CONVERTING FS2004 AIRCRAFT TO FSX TUTORIAL

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction and Downloads
Part 1:  Setup
Part 2:  FS2004 Import
Part 3:  Setting Up Landing and Taxi Lights
Part 4:  Conversion to FSX
Part 5:  Saving, Merging, and Animating the Props
Part 6:  Editing Materials and Textures
Part 7:  VC & Appendix
Part 8:  Quick Reference

PART FOUR - CONVERSION TO FSX

1.  Choose Export Object (menu) and change the drop down box to FSX MDL Object (or another MDL format if exporting to another sim).  Click on the MDL filename, in the example it's dc6b.mdl.  Click the Save button.  An overwrite warning will appear.  As long as you have made the backup of your MDL file, click the Yes button.  A red error line may appear in the log saying that this is not a supported MDL type.  This has never caused a problem for me.  Don't worry about the other MDL files in the image below, you will create them later.

export object

2.  You should see a yellow box appear on the screen detailing things you should have thought of when reading the LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS section in the Introduction of this tutorial.
3.  If you do not get a new MDL created (check the Modified Date in Windows Explorer/My Computer) or an error message, then it is likely your compile process is not working correctly.  This will need to be fixed before you can continue (see the LIMITATIONS section at the top).
4.  Import the new FSX version of your MDL file into MCX.  In our example it is still called dc6b.mdl.
5.  Use the animation slider to check all parts and make sure that they are located where they should and animating correctly.  If there is a problem here, I don't know how to solve that, sorry.
6.  Click the Object Information button.  Look at the Boundingbox section.  Find the largest dimension (negative or positive).

Object Info

In this DC-6B example, the largest dimension is -19.501.
7.  Click the Edit box and change the Name to include your sim.  I changed this to dc6b_FSX. Click the Edit button again. Close the Object Information box.
8.  Choose Export Object (menu) and check the drop down box is set to FSX MDL Object (or another MDL format if exporting to another sim).  Click the Save button.  An overwrite warning will appear.  Click the Yes button.
9.  If you chose to use RADItor to check and change the bounding box size, then go to step 11.  If not, open the MDL Tweaker in ModelConverterX by choosing Special Tools/MDL Tweaker.  Click the ... button and browse to your converted MDL file.  Click Open.  If the numbers are close to the ones you saw in step 6, you are done and can skip to step 14.  You will probably never have to worry about this again.  If the numbers are huge (100s or 1000s of meters), these need to be changed.  The DC-6B will probably not need to be changed:

mdl tweaker

We'll make a final size calculation later, but for now enter the number that is the next highest integer than the number found in step 6.  If you double click each number, just type in the new number and the minus signs will stay where they need to be.  It should look something like this (I actually used 21 for all the numbers when creating this tutorial because it's easier to type!).  The numbers can be a few higher, no problem.

mdl tweaker correct

10.  Click the Save MDL button.  Choose the MDL file you just converted above.  Click Save.  Click Yes to overwrite the original file.  You can keep MDL Tweaker open in the background for later use, if desired.  Use the Windows taskbar to bring it back.  Skip to step 14.
11. If you decided to use RADItor, start the RADItor program.  Click the ... button and browse to your converted MDL file.  Click Open.
12.  Click the Read button.  If the numbers are close to the ones you saw in step 6, you are done and can skip to step 14. You will probably never have to check this again.   If the numbers are huge (100s or 1000s of meters), these need to be changed.  The DC-6B will not need to be changed:

Raditor Large numbers

We'll make a final size calculation later, but for now enter the number that is the next highest integer than the number found in step 6.  If you double click each number, just type in the new number and the minus signs will stay where they need to be.  It should look something like this (I actually used 21 for all the numbers creating this tutorial because it's easier to type!).  The numbers can be a few higher, no problem.

Raditor temp numbers

13.  Click the Write button.  You can leave RADItor open in the background and use the taskbar to bring it up when needed.  For any further changes do not Read again, just press the Write button if modifying the same MDL name.
14.  Load the plane into FSX or later sim.  If you already have FS running and the plane loaded, do this:
    a.  Flights/Save Flight
    b.  Name it AAA or something simple near the top of the list (I use AAA for testing many things) and click OK.
    c.  Flights/Load Flight - choose AAA and click OK.
    d.  The new MDL file version will be loaded.
    e.  Repeat step c each time you want to load a new MDL version.
15.  Check the control surfaces, door, gear, and other animations.  The props will spin, but not disappear.  
16.  If you ever get a model displaying in FSX (or your sim) with animated objects displaced (often to the center of the plane):

displaced parts

Try this - it's sometimes worked for me:   
 a.  Import the model back into ModelConverterX.  All objects should be in their correct positions  (if not, then this can't be fixed).
 b.  Choose Export Object back into the same MDL filename (overwrite).  Use RADItor or MDL Tweaker if needed.
 c.  Reload the MDL file in FSX as I described in step 14.  Hopefully the result is below - if not, you will need to go back to your backup MDL and try again.:

correct parts

17.  In Windows Explorer/My Computer make a copy of the new MDL file and paste it back into the folder.  Rename it to the name plus - FSX1 (for our first FSX conversion).  In our example that would be dc6b - FSX1.mdl.  This is a backup so we can come back to this step if things go wrong later.
18.  At this point feel free in future steps to use Export Object to generate a new MDL file (in this tutorial it is dc6b.mdl).  We have a backup at this point so it would not be too bad to go back here and try again.  Remember to use MDL Tweaker or RADItor if needed, and if parts are displaced refer to step 16 above.

Next:  PART FIVE - SAVING THE OTHER PROP PARTS, MERGING, AND ANIMATING THEM