Modeling the F-100 Super Saber


  • Select Contiguous Edges
  • Delete by Type – History
  • Snapping (edges, vertices, & the grid)
  • Insert Edge Loops

Find references:  I spent a great deal of time finding reference images, which also including a balsa model airplane kit blueprint.   The kit blueprint really helped with getting close to the reel shape, taking away a lot of the guess work. 


Create Image planes. 

Now once your images are all lined up, you will find that not even the best image plane sets are completely accurate.  So what I suggest is to choose the most detailed view, like the side view, and always go with it if placement is a bit off.


Create Wireframe.


Using Create Polygon Tool, create one side panel, snapping the vertices to align with the corners.  Insert Edge Loops where needed.   I started right in the middle and inserted 1 extra edge loop.   Continue filling in the above and below and insert extra edge loops as needed.

Once the entire middle section is completed, select the right or left vertical edge and extrude to the next vertical hull edge.  *I had to switch to “Global” axis extrude. Then snap all new vertices to the hull.

If you double click on a edge, it will select the entire edge loop.  If you just want one entire side selected, choose Select > Select Contiguous Edges. 


Repeat for entire plane hull.

As I extruded, I also scaled the edges to fit the hull shape.  This made it easier to snap the new extruded edges to the airplane hull. 


I added a few more edge loops to help shape the cockpit when the smooth preview is activated.

The part is to re-shape the planes hull.  The best way to do this is to eyeball the mesh and look at the flow of the meshes edges. 

Using the scale tool, align all the vertical edges.  Select all the vertices in a vertical section and scale them in one direction until it the handles doesn’t move anymore.  In this case I moved the blue handle or the Z Scale.  

I spent way too much time tweaking, but I am much happier with the hull shape.  I deleted some edge loops, and I tweaked and tweaked and tweaked.  You could spend hours tweaking, this is one of the reasons to keep the mesh as low poly as possible.  Less polys, less tweaking. 

  • Sight down edge lines to see how the edges flow, looking for unusual divots and geometry that just doesn’t flow right.  At this stage, I tend to toggle on/off  smooth preview to see the geometries flow.
  • Apply a material like Blin, so I can see how light reacts to the surface,  This is another way to see how well your geometry flows.
  • Try to evenly space out edges

Apply a material with a specular highlight, like Blin.  This will allow you to see all the imperfections that you missed.  I ended up tweaking some more.  I am a detail freak. 

My rule of thumb is to use as low a poly mesh as possible; it is just easier to work with and shape.  One of the downfalls is that when you smooth, there is some shrinkage and you might have to compensate for it.  The process just takes time, but it will be worth it.



By deleting object history, you can speed up Maya’s performance and maybe avoid unwanted ‘crashing’  Each object created has a ‘history’ or inputs, assuming that history is on.  It is useful to have on, but after  awhile, most input nodes are useless and just adds to Maya’s calculations slowing performance.  Select the objects that you want history deleted and  Edit > Delete by Type > History