What's your process for creating textures? I could never grasp the artistic side of it, with the greebles and details. The really hard ones for me were capital ships, since they weren't based on aircraft with panel lines but big ship hull sections and I could never figure out how to make it look interesting.
I've started using Substance Painter for the textures, it's really intuitive after you get the hang of it. I'll typically draw panel lines, vents, fasteners, thermal protection materials, and other details. I'm really just trying to think about how the ground crews would access stuff, how the complex shapes would be manufactured, and assembled how the pilots get in and out (hand holds, ladders, etc). I'll then add placards and other details. The grunge is largely determined by the locations of the panel lines, so the nice thing there is if you want to add another panel somewhere, the grunge will follow along when you add a new line! There's also a lot of hand placed weathering and grunge. Gun exhaust, leaks, battle damage, etc etc.
I've created a process video showing how the layers of the Ferret come together. Keep in mind it doesn't really happen a layer at a time, I'll bounce around, add a placard here, a panel there, until it 'feels' right. This comes from a lifetime of building models and working in aerospace, and I use a lot of different sources for inspiration. The Ferret is Viper (F-16 and BSG both) and A-4 Skyhawk inspired, the Sabre has a lot of Super Hornet/Strike Eagle in her, the Rapier a lot of F-15 Eagle, Mig-29 and Legacy Hornet Cues, etc. And I'm by no means claiming it's perfect! It's just right for me, is all! Really it's just a great way to relax - not having to worry about getting it 'exactly right' as I would with an aircraft or spacecraft for engineering or commercial vfx, and I'm glad people here seem to enjoy them!
The Ferret is now available on Sketchfab as well!
P-64 Ferret inspired by ‘Wing Commander’ - P-64 Ferret - 3D model by Hangar.b.productions