Saturday 21 March 2015

Setting the scene

So this week I received two emails and saw one blog post  on Odie's enlightening ( Heavy Static Blog ) about the same thing.. The release of a bunch of behind the scenes photos of the production of blade runner..  Odie has already done a sterling job of  highlighting that - so I wont repeat it..

what i wanted to say instead is this subject is close to my heart - i often research film production artists as a way to try and see the 40k hobby from a  fresh perspective - wargaming shares many age old techniques like kit bashing -with production scale modelling - something that the most excellent hobbyists weirding way has demonstrated recently  with his classic sci fi - Syd mead , Chris Foss, Ron Cobb styled baroque 40k   dropship

a tenuous link but Henry South the talented  (VFX artist)  over at the altruistic four go to war blog is currently raising money in aid of alzheimers in memoriam of Terry Pratchett @

such a good idea..

Currently some wonderful prizes are in the raffle including a PDH model from our last summer game  and a John Blanche painting !

I thought it was time to dive back into the world of film props...

I wanted to share some links i have gathered up over the past few months that tie in  with this subject .

Derek Meddings

If Derek Meddings was the grandfather of scale production modelling in the UK .. then the heir apparent would be  Bill Pearson . Based in Shepperton studios his model shop has contributed so much to the film, industry & modelling  sci fi community - I highly recommend watching his DVD lecture at Glasgow University on the subject.. and  looking at the brilliant production stills of the film Moon

Bill Pearson

available here  : on the most excellent TheRPF forums

The The revered Mr Phill Rae dropped these stunning pics of the production of alien at shepperton studios a few years back.on another excellent modelling forum  .

more great alien stuff is available here from Martin Bowers

and some insightful films regarding the whole production of Alien here - i especially like the Giger interviews


speaking of Moon - The unbelievably talented modeller Steve Howarth ( of gerty fame ) has a website here ( interesting to note that Mr Howarth also sells miniature replicas of some of his models  via the Etsy shop

and it would be remiss of me to mention all this alternative sci fi modelling without mentioning something of about 3d modelling

keeping with the moon theme - VFX Supervisor Gavin Rothery  is the man who designed Gerty the rovers  and the harvesters before handing them over to Bill Pearson @ shepperton studios to realise in miniature.. he has a great blog showcasing some of his 3d film work here.

now on to something related but different..

My very first blog post on opus maius mentioned a series of books called the terran trade authority books - well whilst still on the subject of classic sci fi styling.. I happened across a brilliant book called  the usborne book of the future  available to read here

I actually think i read this as a kid in the 80s - well worth a flick through and quite prescient in many ways - there are other books in the series that look worth the read if you can get hold of them..


 uncannily similar to Astrotelepaths!

I found this idea nearly identical to the theme of the film Moon
by Duncan Jones

I found the  The Time lines an interesting way to visualise an early expansionist golden age of terra 


  1. Great post (and thanks for the shout-out!). There is a lot of stuff here that I hadn't seen before. The RPF is one of my favorite places to go and just browse for hours, and always find something new. I'm sure you've seen Volpin Props - His Daft Punk helmets are amazing to read through their production logs.

    From blog and forum posts I've seen lately within the Inq28/munda community, I think that things may be headed in this direction, but I'd love to see more external scifi inspirations being brought into the hobby. There's such a rich world that has been created within the 40K universe, I'd like to see the non-army codex based corners of that universe explored.

    1. Thanks and your welcome .. not seen volpin props though so thanks for the link.. The hobby community does have phases - It wouldn't surprise me if weirdingway was to set a precedent with this style of modelling within 40k.

      My own personal 40k tastes are for the entropic dying superstitious canonical Gothic bio mechanical medieval at present - but that does not stop me enjoying other folks take on 40k .. and in the past i have explore similar classic sci fi themes .. like you say its a rich world to be explored ...

    2. What's been turning me on creatively lately within the Inq-tropes, is the idea of exploring life on the fringes of the 40K universe - adventurers and Rogue Traders, techno-barbarian clans, and the stranger sides of the futurist Gothic aristocracy. A "Heart of Darkness" aesthetic, where there are pockets of unexplored scifi madness that exist within the Imperium for adventurers to get lost in, that are external to the conflicts of the major 40K factions.

      A horror show mash-up of Jules Verne, Robert E. Howard, and Ralph McQuarrie, as seen through the lens of the 40K brand.

    3. That sounds brilliant " pockets of unexplored scifi madness that exist within the Imperium for adventurers to get lost in," oh yes.. and a splash of lebbeus woods for good measure..

    4. I wasn't familiar with his work until I saw the 12 Monkeys influences. Amazing work.

      Yes, him...definitely him.

    5. I hadn't put the name to the work until (Tim) Fulgrim over at tears of isstvan reported his obituary - some of his most interesting work is on the unreleased
      alien 3 movie penned by Vincent ward - the Russian paper architects did similar imaginative but impractical work ...

  2. That is some pretty cool stuff. Thanks for sharing

    1. And that baroque 40k drop ship should totally be made into turned into a kit. That us less talented converters/kit bashers can use.

    2. Your welcome .. yes that dropship reminds me of an early 40k adeptus titanicus artwork for ultra marine dropship

  3. Hey Neil,

    I've had this post on my desktop for the past few days and have only just got round to reading it. Some great stuff in here, and an awesome collection of links. Thanks for posting all these.

    The World of the Future series was so influential on me as a kid; Birkenhead library kept a stock of battered paperback Usborne books and these (alongside the incredible Usborne Book of the Supernatural World) had a seismic effect on my tiny child mind which persists today.

    Interesting discussion above, too. Really enjoyed everything about this post.

  4. Hey Fulgrim .. Glad you like the links .. the images from the bill Pearson portfolio are brilliant - the construction set of outland etc... or the cooling towers from alien that were made using hundreds of model shuttle booster tanks... good stuff makes me wish we had much bigger budgets to create gaming tables ..

    I am not surprised you have read those usborne books - you are somewhat a bibliophile on these matters.. ;-) not heard to the supernatural world books though.. thanks for the heads upon those..

  5. Thanks for all the nice comments about the dropship!

    This is a very interesting discussion and I loved looking through the Bill Pearson portfolio (and of course the amazing Bladerunner models. The layered 2d factory cutouts for the opening hellscape shot are so clever!).

    I really love the gothic architecture of present-day 40k, but I think that despite the Imperium's fascist nature, I like the idea of a more varied Imperial aesthetic that reflects how large, fragmented, and ancient the empire really is. I like to think of it like Rome, where you have layers of history built on top of previous layers, all jumbled up with fracture points and uneven distribution of the various time periods. But in the Imperium the order of the layers should be reversed, with "present-day" ornate gothic cathedral styles on the surface, built on top of the sturdy brutalist structures favored in the early post heresy days, on top of deisel-punk art deco excess of the Great Crusade, on top of atomic age hi-tech machinery, followed by a layer of 1980s industrial scifi, and finally thin pockets of dark age of technology (organic nano-tech futurism?) ...

    1. Well said. That's pretty much where my head is at with the 40K universe right now. I'm most interested in that space a few layers back where the Imperium has either forgotten about it long before the current aesthetic, or hasn't yet made their current mark on it, going back to the original concepts laid out in Rogue Trader, and see what social strata underpin even that.

  6. You welcome Weirdingway.. thanks for stopping by ;-)

    Well I cant argue with any of that.. You make a good point with the roman empire analogy..if you take the idea of 40k literally.. billions of souls thousands of planets some dating back to pre imperium golden age expansionists - or societies who traded tech with xenos - and the amount of time the imperium has been around .. like you say all them styles are present currently within 40k cannon if you look hard enough. anything is possible .. in fact i would go as far a as you say that the fact that you can incorporate nearly any style or idea you can think of into 40k makes it appeal to anyone -- surely one of its best selling points imo ? -

    I think you have nailed the idea of other styles combined with the cannon perfectly..
    little touches like the prayer book icon -show that your lander is firmly within the 40k universe .. its a hobby stc imo

    I personally like revisit that rotting carrion heart from time to time so as not to forget what the imperium really is at its core ..An entropic superstitious almost medieval ignorant callous bureaucracy ..the dying embers of a once great civilisation scrabling about like lost child in the dark best from without and within..