A L I E N Narcissus *Completed*

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NS4

Well-Known Member
I am currently working on a digital model of the studio scale Narcissus from the 1979 Alien movie and thought I might share some of my work.

I have spent the past few years collecting reference images and information and I now think I am at the point where I have the info I need to create a very exact replica.

The initial issue with trying to build this particular model is that of reference.
The ship went was meant to go over to the US for display with a number of other models and props to promote the movie, but before it even left it went "missing" and was never seen again.
This means that there is a zero possiblity of getting any photos or reference that aren't at least 30 odd years old now.
Thankfully, the guys in the model shop were pretty keen to document thier work and there are dozens of WIP photos "out there".
I have been scouring the net for the past few years and have what I believe are all the publically available references.

For this build, I want to make it as accurate to the original as humanly possible.
After seeing a number of projects utilising photogrammetry, I was keen to see if I could use the technology for this build. Unfortunately, with the model no longer around and the existing photos not of a high enough quality and quantity to be usable and the fact that they are film based images (which have probably been scanned/cropped/modified), it means that it is just not a viable option.

I took another approach... I built a base 3D model, and then used the known kit parts as reference for the initial scaling. Once this was done, I then imported the model into sketchup and attempted to match the exact angle and focal length of the photos to the model (using it's rather niffty "photomatch" utility). Having done this, it was then a matter of tweaking the model a fraction of a mm at a time and re-matching it to the photos. All sounds simple, but I have "tweaked" hundreds of "versions" of the model now over the past year, BUT I do have it matched very closely to 24 separate reference images. As it current sits, this is only for the main "body" of the ship, but its amazing how much I am able to pick up regarding its geometry and how it was constructed. You can see areas of the model which should be symetrical, but clearly were not - not surprising considering this is a hand fabricated model made 30 years ago!. BUT, this technique will allow me to match even these "oddities" exactly.

Now that the main body is complete/matched, it is now a fairly simple (if time consuming) exersize of adding all the styrene/plasticard and kit parts to the model and adjusting the sizing and positions to align with the reference photos.
When it's done, I don't believe it would be possible to get it any more accurate without actually having access to the original model.


Some screen shots of the 3D model (in yellow) photo matched and overlayed on the reference photos to illustrate:


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NS4

Well-Known Member
Cheers Lee.
Love your Flickr photo set - bookmarked!

I actually started the model a while back now, so I'm a little more advanced than the above post.
Will post more shortly.
 

edspaged2

Well-Known Member
Very nice!

i took photos of a Narcissus model at the Seattle MOPOP museum a few months ago. Does anybody know the history of that one?
 

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NS4

Well-Known Member
Next up - the main rear engine cowls.
The originals were cast from a master made by Martin Bower constructed from cut up sections of ABS pipe, but you can see from the rear view that the casts were quite warped.

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This leads to the age old "do I replicate the asymmetry and inconsistencies, or build a more idealised version?" question...
I think I will go with 4 identical copies as was originally intented by the model makers.

Modelled and matched to the reference photos:


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NS4

Well-Known Member
Looking very good. Eager for the next update.
Thanks Joberg.
Don't get too used to the rapid updates as they are about to slow down!

VERY impressive!

Regards,
Marc
Cheers Marc! :)

Wow, you're zipping along!!
Thanks Lee. Unfortunately the thread is a little deceptive as its taken the past year to get to this stage.
I have another post to make shortly and that will have me all caught up.
I'm hoping to put some more time into it shortly though.
I might have to bug you for some part ID's at some stage - if thats OK?
 

NS4

Well-Known Member
After a lot of work and much tweaking, I have managed to get the underside engine bay done and matched to the references:


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Big thanks go to Keith (Astrocat) and Lee S for a lot of the ID's (from the old Narcissus thread) :thumbsup

That pretty much bring the thread up to date.

The next step is to continue adding kit parts to the rest of the ship, a section at a time.
Most of the parts are modelled, but I do still have some left to do.
I will post another update when I get the next section done.
 

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