Aries 1B studio model found intact

Discussion in 'Studio Scale Models' started by ShowCraft, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. ShowCraft

    ShowCraft Well-Known Member

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    Hadn't seen a post about this before. Apparently Kubrick gave it to a friend after filming where it stayed in secret until now. It's in L.A. now and up for auction at icollector.com.
    Some members of the studio scale modeling crowd are going to see it today to verify if it's the real thing. Let's hope so
     

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    Last edited: Mar 13, 2015
  2. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    Sweet. I hope it is. Theres a classic ship.
     
  3. ShowCraft

    ShowCraft Well-Known Member

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    More pics
     

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  4. Duncanator

    Duncanator Sr Member

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    My first impression is that it looks authentic. The storage wear and aging patina on the mount spuds seems consistent for its age. Also the level of paint weathering and details looks right for a shooting model, as well as the rough interior (and the fact that it opens up at all.)

    What a great find! I can't wait to find out more about it.
     
  5. ProfKSergeev

    ProfKSergeev Well-Known Member

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    Such an incredible find.
     
  6. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    Well, if anybody told me I'd be looking at this thing today, I'd have bought the bridge they were selling. But,........ well, I'm convinced it's real. Went over and looked at it this afternoon with Carson Dyle. The consignor's story lines up with the research Dave Larson came up with a few years ago. And there were some tells that Doug Trumbull had mentioned to me in past conversations that I don't think were commonly known. Will post some photos I've taken later. Also digging up some other references for comparisons.

    more later,

    Gene
     
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  7. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    SOMEBODY HAS GOT TO GET OVER THERE AND PHOTOGRAPH EVERY INCH OF THAT.

    (and post the pictures :D )

    128 Sierra Street, El Segundo, California, 90245, United States

    Previewing Details:
    9am to 11am

    SOMEBODY GET DOWN THERE STAT!!!
     
  8. ShowCraft

    ShowCraft Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic Gene! Glad you and Carson were the ones doing the verification. Its simply unfathomable to me that this has just popped back into existence. It's like finding the Coelacanth.
     
  9. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    I was there earlier today and discussed doing a photo survey. Obviously they can't entertain everyone. I'm trying to arrange a time next week when more photos can be taken and perhaps bring along some industry-types to gather their notes as well. As of now, we are not going to attempt to turn it over. it's a multi-person job just to get it upright. We need to do some research to verify the orientation of the top piece to the rest of the body. Till then, here's some detail shots -

    - - - Updated - - -

    More.....
     

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  10. ShowCraft

    ShowCraft Well-Known Member

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    A million thanks for these or any pics at all. How about something else in the pics for scale reference. Someone's hand maybe?
    Would there be any chance of getting a tape measure around it for an exact size?
     
  11. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    THANK YOU for the pics! :D

    And somebody stop that rust!!! :cry
     
  12. Search4

    Search4 Active Member

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    Has anyone seen the provenance letter? Does it match up with a reasonable story?
     
  13. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Gene, you mentioned David Larson, and I was remembering the aborted documentary that he and Trumbull were working on a few years ago. Is Larson's Making of 2001 book ever coming out, or did the $800 Taschen thing torpedo that too?

    Karl
     
  14. satazius

    satazius Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This seems so completely implausible! I checked the date and it's not April 1st. So I'm pretty sure I'm dreaming. And I don't want to wake up.

    Thanks Gene for the pix. I hope there is someway to discern the mechanism for the landing legs. I've always wondered what the inside looked like. Here's hoping for a peek inside. But even just a good look at the bottom would be amazing.

    Wow.
     
  15. E=MC2

    E=MC2 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you GKvfx for the pictures !
     
  16. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This was posted in Production made screen used.

    Stanley kept more things then he let on to i have been told.

    Looks like some of the things I have been told are true
     
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  17. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Kubrick kept everything

    https://vimeo.com/78314194

    the idea that he trashed all the props from 2001 seems extremely unlikely to me. He probably just told people that.
     
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  18. Scott Graham

    Scott Graham Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'll bet it was supposed to be out in a trash pile like the space station - rotting away in the field. Apparently the station wasn't incinerated either. You've seen the pics, right? I doubt Stanley saved it.
     
  19. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    Responding to a couple of things here -

    I'm not sure what the deal is with Dave Larson's book. I once joked with him that we'll see the his book the same time we see some of the original miniatures show up (i.e.: never). Clearly, that has been thrown out of whack.

    As for the "guts" of the thing - I did lift the top off to take a look inside. As can be seen from the iCollector photos, there is a large wooden disc just below the passenger windows. That is secured in place and cannot be removed. All the motors/gearing/etc that was secured to that disc have been removed, leaving some unpainted areas. (This is part of the consignor's story - that those items were removed prior to it being released. I have not seen the provenance letter, but discussed the general story with the auction house. Hoping to get more info later.) I suspect that the mounting points are below that disc and it is actually the load-bearing part of the model. Anything that was released into the lower part of the model when the motors were removed are likely down there. (I'd like to get an endoscope down there just to see.....)

    Getting back to the story behind these models, I'll direct you to a thread that was posted here a number of years ago - http://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=91627&p=1300849&viewfull=1#post1300849

    I had heard the story years before from Dave Larson and posted it in various places, but here it goes (again) -

    I can't remember where I posted this first - here or on HobbyTalk - but I post it when these photos pop up since these photos have become something of a legend. Here's the tale (sorry for the length) -

    As with just about anything to do with the making of 2001, the fate of all the models is complicated and the stories that have endured are almost an urban legend.

    It's true that Kubrick was a fanatic about security and the releasing of imagery. In eight years of research, Dave Larson has come across only Polaroid exposure shots of the large discovery being filmed...no color transparencies at all. I think we've been spoiled by the photo coverage from ILM/Apogee/BOSS over the years. They had the benefit of a staff photographer whose job it was to cover the making of stuff. People just didn't think that way in the pre-2001 days, so there wasn't a dedicated photographer during the VFX filming. And stuff was still shot on film back then, so you weren't likely to shoot several hundred photos of the model under construction (God, how I wish they did). And Kubrick would likely have disapproved. That, I think, kinda explains the dearth of photos.

    As for the sets - the British had a common practice of stripping down any useful parts and reusing them as stock set pieces and then burning the rest on the backlot to get rid of them. For 2001, about the only thing I can think of as being useful for a stock set would be the hotel at the end of the picture. As it is, I'm willing to bet a lot of the furniture from that set was from a rental house. The paintings and urns and lights and vases and table and bed are all fairly common items. (Wouldn't be surprised if they are still there.) All the Space Station, spaceship interiors, and Discovery sets were so highly stylized that doubt they were even considered for stock sets. Even if Stanley hadn't been that secretive, I doubt they would have survived.

    Now here's where it gets tricky - during the production of the movie, Stanley Kubrick agreed to sell many of the props, costumes, artwork, miniatures, and even some set pieces to a group of people that were trying to establish an International Space Museum & Gallery in Washington, DC. The idea was that these artifacts would form the cornerstone of the museum and would eventually include 'real' artifacts that had flown in space. (At the time, there was no dedicated gallery at the Smithsonian for these types of artifacts. Any/all aviation and space related items were displayed in the main Smithsonian Castle building till the new Air & Space building was constructed around 1976.) Supposedly, Chesley Bonestell had donated some of his artwork for the facility as well. A lot of the costumes and almost all of the models were tagged for this exhibit and were crated up and stored till the movie was finished. A lot of the models were only shot with a large format still camera and those photos were actually what we see on the screen. (All of the weapons satellites, good portions of the Moonbus, Aries, and Orion footage were all shot as stills, retouched, and then rephotographed.) In a way those photos were more valuable to the production than the actual models, and thankfully, a lot of those large format photos have survived. Most of those models would have been boxed up in the summer of 1967.

    Kubrick insisted that the items sold to the museum would not be used in other films, as the props from Forbidden Planet had been reused over the years (Invisible Boy, episodes of Twilight Zone, etc). And they agreed to this stipulation. In addition, there were to be many tie-ins with other companies that had supplied information on their plans for the future. All of those were to feature some of the props from 2001 as part of a marketing strategy.

    So what happened?

    Well, first off, a lot of the companies that agreed to to provide technical and design support to the movie loaned out personnel, but were unable to manufacture anything fast enough to satisfy a movie schedule (even one as glacial as 2001). American Express made a credit card (ultimately unseen), and Honeywell company made a snazzy briefcase, but that was about it. Most of the other futuristic props that are in the film were designed and built at the studio. There were a lot of logos used (IBM, Howard Johnson's, Hilton, Pan Am, Aeroflot), but not a whole lot of actual products. That kinda killed the tie-in deals.

    Not helping any was the fact that the movie took something like four years to make. This deal was negotiated fairly early on, and perhaps Stanley just got weary of the idea of a museum by the end of the production. The marketing people and the critics didn't really know what to make of the film and this would just add to the "what the heck are we going to do with this thing" feeling that everyone had once the film was finally seen.

    Probably the biggest factor was Stanley just wanting to preserve the mystery of how they pulled it off. I think this quote from Kubrick sums it up - "How could we possibly appreciate the Mona Lisa if Leonardo (Davinci) had written at the bottom of the canvas: 'The lady is smiling because she's hiding a secret from her lover.' This would shackle the viewer to reality, and I don't want this to happen to 2001." That and the not wanting it to appear in another movie (Once out of England and his control, anything could have happened to that stuff.) Whatever the reason, Kubrick reneged on the agreement to send the stuff to Washington, DC. This was some time in late 1967, before the first screenings and just as the stuff should have been shipped to the US from the UK. The museum people were justifiably upset. MGM just kinda went along for the ride.

    Like any good Hollywood tale, this one wound up in a lawsuit with both MGM and Kubrick being sued for a good sum by the museum people. The suit wound its way through depositions and the like for a number of years. Meanwhile, all this stuff is still in storage over at MGM in London. Finally, when it was realized that they would probably be found liable for breach of contract, Stanley and MGM settled up with the museum people.......in 1974. (The damage was done, however, and the International Space Museum & Gallery never opened.)

    The six years in between the release of 2001 and the end of the lawsuit were not good ones for MGM. They were facing a lot of financial difficulties here in the states, and the UK studio operation wasn't in particularly good shape either. In Los Angeles, MGM cleared out most of its prop and wardrobe collection in a series of auctions in the early 70's. After Soylent Green wrapped filming in 1972, a good portion of the backlot in Culver City was bulldozed and turned into housing. Since the models and props were part of a lawsuit, the items had to be kept secure. But once the lawsuit was over, Kubrick and MGM were free to do anything they wanted to do with the stuff. MGM had no real interest in keeping the stuff around. The crates took up a considerable amount of space in a facility that they were looking to liquidate. (MGM shipped over a couple of the helmets and some of the costumes, but that was about it.) Kubrick didn't specifically order the stuff's destruction, but didn't want to pay to have the stuff shipped to the states or to have it stored, either. It wasn't too long before the guy running the studio operations at MGM in the UK called up a hauling company and had it all sent away to the dump.

    Here's where the tale gets downright bizarre - we've all seen the photos of the Space Station in the field. Apparently, the large Discovery and the full size Pods survived filming and were set up at a children's playground. This was all done on the quiet, without MGM's knowledge. Once they found out about it, they went ballistic and ordered the company to go and retrieve the stuff and made them sign a document saying the items had been destroyed. This was the equivalent of a racehorse being taken to a rendering plant. So, what the kids didn't manage to break off in the few days the stuff was outside was loaded up, shipped out to a dump, and likely burned.

    Rumors and anecdotal evidence suggest that the Moonbus miniature did survive. Depending on which version you hear, either Kubrick wound up with it or another crew member kept it. The sad footnote is that it finally met it's end at the hands of someone's kids and some fireworks. (Dave Larson heard that Kubrick had it. I heard the story about the other crew guy and his kids (for the life of me, I don't know where I heard it, but I thought the person telling me the story at the time to be credible, so I'm repeating it.)) When Dave Larson inventoried the stuff the Kubrick estate donated to the College of Communication, it wasn't amongst any of the inventories. None of the Kubrick family members Dave met with have mentioned it. Likely, it is gone.

    I think that because of our fondness of the movie and our desire to see how it was done, as well as the stories we've heard, we all have this idea in our heads of some crazy madman running around the set screaming, "Burn it. Burn it all!" But I don't think that's the case...the reality turned out to be more subtle. It think there was an unfortunate set of circumstances colliding with a very private and secretive man that occurred in an era where these kinds of items just were not valued as much as they are today.

    I have to say one other thing - Dave Larson has researched this and passed along this information to me over a series of long chats we've had over the years. I can take no credit for any of the information here. He has really done his homework, and quite frankly, is 'da man' when it comes to 2001.

    Gene
     
  20. cayman shen

    cayman shen Master Member

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    Not a model I have any interest in, but it always tickles the crap out of me when some lost pop culture artifact turns up. It makes me think the world is full of possibility, like I could find a pulse rifle or a phaser in some old lady's barn one day. Very cool news.
     
  21. ShowCraft

    ShowCraft Well-Known Member

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    Its important you made that clear or we might have confused you with the rest of us. :D
     
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  22. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I remember the Museum in Washington and was among the many people who were excited about the 2001 collection being there.

    Sad that it never happened
     
  23. phase pistol

    phase pistol Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for that Gene!

    Man, I really wanna read Dave's book. :(

    Karl
     
  24. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    Not sure if it was mentioned. Any idea on the balls diameter?
     
  25. DARKSIDE72

    DARKSIDE72 Sr Member

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    Although I have mixed feelings about the film (2001), I have always loved the design of this model. I can't believe it has resurfaced. I hope it goes to a good home or a museum.
     
  26. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    035.JPG 036.JPG Sorry about the quality of the pics. TFS Karl and Gene for posting the pics. Looks genuine to me compared to the pics from the Kubrick book by Taschen. This model should be restored and exposed in a museum.
     
  27. Hammer3246

    Hammer3246 Sr Member

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    Things massive!
     
  28. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    035.JPG 036.JPG TFS Karl and Gene for posting the pics. Looks genuine to me compared to the pics from the Kubrick book by Taschen. This model should be restored and exposed in a museum. As for keeping "everything", obviously Mr. Kubrick didn't keep the models. I can understand his need to keep pictures/drawings/story-boards/scripts, etc...I shows in the big Taschen book: very thin showing model pics:angry
     
  29. zorg

    zorg Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    always enjoyed the part in the movie when it touches down, the spring in the feet made all the difference
     
  30. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    * that's big.
     
  31. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    So massive that the landing gear couldn't hold the model and needed the help of that massive rod to hold it up...As for the amount of crud into the creases and details, this model wasn't kept under a glass case for sure:behave. Greeblies were mostly Airfix, UPC, Monogram and the likes (on the table is a UPC fire ladder and in one of Gene's pic, the engine has 4 windows coming from a train set building...German brand if my memory serves me well).
    Unbelievable find!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2015
  32. spinner 44

    spinner 44 Well-Known Member

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    Amazing discovery. To me this is like when Deckard's blaster from Blade Runner surfaced years ago. A holy grail of SS models for sure. Thank you so much for sharing all these photos in the forum.


    A couple of question I hope you don't mind me asking. What seems to be the color of the miniature? I know the model is quite dirty but looks like a very light warm grey to me. What is that kind of sreentone dots some panels have? Is that texture or painted tiny light gray dots.
     
  33. Search4

    Search4 Active Member

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    Pretty pretty. Wish i lived in LA to see her.
     
  34. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Spinner44, the "dots" are either thin sheets of plastic or brass (as you can see in the pics, the window sills are made out of a thin brass grill design)...or something else. I hope somebody will chime in with the right answer:)
     
  35. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    The metal foils they used for the panels had a subtle texture to them. Some of that was obliterated with paint. But the dirt has gotten into the recessed areas and shows up as dots. The metal foil under the passenger windows has a much heavier embossing pattern. Almost looks like the material from a light diffuser (like what they used on the Darth Vader TIE Fighter).
     
  36. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Thanks for that Gene...I saw that on the auction pics, they placed the landing gear cover (one of the 4 surviving ones attached to the side and closing with the folding of each feet:rolleyes)
    I'll try to take pics of the underside of the model in its pristine state later today.
     
  37. Guy Cowen

    Guy Cowen Sr Member

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    What an ace an interesting thread, really awesome model and history
     
  38. zorg

    zorg Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Did any of the leg covers survive or were present in the pile of fallen off parts?
     
  39. spinner 44

    spinner 44 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you joberg and GKvfx. It looked indeed like some kind of textured sheet. Its easier to tell in the windows, as the pattern is heavier and as paint is removed you can tell is metal sheet. I wonder why they used this textured sheed into the body too as it would seem easier yo to vacuform them...

    From what I have observed it's only the thinnest plates the ones that have this texture.
     
  40. Hopson

    Hopson Active Member

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    Well I hope it goes to a home where it will be preserved and not destroyed by a bad resteration. We have seen that can happen even when a museum is in charge of handeling that. Looking at the photos Gene posted the things that I would focous on if it was in my hands would be to stabilize the metal parts remove the rust and stop more form happening. It looks to be mostly in areas were the paint has come off which is good in some ways. So long as it does not creep to far back under the paint that should not be too hard. I know a lot of people here on the boards like to use original issue model kits. for their replicas for me this is not so big an issue for replicas as it would be for a resteration. If I could see that the model was missing say a ladder and that ladder came from a tank kit of the time I woud want to find that vintage kit part for the replacement, but I would also mark it in some was as a replacment part so as not confuse future restorers. That is one of the big problems with the original Enterprise right now. I do not envy the person who gets this job when it is sold. They will have thousands of people looking over thier shoulders just looking for things to criticize them for. No mater how conscientious they might be.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  41. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    The landing leg shrouds are, for the most part, gone. There's one that seems intact-ish (maybe missing parts), and another that is just a fragment. The cracked one gave glues to its origin - heat formed acrylic. I found no evidence of styrene being used on this model. My past experience with vacformed styrene is that the thinner you make it (stretch it), the more fragile it gets over time. The elastomers that make the material bend change with heat, it gets more brittle and 40 years later, it flakes off. Also, gluing down vacformed styrene may lead to crazing in the paint and warpage as the shrink rates for the various materials is different (especially under hot lights). I think because this thing was made to be bullet proof and not on the cheap, it has survived as well as it has.

    Gene
     
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  42. Hopson

    Hopson Active Member

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    Well acrylic can have issues over time but those are mostly with changeing color and getting less clear but this being a painted model that should not be much of an issue. Those problems are also mostly caused by UV. I am glad to hear it it is in pretty good shape.



     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2018
  43. cylon

    cylon Member

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    I see some kit parts from Vollmer in the engine area. They are from some industrial plant.
     
  44. zorg

    zorg Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    thanks for the info gene,

    whats is the feeling amongst us in terms of restore it to its former glory or just stabilize it as is?

    my own opinion is leave it as is with some minor repairs such as sticking on the fallen off parts and cleaning off the "lunar" dust etc.

    -z
     
  45. ShowCraft

    ShowCraft Well-Known Member

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    Are those corrugated panels around the underside machined acrylic?
     
  46. GKvfx

    GKvfx Sr Member

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    My quasi-professional opinion is that the first thing that needs to be done to it is a thorough cleaning. Not Windex & scrub brushes, but a soft brush to get rid of most of the loose dirt and a damp rag to bring off the dirt that is on the surface. That process will allow you to see exactly what condition it is in - specifically, are there any structural issues that need to be address to make sure the model doesn't deteriorate further. (Caveat, my initial hour with the model led me to believe it is in good shape, and most of the issues with its appearance will be address in the cleaning.) The landing gear, I suspect, are just "there" and can offer no real support. So, some sort of support system needs to be rigged. If the Aries is anything like the Dropship from Aliens, the landing gear were never really designed to bear the full weight of the model. Flex - yes, but the model mount was bearing almost the full load. There was a box of misc parts that have fallen off. Since those leave shadows, you can do some research to see where they came from. That's pretty benign. But remaking the shrouds for the landing gears, remaking parts that are no longer there, or repainting the sections that have had the paint peel off - that gets more into a restoration than a conservation. Ultimately, its the the call of the new owner and what they want to do. I think the model can be made presentable without major surgery or a repaint. But getting it back into "as filmed" appearances would not require a full overhaul that changes the character of the piece as it stands now (under all that dirt).

    Gene
     
  47. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    001.JPG 002.JPG 003.JPG Well, another bunch of pics of the original model. As far as I can see, the landing gear is pretty much complete. Some cabling is missing but seeing the metal parts and the details it's the same model for sure.
    Vollmer, yes, that's it...thanks Cylon:) Now that most of the innards are gone, maybe a restored landing gear could bear the weight?...we shall see;)
     
  48. DeanB

    DeanB Well-Known Member

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    I'm still pinching myself. Never in my life did I expect to see an actual hero model from the film. I want this to find a good home as well, and unfortunately I never made the fortune necessary to buy it myself (yes, I think I'd be a good home:)). I know someone who has however; and collects, takes care of, and displays sci-fi memorabilia for the public. I've contacted the staff for Paul Allen, and I hope he finds this interesting.
     
  49. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Thanks for that DeanB...hopefully he will:)
     
  50. ixtore

    ixtore Active Member

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    I hope some museum realizes the importance of this Aries model and buys it - but DISPLAYS it as well. What a find. And, BTW - what a great thread. Lovely Vimeo piece on Kubrick as well.
     

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