Over the past years I have been slowly collecting all of the used, cast-off or reject TQ parts from work… Today I thought I’d gather them all together and sort out what I had.
The list of ‘missing’ parts was not as long as I had expected, which was a nice surprise. There were even a pair of ‘Classic-correct’ trim wheels (from a development project at work..) in the box! My TQ build is going to be a long slow process as I get the time to work on it, but at least I have a good bunch of the parts 🙂
I had planned on having the overhead as just a static panel, with not much on it, then I evolved it into having only the switches I needed, maybe a ‘fictional’ panel covering the function I needed…. Well, that all changed when I scored a pile of old, quite used FDS panel faceplates from an NG overhead, most of which are usable on a classic. Despite only needing a few switches for my needs, I plan on fitting all the switches and annunciators….
I will need to draw up a series of backplates, and fit dzus fasteners. Then finally I’ll have to either source or replicate the missing panels. **Eagle eyed spotters will notice that the Cabin Temp panel is sitting upside-down!
For many years Military AI Works have produced excellent military scenery, many of which leverage of a series of ‘Object Libraries’ produced by many very talented designers. I have been using these libraries in my projects for a long time, and with my switch to DCS I felt a little lost without the breadth of objects available to “detail” airports with. So, being the infernal tinkerer that I am, I have cobbled a workflow together which allows me to convert FS9 Object Libraries into DCS ‘mods’. It is a laborious task, with a lot of file editing and hand manipulation of 3d models, but it does work!
While I was converting models I had a small experiment with static aircraft, converted from FS9 models. The P-3 in the picture above is by Jake Burrus, with my retro RNZAF AI paint, and looks quite good in the sim.
These first experiments with bringing my ‘familiar’ FS9 objects into DCS has started me thinking about how I can incorporate some of the design philosophies that have evolved over the years into the DCS world.
With a workflow established, and a bit more learning of the lua files which run everything in DCS, I got a little more ambitious and converted HMNZS Canterbury, and have it operating as a working vessel, with a landable helipad..
After recently deciding on the software for each of my sims, and the shift of VR into the Skyhawk, I have had a bit of a re-think! This has mostly come about by my breaking out my old Thrustmaster Cougar HOTAS, and setting it up in DCS and FSX.
Another part of the reason for the shift has been a re-discovery of the joys of VR in other simulations. I spent a very relaxing evening driving from Oxnard, CA to Yuma, AZ in American Truck Simulator, which reminded me how much fun VR can be, beyond the ‘cockpit’ of the Skyhawk.
The new plan (until I change it again of course) is to run both DCS and FS9 on the Skyhawk, but skip the VR part, at least for now. I hope to put together a version of the A-4, with a modified version of the F-15C avionics, and simplified weapons, which will let me fly a ‘pseudo Kahu’ in the ‘pit, and join in multiplayer missions, while retaining VR capability on the current desk-based rig. This shift will mean FS9 will remain as the primary sim for the Skyhawk, with DCS being a development as time goes on.
While “Drunk in Charge of an Internet” recently I bought a piece of cheap camouflage netting to hide the frankly hideous ceiling in the man cave. It arrived, and after much head scratching, trying to remember when and why I’d bought it, I stapled it in place. Doesn’t look too bad, and certainly achieves it’s mission of hiding the exposed ceiling structure!
Doesn’t look bad for $2 plus shipping! It does however highlight the fact that the funky “coral” (because it’s not actually pink) light fitting needs a paint… I’m thinking subtle military black.
I am very lucky to have the Air Force Museum on my doorstep. It is an incredible resource, with a genuinely impressive collection of aircraft and artifacts tracing New Zealand’s’ military aviation history. I enjoy visiting the museum, and take any opportunity to sneak away for a quick peek into our aviation past.
I have visited the museum a few times lately, mostly for research on my DCS paints… I love every single visit, finding something new with every visit. I am lucky, that Nathan, my 8 year old son, loves the visits too. Next time I’ll shoot some photos of the ‘interactive’ exhibits 🙂
Forward Air Control is something that I’ve always been interested in, so with a little bit of ‘fiddling’ with some files in DCS, I have a pseudo-FAC aircraft set up. I need to define and test some ‘proper’ weapon options, but this test, with WP rockets worked pretty well. Looking forward to some multi-player missions utilizing the FAC Cessna!
Another evening of fiddling around with the Macchi paint, and with the help of some really useful documents I now have correct stencils for the cockpit sides.
With the paint and stencil documents in hand I can now accurately paint all the small details which will make the skin look more real. I am very pleased how it is looking so far!
Tonight, while testing the paint in DCS I played around with target marking using Mk76 practice bombs, which give off a puff of white smoke… the bombs modelled on the Macchi smoke for a long time, which I think will be quite useful for JTAC/AFAC ops online. Once the paint is published I will get some missions together to see if I can make it work. Possibly even look at modding the weapon system script to add some marking rockets to really make the Macchi into a FAC tool.
Another ‘cool’ feature of the Macchi is the ‘back seat’ view. I really enjoy flying from the back, it makes me feel like I achieved my dream of being a strike instructor 😉
The ‘useful’ documents I referred to earlier came to me courtesy of an ex RNZAF guy who was my original contact to get me into the SKyhawk cockpit back in 2000…..