A6M3 WW2 Plane Modeling

This tutorial covers how to create low poly World War 2 plane model. In the early years of WW II, the Japanese Mitsubishi A6M virtually ruled the skies. There are several varian of A6M, one of them is A6M3. You will create this plane. This tutorial is suitable for newbie in 3dsmax modeling. Different from previous tutorial, Modeling Apache Helicopter, this tutorial is much simpler and easier to follow. In first part of this tutorial, you will create body and wing.

1. Download 3dsmax lesson file here (3dsmax ver 8, zipped). In this file, you can find blueprint to help you in modeling. Bitmap file for blueprint mapping is also available. After opening the file, right click each viewport, then activate Smooth And Highlight (F3) and Edge Faces display option (F4).

Create primitive object, a cylinder, in Front viewport. Use values below. Position cylinder to match body of the plane in blueprint. Open Material Editor, select one of unused material slot. Change Diffuse Color into any color you want, set Transparency=50%. Finally, apply this material to cylinder. Using transparent material will let you see blueprint behind clearly.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 1

2. Right click cylinder and choose Convert to>Convert to Editable Poly. Open Modify tab. Then apply Symmetry modifier to this object, because the plane you are going to create is identical between left and right. In Parameter rollout, use Mirror Axis=X and activate Flip.

In Modifier Stack, click minus (-) sign on the left of Editable Poly. Then, select Vertex. Using Select And Move tool, move vertices to match plane segment. Use image below for reference. Select vertices in each bottom segment, and use Select And Uniform Scale tool to resize.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 2

3. Now, activate Polygon selection. In Left viewport, select 1 polygon at the bottom of plane. In Edit Polygons rollout, click Extrude button. Next, click and drag in viewport to give extrusion. In Edit Geometry rollout, click X button right next to Make Planar. In Front viewport, move polygon to the tip of the wing. And use Select and Non-Uniform Scale along Y axis to make the wing thinner.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 3

4. Change selection to Vertex. In Top viewport, move vertices to shape the wing.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 4

5. Now, activate Edge selection. Select two edges at the top of the wing (look at image below). You can always select several edges altogether by holding Ctrl when selecting. In Edit Edges rollout, click Setting button right next to Connect. In Connect edges window, fill in Segments=2, Pinch=28 and Slide=-9. As result, your wing will be divided by another 2 edges horizontaly.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 5

6. Change to Vertex selection. Select 2 vertices at the middle of wing (at the body). Then, in Edit Geometry rollout, change Constraints fo Face. Now, move vertices up. Notice that you can move those vertices along faces in body of the plane. After your wing has enough depth, change Constraints back to None.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 6

7. Change selection to Edges. Select 2 vertical edges at the tip of wing. In Edit Edges rollout, click Chamfer button. Click and drag in viewport to chamfer those edges a little bit.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 7

8. Now, we are going to create wing tail. Still in Edge selection, in Edit Geometry rollout, click Cut button. Click twice at the edges like image below.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 8

9. Activate Polygon selection. Select polygon like image below and gives extrusion. Use Make Planar X to make this polygon parallel with vertical axis. In Front viewport, move and non-uniform scale this polygon to match blueprint behind. Next step, add chamfering like you did before.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 9

10. Change selection to Polygon. Select 2 polygon at the top of the tail and extrude them. Use Make Planar Y to make them parallel with horizontal axis. Non-uniform scale to match buleprint.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 10

11. Activate Vertex selection. Select two vertices like image below. Non-uniform scale them along X axis. Back to Polygon selection. Add another extrusion. Non-uniform scale to match blueprint behind. And finally, gives chamfering at edges.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 11

12. If you deactivate all sub-object selection, and highlight Symmetry modifier in Modifier Stack, this is what you will get so far.

A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 12

13. Activate Polygon selection. In Top viewport, select 6 polygons at the top of plane. (Ctrl+click to select more than one polygon).
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 13

14. Use Extrude to heighten cockpit area. Then use Select and Uniform Scale to scale down selected polygon. Next, gives another extrusion.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 14

15. Change selection to Vertex. In Left and Front viewport, move and scale vertices in cockpit area to match blueprint behind. Cockpit is done!
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 15

16. Now, we are going to create the 'nose'. Change selection to Polygon and select 1 polygon at the nose part (cap of cylinder). In Edit Polygons rollout, click Settings right next to Inset. Use Inset=20, and click OK. Next, open Extrude Settings window and gives 30 unit of extrusion.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 16

17. Change selection to Edge. In Top viewport, select all vertical edges forming the nose (a total of 10 edges). In Edit Edges rollout, click Settings button right next to Connect. Fill Segments=4 and click OK.

Change selection to Vertices. Select ring of vertices one by one and uniform scale them to to create dome shape.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 17

18. Select 2 rows of.vertices rings like image below. Then, use Make Planar Z to make them at the same height.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 18

19. A6M3 plane is almost finished. All that's left is propeller.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 19

20. Continue from previous tutorial. You can hide plane object first if you want. Begin by creating a cylinder in Front viewport. Use Radius=7, Height=7, Height Segments=1 and Sides=6. Convert cylinder into Editable Poly. In Modify tab, activate Polygon selection, and select three polygons shown in image below.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 20

21. After all three polygons were selected, in Edit Polygons rollout click Settings button right next to Bevel. You need to apply Bevel four times. First: Height=8.4, Outline=-1; Second: Height=11.5, Outline=1.4; Third: Height=30, Outline=1; and the last: Height=14, Outline=-2.3.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 21

22. Activate Vertex selection. In Front viewport, select vertices like image below. Note: Don't select using region/window selection, just click one by one with your mouse. Use Ctrl+click to select more than one vertex. You need to do that to make vertices behind are not selected.

When finished, in Top viewport move all vertices up a little bit.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 22

23. Change viewport Front to Back (just right click on viewport's name and choose Views>Back). Click anywhere on the screen to deselect all selected vertices first. After that, select vertices like image below. Then, in Top viewport move them down a little bit.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 23

24. De-activate all sub-object selection. This is how your propeller will look like. Not bad for low poly model.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 24

25. Position propeller into its position and now your plane is finished. Are we going to texture it? Yup, wait for next tutorial.
A6M3 plane modeling. Рисунок 25

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