Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


GMAX SOFTWARE is an example of CAD, computer-aided design. Indeed, it’s a simplified sibling of Autodesk 3ds Max, a professional 3D computer graphics program.

Autodesk calls 3ds Max its “3D modeling and rendering software for design visualization, games, and animation.” Like other professional CAD software, this software has scads of features and is not inexpensive: $185/month, $1545/year, or $3675 for a perpetual license.

GMax is 3ds Max’s stripped-down sibling, introduced in 2001 as part of Australian Studio Auran’s Trainz Railroad Simulator. I got GMax when Microsoft cut a deal distributing it with MS Flight Simulator beginning in 2002. FS hobbyists use the software to design aircraft (and buildings) and import them into the flight sim.

As of October 16, 2005, Autodesk discontinued its tech support of GMax. However, the software continues to be available—as a free download!—from Turbosquid. This company emphasizes that it supports only download and registration. That is, Turbosquid provides no technical support on use of the software.

Fortunately, GMax 1.2 comes with excellent, if non-trivial, tutorials. It may have a steep learning curve, but building GMax planes is great fun and an extremely satisfying hobby.

A Three-Year Hiatus. I hadn’t fired up GMax since April 2016; no particular reason, just other time-gobblers. From time to time, GMax flight sim projects have made Simanaitis Says appearances, including “Al Mooney’s 1938 Culver Dart Model G” earlier this year.

A Lapse of 108 Years. Stumbling upon files for another GMax project got me interested again. The real 1911 Tatin-Paulin Aéro-Torpille appeared here at SimanaitisSays. What a fine GMax project!

The GMax workspace at the completion of the Aéro-Torpille.

Earlier versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator and its plane-building software had limitations on file size. Contours had to be compromised; details omitted.

The Aéro-Torpille.

With GMax and Microsoft Flight Simulator’s Century of Flight version, FS9, I haven’t found any limits other than my own patience in execution and artistic talent. Some other simmers’ planes are really works of art. I’m slowly recalling nuances of GMax construction.

The Aéro-Torpille over Brooklands in FS9. (I confess., I have no proof it actually flew there.)

The aluminum cowl for the Aéro-Torpille’s mid-mounted rotary engine had me scratching my head recalling just how I gave my Bristol Brabazon its shiny finish.

My latest GMax project is Samuel F. Cody’s 1908 British Army Aeroplane No. 1.

On October 16, 1908, Cody’s BAA No. 1 performed the first sustained powered heavier-than-air flight in Great Britain.

You’ll note the Union Jack unfurling in the airflow. Gee, how did I do that flag unfurling/furling with the Benoist and Goupy? I forget at the moment, but I’m working on it. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019

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