The Abyss models

Discussion in 'Studio Scale Models' started by boatbuilder1, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. boatbuilder1

    boatbuilder1 Well-Known Member

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    hey guys does anyone have the cinefx issue about this movie
    I really need to get a hold of one from what Ihave been told they are now unavailabe as a back issue
    I am drafting plans for a 1/24 scale model fully functional rc submarine
    I would like to hear from any one has can help and I would like to reimburse for the help

    chuck
     
  2. Galactifan

    Galactifan Sr Member

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  3. Goldenrod

    Goldenrod Sr Member

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    Carl Horner was one of the model builders on that production.
    He was also my model miniatures instructor for about 3 semesters at the Art institute in Pittsburgh way back 91'. He had some really cool stories.
    -Goldenrod
     
  4. JediDeni

    JediDeni New Member

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    Hey Goldenrod, AIP, IDT Class of '90 myself. How ya doing?

    Carl had some good stories about the H-wood biz. I got the clear impression he didn't care for the "King of the World" at all. Are you still in contact with him? At the time I was graduating, he was making the television set (that gets tossed down the stairs) for the NotLD remake. I had been offered the chance to make it, but I had to turn it down because I was getting ready for portfolio review and didn't have the time. RRRRRR......

    Anyway, cool to see a fellow IDT guy here.


    Dennis H.
     
  5. cobywan

    cobywan Sr Member

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    IDT Seattle '93. Not much to tell. Although I did work with a guy who worked on the huge Titanic miniature. He still has some parts of it at his house.
     
  6. Pauleysolo

    Pauleysolo Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I knew Carl Horner when I was a model builder at Brick Price Movie miniatures AKA Wonderworks way back in 1987--Didn't he shave his head and join a strange religion or something??
     
  7. JediDeni

    JediDeni New Member

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    Well, when he was at the Art Institute, I want to say his hair was about shoulder length- not long, but not short either. He was, to me anyway, philosophically religeous. We would talk some about it, but I wouldn't say he was fanatical in any way.

    Actually, he was a great instructor. Anything you needed or wanted to know about- he was there for you. He and his wife started a company called Miniatures from Mars, but that was right around the time I graduated and I only ran into him once after that. Good Guy.

    Chuck, I think I have a magazine or something that had an interview with the guy who built the minisubs for the Abyss. I'll have to look around and see if I still have it. Didn't intend to highjack your thread.


    Dennis
     
  8. JediDeni

    JediDeni New Member

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    Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen. Found 'em. (sorry, wrong Cameron movie)

    American Cinematographer Dec. 1989, vol. 70 no. 12, pg. 78

    It wasn't exactly clear, but it looks like the mini-sub filming miniatures were built by Dave Goldberg at Dream Quest Images. "The mini-subs turned out to be just under 24"...."

    "DQI's excitement over being able to fit all their effects equipment into a two foot, 1/8th scale minisub...."


    Starlog #145 has an interview with Ron Cobb. It shows a concept drawing he did of the Flatbed front 3/4 view and a painting by Steve Burg of the rear 3/4 view as well as two small photos of the full size Flatbed front and rear.


    Starlog #146 has an article about the Abyss. It says the full scale craft were built by Can-Dive Services Ltd., a Canadian commercial diving company.


    I still think I recall seeing a model or RC that someone built already, but I can't seem to remember were I saw it.

    HTH


    Dennis
     
  9. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I realize this thread is over five years old but I just found it and thought I'd pop in.

    I was the model shop supervisor at Dream Quest Images on The Abyss. My crew built and shot all of the "dry for wet" motion control miniatures, shot in heavy smoke to represent being underwater. Among other things, we built the 1/8 scale submersibles (Cab and Flatbed), the 1/8 scale Deepcore rig, 1/8 scale wrecked USS Montana nuclear submarine, and a bunch of other stuff.

    The 1/4 scale RC submersibles shot underwater were built by Walt Conti. The functioning portion of the full scale submersibles was built by Can-Dive out of Canada with cosmetic shells and details added by Don Pennington. Brick Price Movie Miniatures built the wet-for wet models (Benthic Explorer, another smaller Deepcore, and a smaller scale USS Montana.

    I'm happy to answer any questions I can about the models, at least what I can remember! It's been over 20 years.
     
  10. Mutant-Enemy

    Mutant-Enemy Sr Member

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    Hi Dave! Great info.
    Can you remember anything about the Alien hardware that was used? It wasn't all CGI was it?
     
  11. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The only CGI was the water tentacle "psuedo-pod". The rest were all models. When Lindsay goes out to hook up the oxygen cylinders she encounters two alien ships. The first was the "Scout". The model was about 12 inches long and shaped kind of like a bicycle seat. The Scout leaves and the "Manta" ship rises up. That model was shaped like a Manta Ray and about 3 feet across. Jim Cameron wanted the alien ships to be transparent and for the audience to be able to see the strange mechanical workings inside. But for them to still be unmistakably vehicles, not the alien life forms (NTIs) themselves.

    The hulls of both models were vacu-formed from clear UVEX plastic sheet. UVEX is often used for the vacu-forming of outdoor signage and letters. I think the Scout hull was made in three pieces and the Manta six. They were held together with clear packing tap along the seams. Both models had to be self illuminating. The most interesting thing was the use of custom blown glass plasma filled bottles inside the models that could be illuminated and give odd alien looking light patterns. In addition there were pieces of neon and fiber optics used for additional illumination. Since any internal structural armatures would be seen they were made in organic sculptural forms out of aluminum, which was then polished to a mirror shine. Polished plexiglass structures were also added for additional details.

    Both ships were shot "dry for wet" on motion control rigs. Each different practical lighting component was shot as an individual pass to be composited together later on the optical printer (remember, this was long before the advent of digital compositing). Additional bluescreen mattes and reflection passes were also shot. One interesting byproduct of the UVEX hulls was that they flouressed ever so slightly under ultra-violet light. So and additional glow pass was shot as well.

    The plasma bottles turned out to be very problematic. No two bottles would glow the same way. And the appearance of the light would change from day to day, depending on the temperature and humidity. One day though we had a literal partial meltdown! The plasma bottles are powered from very high voltage transformers. But unlike neon, they only have one cathode. The electrical energy was then discharged through a grounding wire taped to the outside of the bottle and then run around the aluminum armature and out the back to a ground connection. On one setup, the ground wire didn't get connected or came loose. During one of the long motion control passes, the MC supervisor, Scott, noticed an orange glow coming from behind the stage curtains where the Manta ship was being filmed. He thought "Wait a minute, the Manta is supposed to be glowing blue, not orange!" He ran over to discover the rear of the Manta model engulfed in flames! Molten plastic dripping onto the stage floor. Turned out since the electrical energy could discharge though the ground wire it turned into heat combusting the UVEX shell. Fortunately the hull shell was the only major damage, none of the intricate glass structures were broken by the heat. We had a replacement set of shells made and repaired the model for additional photography.

    I'll bet CG models can't do that!
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  12. Chronicle

    Chronicle Official Licensee RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I would love to have a model of that manta ship. My goodness that would be cool. Thank you so much for that information. Is there anyone out there that could replicate the lighting effect for those models in a way that would be suitable for a museum display? I would love to have that ship built.

    Clay
     
  13. Jedifyfe

    Jedifyfe Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  14. autoprops713

    autoprops713 Well-Known Member

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    That is some awesome info on the alien ships Dave! I remember reading about these in the Cinefex article years ago and thinking wow....glowing gas studio models! There were a couple of b&w pics in the magazine but do you have any others? I would love to see someone do a vac-form studio scale replica!
     
  15. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'll see if I can dig up some other pics. The truth is, this model was all about light, it didn't look so cool just sitting there un-lit.
     
  16. Firefoxm31

    Firefoxm31 Sr Member

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    two models I always wanted to make, the Manta and the Ark..I did a top view cad of the Ark already...no info on the manta...looking forward to seeing photos if ya got em Dave

    Cheers,
    Will
     
  17. Aginwald

    Aginwald New Member

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    Thanks for the great info!
    Would you have any pics of the various subs models? Especially the human subs. They really looked awesome (as did the alien stuff by the way).
    It's a shame there's no kit for similar research/exploration subs, no problem for military stuff, but oustide that...
     
  18. PHArchivist

    PHArchivist Master Member

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    Just how BIG is a 1/8 nuclear submarine!?
     
  19. vistaVision

    vistaVision Well-Known Member

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    It was huge! Like 70 ft. long... Dave and his crew built her as crashed and sitting on the ocean floor. It was very cool. We shot it on Stage 5 at Dream Quest with our overhead motion control gantry (itself a marvel of engineering). All dry-for-wet in smoke.

    My first "screen-used" model came from this set. When they were getting ready to strike the model (almost all of it into the dumpsters!) I had asked Dave to save me something off of it. He said he'd try. A couple of days later he presented me with a large, jagged-edge chunk of the sub's hull. Styrene and expanded foam and lumber! He had ripped out the midship's hatch for me! This area of the sub had gotten a couple of good close up shots in the film. A most wonderful and recognizable piece. Thanks again for that, Dave!

    I gave this model to a friend several years ago, not sure if I even have any pictures of it. I'll have to look. I do know I have pics of the Montana set, all the little subs, the Bud puppet and the NTI puppets. All prints, would need to find them (just moved and everything is packed) and scan them. Maybe I can get to that one of these days...
     
  20. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Yup, the Montana was huge. 70 feet long and about six feet in diameter. I found out years later, that my model crew had set up a sort of club house inside the hull with a mattress, TV and mini-fridge and would hang out in there when they got too tired to work!
     
  21. BB43MAN

    BB43MAN Well-Known Member

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    Now THIS is why I love this site!!!! Words from the men who were there!! Keep those stories coming! :)
     
  22. PHArchivist

    PHArchivist Master Member

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    Not the best shot...

    [​IMG]
     
  23. bqk333

    bqk333 Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Here's a cool picture of the giant Alien Ship model... look at the battleship models around it... and the Jeep in the background!!! A friend of mine got one of the Spires when they cut the model up... but I didn't get one!!! dammit...

    =============================

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2010
  24. CTF

    CTF Sr Member

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    I've heard some great stories 'bout the minis shoots for this show.
     
  25. GlazyUK

    GlazyUK Active Member

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  26. GlazyUK

    GlazyUK Active Member

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  27. SVTStingRay

    SVTStingRay Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    actually no its not, i was gonna go see the set last year and they had already demolished the uncompleted reactor tower as well as the deepcore set inside. those google earth images are a little behind.
     
  28. PHArchivist

    PHArchivist Master Member

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    That's too bad...
     
  29. T2SF

    T2SF Well-Known Member

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    someones got to live nearby and pull a few pieces :)
     
  30. SVTStingRay

    SVTStingRay Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    the pieces are long gone. remember the site is now under construction for a new nuclear plant. trespassing now would not be a good idea.
     
  31. propologist

    propologist Sr Member

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    depending on where you live the information on google earth could be years old. NY, CA , TX etc . have more updates where as SC wouldn't be a top priority.
     
  32. SVTStingRay

    SVTStingRay Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    the pic thats up now is a updated pic compared to the old one. oldest one shows the area around the containment tower (where the deepcore exterior was located) was under water. including the area where "B" tank was located. the newer pic shows construction all over the property including the draining of the tanks of water. as os today, the containment tank was demolished and the debris has been removed.
     
  33. SVTStingRay

    SVTStingRay Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    anyone know what happened to the rig model as well as the little sub miniatures
     
  34. Mauiman

    Mauiman Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry for Necro posting and all but that NTI Ark (Huge Spaceship) I would love to see that thing replicated with full detail. Same with deep core.
     
  35. Alan Castillo

    Alan Castillo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Uncanny. I was looking at this thread a few hours ago & was wondering / looking for the same thing. I found this pic of the original.

    [​IMG]
     
  36. Mauiman

    Mauiman Well-Known Member

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    I just wish that there was much more reference materials and such to that thing to make a very decent model. I also wish that the thing was not cut up and dumped and handed out in pieces.
     
  37. Alan Castillo

    Alan Castillo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Here are a few more pics of the fx workings of The Abyss

    Ed Harris puppet / miniature

    [​IMG]

    The Mantra ship

    [​IMG]

    The mini sub being rigged with puppets

    [​IMG]

    The biggest of the various 'Deep Core' models

    [​IMG]
     
  38. Alan Castillo

    Alan Castillo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  39. toromodel

    toromodel New Member

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    Interesting images and great clip ...
     
  40. PHArchivist

    PHArchivist Master Member

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    Here's a better shot:

    [​IMG]

     
  41. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I have a friend who works security there and it was hard but he got a few pieces.


    I made the trip there quite a few times and always wanted to take a blowtorch with me to hack off some pieces but never did.



     
  42. CB2001

    CB2001 Master Member

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  43. tekkonkinkreet

    tekkonkinkreet New Member

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    I know this is an ancient thread, but it's great reading Dave's posts and seeing various videos detailing ABYSS production. Dave, you wouldn't remember me, but I was the day-shift camera assistant and mocon tech at DQ's gantry stage, where many of the film's Montana shots were created. I was just a snotty 19-year-old at the time, but I have great memories of that shoot (spent my 20th birthday on the smoke-filled Montana set and then got pulled over on the way home and made to submit to a drunk test because of smoke-reddened eyes!).

    Great to see all the posts here. ABYSS remains one of the last great in-camera effects movies, and the miniature shots still hold up beautifully.

    m

    Uploaded a few pics of me and my DQ colleagues working with Dave's models:

    Me and Paul Vigil checking batteries, bulbs, and the RP projector
    Me walking onto the Montana set
    Me, Ken Larson, and Mike B., probably checking Flatbed's batteries
    Me driving Flatbed on the Montana set
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  44. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  45. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Does anybody have any good reference for the NTIs? I would love to sculpt a scale one someday.

    Nick
     

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