F-14 Tomcat - VF-84 "Jolly Rogers"

This plane has an almost legendary air about it, having served over thirty years in the US Navy forces. I have been deeply fascinated by it ever since the movie "Top Gun", and decided to model this wonderful aircraft in all its detail.

The squadron markings are taken from the early days of the famous VF-84 "Jolly Rogers", which were established in 1976, to fly the new F-14 planes. Their tradition ranges back until the days of World War 2, and even today, the "Jolly Rogers" exist in the form of the VF-103, formerly "Sluggers".

Ive selected the earliest era of paint schemes, with the high-visibility, shiny paint that was applied to the earliest of F-14 airframes (at that time, it was the F-14 A), with bright and colorful squadron markings, and of course the characteristic skull and crossbones on the back.
The equipment of the plane itself changed continuously throughout the years, Ive gone for a set of equipment that matches the era between 1976 to 1981. Most of the parts are from the F-14 A series, save for the engines, the General Electric F110, which were introduced as part of the F-14 A+ / F-14 B program.

About the render itself, I have completed it using vRay 1.5, and imposed the plane on serveral photos I took at the local airport, which used to be a Canadian F-104 Starfighter airbase. The old hangars are still all there, and I found an ideal place for the photo session. I also made a lightprobe for IBL, the first one ever for me. Im really really happy with the results, the lightprobe sure helps the overall realism a lot, and setting up the render was fairly trivial and simple.

Render time per image ranges between 1:20 and 1:40 hours, rendered at 1024x768. Almost every part has glossy reflections going on, but vRay performed admirably. All in all, the render phase took two days to complete, in between setting up the camera angles and doing touch-ups on the background images.

This project is also featured in the May and April issues of the 3DCreative online magazine. The respective articles can be found here (links published with permission from zoo publishing, opens in new page):

April 2008 issue, gallery feature

May 2008 issue, making-of article