V - Now to the details


We have painted the main elements of the 737-700, let's move now to the details. We have to add the "the brightest star...", the "www.altairva.com", the registration and flag and the "City of Something" to our fuselage. Very easy once again...


"the brightest star..."

This "the brightest star..." slogan is present only in our Altair Airlines planes, it is not displayed on the Altair Express, nor the Altair Corporate aircraft. Just out of curiosity there is a reason for that. Since the Altair Express and Corporate planes tend to be smaller some models do not have enough space to have this written below the windows. In some models you do not even have enough space to write "Altair Express" and you have to write it below the windows, and the slogan would look kinda odd above the windows. That is why only the Altair Airlines planes have it.

Now that you know that let's check our reference to see where to place the slogan:


As you can see, the beginning and the end of the sllogan are aligned with the "Altair", not including the yellow wedge. Notice as well that the size of the font is roughly half the height of the windows. That is a good reference.

The font use to write the slogan is the official Altair website font. Do not confuse this one with the font used to write "Altair", that is a different one. Those writings are smaller in size so the font used was one that could provide good "readability" from a certain distance. The font use is:

          - ARIAL BOLD


The size of the font depends on the size of the "Altair" name and, as said before, the size of the image (that is why we used the windows for reference). All elements, the "the brightest star...", the "www", the registration and the "City" have a proportion you should keep. So the biggest one is of course the "Altair", then the "www", then the "brightest star" and the registration and finally the smallest is the "City of".

They have also different spacing between the letters or "tracking" as it is called in Photoshop. Once you have the size of the letter set to an aproximate value you change the spacing to align them to the "Altair". But do not make the spacing too big or too small as it will look odd if you overdo it. Always remember that it must LOOK right!!!

Let's go back to our PAI file and mark the correct position.


Once again I have dragged a guide one pixel below the windows.

Now we use the TEXT TOOL to write "the brightest star..." in the correct position.

This is the result I got and the settings I used for font size, spacing, anti-alias, etc...


I used almost the smallest font size available, 7pixels and 130 for spacing. The font is aproximately half the height of the windows and it appears to be in proportion with the "Altair".

That was easy wasn't it?



Now we will write our website adress. I shouldn't even give directions for that, so easy it is. But nevertheless, here we go.

Let's take a look at the "City of Denver" again. We can see that the "www" is aligned to the last window and it is about 2/3 the height of the window. On the Kittyhawk model, the "City of Denver" (image below) it reaches the 11th window, on the PMDG model, the "City of Almere" it reaches the 9th window due to the differences between the two models. Let's see what will look best in our PAI model.


Now go ahead and place the "www" there.

I dragged a guide to the last window and with the same guide we had used before to place the "Altair" we have marked the position where the "www" will be.

Here is what I got:


Font size is 12 pixels, spacing is 200 and anti-alias is "smooth". The two guide lines to the left are at the 11th and the 9th windows to have a reference. It is reaching the 10th window so I think this is ok. I have also experimented with 14 pixels for font size but I think it was too big when compared to the windows height so I used 12 in the end.


Registration and Flag

Let's take another look to our City of Denver and see where our flag and registration are.

The flag is aligned to the last window, just like the "www" is. The spacing from the bottom of the windows though is about two times what we used with the "www". Since we used 1 pixel I think 2 pixels will be fine here from the top of the flag to the bottom of the windows.

The registration in turn is vertically aligned to the middle of the flag and horizontally spaced from the flag about the same the letters and numbers are between each other. The flag is about one and a half "windows" wide and about a "window" high. Easy as well. But... before we go on, let me observe two things...


Some Remarks

The first one is about the flag. It will be just a couple of pixels high and it will loose a lot of definition. At a distance you will only have a vague idea of which country it represents. But it is an AI plane anyway so we can live with that.


Second remark is about the registrations. There is a non written rule I am following for giving both a registration and a "City of" name to each plane. Again, just out of curiosity, here is what I do...

Every single plane that comes out of the Altair Weaver & Painters Guild relates to one of our pilots, although not many of our pilots noticed it until now... LOL.

Every non-vintage plane from Altair Airlines, Altair Express and Altair Corporate is delivered to a hub. The first plane to be delivered to a hub is always christened "City of Name of the Hub", having the flag of this hub's country and the registration given according to the ALT number or the initials of the Hub Manager, always following the registration regulations for the country. One example is the Altair Airlines Airbus A340-313E "City of Manchester" registration "G-MICK" for Mr. Michael Drury. Another one is our Altair Corporate Boeing B737-BBJ "City of Krakow" with the "SP-STA" registration after Mr. Stan Lisonek, the Krakow Hub Manager.

For the second plane delivered to a certain hub I usually look the flight records of our pilots and try to identify a particular pilot that flies that plane often, assuming that if he flies it, he likes it... That is the case of the second plane delivered to the Amsterdam hub, the PMDG Beechcraft B1900D "City of Ede" with the "PH-COA" registration after our friend Mr. Co Alberts who has a serious love affair with this little beauty and the PMDG Boeing B737-700 "City of Almere" "PH-ROB" after Mr. Rob Alberts.

For the Altair "hubless" divisions like AVAS I use the same criteria for the "second hub plane" except that I can use the pilots own countries for registration instead of the hub's country. Those are the cases of the AVAS-OP Bell 205A-1 "City of Topeka" with registration "N917AT" after Mr. John Fife, the AVAS-AA Beechcraft B1900D "City of Canton" "N99AT" after Mr. Nard, and the AVAS-AA Bell 205A-1 "City of Singapore" "9V-WON" for Mr. Pierson Wong, among others.

The vintage ladies have a special rule as they are named after the Altair "founding fathers". So you have a few obvious ones like the 1960 Douglas DC-7C "City of Londonberry" "G-ALAN" after Mr. Alan McFaul and other not so obvious ones like the 1920 Lockheed Vega "VH-SCT" after Mr. Scott Braiding, the 1920 Ford 5AT Tri-Motor "NC18AT" after Mr. Terry Blythe and the 1930 Douglas DC-3 "City of Harlingen" "PH-IDK" after Mr. Iwan de Kleine.

The vintage aircraft also follow the historic variations in it's registrations, like the 1930 Piper J3 Cub after Mr. Andy Williams being the "NC45AT" and not the N45AT and the 1960 Douglas DC-8-63 "City of Simcoe" after Mr. Don Muirhead being the "CF-DON" and not the C-FDON.

In general no plane's registration is taken twice for one pilot but there are some exceptions when two different countries registrations may apply to one pilot.

There is also a special "in memorian" circumstance when a plane is named after a pilot and not "City of", like the Altair Express Fokker 100 "Peter Garland" "N726AT" and the Altair Logistics Lockheed L100 "Gary Cavitt" "N198AT".

In general the most active pilots within Altair got their initials/numbers and their cities on a plane's nose, but you may notice some notorious absences. In such cases this pilot surely has his/her initials/numbers written on a plane that is not out yet.

Well... I think I stretched this a little too far but, if you are going to paint somthing for Altair, you had to know this.

AI aircraft

In our case the AI aircraft are a representation of our existing fleet, so they will reproduce the existing ones. We have been using the "City of Denver" "N401AT" after Mr. Bryan Swann so we will name this AI 737 also the "City of Denver". By the way, the "City of Denver" is not the N15AT after the Hub Manager because the "City of Big Canoe" is already a nice updated Boeing B767-300 to be released soon...

Let me provide you now with a nice american flag for you to use on our model. I have zipped many big gifs from all the countries we have either hubs and pilots from. You may download the file here:

          - Country flags


After you have download it, get the american flag, open it in your image editor and copy paste it to your PAI file in a new layer. You will see that we will have to reduce it A LOT!!!

When resizing remember to do it keeping the correct proprotions.

In Photoshop you can use the shortcut CTRL + T and drag one of the edges while holding the SHIFT key.

Here is the result:


As you can see I dragged a guide to the aproximate position over the second window and resized the flag to match it while keeping it aligned to the guides in the upper right corner.

After resizing it I have dragged another guide to the horizontal middle of the flag that will already serve to align the registration, which we will write in the sequence.

Go ahead and write "N401AT" in front of the flag. We used 6 pixels for the "the brightest star..." so let's use 7 pixels for the registration to make it a tad bigger. Here is mine:


And now we go write the last element of the livery, the "City of Denver" on the nose. Take a look at the weird image below. This strange looking plane is not the first 737-SP in history but our City of Denver with the mid fuselage removed so we can see the alignment without having to reduce the image to make it fit in this page.

Notice that by a "nice coincidence" the top of the "City of Denver" is perfectly aligned with the bottom of the registration. Nice isn't it? So all we have to do is drag a guide line to the bottom of the registration and go to our PAI file and write the "City of Denver" at about the same distance it is from the 1L door. The "City of Whateverville" is usually aligned to the last frame from the cockpit window. We do not have the cockpit window frames here so we will have to guess where it is and position the name of the plane somehwere and correct it later.


Here is the result:


And... that is it. We have now painted one side of the Altair Airlines Boeing B737-700 fuselage. Before going to paint the other side of the fuselage it is a good idea to go test it. This way, if there is something wrong you only have to correct it once, not twice. So leave the right side for now and let's paint the tail and the winglets...

Let's see in the next module how to do it.


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