Thursday, 26 July 2012

Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov

Whats that you cry: "Steve, why don't you post some artwork instead of these bull**** movie reviews?"

Well, since you asked so nicely, here's something I built for Admiralty Modelworks last year . Of course if you're reading this blog then you most likely already know this is from the show 2010: The year we make contact. a sequel of sorts to the seminal 2001: A Space Odyssey, which though it carries the surface narrative along nicely nev...

"I said stop reviewing movies, dammit!"

Ok, ok, here's some finished pics, if you put the blasters and warhammers away can I at least talk about the background of the design in a minute?

*sounds of guns, swords, spells, hexes and curses being holstered, slung, retracted and absorbed.*

In this exciting pic from Babylon 9 the next generation, Lt Colonel Boris Spry lines up to level another salvo of hot lead toward a Vorlon bird of prey. 

So, this vessel was originally designed by legendary futurist Syd Mead, who after a curing all known diseases in his youth, and winning every sporting award available, boldly threw his vaccine in the bin, opened a box of doughnuts and started drawing spaceships instead.

Fans of Babylon 5, officially the best scifi TV show ever as revealed in my exclusive opinion poll, will of course recognise it as being really rather similar to one of the main ships of the humans, the Garibaldi class corvette and tediously point that issue out to seem clever to strangers.

Babble on Five of course produced many years after 2010, in 1992. No, wait, 2010 was over Unger, and Unger was over 1984.

Adding more 'science' to the fiction, the large section in the middle rotates to produce artificial gravity (the kit is formed around a metal tube to allow the centre to rotate), has a deployable 'Ballute', like an inflatable heat shield (not pictured or depicted in the kit), and reverse thrust engines (depicted in normal, not retro mode in the kit).

Also the clamp at the bottom can move and attach the ship to other ships, so on the kit itself you can position the clamps and attach the model kit to the Discovery model kit (detailed elsewhere in the blog) as depicted in the movie.

For all sorts of reasons I won't even attempt to understand or explain, it becomes clear when the ships are docked together that Discovery is now much larger externally than in 2001. It has to be, because otherwise there's no way people, let alone landers and probes and other things could fit inside Leonov's sprawling and spindly hull, and still have Leonov as the smaller of the two. Unfortunately this is not reflected at all in the set design, so the pod bay of Discovery is much too small on the set and much too large on the miniature. In the case of Leonov, careful Anal-ysis reveals that the sets are way too large for the miniature exterior but who cares about that really? It's just a cool looking ship.

Anyway, here are some WIP pics made a year or two ago to show how we got here:

Closeup on the airlock, can you say 'chicken' in Russian? You may be able to after watching 2010 in 2012... but can you think it?
The entire centrifuge assembly rotates around the central tube - just a normal metal tube - and the other lateral tubes are for reinforcement.
WIP shot showing the parts breakdown for resin casting.

Wip pic taken while working on the bow details, trying to get it as close to the movie version as possible within the limits of producing a digital prototype.

WIP pic taken of the centrifuge detail.  All the pipes and details are solidly fused into the hull to make one continuous skin, rather than placed on top of and intersecting with other parts as usual in 3d modelling.  

Big thanks to my buddy 'Brickhead' (not his real name) for sharing his stash of reference material with me.

Do svidaniya Komrades!


  1. Very cool. I always loved 2010. Good to see you blogging again.


  2. The world famous John Bear Ross everybody... *Applause*

    Thanks for stopping by, its a great movie really, great cast, good story, good effects its a bit tense in places and explains a lot of what happened in 2001 that the audience was just left to interpret.