Boy do I love creating paint schemes.
It’s not related to Blender really because I made them in Photoshop, but I can honestly say this was one of my favourite parts of this whole project. The YF-19 light tan colour version is the one that’s gonna appear in the film I’m planning, so at the beginning I wasn’t sure it would be worth doing this much work for something “extra”. But the fun was worth the time, and in the meantime I could fix a lot of small tidbits that needed attention, and also kept the computer busy rendering the turntable animation (which I haven’t finished yet but it’s on its way).
So with these fixes out of the way, let’s head up to the paint job liveries I came up with:
1. VF-19 with official squadron template
From the VF-19 Variable Fighter Master File, there’s a very handy template that shows the location of all the caution signs and labels that go on the plane, and from that one I gathered that the YF-19 didn’t have squadron numbers on the nose, shield and wings, so I thought it would be fun to have a white version (the YF-19 has a light tan colour which shows as white in many parts of Macross Plus). I would keep the colours of the YF-19 and just add those bits, and that one was the easiest livery, good for a start.
2. YF-19 “Focker Special” Victory Tour
This one has a bit of history in it:
After the events of Macross Plus and the destruction of the X-9 drone, the YF-19 was declared the winner of the Project Terranova competition between Shinsei Industry and General Galaxy, which led the YF-19 to be produced en masse as the VF-19 Excalibur. According to the Master File, the YF-19 was toured around the galaxy in a somewhat bittersweet “victory tour” (since the competitor blew up from going too fast too furious), and the paint job chosen for it was a homage to Roy Focker’s iconic Skull 1 VF-1S.
This was the first real challenge because I didn’t know a lot of things about textures yet, so my best approach was to do it by ear, relying on trial and error to make those textures fit. I made a grey blank texture and started placing the skull in two parts and try to match it.
Slowly, I started gaining more confidence and went a bit faster.
It had the New Edwards Test Flight Center label because it’s supposedly the same plane that Isamu flew at the end of Macross Plus. I thought that little detail was amazing.
Also the logo for the Project Supernova is proudly displayed.
Upon much closer inspection of the livery, I saw exactly what the little logos on the side of the plane were saying, so I wrote them down and made them into a label. I couldn’t get to the correct placement and scale because of its size, so they ended up a bit bigger.
Apparently it’s a list of the planets and Macross fleets that conform the UN Spacy! Here’s a closer look with the rest of the textures added:
I thought that info was great. You guys know how much I love adding Easter Eggs on this plane.
The underside rudders were another issue because I modelled them in different parts so the texture had to match separately. Oh well.
Also some matching with the back yellow and black stripes was needed.
3. VF-19A SVF-339 “Lightnings”
This version had a lot more challenge in it.
First thing I did was, like with the Skull 1 version, to make a grey plain texture and start matching lines with each other.
Between the nose, the cockpit area, the sides and the chest part I had to patiently and slowly match each others while testing, saving and re-saving, then refreshing Blender to see the changes. It was a slow process!! (That I know now I could’ve done way faster and easier).
Also, apparently the Macross UN SPACY logo is not in the same place for this livery. Which means a lot more work, because it was already a lot of work to match those plates on the first one, which only had three. This one had four. Trial and error, test after test after test.
After a few days later, I finished this one. Well, maybe I had to fix small minor details like the grey colour being actually wrong. (The scale model manual said it was ” Navy Grey”.)
Done! And here are the previous ones for comparison:
4. VF-19A “Ravens” from Macross VF-X2
The VF-19A Excalibur first appeared in Macross VF-X2, a Playstation 2 game that only came out in Japan, I think. Among the interesting things with this one is the green nose sensor dome instead of the traditional red one, and that it’s a production version which was improved from the original test plane, and featured a more powerful engine FF-2500E, from the YF-19’s FF-2200 (Yes I made sure they displayed the correct label on the leg, what kind of geek do you think I am?)
This one was a much simpler scheme and didn’t involve that much head-bashing as the other ones, except for the rudders logo. Once this one was out of the factory, I was very, very eager to jump to the next one.
6. VF-19A SVF-440 “Dullahans”
Another one that apparently was only known in Japan, and I have no idea exactly where. But I wanted to have a stealthy dark version, and this scheme is absolutely gorgeous.
This is where my new knowledge about Blender made me realize I’ve been painting these schemes the hard, difficult way.
I knew there was something called texture painting in Blender, in which you paint directly on the model and it creates the textures. The main reason I hadn’t thought about this (besides laziness to learn something new) was that I thought I couldn’t do it now, since I had already done the textures. I would have to go over the different shades and dirt and labels that the plane had, and I wouldn’t be able to fix that later. Well, turns out you can simply make a new texture, paint on it, and export it with transparency to be added to the original texture’s colour in Photoshop. Duh.
So using a very fine brush I painted the wavy lines on the fuselage, then exported them to Photoshop and made a vectorized version, choosing what to keep dark grey and what to paint black. This was fast as hell, but hey, I had fun doing i the wrong way too, so what gives?
I also learned something valuable: You can use an image with transparency, say, A FREAKIN’ LOGO, and stamp it on the texture with the paint tool, and it automatically gets printed on the different surfaces, without any seam. No more tweaking around to match things, just point, click, voilà.
The result is so effortless and seamless that I could just…. wait, are you telling me I could’ve done the Macross nose logo this way all this time? And that I can re-do it now for all the versions? the wing logo too?
Dang. Well thanks, I guess.
I absolutely love this version.
7. VF-19ADVANCE from Macross Frontier (Macross 30)
The VF-19ADVANCE shows up in the videogame Macross 30, and apparently in the Macross Frontier time, Isamu Dyson is still alive and kicking, and he now pilots an upgraded version of the VF-19 with the SMS logos and some powerful booster contraption stuff. I’m probably not adding this version to the final batch because it’s too different from the YF-19/VF-19A. The shape changed a bit, particularly on the head/shield part and it has a lot more armour and equipment that I’m not gonna model in this moment. But I was so pleased with my new texture paint skills that I just had to give it a go for the lolz.
With this, let the wallpapers pour in!
And I just couldn’t wait to see them all in a single one, so here’s a bonus one:
So what comes next?
I’ve been feeling like the cockpit needs some extra work, mostly because I’m doing the turntable animation and the sides and arm rests are starting to look a bit too plain. I know I made them according to the sketches, but I want to add some more functionality and a feel of realism to its different parts. Also the sides look too empty and uninteresting. I would want to add more buttons, knobs and display meters to get a more military feel to it, and make sense of what’s inside a vehicle this complex. So I’ll be working on that improvement. Since the turntable animation inside the cockpit is more than half way in already, I’ll finish it with the previous textures while I work on the new ones on the side, and will update the new version for the night/hangar turntable with all the external navigation lights and all that.
Till then, see ya!