It's a gloomy season for everyone around the globe due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, where i live here it started to kicked in on month of April 2020. So what did i do at home?..yes!...lets build another MACROSS model for simulator again. Since i've already covered building all the iconic Valkyries i had to settle down with something i'm not fond of...the YF-21 STURMVOGEL..because it looks not so aerodynamic even its a mirrored to real life NORTHROP/MCDONNELL DOUGLAS YF-23. So i guess the scenario of battle for military contract in Macross Plus (OVA) is the same as between YF-22 vs YF-23 in real world.
Honestly i'm not really dig into YF-21 because the Valkyrie design not appealing to me...looks like flying Vajra especially in Battroid form...that leg! ugh!..you know what i meant. I'm into Macross Plus (OVA) because the awesomeness designs of YF-19 EXCALIBUR...even in Gerwalk and Battroid mod looks stunning compare to all the Macross series till DELTA. Since there's much choices to pick i've ended with YF-21 and plan to get over it and finish it within 3 or 4 days max since we're all coup up at home during the pandemic...of course all of us still have to work at home. At the same timeline Bandai have released close up visual preview of the DX version of YF-21 which give me a good resources to pick up the surface texture for the upper part 3D meshes of YF-21 i'm planning to build. Along the progress building the YF-21 i realized there are so many 'retarded' outline design of YF-21 from various model kit manufacturer that don't seem to get along with each other nor standardized which added more confusion to my build. Since most of my MACROSS model outline 3D tracing came HASEGAWA blueprint this time texturing for YF-21 i sourced from the 'unknown' photo from Google and have to figure out myself which one has the true YF-21 outlook as reflected in anime scene.
Building the YF-21 is mind boggling than among all my Macross build; its quite difficult to grasp on because the sample of reference for YF-21 differ differently from one manufacturer from another. There's YAMATO, KAIDO REVOLTECH, BANDAI DX CHOGOKIN, HASEGAWA, DOYUSHA and others but when compare the design side by side non-seem to have consistent similarities especially the front nose design which seems to have different design parameters eg; almost flat duck bill like nose cone and different sizing of cockpit window panels. DX Chogokin on other hands have bumpy bulk size under belly design than original YF-21 featured on Macross Plus. It seems variety of manufacturer doesn't seems to agree on YF-21 design being on the same page but the closest accurate representation of YF-21 i can get was from HASEGAWA kit which i decided to use its blueprint sheet as references. With the latest release of Bandai DX Chogokin YF-21 i decided to use its texture to overlay it over HASEGAWA blueprint model since its has better details, decals and metallic like colors.
Given it was approximately between 3 to 4 days set goal to finish up the work during the pandemic season all day being at home it was quite easy to accomplish because the design of YF-21 model with flat wide body and plain under bottom carriage means it uses less 3D poly count/vertices and not much hidden narrow parts required to construct unlike previous build like the VF-25 and VF-31 series. The detailed texture should be able to trick out the details to make the aircraft panel lines and bulk parts more 'visually' realistic on a plain 3D meshed model.
The total worth of 3d meshes are; Vertices: 4523 and Faces: 5285 which all already include with collision (_col*) meshes which is slightly less amount of polycount far lesser than any Macross build i've made because in YF-21 body are 'straight' block and more flat bottom than other Valkyrie design......means easy work for me and less laggy to run on low end computer's CPU during 3D rendering. All what's left is letting the texture do the detailing tricks to make it more alluring in appearance.
95% of the texture came from latest Bandai DX Chogokin YF-21 which covers most top visual parts of the airframe while the remaining 5% texture come from some random texture i found on the internet used to cover the bottom side of the meshes which both part of the texture needs lots of photo paint work to make it looks seamless. When it comes to UV mapping; although the 3d meshes uses blueprint from Hasegawa kit it took me 8 hours to solve texture fitting inconsistency. The panel shape between both manufacturer YF-21 template are 30% slightly different geometry especially on the front fuselage and around the vertical stabilizer/rudder side. Overall my computer took a huge texture memory dump of 2GB to texture editing work to get the right texture layer to match on Hasegawa's YF-21 blueprint. Unfortunately YF-21 landing gear design seems to be very vague among different kits especially on the texture side so i ended using YF-19 texture and edited slightly to make it looked 'just ok' yet looks standard for YF-21 to use. The surface finishing effect i've decided to apply it as 'Matt' colored which means less metallic shine effect to retain its stealth aesthetic unlike shiny surfaces shown on previous built. Stealth plane always in Matt colored! Extra noted that the internal pilot model is not Mr.Guld Goa Bowman but instead a stock pilot from YF-19 pilot with different coloring template. However regardless what every pilot i added inside the YF-21 cockpit the visibility of the pilot inside isn't much matter much since the YF-21 version if fully enclosed cockpit with glass dome hides the pilot from being visible unless its a VF-22 STURMVOGEL II production series.
As for the flight control application via Phoenix Builder tools this valkyrie remain the same as other valkyrie which emphasize using 'Elevon' control for 'bank and yank' maneuver and has also workable rudder. What sets apart differences in parameter setting in Phoenix Builder tools is that the thrust power is slightly higher just to get this fighter take off from the ground and meeting the expectation of Macross Plus fans that YF-21 retain its unique speedy acceleration and agility as depicted in animation screen (OVA)...just like flipping ninja agility as it battle with X-9 GHOST drone in the screen time.
Fictional/model YF-21 STURMVOGEL:
Texturing works and decaling:
Applying control surface and parameters:
Final production in R/C Phoenix:
Below are the virtual stock attributes value on YF-21 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: 3000mm
- Flying weight: 32.43kg
- 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: 48000
- 2x Turbine max rpm: 2900000
- 2x Turbine thrust power (N): 580
- 3x wheeled landing gear: functional retracts + front guided + gear bay doors + suspension struts
Although in anime (OVA) MACROSS PLUS the YF-21 flew extremely agile and faster but in reality by aero physics as i compiled in simulator not at all true. In its original real simulated physic form it was too sluggish to fly; took long runway to take off, response rate to any flight surface control movement from Elevon surfaces was too slow to response and it felt like a flying truck. This is all true when the wings surface is bigger, broader and overall looks like a giant flying kite exactly how it felt when flying my big size R/C plane the B-17 and Sky Surfer...in other words bigger wings means more air resistance..in other words less agile. Planes that have more narrower wing tips like the MK-24 Spitfire and P-51D which also correlates to why YF-19 can flipping around 360 easily due to less exposure on wing surface area to wind friction (less air drag) than YF-21 broad large surface design. But in anime screen physic doesn't apply...that's why when anime girls punch boys they will flew sky high! it defies physics!. Fortunately to recreate the same agility and flight performance on YF-21 equal to what shown in anime i have to tweak the model parameter to increase the thrust ratio from its twin turbine engine, reduce air friction around the wings and increase Elevon wing control and thrust vector leverage to make it more agile that stock configuration...that's like 'fake it till you make it!' i guess. Although its a 'cheat' sheet setup but hey! it all what it takes to make it close to Macross fictional iconic Valkyrie fighter. Overall i do enjoy flying this plane after 'enhancing' aka 'cheat coding' the aerodynamic setup, it make it more appealing and fun to fly rather than felt like flying a heavy B-17 flying fortress which is originally was in its original/actual physic. After toying around the YF-21 in virtual airspace i think i started to like this Valkyrie more than before because it has has that 'feel' of greatness and majestic looking beast compare to angelic YF-19 when flown side by side in the simulator than in anime show...looks awesome in actual 3D thing than model kit itself. Yeah! i guess was my bad for hating it at first place but i'm glad after build and flew i finally have my hearts for it. .....oh! btw did you guys saw my cool custom TOKYO - SDF cities? cool eh! Hehehehe!!!
* Note - Variants
Just like previous build especially for MACROSS audience i've created two type of YF-21 models for Phoenix R/C simulator: 2 meter wing span + 20.46g flying weight and 3 meter wing span + 32.31kg flying weight model variant all zipped into one download package. So if you want a park flier R/C scale models install the 2 meter wing span size (xl_yf21_sturmvogel_2m.pkg)and if you like the feeling of big and loud presence in the skies install the 3 meter wing span variant (xl_yf21_sturmvogel_3m.pkg) all available inside the zip file. Despite differences in both wing span size the handling on both model also quite different due to its size, wing lift area, CG placement and inertial/momentum force during flight. Do take note the smaller 2m actually handles more sensitive, faster in term of speed and hot landing so you'll have to slow down much early for every turns and landing compare to bigger 3m wingspan. Hope you enjoy collection of Macross Plus Valkyries. Cheers!
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 Plus
- Macross2.net: General Galaxy YF-21
- Macross Wikia: VF-22 Sturmvogel II
General info | model: MACROSS YF-21 Sturmvogel | 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: 11.94MB | date released: 17-June-2020 | 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', 'MACROSS PLUS' and ''YF-21 Sturmvogel" are trademarks and copyright of the following company © Big West, Studio Nue, Tatsunoko (www.macross.jp). All Rights Reserved