"Virtual Airplane" is an e-book. You can learn from this guide how to build a detailed aircraft model using Open Source software: Blender, GIMP and Inkscape. No previous experience on this field is required. Its goal is to encourage the traditional modelers to drop their plastic kits and try to do their models in Blender. In subsequent chapters this book shows how to build a P-40B model shown on its cover.

Buy it

In March 2015 I completed the third edition of this guide, which covers Blender 2.7x. This publication is available in Polish and English. The Polish versions are free, while their English translations are paid books. To make it more affordable, "Virtual Airplane" is also available as four separate volumes. I am selling them through the popular e-book web shops, to be able to keep working on the future editions of this guide.

I want to keep "Virtual Airplane" in line with the current major versions of the software it describes. On the download page I note various changes in the recent Blender release that are relevant to the presented workflow. (The address of the download page you can find on the first page of Chapter 1, in every volume as well as in the complete book). When the number of such differences is large enough, I will prepare a new edition.

"Virtual Airplane" contains mostly illustrations (it resembles a comic book). Thus, its Polish versions are still readable, to some extent, for all. You can download this free version and skim it, using the accompanying English table of contents. This way you will precisely know what this guide contains and whether it is worth buying!

This edition is available in the most-popular e-book formats: PDF, MOBI (for Amazon Kindle and Android tablets) and EPUB (for Apple iPad tablets).

IMPORTANT: if you are going to read this book on iPad (or other Apple iOS device) - use the EPUB format and read it in the iBooks application.

(You can find more tips about reading this book in various formats and on various devices in this device/format matrix).

Below you can find the same guide split into four separate volumes. (In this way you can buy only the parts you are most interested in):

Volume I: Preparations
pages: 168, illustrations: 227
Preparation of reference drawings, required to create the model. It utilizes GIMP and Inkscape (in this part we do not use Blender). This third edition uses GIMP 2.8 and Inkscape 0.48.

Volume II: Modeling
pages: 444, illustrations: 771
Describes how to form the model, using the previously prepared plans and photographs. I assume that the Reader has not used Blender before, so it begins from a general introduction to this program. Then we will start to model the easiest parts, gradually introducing more advanced techniques. This third edition uses Blender 2.7.

Volume III: Materials and Textures
pages: 636, illustrations: 1110
Preparation of basic materials and their textures, and arrangement of a typical flight scene. It uses the new Cycles rendering engine. This third edition uses Blender 2.7

Volume IV: Detailing and Rendering
pages: 523, illustrations: 1000
This volume discusses creation of various aircraft parts, especially of the cockpit and undercarriage. (The model of the pilot you will find in the files accompanying this book). I also describe here methods of controlling typical moveable elements (such as retractable landing gear or flaps). At the end I will show the composition of exemplary scenes in the flight and on the ground. This third edition uses Blender 2.7.

Below you can find some "raw" renders of the finished model. All of them were made in Cycles, without any postprocessing.
1. P-40B - rear view
2. P-40B - front view
3. Undercarriage
4. Inside pilot's cockpit
5. Pilot's seat
6. A close-up of the instrument panel
7. A pilot figure (for the flight scenes)
8. The pilot figure, seen from the back
9. A simple composition with a background photo (photo: (C) Tommo Yun, www.yunphoto.net)