Tuesday, June 02, 2009

In Memory of Ernst Heinkel...

As a young engineer in WWI, Ernst designed for the Hansa-Brandenburg aircraft factory. The design for the W-12 (shown here) was alledgedly sketched out on a beer coaster after work as he tried to explain his concept to another engineer. The most notable thing about its appearence is the inverted rudder that hung down to allow a clear field of fire for the rear observer/gunner.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Guns of Late March...

Still delighted with the new WWI flying game: "Over Flanders Fields"; good white-knuckle flying over the Western Front. The one frustrating aspect of the games is that, on top of the basic difficulty of bringing your guns to bear on a tiny, distant airplane, the AI engine allowed you to pump bullets endlessly [or so it seemed] into a plane...and it just wouldn't go down. Smoke? Yes...and lose bits and pieces. But last night I downloaded 'the patch'. Mainly it seems to affect the look of things, but it also adjusted the effectiveness of your guns. Now my .30 cal. Maxims and Spandaus shred wings like Browning .50's. Now it's a whole new game in the skies above Ypres.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hunting the Hun, with gun and camera

Just got a long-awaited WWI flying game: 'Over Flanders Fields'. And well worth the wait. Great graphics. Really good selection of planes to fly. Variable weather, seasons, time of day. If you fly historical missions, you can pick a date, say, August 1916, and only planes current at that time are available. There's a massive library of skins if you want to fly a plane that really existed, or, you can design your own. [which I shall do when I get to playing the German side] It can, however, be extremely frustrating. The developers [and most of the players, from what I can gather] are 'realism nuts'. This means that no effort was spared to make the planes in the game handle as they did in real life...so well that over half the planes available to you are balky, unreliable and slow, with utterly vicious flying characteristics. You can spend an incredible amount time just recovering from stalls...only to immediately do it again. But choose wisely, and there's hours of white-knuckle flying to be had. Then I installed FRAPS; a little utility that does video screen capture. Now dramatic moments can be saved. I can spend a heart-pounding afternoon locked in bloodless combat, then kick back in the evening and watch my 'greatest hits'. Life is full.

Monday, March 09, 2009


The previous entry only allowed the five...here's the last.

The duel between Hawker and von Richtofen is one of the classic encounters of WWI. The squadron of which Hawker was a member had attacked two German recon planes. Seeing more Germans above, the Leader elected to break off, but Hawker had spotted several more Germans below and dived to the attack. He ended up one-on-one with Manfred von Richtofen. They duked it out for for a very long time. One source said 35 minutes, which I find hard to believe; ten minutes being an eternity in dogfights. In any event, the two were well matched and neither could get the upper hand until Hawker, realizing that he was nearly out of fuel, made a break for his own lines. He was only 50 yards short when von Richtofen got the angle on him and killed him with two rounds, one striking him in the head. Ironically, only seconds later, von Richtofen's guns jammed.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Hawker and von Richtofen

A long-standing desire to model some WWI airplanes bubbled to the surface and this [an Albatros DV.]is the first half of a digital diorama. The second half will be Maj. Lanoe Hawker's DH-2. Some liberties will be taken, no doubt, starting with von Richtofen flew a D III, not a DV. [for the gimlet-eyed among us.]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thursday, February 05, 2009


One of several establishing shots for 'The Sentinel'. It's an automated re-supply drone that periodically turns up with everything our guy needs to survive [tho' not always when he needs it.] He has sardonically dubbed it the 'Mail Packet' because it never brings any. No letters. No requests for reports. No orders. Nothing. He feels, not without reason, that he's been lost. Or, the war has been lost and the system is running on 'auto'. Or, worse yet, the war has been won and only his file has been lost. He finds much support for both positions, but no resolution to either.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Building some landscape here that can be shot from various angles.


Actually, getting the snow to fall was the easy part, the trick was getting them to bounce and flutter as they came down. That too, was pretty easy, but only after a few hundred failures...or so it seemed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009


A few refinements: first, a better slouch in the saddle. Makes it look like he really could sleep on duty. Which he does. Second, a 'chin light' under the X-Machine. It will usually be off, but occasionally it will click on and scoot ahead scouting the best path through the jumbled landscape of Kibble XXI.


Basically a walk test, but also a chance to play with lighting. Since Kibble XXI is at the edge of the universe, and lit mainly by the 'sunlight' from the last Red Dwarf star, objects will tend to be strongly lit on one side, and pretty dark on the other.


A test of Particle System snow that worked pretty well. The flake size and speed are just about what I was hoping for, but I need to add a bit of turbulence to make the flakes flutter more convincingly to the ground.


Here's a little test piece for The Sentinel. On the spitball asteroid/planet where he is stationed, (Kibble XXI) there are only two life forms. One, a tiny flying thing which looks like a cross between a bat and a sparrow (not designed yet) and scoots around in middlin'-sized, fast moving flocks, and large, placid, stupid-ish beetle(even by beetle standards)that crawl around in the high, snowy peaks gnawing lichen off the rocks. Mostly, only their backs show through the snow and they look like modest-sized, black, shiny boulders...except that when Beast approaches, the boulders start to back away.(no legs are seen). If Beast and Rider get too close, a frightened beetle will rear up on its hind legs and make formalized threat gestures. Occasionally, Beast will just dip his head and inhale one of them.