Monday, March 17, 2008

Fighter Design

Any boy who grew up in the 80s knows his fighter jets. With movies like Top Gun, D.A.R.Y.L., Iron Eagle in theaters, and RoboTech on television how could you not fall in love with jets? Because the boy from my youth is still alive and well somewhere in my head I never abandoned my love for cool fighter jets. When it came time to design Missile Mouse's space ship for the story I did for Flight Explorer I relished the opportunity. I wanted the space ship to have one foot in reality and another foot in space fiction. A big influence on the design for the ship was the ultra-sweet F-22 Raptor. Not only is it the most formidable air craft ever made but it's flat out beautiful. A favorite quote of mine comes from Ben Rich the successor to Skunk Works founder Kelly Johnson. He said, "All of us had been trained by Kelly Johnson and believed fanatically in his insistence that an airplane that looked beautiful would fly the same way." How true. Just compare the way the elegant and sleek SR-71 flew to the way the angular and harsh F-117. Likewise, the F-22 looks fast and surgical, and is supersonic and extremely precise.


Though I didn't work straight from any reference photos of the F-22, it was still in my the back of my head as I began sketching out ideas. Here you can see how the forms and shapes evolved:


This is the final design. You can see some elements of the F-22 made an impression on it. In the end though it had to feel futuristic and spaceship like, and not just a jet fighter variant. I'm pleased with the design. It was almost a pity to have MM crash it into a planet with in the first 3 pages of my story.



Sweet 80's goodness: Top Gun D.A.R.Y.L. Iron Eagle RoboTech

The comic: Flight Explorer

Jets: F-22 Raptor SR-71 F-117 Skunk Works

The geniuses: Ben Rich Kelly Johnson

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