May 22, 2008, 7:37 AM - Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
I thought I would start a thread discussion about one of my favorite all time models, the USS Cygnus from the Black Hole.
I was hoping we could all share some photos and info on the model.
Here are the photos I could find, and I have about 30 magazines from the late 70's and early 80's with photos of the actual filming model with people in the background, but I need to get a scanner.....
Anyway, this was always one of my favorite models and I love watching the movie just to see VINCENT the robot, Old BoB the robot, and the USS Cygnus model. Anyone else love this model or have photos?
May 22, 2008, 8:06 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
My friend who runs starshipmodeler.com seems to think it's the truth. He has done more research on the Cygnus than anyone on earth. He is building, wait for it.... a 1:1 model of the model. Yes, he has been working on just the plans for over 10 years! He is amazing!!!!
May 22, 2008, 8:07 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
I use to have that model. Every window details was painted. But moving once, twice, three, four and five times since I built it and it didn't fair well so finally before this last move a couple months ago I tossed it.
I hope to build another. I think, beyond the movie Enterprise, the USS Cygnus was the most beautiful space ship ever put on a movie screen.
May 22, 2008, 10:08 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
From the Starship modeler site:
[FONT=ARIAL][FONT=ARIAL][FONT=ARIAL]Volume 9 No.3 of "Cinefantastique" magazine published when "The Black Hole" was released contains the best sources of information and pictures I have yet seen on the original models. There were two full models of the Cygnus built at a little over twelve feet long, with other sectional models built to a much larger scale for certain close up shots. The twelve foot miniatures weighed 170 pounds each and were constructed primarily of brass and completely made from scratch, with EMA tubes and domes used for detailing. Under this brass exoskeleton were sections of translucent plastic built in sections which housed about a hundred and fifty automotive light bulbs. The two models cost $100,000 and took a crew of 12 to 15 people approximately a year to build. One of the two models were completely destroyed filming the story's ending sequences. The other model went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York for a time after filming. It's fate since then remains a mystery..
[/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=ARIAL][FONT=ARIAL][FONT=ARIAL]"According to an ex-Disney employee, the model was stored in a crate in the 'Boneyard', where old props and such are stored on the Disney lot.
It was rained on a great deal, and, one day, smashed to pieces by a poorly-driven forklift which accidentally backed into the crate.
Pieces of the model were taken by various folks as souveniers."
May 22, 2008, 11:38 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
A great ship and a model I really want but they always sells for too much for me. Geez I still need to finish my Vincent and Max models as well.
May 22, 2008, 12:51 PM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
One of my all time favorite flicks! I've always thought of it as a sci-fi version of one of the old AP or Hammer "spooky castle" movies.
You know the type. Dark and stormy night. Travelers in a coach seeking shelter in some eastsern european country where all the locals have an english accent. The looming, forbbiding castle. And the mad scientist (played by Peter Cushing) letting them stay over because he needs to let someone, anyone know of his evil experiment that happens to be coming to fruition THAT VERY NIGHT. Cue beautiful woman that reminds him of his departed wife, a fight with the deformed lab assistant, and a fire that burns down the castle.
Or am I reading too much into it?
May 23, 2008, 9:07 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
No Brian, youre not reading to much into it brother. That is very astute actually!
This is such a fun movie!!!! Parts of it have aged poorly, but man I love watching it. Makes me feel like a kid again.
And who doesn't love the robots and the starship!!!!!!!
Jun 2, 2008, 1:24 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Love this ship too, she was a real work of art. Sadly, the forklift story rings true to me...
I'd love to build this ship in RL, but for now, haven't the time, space or materials. Instead I've been satisfying myself by (very slowly) building a Rhino 3D version - I keep telling myself that one day when we have freaky replicator-level stereolithography I'll output it at 1/4 SS or so.
Blimey, the thing's complex, you know. I have just the stern section partly done, so far, and my PC needs another couple of gigs of RAM already. Charles from Starship Builder is waaaaay ahead of me, of course.
The reference for this ship is very limited and if you have American Cinematographer and Cinefantastique, then you have 90% of what is worth having. So I've just chucked in a render of my thing instead. Useless post I know, but at least it's an *illustrated* useless post...
Last edited by Nwerke; Jun 2, 2008 at 1:31 AM.
Jun 2, 2008, 3:12 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Nice work Martyn! Yeah, I'm a closet BH fan myself!
How you guys can pick apart those fuzzy Cygnus photos and create these CG models amazes me. And I'm an ex-draftsman myself.
Well done and thank to everyone for all the cool pics in this thread. I just love the pics of the ship silhouetted against a brighter starfield. This effect is extremely rare in a film history of brightly lit ships against a dark background. Very cool.
Jun 3, 2008, 8:27 PM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Nice, came out the same time as STTMP. It was cool. Nice pics. A hard model to build. SGT
"The U.S.S. Cygnus from the 1979 Disney movie "The Black Hole" presents a very interesting problem for the hobbyist trying to replicate an accurate model. The ship has a very unusual Gothic or Victorian design completely lit from within, making it look like a massive floating chandelier. The incredibly intricate framework with internal lighting is extremely difficult to reproduce on a small scale, and the fact that MPC's kit was molded in solid silver-grey plastic doesn't make the job any easier. It would have been nice if the kit had been molded in clear plastic, then it would have been a relatively simple matter to light it up. This not being the case, though, we must find another alternative....By E. James Small Copyright © 1998."
Jun 3, 2008, 11:07 PM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
That ship is amazing. I would be cool to see someone build one of those.
Jun 4, 2008, 12:14 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Hey, Charles, Martyn, your CG versions of the Cygnus are incredible! As Charles pointed out on his forum, the Cygnus is so complex you couldn't build it any smaller than studio scale and still keep all the detail! It has been said the detail was so small the draftsman was having a time drawing the lines small enough on the blueprints! And the original model was about 40" wide and 147" long! That would have been 1/192 scale, where 1/16 inch equals one foot! Still, I wouldn't mind attempting a "close enough" version in quarter studio scale, which would work out to 1/768 scale where 1/64 inch equals one foot! That would be about 10" wide and 37" long! Anything would be better than the old MPC kit, which had an entire section of compartment modules missing.
Last edited by Beagle Bill; Jun 4, 2008 at 12:23 AM.
Jun 4, 2008, 5:41 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Mike - thanks! Yes, it's kinda eye-straining work and that's one reason I've been fiddling about with it on a very off-and-on basis for, um, 29 years now. The gothic silhouette and beautiful starfield are a highlight of childhood memories, for sure.
Charles - gday! Holy cr*p, Ellenshaw, I'm in awe. I hope he can provide you some assistance! That would be like having the stamp of approval. Wow. BTW have I told you I love your centre units? (Not something I say to another guy very often!)
I haven't seen your Palomino, would love to. Um, then again I have to worry a bit, this wasn't meant to be a CG thread after all, so are we asking for a telling-off from the mods?
Beagle Bill - hey, thank you! Charles has way more done than me, and his approach is a lot more scientific than mine too. Still, I hope to finish my stern and start on the midsection soon. It's a means to an end not an end in itself, but it is still kind of satisfying. Yes, 1/192 was the scale, making the ship about 700m long in 'real life'; sounds plausible enough with the exception of some interior scenes of course. 1/4 SS would be the scale I'd probably go with, at most 1/3 SS I guess, which would be 4 -foot-ish. The smaller the scale, the more you could fake with etched brass instead of soldering up a real structure. The MPC kit was a complete tragedy! It's not only the missing section, the stern engines are way too short and I think the bow might be too. Too many compromises.
PS I will pop some ref pics on my server for the OP, as soon as I figure out what's wrong with my FTP!
Jun 4, 2008, 6:27 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
- chucked in a few of the best reference pics not already posted, and that one from Reader's Digest, and a few more test renders to show off with.
I'm going to redo all the 'deck framing' - Charles, you were totally right, square-section is the way to go. I'm still not convinced that round wasn't used on the engine deck (ask Harrison!) . And I like the way my round-section looks, but it takes forever to render and bloats the filesize impossibly.
Jun 6, 2008, 6:40 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Jun 13, 2008, 2:00 PM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Agreed. The finest build of that I've ever seen too.
Would love a bigger scale proper one of those.
Jun 17, 2008, 11:47 PM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Ah that is how that was one.
The photos were taken under black light to give the illusion the the ship is lit from within.
Jun 22, 2008, 9:09 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
It's basically the only way to get that kit to look good, in the 'lit up' version.
The best MPC I ever saw in the flesh was one someone had done as the 'unlit' version from the start of the movie. Just different shades of grey with a lot of weathering. Looked surprisingly great.
There's someone on another forum recasting an MPC in clear resin. I wish him luck but for the work involved in making it look really good lit I think starting from scratch might be a better approach!
Hey, this thread has ended being pretty broad - since there haven't been any off-topic complaints so far, here's two or three more of my CG tests. I have nearly finished the stern section now, thank God! Want to move on.
Jun 23, 2008, 3:33 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Looking fantastic, Martyn!
Sorry for being away, I've had my hands full with other stuff. My site is shut down right now so there's no place to host larger photos yet. We're also dealing with a minor plumbing emergency, so I'll be back when I can. . .
Jun 23, 2008, 8:16 AM - Re: Black Hole USS Cygnus (photos and such)
Hey, thanks Charles! There are flaws and a bit of speculation here and there. There's still going to be a lot of tweaks needed, but I'm going to call the stern done for now; at least, I hope to have it done in the next hour or two. I want to render a complete stern including tower and all plumbing - will be a nice little milestone.
If you need some storage space I can host some pics for you. Got a bit of room still on my server.
Good luck with your plumbing!
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