Painting Planes Tutorial - Combat Flight Simulator 1

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NOTE: This tutorial is for painting aircraft in the original Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator...A new tutorial covering painting aircraft in CFS2 will be posted to this site in the near future.

Michael Priester


Commanding Officer





- A paint program that supports bmp files (like MS Paint)
- A texture converter
- Combat Flight Simulator

The are different textures for planes, the default CFS (Combat Flight Simulator) aircraft all got .bmp textures. Most add-on aircraft have got .#af textures. For example: The first texture of a F-16 could be F16.0af, and the second one could be F16.1af. For repainting bmp textures you don't need a texture converter, for the others you definitely need one because paint programs don't support the .#af extensions.

A stock plane can be repainted without converting, other kinds of plane textures have to be converted first. When using the texture converter that you can download at the RNA utilities page you go to file, open texture, choose the texture you want to convert and then press file, save as bmp. I always save a texture using the name and extension in the file name, so I know what texture I am painting. For example again the F-16, first texture is F16.0af, I save it as F160af.bmp. So its easier to find out what texture is what part of the plane I repaint. When you converted all the textures the real painting can begin. You can obtain a texture editor from this Web site by clicking here.

The difficult part of the repainting is finding out what texture is what part of the plane. (at least I think it's the most difficult part). At stock CFS planes it's easy to see, but most add-ons use another sort of texture building. If you just want a name or a image on a specific part of a aircraft, I always look for things that look like, or are most likely to be near the part you want the name / image on. When you want to change the color or paint scheme of the whole aircraft, I always make all the textures white and give them each a different color. You need to reconvert the .bmp's back to .#af textures when painting add-ons.

In the texture converter, press file then open bmp, browse and choose the bmp and save as texture. Using the F-16 example again, you painted the F160af.bmp you save it as texture F16.0af. Then I put the folder of the repainted aircraft in the aircraft folder and start CFS and choose the plane to be repainted and start free flight. I use ctrl + esc to get out of the game without exiting the whole game and compare the texture colors. I leave CFS running in the background. Now you know what texture is what part, you can begin painting. You need to reconvert bmp's to .#af textures every time you painted and want to see the changed in the game. Paint a piece, convert to texture and click on CFS that's still running in the taskbar to see what it looks like.

When the repaint is finished and you want to change the name of the aircraft, start notepad and open the aircraft.cfg file that is in the folder of the plane you repainted. In the aircraft.cfg of the F-16 you see this:


You want to change the name to RNA F16A, so the only thing you need to change is the title:

title=RNA F16A

And that's it, save the aircraft.cfg file and that's it. Repaint finished.



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Date last modified: September 24, 2010