Destination: London

  • December 08, 2012
  • Blender 2.6x
  • Render: Blender Internal
  • Creator: BMF
  • License: CC-0
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Destination: London

Fieseler Fi 103 V-1 Flying Bomb

UPDATE: The rendered image to the left doesn't show the detail in the model. You need to download and render (a few seconds) the scene to appreciate some of the finer details.

The V-1, also known as the Buzz Bomb and the Doodlebug, was a World War II German pulse-jet powered pilot-less bomb that was the forerunner of today's cruise missiles.

Speed: 640 Km/h (400 mph)

Range: 250 km (160 miles)

Warhead: 850 kg (1,900 pounds)

An interesting footnote was that the wings were plywood and bolted on so they could be removed for transporting. The body was welded sheet metal.

It was designed for bombing London and launched from many sites along the European coast on a ramp about 48 meters in length, oriented toward London, and elevated at an angle designed to assist in launch and initial trajectory.

The first V-1 was launched at London on June 13, 1944. At the peak, more than 100 V-1's a day were launched toward London and southeast England. More than 9,500 were fired into England.

Initially, the British had difficulty shooting down V-1's as their AA guns could not traverse fast enough to track the V-1 accurately. It took about 2,500 rounds to hit a V-1 and vast majority of them were getting through the defenses. However, by August 1944, the British had acquired new tracking technology from Bell Labs in the US and were able to destroy about 80% of the V-1's with an average of 100 rounds per target.

Another 2,500 were launched into the port of Antwerp and other targets in Belgium. The V-1 attacks continued until March 1945 and caused nearly 23,000 casualties, nearly all of whom were civilians.

As most of my projects, this didn't start out to become a scene to upload to Blend Swap. I'm interested in modeling aircraft and my first attempt a couple of weeks ago ended in failure because my skills were insufficient to model the more complex parts of the aircraft. So, I decided to take a step back and begin with something more simple like the V-1 buzz bomb.

It took longer than I expected to complete because I discovered that I lacked a sufficient understanding how Blender treats materials and textures, especially multiple textures on a single mesh.

I learned several important lessons:

  1. Topology is critically important. If I had analyzed the model before I started, I could have visualized or sketched out the most important areas where topology would be key to a good model. Instead, I ended up starting over and/or re-texturing countless times because the geometry was wrong or wouldn't support what I wanted to do.

  2. Understanding how textures can be assigned to the mesh and how they will appear in the stack will keep the frustration level manageable. It took me a long time to figure it out.

  3. Check the work before proceeding too far. You will notice in the rendered image, there is a dark spot near the left fuze access port. That a &%$$#!! Ngon. I thought I had created an edge loop that followed a row of faces. However, the loop didn't go all the way, and I didn't catch the mistake until the model was essentially complete. I wasn't willing to fix it and have to redo the body UV textures again.

  4. Save often. And if you are about to try something you've never done before, save a new version before proceeding. If it doesn't work out, you can revert back to your good version.

  5. Never use the join option to merge all of the parts of your model unless you never again intend to modify it. Trying to un-join it by separating the model back into its original parts will leave you a complete mess. With a model of any complexity and texturing, you'll have to start over or revert back to a previous version. That was the worst mistake I made. Bad dog! No bone!!

I also ended up with a couple unsolved problems and if anyone has the solution/answer, I'd appreciate it if you would include it in the comments section below.

a. I finally figured out how to get text (a PNG file with a transparent background) on the mesh about where I wanted it, but no matter what I did, I couldn't get the Image Mapping to "clip" the image. No matter which option I tried, it always repeated. I'm guessing that images with transparent backgrounds can't be clipped for some reason. Therefore, I had to guess what the right size for the text would have to be in Photoshop, but that didn't work very well. Consequently, the lettering on the sides of the V-1 is a bit larger than it would have been on the real V-1.

b. There is probably no solution to this problem, but I wanted to UV texture the screws on the front cones of the V-1 like I did for the three panels along the left side. I selected the faces I needed, assigned them to a new material, marked the seam, and unwrapped it. Very straight forward. I then exported the UV map to Photoshop and placed the screw textures in their proper locations. I then used it as the texture for the UV map in Blender. This is exactly what I did for the three panels and they turned out OK. In texture mode, the screw textures for the cone were all in their proper locations, but when I rendered it, the screws on the front part of the UV map rendered correctly, but the second set of screws on the other side of the UV map mapped to the body instead of the cone section and appeared as huge images along the body. No matter what I did, I couldn't get the second row of screws (on the same UV map) to map to the cone map instead of the body UV map.

I'm puzzled why the first set of screws rendered correctly and the second row on the same UV map would not. Additionally, when I experimented moving the second row of textures towards the middle of the UV map, it also moved the first row of textured screws off the UV map. There must be a reason for this odd behavior, but I don't have a clue.

As a historical note, I downloaded about 50 reference images for the V-1. There were only two blueprint schemas and both were very poor quality. The rest were WW II photographs and photographs from museum versions of the V-1. I noticed that no two V-1's were the same. They all had different stenciling (even the color of the text were different and varied from white, yellow, black, red, and green), different arrangements of panels, different paint patterns, different spinners, and the list is endless. I couldn't find a complete set of reference images for the same V-1, so my model is a composite of the details I could see in different reference images.

Some paintings and modes of the V-1 show weathering, chipped paint, etc. While the realism is believable, the Germans kept the V-1's in bunkers before moving them to be assembled and prepared for launch. They were then rolled out to the launch ramps and fired. Therefore, i assume that they were launched with a fresh coat of paint with no discernible texturing other than perhaps uneven painting as it was being sprayed.

I came to the conclusion that every V-1 site probably painted their own V-1's and essentially painted them however they felt on a particular day.

Nicht anfassen means "Keep Off" or "Stay Away." I could be found painted on vertical and horizontal stabilizers. There were up to two dozen different sets of stenciling and some V-1's with no markings at all. I couldn't find a vintage era photograph of a V-1 with a German swastika or cross on the wings, body, or tail; so I didn't include them either. However, there are paintings of V-1 with such markings, but I'm convinced that these one-way bombs rarely had anything other than the bare essential markings and lettering.

The internal structure and organization of the V-1 is interesting in it's simplicity and lethality. There were five sections. From front to back were the gryo-compass section, the warhead, the fuel tank, the pressurized air tanks, and finally the controls for the elevator and rudder plus some other instruments.

I think I'll fix the Ngon problem, work some more on the lettering that would typically be on the V-1. Perhaps I'll create a scene with the launch ramp. Or I may move on to another project.

As always, I make this model freely available for whatever you would like to do with it. No need for credits as It's just a hobby that I enjoy.


  • BlenderBoy55 profile picture

    WOW, I got educated today!! All the problems you just described, i found the information useful because i am a new blender user. Thanks for sharing.

    Edited December 08, 2012
  • ICanHazSource profile picture

    Well made model, and correct history. Also nice of you for not painting on the swastika, they rarely had them on there anyway.

    Written December 09, 2012
  • bramble profile picture

    Great work and very good points on workflow and procedure.

    Written December 09, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    Well, I tend to include too much at times. However, when I'm modeling a historic object, I like to know the history behind it. It helps both with the modeling and inspiration.

    The Fi 103 V-1 was a significant weapon in WWII and I felt that some of the history might be of interest to those who decided to down load it.

    Written January 05, 2013
  • Warren profile picture

    Thank you very much for this model and the explanations as I am new to blender and will keep the tips in mind, as well as I appreciate the background as not only am I interested in the period but my grandparents lived in London during the war and told me many stories not only of air raids but also of the dreaded 'doodle bugs', which they could hear flying above, and described the dread when the motor cut out and everybody wondered where it would strike.

    Written January 18, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    Not surprisingly, this scene had not been very popular. It's just a WW II weapon that is unknown to most people and most do not appreciate the historical its historical significance. It's a weapon that killed more than 23,000 civilians that had no military significance other than to cause terror within the civilian population.

    However, this model/scene was only meant to be a stepping stone or learning experience in order to model more complex aircraft. Therefore, how popular it might be is not so important.

    Soon I will be posting two Blender files. One will be a tribute to my uncle who was a double ACE during the Korean War and who died recently as the 6th ranked jet ace in American history. The second will be a tribute to my father who was a B-17 pilot during WWII and was shot down on 26 July 1943.

    My guess is that neither of those scenes will be very popular as well, but it is important to expose people to history lest they forget.

    Written July 05, 2013