanks to Klnowak who showed me how to do this for flight deck "hard deck" and arresting cables when I was doing USS Saratoga, CV3 from his USS Lexington model and I adapted it to the cruisers first and then the battleships. In FS2004 they did not have a way to put an aircraft on the catapult with CCP back then. Thank you so much MOTUS.

  8. #8
    Working on adding FSX/P3D catapults to Klaus' Iowa.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cat Test.jpg  

  9. #9

    Cruiser USS Chester recovers her OS2U Kingfisher Floatplane

    U.S. Cruiser USS Chester (CA-27) prepares to recover her scout floatplane while underway in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. A recovery sled being towed in water. The Chester's OS2U Kingfisher lands in slick. hooks on to the recovery sled and is hoisted aboard the ship. Crew members stand up in their respective tandem cockpits, as the plane is hoisted up, and climb out when it is secured.. Location: Pacific Ocean. Date: February 11, 1945.


  10. #10

    Nice Video

    Still trying to figure out how to get a sled and hoist the seaplane out of the water...I haven't given up yet. I am just waiting for someone to tell me how to do it in FSX brainstorm???????

  11. #11

    OS2U catapulted

    American float plane OS2U catapulted from battleship and bombardment at San Fernando Beach in Philippines.

    Wish there was sound so as to hear the 5-inch 55 caliber powder charge at launch time.




  12. #12

    Platforms on catapults

    Here is my way and I think the correct way to put the "hard deck" platform onto the catapult on that battleship or cruiser like Ed just did on the Iowa above. I tried to post this once this morning but the server got too busy and I lost all of it so here goes again.

    Download Model Converter X created by Arno at Scenerydesign.org : https://www.scenerydesign.org/modelconverterx/ referred to as MDCx.

    You will have a zip folder in your Downloads. I unzipped it onto my desktop and then moved it to Windows 7 Programs(86) since it is a 32bit program. Now select the program and put a shortcut on your desktop. This is of course if you don't have it already and for those who are not familiar with this.

    Onto the tutorial:

    Open up MDCx and you will get this screen:
    in the tool bar at the top click on IMPORT and find the location of the ship you want to add a catapult platform onto.

    I will be using the USS ALABAMA from Klnowak's USS Langley available here with a whole "smear" of BB's from early to the BB60 Alabama. As you can see above you can also find the Iowa class in our library.

    Be sure that FS MDL object (*mdl) is in the window next to the file name window. Select the ship and click OPEN




    Now its time to start attaching the platform to the catapult

    In the toolbar at the top find the attach tool which looks like a wrench

    also in the next line click on the paper clip because that will make your work visible.

    Clicking on the "wrench" will open up this dialog box which you are going to use to select the platform (there are other selections we are not going to use)



    Once you have clicked on "Platform" a new dialog box will open where you are going to enter the parameters to put the platform on the catapult. I have entered the first set of values as you can see and you can also see where the "red rectangle" is outboard of the ship. This is a trial and error with each ship.
    The more of these you do the more familiar you will become. My first attempt I thought that it hadn't worked until I found my platform inside the hull by turning it all around in MDCx. In MDCx Version 1.65, the AttachPoint is entered as follows:

    Position: First number is left-right of centerline (minus to port - positive to stbd)
    Second number is from bow to stern beginning at the CG of the ship with positive forward and minus aft.
    Third number is height above deck. All values are in meters not inches or feet.

    Rotation: First number is pitch angle up and down tilt
    Second number is roll angle side to side tilt
    Third number is the angle of rotation 0-180 degrees from bow being 0 positive to stbd and minus to port

    If you do not have Version 1.65 but an earlier version like 1.3 you will find these all different.



    I have a "log book" of the parameters of every ship including the carriers I have worked on attaching things to in MDCx because unfortunately, once you have exported your mdl and closed the program, the platforms are part of the model but the attach point numbers are ALL GONE. Tip!!! Write them down on a piece of paper as you do it because "Murphy's Law" applies here.

    Here is the correct values and you can see the port catapult platform in the correct location.



    OOOOOPs well, not quite on target. I have an incorrect angle to the bow; I', a little low and just a little outboard of where I want to be.

    Ok as long as you have this window open you can keep changing the values until you get the correct ones in place. Press ENTER to check your work after each change.

    Well, my alarm just went off and this is long enough for this post. I will return to it in a little while I promise continuing until we have the catapult perfectly placed. I hope you can follow ok because I had to delete 2 photos. I didn't realize that you can only put 6 photos at a time in a post.

    On to the next installment
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    Last edited by tgycgijoes; August 13th, 2020 at 11:51.

  13. #13

    How to put platforms and seaplanes on catapults continues

    Let's get back to putting the platform where it belongs.



    The correct values by trial and error are:
    Attach Point Name: port catapult
    Position: (-10.00;-90.00;8.00)
    Rotation0.00;0.00;10.00)

    Misc.
    Length: 20 (meters)
    Platform Type: CONCRETE (this doesn't matter as far as I can tell its invisible)
    Width: 3 (meters)

    Ok well its 95% not quite there. It'd work but let's get it right.



    Attach Point Name: port catapult
    Position: (-10.00;-89.50;8.50)
    Rotation0.00;0.00;10.00)

    Misc.
    Length: 20 (meters)
    Platform Type: CONCRETE (this doesn't matter as far as I can tell its invisible)
    Width: 3 (meters)

    And now its perfectly placed.

    The beauty of having 2 catapults placed side by side like Alabama is all we have to change is the first value in the Position from minus to plus or positive value and the platform moves from port to the identical position on the starboard side. Just like this! This is after one more change. Remember that in Rotation the last value is the angle off the bow. I had to change that too from a positive number on the port side to a negative number on the starboard. I didn't post a screenshot of my mistake where it is misaligned just this one where everything is correct.



    And there you have it. The USS Alabama has hard platforms for a seaplane to sit on and not sink to the deck which is what would happen if we had not attached these platforms. Well almost done anyway.

    Now we have to export our work as an FSX object mdl to the USS Alabama model folder. It IS possible to export it with a new name if you are not comfortable with your work and don't want to ruin the original model. I use something like model1. Then you can open up model1 in MDCx and if it works and you can see your red rectangles on your catapult you can just go back in the folder, rename the original like model.original and rename model1 to Alabama.mdl



    To export the new model:
    1. Click Export ​object in the menu.
    2. Be sure that you are exporting as FSX MDL object (*.mdl) fill in the filename and click Save and say a prayer that you did everything right and MDCx doesn't decide to be tempermental. Watch the menu carefully and don't close the program until it says that its finished. I minimize it and check that I have a good Alabama.mdl with a value and not some xprty or other garbage which means it didn't work. That is why you wrote down your values and can do it again. Like mine didn't work properly. So, even the experts (who ME, NOT!) have a problem now and then but then that's what learning is all about, right?
    I'll go back and do it for myself and then put it in the folder with the other BB's, CA's and CL's. If you have questions or problems post it here and I will answer them for everybody if I can. Otherwise I'll go ask Arno at FSDeveloper 'cause he wrote the program AND he's a really nice helpful guy.
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  14. #14
    I've been looking for MCDX V1.65 and cannot seem to find that version.

  15. #15

    Am I BAD

    Sorry gray eagle and everybody else. My link to scenerydesign.org and Model Converter X is correct but my version is wrong. Arno says that the latest stable version IS version 1.3. I DO have a beta version too but its not 1.65 its 1.4. My descriptions above were done in Version 1.4 and I am going to go and find that because Version 1.3 HAS different Attach Point parameters. Here is the link to the Development Release Version 1.4.

    https://www.scenerydesign.org/development-releases/

    The differences are:

    Hard Platforms for Flight Simulator Boats and Ships
    July 2020


    MDCx V1.40


    Position: First number is left-right of centerline (-port/+stbd)
    Second number is front to back of the center point
    Third number is height above deck

    Rotation: First number is pitch angle up and down tilt
    Second number is roll angle side to side tilt
    Third number is angle of rotation 0-180 from bow orientation with a minus rotation from 180 degrees ie. -90 is 270.

    MDCx V1.30 - opposite position from V1.40


    Orientation is Rotation
    First Number is heading or angle of rotation 0-180 from bow
    Second Number is pitch
    Third Number is roll


    Position
    First Number is side to side from centerline minus to starboard and positive number to port
    Second Number is fore and aft from center point with positive forward of the CP and minus aft of the CP
    Third Number is the height with positive above deck and minimum below the main deck NOT above the grid

    ALL NUMBER VALUES ARE METERS NOT INCHES AND FEET

  16. #16
    SOH-CM-2020 Cees Donker's Avatar
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    This is all known to me how to do this! What I expected was a way to get the plane on the ship! And back on the ship after landing! You haven't got that one figured out?

    Cees

  17. #17
    Richard and Cees, to the best of my knowledge ModelConverterX is unable to add animations to a model and this seems to be what is needed to get back aboard. (An animated elevator of sorts) This would need to be done in GMax/Max/Blender and the merged with the model in MCX.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by edakridge View Post
    Richard and Cees, to the best of my knowledge ModelConverterX is unable to add animations to a model and this seems to be what is needed to get back aboard. (An animated elevator of sorts) This would need to be done in GMax/Max/Blender and the merged with the model in MCX.
    I think so too. However, the merge of animated objects sometimes comes with problems.
    JMC

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by tgycgijoes View Post
    Sorry gray eagle and everybody else. My link to scenerydesign.org and Model Converter X is correct but my version is wrong. Arno says that the latest stable version IS version 1.3. I DO have a beta version too but its not 1.65 its 1.4. My descriptions above were done in Version 1.4 and I am going to go and find that because Version 1.3 HAS different Attach Point parameters. Here is the link to the Development Release Version 1.4.

    https://www.scenerydesign.org/development-releases/

    The differences are:

    Hard Platforms for Flight Simulator Boats and Ships
    July 2020


    MDCx V1.40


    Position: First number is left-right of centerline (-port/+stbd)
    Second number is front to back of the center point
    Third number is height above deck

    Rotation: First number is pitch angle up and down tilt
    Second number is roll angle side to side tilt
    Third number is angle of rotation 0-180 from bow orientation with a minus rotation from 180 degrees ie. -90 is 270.

    MDCx V1.30 - opposite position from V1.40


    Orientation is Rotation
    First Number is heading or angle of rotation 0-180 from bow
    Second Number is pitch
    Third Number is roll


    Position
    First Number is side to side from centerline minus to starboard and positive number to port
    Second Number is fore and aft from center point with positive forward of the CP and minus aft of the CP
    Third Number is the height with positive above deck and minimum below the main deck NOT above the grid

    ALL NUMBER VALUES ARE METERS NOT INCHES AND FEET


    I am using 1.40 (In P3D 4.5) and not having much luck creating a hard deck. I did save to a backup name and when I opened that mdl I got a MCX message that the format not supported.

    Tried to us the paper clip button but did not see red area that I was working on either. Bummer......

    Cannot export to FSX mdl.

    Does MDX read what sims are installed automatically or do you have to input that info, if so, how?


    How to change to meters?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Cees Donker View Post
    This is all known to me how to do this! What I expected was a way to get the plane on the ship! And back on the ship after landing! You haven't got that one figured out?

    Cees
    It depends on what you mean by getting back on the catapult. If it is about landing next to the boat and seeing an animation consisting of operating a crane to put the plane back on its catapult while sailing, it seems difficult to me on FSX with MCX or other tool!

    JMC

  21. #21

    MDCX Help

    Quote Originally Posted by gray eagle View Post
    I am using 1.40 (In P3D 4.5) and not having much luck creating a hard deck. I did save to a backup name and when I opened that mdl I got a MCX message that the format not supported.

    Tried to us the paper clip button but did not see red area that I was working on either. Bummer......

    Cannot export to FSX mdl.

    Does MDX read what sims are installed automatically or do you have to input that info, if so, how?


    How to change to meters?
    As I mentioned above, I fly in FSX/A box not P3D any version so I don't know if I can help but I'll try. Open up MDCx V1.40 and in the menu bar, click Options and scroll down to Exporter Settings and fill in the P3DV4.4 BGL Comp path since there is no P3DV4.5 and every other information for P3DV4.5. If you don't understand what information they are asking for perhaps Ed or someone else here who is using MDCx and P3DV4.5 can take a screen shot or two of their settings and post it here for you. Sometimes that is the easiest way which is why I put all the MDCx screenshots above. Then click the last line FS Related Settings and select your ModelDef path from the P3D SDK location; the P3D V4 path and the preferred FS version from the drop down menu. As far as meters, I believe that is hard-coded by Arno not selectable that I found

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by tgycgijoes View Post
    As I mentioned above, I fly in FSX/A box not P3D any version so I don't know if I can help but I'll try. Open up MDCx V1.40 and in the menu bar, click Options and scroll down to Exporter Settings and fill in the P3DV4.4 BGL Comp path since there is no P3DV4.5 and every other information for P3DV4.5. If you don't understand what information they are asking for perhaps Ed or someone else here who is using MDCx and P3DV4.5 can take a screen shot or two of their settings and post it here for you. Sometimes that is the easiest way which is why I put all the MDCx screenshots above. Then click the last line FS Related Settings and select your ModelDef path from the P3D SDK location; the P3D V4 path and the preferred FS version from the drop down menu. As far as meters, I believe that is hard-coded by Arno not selectable that I found
    As you can see, the paths for my P3D V3 and V4 are shown here and I did a export to P3D V4 mdl and the path was pointing to where the original mdl is located.

    To be clear, I was using the Baltimore and not your ship. So maybe that makes all the difference, I don't know - apples/oranges..... But, I would think the same methods/technique
    would be the same.



  23. #23

    Ok but

    I see where you have filled in the P3D paths but your preferred FS version is NOT FSX but P3DV4.5 so change that. The ship does not make a difference I have put platforms on all my cruisers and battleships this way. Ed put the platforms on the USS IOWA. After you change your preferred FS try again. I have to go out for a while but will check back here in about an hour or so. Hope that the "FS" preference fixes your problem.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by tgycgijoes View Post
    I see where you have filled in the P3D paths but your preferred FS version is NOT FSX but P3DV4.5 so change that. The ship does not make a difference I have put platforms on all my cruisers and battleships this way. Ed put the platforms on the USS IOWA. After you change your preferred FS try again. I have to go out for a while but will check back here in about an hour or so. Hope that the "FS" preference fixes your problem.
    I changed the path for prefered FS - Screenshots of port/stbd cat entries and when I loaded the save mdl - no workee... I never got the red blocks to show in the original.
    Maybe I didn't tick on right icon for that. Note I have orientation and not rotation in V1.40






    Results in non supported format.

  25. #25

    Alabama vs Baltimore

    Hey gray eagle,

    I can see in your values that unless its a huge coincidence you have entered the values of the Alabama that I posted for your Baltimore and they can't be the same. I am in the middle of merging and animating a prop in MDCx which I have never done before like you with this. Since I need to post to someone at FSDevelopers and wait for a reply back, I will see about putting the platform on the port catapult of the USS Baltimore and see what the values should be. I will send it to you and you can make the starboard one with those values. I hope it works from FSX to P3D V4.5. I think that if you can install the unconverted one you could use this but we'll see. I know how frustrating it can be believe me. Back to you in a bit.

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