I also say reduce the bumps... really, unless this is a wreck, rather do NO bumps in the flat areas of the texture... the material "microbumps" of painted metal would be really small even on something as a tank, and a plane actually has a way smoother surface (has to, as the bumps in the surface would increase drag), so just drop it.
I would also look at the specular... too shiny. While a painted civilian plane might have a shiny finish, a military model never has. It would kinda defeat the purpose of the camo. And in this case, it increases the effect of the bumps....
Then for something more subjective... I would use MORE reference images. When I look at your plane, I see you looked at some sci-fi, and maybe at some real planes and vehicles. That is good.
But I see that in the end you ended up with some parts that look rather "unrealistic".... the engines... the weapons in the front. the landing skids.
They are all "okay". I see what they should be , in this sense the fill a purpose. MAYBE they enhance the LOOK of the plane even if being unrealistic (I am not so sure here)...
Still, when your plane should be use more "up close", details like that could stick out too much (also because of the different detail size as explained before). I advise you too look into some theory first, before designing your plane. What I mean:
1. The engines do no look like normal jet-engines. Now, you could say its not a jet engine, its sci-fi tech. Well, it doesn't look very partctical unless its some very weird tech (not streamlined at all). Just for the sake of giving the player something "familiar", if in doubt, go with something realistic, and practical looking.
2. The weapons are not streamlined at all. Both of them. For an example how a gatling cannon has to be integrated into a plane look at an F-14 if you want to go with a fast plane... or the A-10 if you can live with a less streamlined plane.
The rocket launcher (I just guess it is that) has a realistic counterpart, the german Bachem Ba 349 Natter from the last days of WW2... that looked quite similar. After the cap of the launcher was blown off. Because LIKE THAT, no plane could fly at more than maybe 500 km/h..... The Natter had a streamlined cap to get above the plane to be intercepted with speed, and the cap was only blown off shortly before the enemy was engaged.
I am pretty sure you will find more streamlined multiple rocket launchers, and of course, the slower the plane should be, the less such stuff looks out of place. Still, at the moment I do not feel that the weapons look right on your plane... they look like an aftertought tacked unto the plane.
Apart from that, I would maybe distribute the weapons over the plane... having all in the nose looks not very balanced to me from a design perspective.
3. I would rather go with NO landing gear than with the one you sculpted. Really, while it might be good enough for being shown as a small RTS Unit, do you really NEED to sculpt landing gear in this use case? When the unit shown is so small, you could save even more ploygons by just leaving it away.
In general though, a rather good first try. Really, keep it up, and practice. You are on the right tracks
Ok I'm definitely going to reduce the bumps overall. I'm going to try to reduce the bumps that have shown up in my bump maps and leave in only the panel lines. I also need to add detail to those wings and I am not entirely sure what I will add, however.
1): I think it's the intakes that really messed up the feel of the engines. Again, you can comment more on what specifically, but I feel personally that if I improve the intakes for those engines it'll look better.
2): I was going with an A-10 feel for the Gatling guns. It might also be the out of place texturing as well for the Gatling guns? Or should they just be integrated more into the fuselage? As for the nose, I was thinking of a SciFi weapon/enhancement, which is why I didn't quite streamline it.
3): Well I'm not making an RTS, but I can remove them for what I am thinking of doing.
Why do the normal maps have so many bumps? we are talking a plane here... This means it should be smooth and only have bumps where rust or dents might have occurred. The current theme makes it look very unrealistic. I will throw together something here in a bit to show you what I am talking about. Also, I am not sure the theme you are wanting to go with but depending it could very much change how much critique can go on. Right now, I would have a few complaints about the style and model choices, but again the attempt you wanted to aim for matters.
I was just trying to put in the panel lines for the plane. Also I just wanted to add more detail to the overall design. The theme I going for is like a SciFi aircraft that in its age is actually quite outdated. I'm probably going to either remove the wing bump maps or try to improve them. Do you think the fuselage bump map should go as well?
The generalized bump map does not work for such things. Metal isnt "generally" bumpy in this manor and certainly in not big clunks like that. If you had rust regions that might make sense for some odd bump maps in that area and then maybe really bumpy areas where the metal starts to peel away. Normals maps have to make sense for your art to look realistic and more believable. However, if the style you wanted was cartoony than its a different matter all together. In any matter, the goal should be to use realistic values and modify them based off of the style you wish to go for. We do the same thing with human anatomy and character models. You dont want to just place some randomized anatomy without any form or function because you think it will "look good", to the human eye it will look off and people will judge the model/character based off of this impression. However, when you work on something that has a purpose or a reason and follows the form of an object the brain will fill in the puzzle pieces automatically and the viewer will not skip a beat or question the choices. To get an idea of what metal looks like when rusted check these out:
Notice the smoothness of the non rusted areas. Painted metal has a VERY small bump map to it, but you shouldnt see this from a far away profile. However, when you get close you could.
Is another example of a normal map that might be found on the metal. notice most of the texture is flat and without variance. In the "dented" areas you have some slight bends and curves but they are rather large and not spread across the entire surface. Even the dents where something hit the metal are deep, precise, and with purpose. Try to aim for this in your bump map and you will really have something. If you are just doing this to learn, you could provide the .fbx here and I wouldnt mind throwing together something for you to look at. Assuming the UV's are not horrible I dont like to waste time fixing uv's, but thats just me.
I'm going to try to keep my panel lines but get rid of the other bumps.
What do you specifically like? I would love to hear what you thought really works.
The project I'm making this for is going to be a serialized set of episodes that will have mostly cinematic content but will also be interactive/have playable sections. It's more of a side project/hobby/thing, so I'm trying to make things that are relatively good. I'm not a 3d artist by trade, truth be told. I'm actually a programmer (CS guy lol), but I've been doing 3d art on and off for some time, and have made some progress. Like I said, I'm interested in learning.
I will probably post back with more photos of my improved model.
Is it also ok if I post to this thread periodically for other art work I will ultimately make? Or would it be preferred to start a new thread altogether? Thanks for your help guys, it's really very helpful to know what I should improve.