Two variants of the M37 were common during Vietnam: the riot version, which had an 18" barrel, and the trench version. The trench version had a longer barrel (20") and featured a perforated heatshield with a bayonet lug suitable for mounting the M7 bayonet, common with the M16A1. Shells are both loaded and ejected through the bottom of the weapon, thus no ejection port on the side like most firearms typically have. The Ithaca is also a slamfire shotgun meaning, if the trigger is held down during each pump, the shotgun will fire as soon as you cycle the next round (i.e. firing, pumping back and then slamming it forward).
Originally I had planned to do the next blog post on the SKS but with a new texture artist joining (Agent95), I moved some of my projects around. Instead of the SKS, and due to reaching 50k views on our ModDB page, we decided to show something we've had finished for awhile - the Ithaca M37.
After I completed the Claymore mine I decided to model another firearm. Looking through our list, the simplicity of the Ithaca caught my eye and I figured I could make it in a relatively short amount of time. While looking for reference, I came across a few images which included the bayonet lug and heatshield and wanted to include them. Though most images show the M1912 bayo mounted on the Ithaca, most readings indicate that the M7 bayonet could also be fixed on to it. We had already created the M7 for the M16A1 previously, so it was just a matter of modeling the Ithaca bayo lug to fit the existing model. However, to get to that point I needed to actually start modeling...
...so I did. It didn't take very long to finish the high poly since the Ithaca has very little detail, and the details it does feature are not too complex. The thing that gave me the most trouble was shaping the stock, and I admit it took a few attempts. Most of the details like screws and such are done by use of floating geometry and ended up baking in to the low poly very well. For the heatshield, I created a plane which was subdivided into perfect squares. I then deleted faces where the holes would be added my smoothing modifiers. Once I shaped the plane a bit more, I added a bend modifier and curved it around the barrel. I was thinking of how to tackle the low poly heatshield early on and decided using an opacity mask for the holes would work well, especially if I could keep the poly count low enough to use a two-sided texture. Again, due to the low amount of detail on this weapon, I was able to get the triangle-count down to 5,557. Optimizing and unwrapping was a breeze because of the simplicity as well, so I was ready to bake it within a day of finishing the high poly.
The bake came out clean and I was ready to begin texturing. After experimenting a bit, I ended up with a decent texture but I felt I had overdone the scratches. I kept it as-is for a while and moved on to the next project. When Agent95 joined our team, I asked if he'd be interested in doing a retexture of it as his first project and he agreed. Over the course of about a week or two he produced the texture you see here.
The M7 bayonet was created earlier for the M16 by another modeler of ours, Waddler. The M7 shared the same UV map as the M16, as we didn't plan to use it on the Ithaca at first. It wouldn't make sense to load the entire M16 texture just to use the bayonet on a different weapon. To fix the issue, TrampledUnderFoot and I made a quick side project of it; re-UV mapping and re-baking it with its own, smaller UV map. TUF ended up texturing it as well. With everything completed, we were satisfied with the end result.
More news from Popsmoke and an overdue SKS blog on the way. We have plenty we'd like to show you in the coming weeks but the Ithaca was just a small way for us to thank you for your patience and support for In Country: Vietnam.