I'm a big fan of anime mecha since the mid 80's started when i stumble upon MACROSS anime series on tv; seeing transformable aircraft what seems to be a clone of F-14 tomcat transformed into giant robot keep me faze and awe throughout my childhood to todays adulthood. Of course that said mecha was the infamous skull leader VF-1S and its side kick VF-1J from the early series of MACROSS of the 80's and also 'Do you remember love' releases (MACROSS DYRL). Many decades later the MACROSS series still lives on with many shows and most notably their evolution of aircraft, Batteroids, Valkries and other mecha designs which capture wild imagination of enthusiast, of course the man behind great aircraft and mecha design is the legendary Mr Shoji Kawamori who designed many mecha works forthe titles Macross, Eureka Seven, Patlabor and others anime genre even in games too. His design looks very practical, realistic and something more sensible in term of engineering and aerodynamic which make his design especially aircraft garnered huge attention to many viewer. So when when i think of cool aircraft the MACROSS came first in my mind..seconds comes in my mind is the awesome Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Unfortunately i'm broke when it comes to buying series of MACROSS plastic model kit model that rave across Macross fan and community, so cool its costs twice my R/C plane...i'm not buying hype but since its just a static model why not build one that can fly 'virtually'.....in my Phoenix R/C simulator of course. As usual whenever i love something i will materialized it into 3d models so i could play around virtually all day on the screen. Actual planning was to build a VF-1S 3d model into Phoenix R/C simulator because it was my first childhood crush but come to doubt about how would the wing aerodynamic on this aircraft would react in the simulator which suppose to have ELEVON surface control configuration fused with its wing that actually have sweep at variable angle while the plane itself lack of elevator surface to compensate when the main wing sweep back, real F-14 Tomcat can easily sweep and roll because it still have remaining Elevator/Elevon control on its rear. So i postponed the idea of VF-1S 3D model then thought about putting my next favorite aircraft EXCALIBUR YF-19 (from MACROSS PLUS movie) in the sim but that also can be troublesome since its CG and wing lift area 'illogically' have small surface to have actual lift under its wing. Lastly i ended up choosing aircraft from MACROSS DELTA series; VF-31J SIEGFRIED flown by the protagonist HAYATE IMMELMAN which have more sensible aircraft fuselage and wing design due to bigger wing lift and more airfoil like fuselage flown-able inside Phoenix R/C simulator....because my experience with R/C planes and aerodynamics says this aircraft designed more sensible by logical and engineering calculation... it should fly well despite have negative wing sweep (forward sweep) ...you know i owned an EDF jet SUKHOI SU-47 BERKUT (LanXiang model).
Macross Delta anime series just came out much recently especially when it comes to production of plastic models of its aircraft, that means that its hard for me to obtain clear photos and texture from direct Orthographic (top, bottom, side, front and rear view angle) online so i have to work my graphic magic and activate my 3d brain power to figure out how to piece the 3d meshes together in every corner by just referencing from existing picture of VF-31 Siegfried scattered all over the internet via Google. Thankfully i manage to have a good Orthographic view of the aircraft from scanned manual sheet i got online. Still overall i have to visualize like day dreaming how the models would looks like and watch the anime repeatedly than buying Macross Delta model kits because i'm on the cheap side of humanity which explained my previous work with virtual R/C car and other 3D printed works. As usually i used the old version of Z-modeler tools to create the 3D meshes by tracing the model outline, protrude, vertices stitching and all those stuff by hand and all took about 5 days just to create meshes with exact proportion. High poly count meshes concentrated a lot on the front part of the fuselage especially nose and canopy area while started lesser when it goes to the rear of the fuselage to save polycount and good on CPU processing when rendering to keep the lag low. Still the parts count are higher and getting complex to build than i expected due to many curves, shapes and parts for every corner of the planes....I've should have gone modeling for VF-1S or VF-1J model straight boxy looks but too late to turn back now. The total worth of 3d meshes are; Vertices: 6205 and Faces: 6416 which all already include with collision (_col*) meshes.
Texturing works took about 3 days to complete because of random internet photo quality of actual model from unconventional photo angle taken, texture ambient quality to from grainy pixelated quality makes it hard for me to wrap the 3d meshes with proper 'evenly' texturized surface for realistic look on VF-31J model. So there lots of Paint shop/Photoshop work than just stitching all photos into texture, this is where i work my magic and graphics skills comes in. About 1274 layers and effect later the uncompressed (*.CPT) 2048x2048 completed.
Another complexity in the build comes with the plane itself have lots of moving parts on surface controls, control mixing, gears and retracts all needed to get it right inside the Phoenix R/C builder tools; shifting part's pivot points, combine parts movement, CG, inertial drag value and etc...lots of huff and puff on this plane than my previous model build. My biggest worry was not knowing if this plane could fly or not because how Phoenix R/C simulator works relies how 'sensible' it was on the placement and design of aircraft airfoil and its surfaces. It hit me at the most realizing how small this VF-31's Elevon surface control on its main wing, how the heck this plane could fly with such a small surface control?...how does this plane roll so fast and how could this plane take off with that?..front canard? I've seen the anime but i don't see the front small wing canard functioning so probably static as wing glove. I took a big leap of faith putting my time and effort to make this plane flyable by properly assign actual size surface 'lift' or should i say proper airfoil over its size fuselage and wings where air lift matters. Thus i've added 'virtual' vector thrust on its thruster nozzle that run parallel to its Elevon surface control. Ironically its rudder surface design on this plane have bigger surface control than any parts of the plane, doh! I'm not sure what Shoji Kawamori had in his mind with this design. Fortunately assigning all functional feature on this aircraft via Phoenix R/C builder tools took about 5 hours and its then ready for beta testing and tweaking.
Fictional/model MACROSS VF-31J Siegfried:
Texturing works and decaling:
Applying control surface and parameters:
Final production in R/C Phoenix:
Below are the virtual stock attributes value on VF-31J that influence a lot on how it flies in Phoenix R/C, i setup slightly advance flyer type handling specifications so would not be easy for new R/C learner in simulator:
- Wingspan: 2000mm (variant 1) and 3000mm (variant 2)
- Flying weight: 7.2kg (variant 1) and 9.3kg (variant2)
- Turbine unit: 2x Fuel turbine
- Outer main wing (negative sweep) airfoil type (flaps + elevon): MH32
- Side fuselage airfoil type: NACA 0015
- Front static Canard airfoil type: Flat profile
- Vertical stabilizer airfoil type (rudder): Flat profile
- 2x Turbine idle rpm: 40000
- 2x Turbine max rpm: 1020000
- 2x Turbine thrust power (N): 500
- 3x wheeled landing gear: functional retracts + front guided + gear bay doors + suspension struts
Because the plane actually flown fictionally in Anime world 'sensibly' by real engineering point of view its a bit gamble to fly because of non-conventional wing design and surface control eg: tiny elevon, big rudder, small negative sweep outer wing and very rear ward board fuselage lift surface but its all come to end where i have to test it out on Phoenix R/C simulator. Did it flew?..............................YES IT DOES!!! YAY!!!
Hold on ...it flies but struggle a lot to have proper response on flight control from Elevon surfaces as if it takes forever to go Up, its like only pull 30% effort to go up angle even when you already pull elevator stick at 100%. Ironically the rudder control have more than 100% efficiency that was so good you can actually do 'Knife Edge' flight trick and instead use on its side just to fly up and down using rudder than let the Elevon surfaces do the job while Knife Edging. Roll control are good on Elevon surface but not as responsive as you've seen in actual MACROSS DELTA dog fighting so don't expect to flip around ninja dogging missile and etc because what works in Anime not really working in real world even with vectored thrust all over places. By actual size and mass of this plane at maximum full thrust with twin turbine spooling at 100% power the plane still flew slow like passing Cessna and less responsive. So i've initially pushed 500% newton of thrust power on each turbine to get a proper feeling of real life jet power and finally get enough airflow over all the surface control to worked properly. The engine sound also have been tweak close resemblance to actual MACROSS style 'Shinsei Industry/P&W/RR FF-3001/FC2 Stage II thermonuclear reaction turbine' (sound very mouthful but fans like it) ..not exact but close enough where the simulator are capable of audibly ..hehehehe!.
In the simulator the VF-31J SIEGFRIED flew like real aircraft than the agility of actual R/C size aircraft model due the plane low responsiveness to its surface control at top speed because of its 'forward mass' carried on extra inertial force which means if you dive fast and need to pull up you'll need to relax the throttle before pulling up or yank the elevator stick to go up or level again and same goes with other tight maneuver just like any real plane or R/C plane with inertial mass so don't complain if you can't fly the plane because i already shown some video demo on my Youtube channel. The plane also coming in hot during landing and its landing gear are build extremely fragile like real thing. So everything build on this plane are close to reality than being forgiving just like real R/C plane model. So i've labeled this plane in the inventory as for ADVANCE level piloting so you'd aware of its realistic difficulty. Coincidentally this VF-31 flies and handled exactly the same like my real world 'Tian Sheng F-15' EDF jet which now i hanged inside my hangar hibernating. But hey! for you MACROSS fan that's VF-31 SEIGFRIED in a nut shell. Download the MACROSS DELTA VF-31J SIEGFRIED below the page and enjoy the flight. Well after this i'm might go for VF-1S build soon. Skull leader!
* Note - Variants
Do take note that for this model i've created two variant of VF-31J for Phoenix R/C simulator: 2 meter wing span + 7.2kg flying weight and 3 meter wing span + 9.3kg flying weight model variant all zipped into one download package. I made two type of models to cater various audience because its a MACROSS yo!. 2 meter wing span model will appeal more to actual R/C enthusiast because its the actual scale size for common R/C turbine aircraft on any normal R/C club airfield while the 3 meter size will cater those R/C modeler that have enthusiasm for MACROSS anime series which the size of this aircraft give more visual attractiveness and presence in the skies (wow factor of course) as if they really flying their as an aircraft in fictional setup but more likely suitable to be flown with bigger space or with runway. So if you want a park flier R/C scale models install the 2 meter wing span size (yf31j_2m_xl.pkg)and if you like the feeling of big and loud presence in the skies install the 3 meter wing span variant (yf31j_3m_xl.pkg) all available inside the zip file. Despite differences in both wing span size the handling on both model also quite different due to its size, wing lift area, CG placement and inertial/momentum force during flight.
Tools used to create these custom model:
- 3D Modeler program: 3D Zmodeler v1.07 and v2.0 (*.OBJ support)
- Compiler tools: Phoenix Builder v1.0.p
- Texture editing program: Corel Photopaint
Related article & community
Here are list of article and links related to the above model.
- Wikipedia: Mecha designer Shoji Kawamori
- Macross wikia: Shoji Kawamori Macross Design works
- Wikipedia: Macross series
- Wikipedia: Macross Delta
- Macross Wikia: Macross Delta
- Macross Wikia: VF-31 Siegfried
- Macross Wikia: VF-31J Siegfried variant
General info | model: MACROSS DELTA VF-31J Siegfried | platform: PC | simulator version: Phoenix R/C v5.5 | type: Aircraft | class: Performance | style: Scale | level: Advance | power: Turbine | Manufacturer: Macross | avg ZIP file size: 12.6MB | date released: 5-Jul-2018 | Revision: v1.0
*Installation instruction: How to install custom models in Phoenix R/C
*Note: This models are available for free distribution and for non-commercial purposes.
*'MACROSS', 'MACROSS DELTA' and ''VF-31J Siegfried" are trademarks & copyrights of the following company © Big West, Studio Nue, Tatsunoko (www.macross.jp). All Rights Reserved