VPB IL2  K.E.D.S.S. and T.A.M.S.

One of the most enjoyable jobs we get to do with our modding efforts is to work on aircraft skins. It is very unlikely that anyone will be particularly bowled over to learn that many of the the stock sim Default skins are... errrr... pants (for the non-British out there, that means "really bad"!). [ Another nod to Daedalus here, as we understand that many of the Defaults have been changed since 4.09... for the better. They would have to be! ] Not just poor in technique, which many are, but the main problem is that too many are quite historically incorrect. Now, that is unacceptable.

So, we have made our own. Or, at least, most of the Defaults... we have retained a few originals. We call this modification KEDSS. The meaning of this daft acronym have been lost in the annals of time, but that's what it is. However, since we work with the sim's 4.09 version, we are thus limited to three possible Default categories for each aircraft: Summer, Winter and Desert. We also desire to use marked Default skins-- that is, skins with the national insignia applied. We have left the numbers and codes system in place so that these are still added by the mission set-up, but skins are of the marked variety except for a few types whose 3d model really struggles with poor artefacts and mirroring. Many of you will be familiar with the more notorious culprits-- the H8K, He 111, Yak-1 and so on.

The use of marked Defaults has required a fair amount of planning on our part. We decided that the various Default skins would always be an historical skin relevant for the main operator of the type within the the most common time frame. That is to say that the country of origin of the aircraft might not be the markings nor scheme chosen for the Default. For instance, the He 111 E's Default is a Fascist Spain scheme, which in the context of the sim's time-line is the most logical choice. In many cases the Desert Default is used for this purpose, so that the Russian SB's Desert skin is a suitable Republican Spain livery.

The various game applied national insignia, numbers and letters have been replaced entirely. Most of these markings were profoundly stupid (conceptual failure alert)-- not to mention shockingly poor in quality-- and they have been replaced by corrected versions [e.g. MS Comic Sans font on VVS aircraft?!!.. you couldn't make that up!]. However, some very irritating problems in this category remain. Firstly, the placement of these markings is controlled by the 3d model, which we cannot edit. A fair few of these are spurious, resulting in an ahistorical appearance. Some of these 'place markings here' spots also refer to the incorrect type of cipher-- ineptly positioned numbers on a P-51, for example-- and just grate continuously. There is still much work to be done on this matter.

TAMS (Theatre Assigned Mission Skins) came about partly due to our Campaign flying, and also partly because it just makes good sense. Changes since 4.09 have enabled more Default skin options, and that would be very welcome. But, even so, we feel that there is a need for more specific skins to be available universally to suit various times, locations and theatres of operation. A TAMS might depict an Israeli marked P-51D, for example, or an NKPR Yak-9P, that sort of thing. We also have more specialised TAMS-- for JG 5 in the North; for Channel Front based Luftwaffe fighters (the defaults are all Eastern Front); for D-Day markings; for Coastal Command; and so on. TAMS are named according to a fixed, agreed system and are distributed to all of our players so that, when invoked by a mission, they are applied immediately and correctly by each copy of the sim. There is no flinging about of skins via the network connection (improving game play), and no problems from incorrectly marked aircraft (with icons off, one can imagine where that goes).

Hurricane I early version with fabric wings and Watts prop
Fw 190 A-3 w/ outer MG-FF removed, Channel Front (TAMS)

I-16 Type 17
B-25C, Desert Default

I-153 M-63
Yak-1 oblegchenniy (lightened)

Bf 109 T-2
Bf 109 G-6

M.S. 406
Do 217 K-1

He 177, Channel Front (TAMS)
S.199, IAF (TAMS)

Cr. 32ter, SCW (TAMS)

Yak-9P, North Korea (TAMS)
SB M-100, SCW (TAMS)

Ki.61-Ic (hei)
Hs 129

Ta 152 H
Cant Z.1007bis

Late model Pe-2
Il-2 'strelkoi' (arrow)

Pe-8 AM-35
Spitfire Mk Vc