My bet that this is a perfect year to build a YF-19 for 2019 ...'19'!!! get it? lol!. I have to say among all the Valkyries shown in many Macross series over the years the 'second' YF-19 EXCALIBUR is most iconic and idolized mecha after the VF-1 variant because it was radical airframe design of its time ever to be introduced into the animation screen where most real world design doesn't pick up much attention such as the GRUMMAN X-29...however the Russian SUKHOI BERKUT SU-47 seem to turn more heads too. From there more forward sweep wings trends seems to spawn many cool design as seen in another animation series such as YUKIKAZE's FAF FRX-00 and some video games genre in ACE COMBAT's ADF series fighter such as the MORGAN, FALKEN and others. Oh btw that's why i bought an huge R/C model plane the SU-47 because its reminisces of YF-19!...due its rarity i left it hanging on my Pilot Lounge room as my pride joy decor! lol!..of btw EDF turbines parts, multiple ESC and servos are to expensive for my budget just to build the SU-47.
Let's get back to some manly talk; yes from origin where YF-19 came from the MACROSS PLUS the MOVIE was the most manly MACROSS animation series every made before everything going to 'Moe' after that back in the yes of 90's (1996) cause i remember purchasing a VCD of MACROSS PLUS the Movie back in my college days...*fyi other than Macross my dorm room full of PATLABOR kits especially SV2 Ingram Alphonse! If you love real dog fights, guns, missiles, chases, realistic drama, fist fight, mechanical aspect and what's real classic MACROSS should looked like shown in the movie then this is a blast from the past must see MACROSS animation before watching others. Im here for air dog fights that's how YF-19 become so popular among community and even outside MACROSS franchises. I do have to say YF-19 transforming from fighter, Gerwalk to Battroid looks very macho and looks elegant designed mecha too! I have to give a huge thumbs up to MACROSS production and their head mecha designer Shoji Kawamori for designing such an epic looking mecha!..coolest ever! Unfortunately when it comes to buying any YF-19 model kits it comes with a hefty price tag...really more expensive than other Macross model period! ..i'd rather buy a huge 1400~1600mm wingspan Radio Control plane models or twin EDF electric turbine R/C jets for the same price. Oh wait! i can 3d model it and fly it in the simulator! Yay! So the adventure of me digitizing models into virtual worlds of R/C continues!
Of course YF-19 model is the older generation of Valkyrie closer to period where VF-1 or VF-4 series of the circa year of 80~90's so that means the model curves and outlines should be an easy guess work for me to model into 3d unlike anything after year 2000 where most fuselage designed my Macross team especially the from famous mecha designer Shoji Kawamori have many curves and bulks around the lower fuselage especially where the turbine engines located after the period of MACROSS 7, FRONTIER and leading to DELTA aircraft designs....yes a bit more headache with VF-25F..was! wheww!!! so that means on YF-19 its easy tracing straight line meshes and stuff to build the models on blueprint layout and resulting lower amount of polygon requirements compared to previous models that i've done which i would mentioned later below. FYI the layout reference i use to build the YF-19 3D mesh models is from i believe from HASEGAWA plastic kit reference 'decal' sheet guides which have all the 'Orthographic view' of the plane blueprint and also much of its texturing too found all over the internet. The first hardest part to shape is the front fuselage..the nose cone leading up till the 'neck' of the fuselage since the side wall curves seems to be ambiguous as i looked from various perspective/angle on JPEG picture from the internet even from Macross Plus animation screen. Since i don't have an actual solid model kit in hand to see how the fuselage curves looked like in 3D i've have to visualized and rotate the meshes at various angle to make sure i got it right by comparing samples of visual reference of YF-19 photos on internet...that's the only task that consumed much time working on 3D meshes while the rest will be water flow smooth all the way. So that would took me like 5 hours on the front fuselage to get the shape right and 3 hour for the big rear wedge fuselage construction. The only last minor parts that left me mind boggle to work with was the rear landing gear design; from companies such as ARCADIA, BANDAI, HASEGAWA and others it seems many comes with different configuration, wheels hub and coloring yet even artist rendition wallpaper work seems to have their different ideas having landing gear what looked like a FALCON F-16 style rear retracts which is added more confusion. So i have to settle again with HASEGAWA model as reference which almost looked like parallelogram style suspension arm gear retracts....looked exactly like our R/C trucks suspension 'A' arm style construction. Upon 3D modeling completion; with the included "Collision" 3D meshes required for the simulator the total worth of 3d meshes are; Vertices: 5540 and Faces: 6402 which is again surprisingly far less polygonal mesh structure than recently build the MACROSS FRONTIER VF-25F MESSIAH build due to the fact that when compare against VF-25F the YF-19 has less amount of bulges and curves fuselage overall means less polycounts....good for CPU load balance when rendering 3Ds!...ah! reminds back in the days when i used to make 4x4 EVOLUTION models and other gaming stuff.
Due to popularity of YF-19 among fans and modeler its not that hard to find batch of YF-19 photos on the internet for texturing work but finding the 'color correct and clean' texture template is hard because every modeler have their own different/unique set of color templates applied to their YF-19 which makes the plane very random from one to another eg: from white beige color to dark sand colored tone YF-19 theme. This makes it hard to 'photo stitching' the YF-19 texture due to different coloring from various angle useable for me to apply to the models as 'skin' during UV mapping procedure on 3d workspace tool. Plus i don't have a clean bottom undercarriage photo of the fuselage except for cheap looking huge gapped lines of transformable models from brands like BANDAI DX, ARCADIA and YAMATO. To solve the problem i have to use my 'light and magic' skills again to just hand drawn my own panel lines, shades (aka artificial Photo Bake) the under carriage parts to simulate actual panel lines of YF-19 from scratch....i'm glad i learned graphics design when i was just 12 years old that skills does amazing job for everything! On 2048px x 2048px layout after 3400 layers of texturing work and 4GB worth of texturing memory swap that almost knocked my ASUS Republic of Gamer notebook into stalled heat and restart finally i've manage to get a perfect texture for YF-19!..that's like after additional 8 hours of texturing and UV mapping work with bunch of KFC chickens and dozen of coffee to keep me sober...uhuhuhuhu!
Well the problem is not over yet; after the build its time to export the *.OBJ 3d format meshed into R/C Phoenix builder tools to compile into workable flyable Valkyrie which suppose to be easy repetitive work but this time it didn't worked well with YF-19 for mysterious reason. After assigning proper parts functions, flight control and airfoil layout for YF-19 fuselage the forward (negative) sweep wing airfoil setup doesn't work out well and generated reverse lift on elevator instead of vice versa but when configure as normal backward (positive) standard sweep wing it worked well. Previously on my first Valkyrie build the VF-31J SIEGFRIED that have similar forward sweep wing airfoil configuration it worked flawlessly well unfortunately when the same configuration applied to YF-19 its not flyable and did the opposite. 2 days of troubleshooting didn't find any solution so i decided not to waste much time which ended up having 'virtually' assign the YF-19 forward sweep airfoil dynamics from 330 degree forward to standard rear-wards at 40 degree sweeps which finally manage to get the plane a proper 'upwards' lift flying without problematic elevator problem. So it works for now but if i do encounter fixes i will release this model under V2.0 revision/changes. Originally YF-19 have a functional front Canard winglets but again it didn't worked well after much work on surface control channel mixing so i've let the Canard worked only as static airfoil as part of fuselage structure but just like the previous issues if i've encounter a solution i'll introduce a V2.0 releases on YF-19 model in the future. Overall the configuration file to setup the YF-19 models uses slightly modified VF-31J MESSIAH parameters from Inertia, Mass, Lifting efficiency to Fuselage drag parameter to create close to realistic handling of a turbine powered aircraft...and yes the turbine engine also has very similar setup with slight increase of RPM, torque and thrust too. Since there are no airbrake the panel around the flaps on both wings can be used as airbrake to slow down the plane since its surface has more 'air friction' factor thanks to its bigger panel surfaces than its Elevon control counter part when tilted at higher angle (down angle). Again like many MACROSS variants that i've build previously getting the CG (Center Gravity) right is a struggle due to unconventional (by fuselage mass and proportion) airframe design so even i've found the sweet spot i have to compensate the 'nose heavy' fuselage with more than +35 click of elevator trim to get the plane fly straight/linear. So far everything went well after setting up the parameter for YF-19 during the test flight and it flew uneventful ready for 'packing'.
Fictional/model MACROSS YF-19 Excalibur:
Texturing works and decaling:
Applying control surface and parameters:
Final production in R/C Phoenix:
Below are the virtual stock attributes value on YF-19 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: 17.22kg (variant 1) and 27.14kg (variant2)
- Turbine unit: 2x Fuel turbine
- Outer main wing airfoil type (flaps + 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 YF-19 EXCALIBUR flies just a good and as real as it gets like a jet fighter but not very close as agile as to what you've seen in MACROSS PLUS anime screen since i've opt for more realistic approaches so i could reflect more to flying 'line of sight' a huge radio controlled turbine jet model feeling than fictional style handling. The flight agility characteristic and glide aspect of the plane share similar attributes to my previous built the VF-25F MESSIAH since it share the same base model parameter setup file with slight adjustment to its value to make it more sensible for YF-19 airframe. That said if you've flown the VF-25F its should be easy on YF-19 too with exception that YF-19 have a unique quirk when it comes to perform a barrel roll; its more likely to roll with high axis off-set due to 'nose heavy' CG which requires you to pull a bit more up elevator or down (depending the orientation of gravity) to make a perfect roll as you turn the aileron stick (Elevon mix). Since its a fast plane with slower engine turbine response compare to earlier build; to slow down the speed you'll need to throttle down earlier by few seconds and pull down the flaps which can act as airbrake to initiate braking so you could performed quick sharp maneuver via 'bank & yank' (** the term we use to fly on R/C EDF jet) on the stick. Overall the YF-19 is a fast yet 'loud' fighter plane aka valkyrie that begs for 'fly-by/low pass' attention and would require lots tactical skills to maneuver this plane just like racing a GT supercar because a balance of speed vs maneuverability factor is key to make it work flawlessly in the air. Yet it still can do the usual aerobatic flights, flips and turns as long its within limitation of a 'jet' aircraft category and not something within YAK 54 or SBACH 342 capability. The good news about YF-19 despite its a forward sweep wing the plane hardly stall at slow speed which makes its easier to do sharp turns especially during landing approach which needs less runway to land even take-off as long you know how to use the flaps. Well if you don't like the plane stock/default flight characteristic & maneuverability you can always customized your own setup via Advance optional setup section in PHOENIX R/C simulator GUI and tailor it to your taste, so there lots of flexibility to make the YF-19 more fun an enjoyable plane to fly in that sim program.
As for me i do really enjoy flying the YF-19 EXCALIBUR which is actually my ultimate dream to have one regardless its in virtual/digitized form since i first saw it on MACROSS PLUS movie during my years in college and university back in the late 90's..so finally instead going into static plastic kit models route i ended up 3D'ed it and fly in in my screen!...who knows maybe i'll build a real R/C aircraft model out of foam material as FPV (First Person View) cockpit flight above the clouds like my famous FPV planes like my P-51D Mustang, the Pitts and Ultralight Drifter. We'll find out what the future holds for YF-19 soon. ;)
* Note - Variants
Do take note that for this model i've created two variant of YF-19 for Phoenix R/C simulator: 2 meter wing span + 17.22kg flying weight and 3 meter wing span + 27.14kg 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_yf19_excalibur_2m.pkg)and if you like the feeling of big and loud presence in the skies install the 3 meter wing span variant (xl_yf19_excalibur_3m.pkg) 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: Macross Plus
- Wikipedia: Macross series
- Macross Wikia: Macross Plus
- Macross Wikia: YF-19 Excalibur
General info | model: MACROSS PLUS YF-19 Excalibur | 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: 14.7MB | date released: 2-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', 'MACROSS PLUS' and ''YF-19 Excalibur" are trademarks & copyrights of the following company © Big West, Studio Nue, Tatsunoko (www.macross.jp). All Rights Reserved