1984 Ford Thunderbird (first car)

Hi guys, this is my first car and my first WIP on this forum (go easy on me!)

I'm modeling a 1984 Ford Thunderbird (I own one). I scoured the entire internet to get good blueprints for over 2 weeks and came up with zilch - even emailed Ford but they shot me down. -So- I went out and took the best ortho photographs I could of my car. They didn't work out too bad but still had some photographic distortions even though I used a long lens and lots of distance. I ended up having to eyeball it a bit getting the proportions correct.

I have the front end almost done and I haven't added any depth to the body panels yet but here is a beauty render of what I have so far:


I modeled the each panel separately, so I can easily make mods to the body, ie scoops, spoilers, wings, bodykits etc so there is a little more gaps than normal and I wanted a 80's realistic fit and finish where everything doesn't line up perfect ;)
lol... i know someone on this site who may not be too happy with your nickname my man. i wonder if i am the only one who has spotted it so far. well it made me laugh anyway. :grin:
pretty good for your first car tho. theres a few pinches and stuff. if you post some wires then people will be able to help you make it better. keep it up.
lol... just the name making me laugh again... sorry about that.
Yeah, I saw the guy named Red Star on this forum the other day. I have had the name Red Spar since 1997 - here is a post of mine I found on google in the yr: 2000 MY POST

and I own the domain Red Spar Technologies so no stealing here. ;)

I am still working out some "blueprint" inconsistencies.


Traffic Car Connoisseur
sweet choice of car!! :D but then again, I'm biased towards this car and other 80's cars, and ford products... but that's a whole new can of worms.

Anyway, it looks good. I have a couple tutorials for creating photo blueprints. If you have photoshop and the willingness to line up multiple photos and blend them in to eachother using layer masks, you can make an even more accurate print of the car.

Let me know if you're interested and I'll try digging up the links, or you can search for photo blueprints and you may be able to find them.

But it's looking good so far, though the front end may be a wee tad too tapered/small/narrow. Not sure on that though. You should model it as a pristine showroom-quality model. Because all 80's cars deserve to look brand new :p
Hey it's Red Star, my doppelganger! ;) Nice to meet you!

The top photo I took from a very high bridge down to my car below.. Lemme tell ya it was a crazy shot, as I had to hang way out with my camera over the bridge :eek:

Here is the final result from about 200ft:

I would say I am relatively new to modeling but I'm not a noob. I got some 3ds max training DVDs and did a crash course learning of modeling where I did nothing but learn for a few weeks straight. Also having a lot of photog experience made it really easy for me to learn the lighting and rendering in Mental Ray.

Here is my real first model, a spaceship I did: http://www.redspar.com/aries/desert.jpg
More pics and videos (xvid) here: Index of /aries

I box modeled that ship so going to nurms modeling on this car was a bit of a learning experience.

Yeah schaefft, I would say it is midpoly but who know how many I will end up with ..lol

multimediaman, yeah I am an die in the whool Ford man with a special love of 80's cars!.

I think I used one of the tuts on here for photoblueprinting.

This is what I came up with..(top shot was replaced with above though)

Thanks for the quick and excellent responses all, you guys rock!
That's one way to take pics from above I guess :grin:

Quite fast you've learned how to model, looks super what you've done sofar.

Glad to hear you enjoy your stay at SMC :)


Traffic Car Connoisseur
yeah, there's still quite a bit of perspective distortion going on in your pictures. If you're taking the pictures of the front or back of the car, take 3 pictures. The first would have your lens lined up with the right-most side of the vehicle, about where the hood meets up with the windshield. Then the next picture would be taken at the middle of the car, still at the same elevation, and the last would be taken at the left-most side.

Do that for the front and back views of the car, and the same should be done for the side, only you'd line up with the front-most part, the center of the car, and the rear-most part. the more pictures you take the more accurate it has a potential of being... however it's also more time-consuming in photoshop.

If you're wanting to take more pictures, the first most helpful to add would be pics in the side view lined up at the tires. (two pictures)

For the front and back views, it may be helpful to add photos lined up with the top of the vehicle's roof (at the right- and left-most sections of the roof), and the bottom of the bumper. (6 additional pictures per view)

The top view can be done using these same methods, you will most likely have to mirror the car though, as you'll likely only be able to line yourself up with one side of the car. You'll want yourself lined up with the furthest rear+side extent (in the view you took of your car's top view, it would be the rear-right of the car) ... then your optional tire-aligned picture for the rear, then the picture in the center of the car, the optional front tire-aligned picture, and then the front extents picture.

Hope that serves purpose to you.
Wow that is good advice....*crap*...I could have used that info before I started! *smacks forehead* I might be into the model too deep now to redo the reference photos. I tell ya what, I have a BIG appreciation for good blueprints, it can make modeling sooo much easier.

Thanks Mulitmediaman.
Did a little more today. Rough finished the door, roof and part of the rear fender.

The door didn't have quite the right curve so I took a large piece of cardboard and a sharpy, traced the outline of the door with it open and then took a photo to import into max so I could trace polys around it.. Worked like a charm. :)

Here's what a got:

As you can see part of the door isn't cut out yet or any door handles/mirrors yet but I will wait until I get the main body done to fiddle with the tiny bits. ;)


Traffic Car Connoisseur
Wow that is good advice....*crap*...I could have used that info before I started! *smacks forehead* I might be into the model too deep now to redo the reference photos. I tell ya what, I have a BIG appreciation for good blueprints, it can make modeling sooo much easier.

Thanks Mulitmediaman.
heh... well, even if you don't model off the prints taken with the multiple pictures, they'd still make one heck of a nice blueprint donation! :grin:

(*hint hint* *beg beg*) :p
Well, I was hoping you will be Modelling your car when I saw your signature on another thread....and I am happy to see it in the works! great choice! especially with having ability to take so many shots for reference. I will be following this to the end since this is one of my many favorites. great fun to drive too. ( on pacific coast highway in california between nothern and souther cal.!) :) :) :)
So you model, smooth, render, only one part of the car at a time? I always thought doing the entire car with each technique at once, not part of it at a time, hmmmm....
I wanted to separate the major parts so I could easily swap out different ones for with mods. I belong to a Thunderbird club, and some of the guys want to see visualization of the T-Bird with different grills, spoilers, airdams, scoops etc.... So I went with a 'modular' approach to modeling this car.

Besides, I like to be different... :grin:
'Nuther update. Never mind the funktastic paint shader on the nose..Just a test. I tell ya what, Thunderbirds have crazy subtle curves everywhere. Ack! My brain hurts now.

Try to model an Alero:grin: looking great sofar, its a shame it isnt made for a game like gta sa. A gta sa version of this car could also be a base for a later convertion to gta4.