Space ship miniature

I’m teaching a class in Special Effects Cinematography this quarter, and we’re mixing up old-school (in-camera) techniques with modern digital ones, such as green screen, motion capture, and a little bit of CG.  I’ll be posting quite a bit of the process here. Oh, and I’m a space and sci-fi nerd, so forgive as I depart from documentary topics to geek out.

The story calls for three different spaceships.  The first is a small, down & dirty little one person pod, the equivalent of a — well, I guess there isn’t really an equivalent. Maybe like an elevator at a public transportation stop. Used by thousands, dirty, under-maintained, ugly.  The second is a more sophisticated spaceship, again one-person, used to transport someone in a suspended-animation tube to a new planet.  Still not elegant or pretty, but bigger and more sophisticated.  The third is an enormous orbiting city-type spaceship, where the second one is launched from.  So the first one, the Pod, gets a person from Earth to the orbiting city. Then the long-range ship is launched from that.

Get it? I’ll post the story and other stuff as we go.

First, though, I’m starting with the second ship, the long-range one person transport. I’m basing it off of the escape pod in Star Wars:

OK, what’s funny is that I intended to put a picture of the actual model from the movie, but I can’t find one. This ship is so heavily modeled (by people much better than me) that all I can find are pix of other models!  And, these are built by real pros. So, here’s a few:



This one is by Jason Eaton on a website called









Huh. This one has the caption of “production model.” So maybe this is a picture of the real one.














And this is perhaps my favorite:


Made by Lasse Henning.










Go check out his build page. The amount of work some of these guys do is insane. And yes, I think it’s probably 99% guys.  I wonder why that is? Maybe women have better things to do with their time.  Anyway.  Ahem.

So I’m going to aim high for some of these looks, but do it with slightly more off-the-shelf items.  For example, Lasse Henning makes his models completely from scratch, building forms out of PVC and styrene sheets.  On the lower end of the sophisticated spectrum are people who just use household items, like this guy:


He used a couple of flower pots and odds and ends.  Very cheap, but not quite sophisticated enough to withstand the kind of camera scrutiny I’ll be putting my model through for the special effects cinematography class.  However, he has a good technique for holding his two parts together, which I’ll get into later.

I’ll end here and start up another post with my build.


~ by claytonbrown2 on March 25, 2014.

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