Serenity - a question of fact or fiction

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Questarian

New Member
As the appears it may been a bit of a controversy in the past, my apologies...

As a birthday gift, my sister paid for a 3 foot fiberglass kit, the Serenity from Firefly, that was on eBay. The posting said it was made by Ron Shanko, it was licensed by Universal Studios, and highly accurate... The more I looked at the listing, the more I suspected it might of not been entirely accurate.

Beyond the criticisms I've briefly seen, can anyone comment on it?

-John E. Bielak-
 

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darthviper107

Well-Known Member
From a search, that based off the TV version of the ship which isn't something Universal can license since they own the movie rights (the movie version is updated and more detailed). If it were a half-scale of the miniature they used for the movie it would be bigger. There hasn't been any Serenity/Firefly model kits, there was one in development a long time ago that got cancelled. I think QMx probably has the licensing rights to it and they've produced some complete replicas that are pretty good but overpriced.
The kit doesn't look very good, it's not very well detailed for something that big. If you want a better one there's the "Hunk of Junk Productions" kit which is smaller and more detailed.
 

Questarian

New Member
Unfortunately, it was something of a stupid spur of the moment decision we made which I regretted pretty quickly once I started to take a really good look. First is thing I realized was "Hey, wait a sec... 6' shooting model? seem to have a memory of the series's Serenity being entirely CGI.". It went down hill from there.

Honestly, I'm fairly novice but even I've noticed some real problems. Being ever the optimist I'm hoping the seller just used some pics of a REALLY crappy build he found, the thing seems rather amateurish for something supposedly made by a "professional"... in the past I've gotten lucky occasionally and stumbled on to a few hidden gems, that were actually done by pros and really talented hobbyists, but I suspect this might not be one of those times.

There are certainly, now that I actually looked, better versions, but at this point we're pretty much stuck with it. that being the case I'm hoping to try reworking into something better... I've wanted a challenge, so a learning experience it is then.

-John-
 

stargazer1

New Member
If I may.... I have a 1/288 9 inch kit of serenity out. (It was the worlds very first model of It) I made the masters for it at the time when even the producers of the original tv prog.

had 'given up' on their own show. It was left to us 'fans', who kept the series 'alive' (and I like to think my serenity helped do that). my model has been in continuous production to this day.)

Anyway the point is this Like all my models I did extensive research to get it 'right'....and soon found out how hard that was.

I can tell you that the Serenity changed appearance episode to episode and almost scene to scene. To the point where I just chose my

favourite looking one, from the episode where they do the train robbery. (Title of escapes me right now)

I have had a few people over the years send my pix of my model against a screen shot they have taken, saying they don't match. I send one back with one from that episode.

Hope this helps.
 

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mash3d

Active Member
The only physical model I have ever seen of the Serenity was a maquette model that was made for the show.
It used to sit above my workstation at Zoic Studios in Culver city. No special reason, I was just a freelancer and it was just there.
As far as i know it's still there.
And Stargazer is right. The model changed depending on what they needed for a specific shot.
 

darthviper107

Well-Known Member
Here's a comparison of the different version:
Serenity_Original_TV_07.jpg

The first one is the original TV version, it's used in most of the marketing material, but they decided to change it while they were in production, during the show you can see some different versions before they got to the final TV version that you see there in the middle. For the movie it has an overall higher level of detail along with redesigning some things like the engines and landing gear. They had a miniature for the movie which was used for the crash at the end, but it was 12' long. Honestly the miniature was kind of a waste, but I know at the time that the ship was so complex for their computers it had to be rendered in sections, whereas today you can render it easily on one machine.
Here's a shot of the miniature:
You can see more about the comparisons here: http://www.pierre-drolet-sci-fi-museum.com/serenity-original-updated
 
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darthviper107

Well-Known Member
I think you're thinking of some pots and pans that had a silhouette of the ship, probably not intentional
I don't think the QMx replica fully existed at the time.
 

Questarian

New Member
The only physical model I have ever seen of the Serenity was a maquette model that was made for the show.

Yes, I'd only ever heard of there being a couple physical conceptual models and the everything else was GGI... so it sounds like it's pretty save to call BS on the "based on the 6' shooting model" claims

Here's a comparison of the different version:
View attachment 796796

The first one is the original TV version, it's used in most of the marketing material, but they decided to change it while they were in production, during the show you can see some different versions before they got to the final TV version that you see there in the middle. For the movie it has an overall higher level of detail along with redesigning some things like the engines and landing gear. They had a miniature for the movie which was used for the crash at the end, but it was 12' long. Honestly the miniature was kind of a waste, but I know at the time that the ship was so complex for their computers it had to be rendered in sections, whereas today you can render it easily on one machine.
Here's a shot of the miniature: https://youtu.be/hYZkr7_Fmqc
You can see more about the comparisons here: http://www.pierre-drolet-sci-fi-museum.com/serenity-original-updated

Thanks, I'd been going over the Serenity occurrences in series and did notice that it did seem that there were two distinctive versions... which also clarifies a great many of the problem areas that I though existed on a supposedly "accurate model" Even with the variations, some of the detail look off or incomplete... will have to wait and see what actually shows up.

Wonder if it's a kit made from the one from this thread:

https://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=45405

Thread is so old all the image links are dead.

Yes, I;m pretty certain it's the same one, Beyond the listing saying it was, When I Googled "Ron Shanko fiberglass serenity" it lead to some old videos, listed as his, that are identical to the pics in the listing... which I'm really, really hoping is just some early rough build, because it looks rather disappointing. From the response to the "where is it?" email i sent the seller it looks like it may be coming from the man himself, The listing made it sound like it was an old kit, which if it was should have been shipped by now, so I'm getting the feeling it's a build-on-order. Not sure how I should feel about that. On the one hand, one would hope that you'd get any corrections/updates that were made to the molds, while on the other I don't like buying made-to-order unless it disclosed up front because the one thing I've learned from eBay (read, gotten burnt on) is you can only allow "we're working on, it'll be shipping soon" to go for so long because there's a fairly limited window for filing a claim on a no-show item, and if you let it go beyond that they've got your cash and they don't have to ship squat.

I'm holding off final judgements until the thing shows up..

-John-
 

darthviper107

Well-Known Member
If it hasn't shipped yet, I'd see if you can cancel it, it's not worth $500 and the listing description is wrong anyway. QMx has a $300 replica with an interior cutaway that's nicer if you simply want a Serenity model, it's not as good as their big replica but it's still nice.
 

Questarian

New Member
It was really big, we got impulsive, should have looked closer because practically everything else out there looks better.... but there's a very good chance, because the listing is inaccurate I can force a return...I'll eat the return shipping if I have to.
 

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JiminSTLouis

Sr Member
It was really big, we got impulsive, should have looked closer because practically everything else out there looks better.... but there's a very good chance, because the listing is inaccurate I can force a return...I'll eat the return shipping if I have to.

Or you can accept the challenge and make it the best build you can. You can make it uniquely yours. :thumbsup
 

Questarian

New Member
Or you can accept the challenge and make it the best build you can. You can make it uniquely yours. :thumbsup

Yes, you're very right! I've been weighing that option, roughing out the changes, and it's down to the percentages. Given the examples shown, if what I get is anything like that, then at least 20 to 30% of the major structures will need to be reworked and, if hasn't been corrected, at least one major piece is going to need to be replace right off the bat. I guess it all boils down to what percentage to call it at.

There are aspects to a rebuild that I would really enjoy, like all the panel work and surface detailing, and this also might be what's the perfect excuse to challenge myself and breakthrough years of inertia.

Ever being the optimist, there are some indications I might be pleasantly surprised... but the balancing pessimist counters, "Sure John, keep telling yourself that while you're trying to polish that turd", to which the optomist replies, "you know they did that on MythBusters, right?"

-John
 
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Questarian

New Member
If the kit looked sketchy on the eBay listing, it nothing to what it's like in person... I was willing to give it a honest chance, but wow, it looks way beyond me. Putting aside all the smaller issues, like breaks, cracks, resin blobs, or the random grime, the main body is split left / right and is warped along at least two axes: align one edge and there's a 1/8" to 1/4 vertical separation running half the length of the other... bottom of cargo pod on both halves is progressively bowed out to the middle... the engine end bows out horizontally about a 1/2" and the edges have some (vertical wave) distortion. I think I may have hit my "call it" percentage. I can patch, panel and fabricate all the missing or wrong details, and I'm pretty sure I can build a replacement for the engine ring and skids, which are awful in the kit... but honestly, when I can 3D print a rather more respectable, and same sized, Serenity body off of .stl's from Thingiverse, is it really worth the effort of trying to salvage it?... I suppose if I end up getting stuck with the thing, there's not much choice... I'm not entirely sure were/how to begin fixing it. Can you heat form fiberglass?
IMG_0127.jpg IMG_0128.jpg IMG_0153.jpg
 
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moonbus

Active Member
I think you can. You are just getting the resin to soften a bit, but be carful. Then comes the hard part of holding it in the correct position until it cools. It looks like if you try local warming of the fiberglass and stretching it this would end up in distortion. As hard to control as it will be I think you are going to have to gently heat up the entire section. Maybe boiling water? Heat gun? Hair dryer?
Best of luck if you do.
 

Orbital Drydock

Active Member
If you have any way to file a claim or return it, maybe give them a shot.
Here's what I went through with an RShanko 1/2 ss TOS Enterprise https://www.therpf.com/showthread.php?t=139508 A lot of the pics won't show. Transferring from photobucket to my server.
At best you can use the Serenity kit as a shell. Though redo ALL of the surface detail & massive corrections to the profile.
 

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