Author Topic: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread  (Read 10424 times)

Offline Logan Hartke

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Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« on: September 13, 2013, 12:27:57 AM »
As always, click on the image below to see the picture at 100% or view it at my DeviantArt page.



After the failure of the F-111B program, the US Navy began looking at alternative options for its replacement carrier fighter. In July 1968, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the Naval Fighter Experimental (VFX) program. VFX called for a tandem two-seat, twin-engined air-to-air fighter with a maximum speed of Mach 2.2. It would also have a built-in M61 Vulcan cannon and a secondary close air support role. The VFX's air-to-air missiles would be either six AIM-54 Phoenix or a combination of six AIM-7 Sparrow and four AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. Bids were received from General Dynamics, Grumman, Ling-Temco-Vought, McDonnell Douglas and North American Rockwell; four bids incorporated variable-geometry wings. It was also to use the Pratt & Whitney TF30 engine and AN/AWG-9 radar used on the F-111B to reduce cost and save development time.

Ling-Temco-Voughtís new TF30-powered A-7s were just entering service with the US Navy at that time and the F-8 Crusader was still serving, having earned a reputation for itself over Vietnam as a fine dogfighter. Despite this, swing wing technology was still in its infancy and LTV sought out a company with some experience in this new field. Dassaultís Mirage G prototype fighter was a twin engine, high performance fighter with variable geometry wings. In fact, one prototype was even powered by a variant of the same TF30 engine specified in the VFX program. Already teamed with Lockheed California Co for the VFX competition, the additional technical data provided by Dassault placed the Dallas firm in a strongly competitive position.

Voughtís V-507 proposal would bear a strong resemblance to the Mirage G including the distinctive intake cones found on the Lockheed F-104 and the Dassault Mirage series of fighters. Vought would also build a full scale mockup of the V-507 proposal, the only company in the VFX competition to do so. The maturity of the V-507 design, the experience of Vought with the TF30 engine and variable geometry wings (with Dassaultís assistance), and Voughtís track record on the F-8 and A-7 programs would eventually carry the day. While not considered to be necessarily the fastest or most maneuverable design of those proposed, the V-507 was judged to have the lowest risk of the proposals while still easily meeting all the requirements outlined by NAVAIR. In the wake of the F-111B fiasco, the VFX program was being closely monitored by Congress and this would prove to be a factor in the decision. The Defense Department awarded Ling-Temco-Vought the F-14A contract in January of 1969. The contract was signed on February 3, 1969, and Vought christened the aircraft the Vagabond.

The Vought F-14A Vagabond (BuNo 15798) first flew on November 23, 1970, just 21 months after the contract was signed and nearly two months ahead of schedule. In order to save time and forestall interference from Secretary McNamara, the Navy skipped the prototype phase and jumped directly to full-scale development. The first 12 F-14As Vought produced were earmarked for development and testing. Most of the problems encountered during testing related to the troublesome TF30 engines that would continue to plague the F-14A throughout its service life. Despite this, VF-124, the fleet readiness training squadron, received its first F-14 in March of 1972. The first two F-14 fleet squadrons, VF-1 and VF-2 were commissioned on August 12, 1972 at NAS Miramar. These two squadrons deployed on the USS Enterprise in June, 1974.

The infamous Jolly Rogers, VF-84, began their transition to the Vought F-14A Vagabond in March 1976, becoming operational on the new type in 1977. Together with sister squadron VF-41, they were moved to Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW-8), deploying aboard the USS Nimitz. They started on their first Tomcat cruise on 1 December 1977, and were at sea until 20 July of 1978. The large single tail of the mighty Vagabond was ideal for a dramatic display of the Jolly Rogers' colors. Changes from the scheme last used on the Phantoms were those mandated by the different fuselage design, although the skull and crossbones motif took on a more modern look. The Vagabond in this profile is presented in its Navy legacy scheme of gull gray over white, with white horizontal control surfaces. The Jolly Rogers adapted well to the Tomcat on this first Med cruise aboard the Nimitz, and the media started to take notice of the sleek new fighters with their colorful livery.







You can see in the detail shot above how much work Talos and I put into the missiles on the V-507.  Even the above images are less than 20% of their actual size.  Yes, later ones will feature the Phoenix.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Talos

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 01:02:23 AM »
I should point out that the Sidewinder there isn't an exact side view either, it's actually turned towards the "camera" some.

Anyway, here's my addendum to the entry.

A few years ago, over on What If Modelers, I became enamored by the different designs that competed in the VFX competition for a new USN fighter. In the real world, of course, this was won by a Grumman G-303 design and became the F-14 Tomcat. The initial plan was that myself and four others would do profiles based on five designs in secret, the Vought V-507 (Logan), Grumman G-303D (Me), North American-Rockwell NAR-323 (coolusername), McDonnell-Douglas Model 225A (coops213), and GD/Convair Model 44 (Damian), then post them all at once. Best-laid plans of mice and men being what they are, this never came to fruition, though the 225A was mostly done and Chris did a pretty nice profile of how it was at the time before I replaced the canopy with a new, much more accurate one. The V-507 was pretty advanced too, though not much detailing yet.

After discussing things with Logan before this GB started, I went back and restarted work on it, which includes both detailing, a lot of redrawing of things I wasn't satisfied with, and of course things like ordnance. The attached picture is an updated version of the VFX comparison I first did years back, showing the current state of the five birds. The V-507 is the finished line art, the 225A has the new Sparrows dropped in, but needs Sidewinders, revised panel lines and detailing, and a cockpit interior. The other three haven't been touched in ages but I would like to, some day, finish them.


Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 01:10:44 AM »
And here is the step-by-step evolution of it.  I'll include a brief description of the changes underneath each image.



This is the line art as I initially got it from Talos.  It's just enough to start on the basic shapes and even some of those would change later.



In gray.  A taste of things to come.



Initial shading and canopy lighting.  All of these layers would eventually be discarded and redone.



Initial fuselage lighting.  Again, all of this will be thrown out shortly.



Here's the first evidence of lighting and shading layers that would make it into the final profile.



Added the engines.  Just getting a feel for the fuselage.



Initial engine nozzles (will be replaced soon) and blocking out the wings (will also change).



Now we're getting somewhere.  Added the tail lighting and more defined nozzles.



Shifting to gray here.  You can see the hard shadow for the wings coming in now.  Also starting the lighting for the outer wings.



More detail work, a brand new canopy, arrestor hook, and consoles.



Another canopy revision and new nose lighting.



Did some more work around the area of the engine intake shock cone.



There's actually a LOT that happened here.  It's almost all relating to the wing and wing glove.  Talos actually changed the shape to a more complex, more accurate one, but it took a LOT of work to make that revision.  This is one of the times on this profile where I was not happy with how it was looking until I was 90% done then it all came together.



Again, there's a lot of detail here.  Notice the ochre panels on the wing glove, the redone fairings on the tail and fin, the ejection seats, the IR sensor under the nose, and some more canopy lighting.



Engine louvers, slime lights, and rudder shading added here.



Panel lines!  Panel lines!!!



Ah, weathering.  Look how dirty it is.



Paint it pretty and you hardly notice the dirt now, thought it's still there and you eyes do pick up on it.



And finally, missiles.  Basically done at this point, though I did make a few more minor changes before the final.

Cheers,

Logan
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 05:49:43 AM by Logan Hartke »

Offline taiidantomcat

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 03:56:12 AM »
Drool :-*
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Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 04:07:18 AM »
Thanks, taiidan!  I know you like Tomcats, but I'm glad you can appreciate this, as well.

Since there are so few pictures of the V-507 mockup that we could use for reference, I figured I'd show you some of the better ones.







Cheers,

Logan
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 05:48:14 AM by Logan Hartke »

Offline Damian

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 07:17:42 AM »
After keeping quite and seeing the incrimental stages while we chatted I have to say this is perhaps your finest piece to date Logan. Kudos to both of you for bringing such an awesome drawing to life!
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Offline Weaver

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2013, 09:40:26 AM »
This is a beautiful piece of work - well done to the both of you!  :)

Always had a soft spot for the V-507. Curiously, your story dovetails rather nicely into my "FAA goes American" story, in which Grumman becomes increasingly dependent on the Avon-Tiger project with Britain (which sells well in export markets) after the original Tiger is rejected by the USN. This goes against them in the VFX contest, partly because the USN is embarrassed that the company has made a success of something they'd written off, and partly because Grumman/HSA are now seen a banging the drum for small fighters on small carriers, which the USN's "carrier cartel" regard as a threat. Meanwhile, as you suggest, LTV's strong recent track record with the F-8 and A-7 makes the V-507 the winner. 
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Offline apophenia

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2013, 09:54:17 AM »
Stunning work ... even for Logan and Talos!  Out of curiosity, this artwork was originally going to be a Pax River test bird and then morphed into a Jolly Rogers operational type?
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Offline Talos

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 09:59:51 AM »
Stunning work ... even for Logan and Talos!  Out of curiosity, this artwork was originally going to be a Pax River test bird and then morphed into a Jolly Rogers operational type?

That was just filler text until he put the Rogers markings on the plane. We didn't have any discussion about doing a Pax River bird, at least at this time.

Offline Logan Hartke

  • High priest in the black arts of profiling...
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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 10:18:33 AM »
I was thinking that the first profile might be of a V-507 pre-production aircraft which, naturally, would have been undergoing testing at Pax River.  As it was, the first profile was of a Jolly Rogers aircraft, the scheme I'd had my eye on from the beginning.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline Tophe

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 11:28:00 AM »
Thanks a lot for all these explanations. I had forgotten that this V-507 has been actually built (as private venture putting LTV almost in bankruptcy?) and this building was not what-if dream, only the in-service markings are fiction, all right.

Offline Talos

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 12:03:15 PM »
Thanks a lot for all these explanations. I had forgotten that this V-507 has been actually built (as private venture putting LTV almost in bankruptcy?) and this building was not what-if dream, only the in-service markings are fiction, all right.

Well, no, it was only a wooden mockup. That's no more a plane than a 1:72 scale kit is.

Offline ChernayaAkula

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Re: Vought V-507 Vagabond VFX Build Thread
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2013, 02:20:55 PM »
Lovely!  :-* Absolutely stunning!

What are your plans for this? Going for the whole Tomcat history? Vandy 1? TPS-camouflaged JDAM-carrier from OIF/OEF? TARPS bird?

Looking again at the five contenders Talos posted and going by the "good looks" department, I'm kinda glad the Grumman-design won.  ;D Although the LTV design is quite a looker, too. Very sleek. Would certainly look stunning as a model. 
Cheers,
Moritz

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