Oh wait! there's more! After the previous YF-19 build i thought i should have move on like relaxing myself and enjoy my other R/C stuff however something in me got my adrenaline spark up so high after seeing VF-4 LIGHTNING III trending on social media kicked in after long decline since classic spotlight in old MACROSS and MACROSS M3 scene. I've seen this VF-4 valkyrie long time ago during my college days but didn't give much attention because it wasn't popular cult and when in 'Battroid' form it looks not so desirable looking mech....very skinny looking match sticks! So after few decades later this plane started to show up on the media stream it took my attention and interest that i should try it out and put more love into it. The only thing i love about this plane is part of the front fuselage looks very much like the VF-1 series platform and it has very wide wedge body more like SR-71 BLACKBIRD, however some part like the wings design, vertical stab and pointy bubbly podded turbine casing turned me off. So what drove me building the VF-4 for Phoenix R/C models add-on is simply because i have spare time and also curious how it will turned out to be...will i love the out some of my build or vice versa? Fortunately after spending many hours of 3d modeling, texturing, assigned functional code in Phoenix R/C builder tools and run it in the simulator i come to a final moment where i felt it was indeed the best build i have ever done, enjoyed flying more than other valkyries i build and love the looks of VF-4 in the air. This bird looks more stunning than ever expected!
The online resource reference to build the VF-4 especially getting the actual 'Ortographic blueprint is very scarce since not many Macross merchandise manufacturer build VF-4 kit and their numbers are limited. Plus the designs outline can be varies between several manufacturer, artist rendition, fans community and others notably when it comes to the length of the nose cone of the VF-4...some are extremely longer but others stay true close to VF-1 variants. Since i don't have the blueprint from manufacturer's decaling kit sheet i have to rely blueprint of fuzzy picture from official MACROSS magazine articles or i assume pages of 'MACROSS MASTER FILE' which have top and side view of the VF-4 which i have to edit, resize and rearrange into proper 'Ortographic' view which enable me to start 3d tracing the outline of the plane for 2D to 3D mesh protrusion work. Fortunately 50% of the work effort was saved by recycling/re-use old components from my VF-1S project the front fuselage and just re-shape/re-mold a bit against the VF-4 blueprint to create a proper front fuselage since both front fuselage of the Valkyries share the same design. The wings, front canard, vertical stabilizer and wedge fuselage is an easy work but the twin turbine case unit are the ones took extra hours of effort among all modeling parts of VF-4 i've build since this part have more confusing 'round' shape all over it side so called 'fuel' pod got me overwhelmed. I have to do more magazine reading to understand how the turbine case should be and how it looked like, how much 'dihedral' angle should i twist in its axis from front view to get the right looks of the VF-4's overall. I also almost took a wrong turn when designing the vector thrust nozzle size not knowing that was actually part of the folding base feet of VF-4 suppose to have more 'meat' than being flap size thickness. All the 3d work too about 7 hours of work with total meshes of.... not covering the collision model requires for simulator collision detection. A complete 3D modeling completion the VF-4 models mesh value with the included "Collision" 3D meshes required for the simulator the total worth of 3d meshes are; Vertices: 21306 and Faces: 22208, well that was consider extremely higher polycount ever made for my Macross build but by today 'object models' gaming/simulator standard that actually 'OK' size easily processed on any GPU core processor chip.
Now comes to the texturing task; there's not much choice variety of texturing sample available online but i manage to found a nice piece of original VF-4G variant photos which actually need at least two models from different sources to completed the top and bottom part of the model texturing and uses my graphic skills to blend/stitch two different texture seamless. Only the landing gear panels and under side of turbine case need to have its texturing scratch build from plain sheet which where i'm good at. Overall the raw texturing layered *.CPT consumed about 650MB of memory swapped almost glitched my NIVIDIA memory card driver but i manage to get through after multiple restart on my gaming notebook..how ironic expectation from performance labeled notebook. Overall with the texturing work and UV mapping the 3d meshes onto the texture took about 5 hours of work to get the job done.
As for the flight physics and parameter codes in Phoenix R/C simulator build tools the VF-4 uses or should i say borrowed from YF-19 flight parameters which give results more refined and 'floatly' flight control. However due to its bigger wedge flight surface on its flat fuselage, bigger front canards and delta winged the VF-4 flew quite different and have stark contrast among all valkries i've made....flew like big gentle flying Airbus! Due to the fact it flew 'heavy like' characteristic i had to tune the engine turbine to have fast response throttle acceleration up to 5 second quick spooling speed to ramps up the turbine RPM.
Fictional/model MACROSS VF-4 Lightning:
Texturing works and decaling:
Applying control surface and parameters:
Final production in R/C Phoenix:
Below are the virtual stock attributes value on VF-4 that influence a lot on how it flies in Phoenix R/C, i setup the aircraft as 'Advance Level' flyer type handling specifications in simulator:
- Wingspan: 2000mm (variant 1) and 3000mm (variant 2)
- Flying weight: 18.35kg (variant 1) and 31.53kg (variant2)
- Turbine unit: 2x Fuel turbine
- Outer main wing airfoil type (flaps + dual airbrake + elevon): MH32
- Side fuselage airfoil type: NACA 0015
- Vertical stabilizer airfoil type (rudder): Flat profile
- 2x Turbine idle rpm: 45000
- 2x Turbine max rpm: 1570000
- 2x Turbine thrust power (N): 530
- 3x wheeled landing gear: functional retracts + front guided + gear bay doors + suspension struts
The VF-4 Lightning III flight characteristic have very startling contrast compare to all my previous MACROSS aircraft build; it flies like a huge flying fortress or like a huge construction site dump truck as appose to agile sedan size family car...slow reflex in all axis and i can feel inertial weight of the plane felt very 'heavy' but yet this makes it felt more realistic to fly than being very flipping ninja style dog fighter like shown in fictional shown in Macross animation action scene. Since it had borrowed fligt parameter from YF-19 in Phoenix RC build tools the VF-4 actually is an easy plane to fly and very floaty like a kite, relaxing but still need long way to catch up with fast and agile VF-25F, VF-1S and YF-19. As i was having fun flying tandem with other MACROSS valkyries on the screeen the VF-4 indeed is a great 'Photogenic' plane in the air since you can actually slow down before stall level to get a great shots for your wallpaper which indeed proven as i did before many people thought it was a heavy rendered CGI instead of a game/simulator as it is, lol.
After much effort building and flying it for many hours i have to admit the VF-4 Lightning III does looks elegant or should i say more properly 'MAJESTIC' looking variable fighter when compare against all others from many Macross series probably due to the fact of its elegant huge wedge size airframe and very contrast looking isolated turbine far out from the center fuselage making it looks like somewhat reminds me of real world military 'SR-71 BLACKBIRD'. Sometimes if you look slightly 45 degree angle front front side and up a bit it does looks like a sweep wing F-14 GRUMMAN TOMCAT. I guess my instinct to build this plane after YF-19 project was really worth my time and effort and definitely a joy to fly let alone a keeper for my Macross collection. Guess what soon you'll see a variant of VF-4 coming up next.......well i guess you knew already ahead huh?, lol!. Well see you soon on my another eye candy releases shortly. *wink*, *wink*
* Note - Variants
Do take note that for this model i've created two variant of VF-4 for Phoenix R/C simulator: 2 meter wing span + 18.21kg flying weight and 3 meter wing span + 31.53kg flying weight model variant all zipped into one download package. I made two type of models to cater various audience because its definitely some people wanted feel large presences of aircraft passes by in front of them especially for MACROSS fan while other like to retain as standard small size R/C models. So if you want a park flier R/C scale models install the 2 meter wing span size (xl_vf4_lightning_iii_2m)and if you like the feeling of big and loud presence in the skies install the 3 meter wing span variant (xl_vf4_lightning_iii_3m) all available inside the zip file. Obviously there are differences of handling and performance between two available planes, 2m version is very nimble, fast and more forward inertial force while the 3m version feels like flying like real plane so choose your models carefully.
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: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross
- Wikipedia: Macross series
- Macross Wikia: Macross SDF
- Macross Wikia: VF-4 Lightning III
General info | model: MACROSS VF-4 Lightning III | 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: 13.5MB | date released: 22-Oct-2019 | 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', 'The Super Dimension Fortress Macross' and ''VF-4 Lightning" are trademarks and copyright of the following company © Big West, Studio Nue, Tatsunoko (www.macross.jp). All Rights Reserved