Need references! First Contact - Borg Cube

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MangyDog

Sr Member
Hi so yeah... I'm going to have a go at this model...

Though not just yet. I have at lease one other project to do first and I have some other commitments to do first... But maybe around Christmas or early next year I might be making a start...

But here's the thing I'm really short of good quality reference material. Sure googling finds some high contrast photos of the geebles and what not. And I have managed to find a few photos of the studio model in a glass case obstructed by reflections and bad lighting.

What I really need is some high quality reference photos that are well lit. I have all the closeups I need, but what I also need is a wide high res photo that shows one side completely, so I have lock down the scale of the details.

Now my model wont be 1:1 scale to the studio... (think around 30 inches, a bit over 2 feet) But maybe 50cm - 2 feet. So I might not be able to quite get the full level of detail. But I think I can get close to it...

I just need good references. I'll post what I have so far shortly. And if you have anything better please let me know.

All the best.
Me
 
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MangyDog

Sr Member
This is what I have so far... Tbh Yeah i could make a start with this. But I could do with more...

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MangyDog

Sr Member
Oh also it's always been said they used paper clips... Did they mean standard run of the mill clips or more exotic styled ones?
 

Frenzy1971

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks like a box of paper clips spilled onto a death star model. I started rewatching TNG after joining this forum and on the Borg introduction episode, I thought- wow so many greeblies!
 

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Fett_Ish

Sr Member
I see the paper clips in at least one of the pictures you posted. It looks like they made a few designs in PE then started putting them on in different orientations and depths. Much nicer than the TV cube for sure.
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
which paper clips? are those round ones with a pendant like pin through them a paper clip? Thats what i mean by exotic clips... Or are you seeing run of the mill clips?
 

Duncanator

Sr Member
When we built the cube for First Contact at ILM, we started with a cube shaped light box made of milk white acrylic. The light box would give us the internal glow through all the layers of etched brass.

Yes, there were TONS of layers of etched brass- at least 6" deep on all sides. There were custom etched brass shapes in a variety of thicknesses of brass. The same shapes were etched in different sizes as well. We also pulled etched brass bits from old ILM projects as well. There is a little bit of the Death Star from Jedi in there.
In addition to the brass, we used brass rod and tube, model greeblies and resin cast detail panels. I don't recall anyone using actual paper clips on the model, but there are a lot of paper clip shaped etched brass bits. Then again, it wouldn't surprise me if someone slipped one in for fun. John Goodson buried a voice module from a Captain Picard doll in the model that still worked after the model was finished - shouting quotes from the series whenever we pressed the button.

Painting that model presented a challenge. The layers of detail were so thick that in order to paint the inner layers without complete globbing up the outer layers, we ended up inserted brass tubes into the nozzles of the primer cans. This allowed us to stick the ends of the tubes deep into the brass layers to paint the inner layers.
 
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MangyDog

Sr Member
ooohhh Some one who actually built the model :D I might have to rack your brains as i go through this... But yes the ideas I have were to start with a cube light box with a decent brightness led bulb inside... But also to house any electronics. Might add an arduino to do some random blinkies or light flicker... Maybe even some red damage glow effect in some areas.

I might also put a borg decal over the lightbox before i put layers on... I had considered your problem with painting it. So what i might actually do is construct the thing so the laser can be built and for the most part attached to the main cube after painting.

As for brass etching... Well Yeah theres a few common shaped and patterns I can see in the cube, and it looks like theres 3 scales of the same pattern as well... So ill get into inkscape copy those shapes and patterns and make 3 scales.

To make my "brass" etches, im thinking about buying a laser cutter / engraver. Ill use that to quickly cut most of the styrene and acrylic shapes. but also thinking of buying roles of 0.25 and 0.5mm stainless steel foil. Paint that black and then etch off the pain with the laser cutter with the etch patterns. Then electro etch the plates... Should be fairly easy to do it on mass....

I also did notice some more blocky greebles, I was also thinking of modeling up masters and cast a bunch of resin parts to stick on too.

Its funny how some of the ideas I was thinking isnt too far from what you did.
 

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Duncanator

Sr Member
I'm happy to help with ideas and recollections, but it has been a few years so some memories may be "soft".

Like I said, there were castings used to create large opaque areas. The plates were about 1/8" thick with low relief details on them made from styrene strips and simple model parts. They were different sizes and shapes, but typically about 1.5" to 2" wide, about 5-6" long and most had one or more corners cut off at 45 degrees. We tried to keep the detail levels very small to help sell the immense size of the Borg Cube.

In order to keep some order to the chaos of details, we avoided odd angles as much as we could. We tried to keep everything oriented either at 90 degrees or 45 degrees, because those angles look intentional. Other angles would have looked too haphazard.

The marching orders were to make it more believable than the TV show version, which was much more simple. Unfortunately the layered model "trees" were so obvious on the TV version, that we couldn't help but up the ante.
In defense of the TV Cube, they were working on a TV show budget and schedule that doesn't give you very much to work with. We had the luxury of a bigger movie budget to work with.
 
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Duncanator

Sr Member
Easter Egg - in the 10th photo down in the group you posted, you'll see a zip-tie on the model. It's running diagonally across the surface in the upper right hand corner. ;)
 

MangyDog

Sr Member
Ahhhaaa! I see it... I thought that was a model ladder or something.

What I might do soon is draw up the brass etching shapes I can find and make out. If it's OK, then show you and ask if they're good enough?
 

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MangyDog

Sr Member
Ohh thank you, but really no need to rush at all... im not going to be making a start for months yet... Still have some other things i need to get done first. And still need to figure out what laser cutter im getting and where from...
 

Duncanator

Sr Member
Ok!
I was able to find some bits of un-used Borg brass. Not all of the designs are present, but it gives you an idea of the aesthetic.
I wish I could find some of the big 45 degree pieces, but they were very popular so we may have used them up.
Also, the "paper clip" looking ones didn't seem to be represented on the sheets we found.

Between these and the photos you posted, you ought to be able to extrapolate other designs.



Below are a couple sheet fragments that show Borg Cube parts as well as Borg Sphere radial brass.

Borg 1.JPG



Pieces like these were used to space out layers . I can neither confirm or deny that these are based on Death Star brass.
Borg 2.JPG
 

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