• John Matthews

Pre Strike: F-105D Thunderchiefs

Hello all! The final render of my F-105 Thunderchief artwork popped out of the oven a couple days ago:

I’ve gave all the planes in the lead formation different tail numbers, and tail codes for the 357th TFS (Dragons) before rendering the final scene. I scoured the Internet and my own references for photos of those planes, at least four of which, I believe, survived to be displayed later in the U.S. Hopefully I haven’t omitted anything about their appearance.

Final renders always take a while because they have to be done at a higher resolution so they can be printed without looking grainy and dithered. This one took almost a week to finish.

I began doing post-production work afterward by adding exhaust from the planes’ J-75 engines, which were smokey little beasts. The exhaust trails are in separate layers than the planes, so I may make them just a bit less visible, and not extend so far behind the foreground formation because they’re close to obscuring the formation of trailing Thuds in the background. I’m a bit uncertain about adding any wingtip vortice condensation. I’m wondering whether they’ll be lost against the clouds, so I’ll have to experiment with that a bit and decide whether it’s something I want to add.

With that, I’ll have to sign off. I have to pack a bag for a weekend trip that one of my sons and I are making to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Lots of walking around enjoying the exhibits and snapping reference photos for upcoming projects. Should be fun! I’ll share a few of them with you after we get back. Until then...

Safe skies,


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