Several weeks ago, I embarked upon a project for a three part series : M2000C: Getting To Know Her, and while parts I and II have already been published, part II , is still a work in progress, to some degree because of she we say, financial , technical and logistical performance issues. (I’m sure most of you know what I’m referring to.) However, that being said, I have to confess a major part is pure distraction.
Like many of you, I find it easy to get immersed in a new simulation….
The introduction speed of the Heatblur/DCS:AJS37 Viggen , has left me still left me in awe of it’s seeming stealthiness in terms, of how they ‘slipped it in’ on us, so to speak. I wasn’t expecting it to come about anywhere near as fast as it did. Like many of you, I find it easy to get immersed in a new simulation, often with out even learning all the nuances of the type. First off, as I said, I was pretty much caught off guard by the intro of this one and not just in terms of just simple surprise, but also the apparent speed at which it was put announced and brought to market. I find that as amazing as the aircraft itself. The DCS:AJS37 Viggen , with it’s unique ‘double-delta/canard planform layout, radiates an air of mystique, particularly in it’s historical context, in which the type was born.
More than a few years ago, I became aware that Sweden’s aeronautical prowess, was quite phenomenal, when I first laid eyes on the Saab 35 Draken, with it’s cranked arrow-wing, (Damned if I didn’t think those mud-guarded, nose-wheels, where cool!) Revell’ the preeminent model-kit manufacturer in the U.S. back then, had a then-very cool model, that for some bizarre reason, marketed the kit as the Saab J-35 Dragon. Sure, I know what you’re thinking; ‘ that’s what it means.” Right. Apparently , someone figured some kid like me would be too dumb to figure it out, I guess. naturally, I had to have it. I didn’t quite care for the livery illustrated on the box, so I painted it silver, with a black radome, though. It was downright handsome to be sure.
A year or so later, I was came across a photo of the Saab AJ37 Viggen , for the first time, and was immediately captivated by what I saw. It brought, at least to my mind, aspects of North American Aviation’s by then already defunct XB-70A, who’s canarded forward fuselage section evoked the image of a striking cobra and curiously with those big intakes complete with splitter-plates on either side of a nose section that somewhat resembled that of a Mc Donnell F-4 Phantom II, though these intakes were located farther forward. The impression is sustained, at least to me, to this day. It never fails to strike me the same way.
Okay , so much for ‘”Poetry of Impressions” Let’s get to it , shall we? Right away, if I want more than anything, it fly this bird. Most of the time, I probably like many find it’s easier to start with the aircraft already on the active , engines(hopefully) at ground idle , radios tuned navigation system set and ready to go. Not this time. I decided to do it much the same manner as I did with the DCS Ka-50 Black Shark (boxed), DCS A-10C Warthog, and DCS: P-51D Mustang. In the case of the Black Shark, the learning curve was quite steep, due my lack of any rotor experience, except from some technical knowledge about how they work, but not the feel, if you get my meaning. Tutorials. I can’t overstate the usefulness of those nuggets. (Also made easier by the use of English labeling. More about this later.)
Since the release and my acquisition of subsequent modules, which by the way, are all ‘Third Party’ offerings, I admit, I cheated, sort of, in that I’d fly it around, land (In some cases with some difficulty, ie. Mig-21Bis), then go back and work out things as I go, somewhat jaded , I guess because for the most part it comes with relative ease. The decision to start out “Cold & Dark”, this time, was pivotal in throwing things ‘out of whack.’ I can say without equivocation, that my command of any language other than ‘English’, leaves much to be desired, ‘Francais’, on the other hand was at least little familiar since my sister was a student of same, so I heard it often during those years when she practiced, so it wasn’t to difficult recall the cockpit labels in the M2000C cockpit.
‘Svenska’ labeling, though, really jacked me up and had me wishing Roz , had taken Deutsch, instead. I couldn’t remember the translations to save my life without copious ‘post it’ notes, and so from a linguistic perspective , there was that challenge. Starting Cold & Dark, though, did present a few problems with this approach, however. Leatherneck’s Viggen isn’t listed as a ‘beta’, but perhaps it’s a good idea to think of it that way. Some mouse-clickable function are still ‘unrefined’ as yet, such as some of the air-to-ground radar mode functions and radio tuning is still a bit sketchy. Perhaps irritating to some I imagine, but less so if you keep a little perspective of the difficulties involved in bringing what I still consider to be an outstanding example. That view , I have learned, helps keep me sane and relatively stress free(Sort of.) The other thing I had a little difficulty was resolution of the cockpit labeling. I imagine that these and other shortcomings will be resolved over time, so I remain enthusiastic about the module.
Having a fighter-plane with thrust-reverse is one helluva kick. Taking off and landing on highways, is a whole new dimension to DCSW, in addition to the Maritime Role that comes with the module . I especially like the “DC-9 fan-sound”, that hints at the AJS37 ‘s Flygmotor RM8’s origins. It’s great too. The same can be said for Leatherneck’s excellent attention to detail. Shading and shadows are pretty much spot on with few external issues (You know, doing weird things, that shadows shouldn’t do but occasionally do anyway.) I did have to sometimes work around a few obstacles, no big deal of course, but something of an irritant. Radios that sometimes work fine, until an update throws a wrench into the works, and it then it stops. Not being tuned during some Missions Creations. Against the backdrop of being still very new and a Work-In-Progress (As if they ever stop.), that’s only picking at nits. It’s a on it’s way to being a great module of plane that has a unique appearance , to suit it’s unique mission profile. How could I help being distracted a little. Anyway, that’s my story(excuse), and I’m sticking with it.
For more articles about the AJS37 Viggen in the Two More Weeks publications, just click on the author’s name, select from the appropriate titles.