Alien : Bill Pearson's miniature Nostromo prototype

leading from

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QO1IFn8kqNg/Ut6evGz6NNI/AAAAAAAAKKg/pVtWFawx0V8/s1600/nostromolander.png
Ron Cobb's Nostromo Surveyor/Lander

a) Ron Hone works on the Nostromo lander
Ron Hone started work on the Nostromo lander, blocking it out in Jelutong.

A few drawings came over from Ron Cobb. Bill Pearson remembered seeing three quarter views of the Nostromo on the surface of the planet.

The first one was white and quite NASA looking, and Ron Hone's prototype for the Nostromo looked was based on this. Ron Hone was trained as a pattern maker.

He was not too sure about working with a single three quarter view of the Nostromo because he was used to working with plans and so Brian Johnson realised this and said to Bill " Bill, can you work with Ron?

 Bill Pearson's Nostromo prototype miniature from below, made from jelutong
b) Bill's creative abortion 
Bill was self taught when he was at college supposedly doing graphics, he was building models, and so everything he did was built out of bits of plasticard and plastic kit bits and he couldn't even use a lathe let alone wood for anything.

Ron was making a model made from wood and on top of this, it was a Malaysian wood called Jelutong and one had to be good with tools in order to do this.

However through a buyer Ron managed to get Bill some balsa wood and some craft blades bur they didn't have any balsa cement.

With that Bill made a model that was about 16 inches long and pinned it together with dress making pins, he would think of it as nothing more than a creative abortion.

Brian Johnson came in and had a look at it and said "That's the shape, that is it". and then Brian Johnson showed it to Ridley Scott who also said "That's it, that's what I want"

 Bill Pearson's Nostromo prototype miniature from below
c) Jelutong reproduction of Bill's creative abortion
So Ron proceeded to reproduce Bill's creative abortion in real jelutong wood and once that was complete, Brian Johnson said "Right, totally encrust it with wiggets".

One might follow the impression that Bill's 16 inch rough balsa wood model held together with dress making pins was reproduced as a jelutong maquette of roughly the twelve inches and dressed with glued on plasticard and plastic kit parts


"The Original 10-inch prototype of the Nostromo"
(Starlog/December 1980, p36)

d) The model was said to have been kept in a shoebox under his bed for ages until his girlfriend at the time asked him for one of his models and it was all he had to give her



Source Quotes
  1. Bill Pearson: There were only three of us doing the preparatory miniatures, Simon and myself doing the tower. Er, Ron Hone started work on the Nostromo lander, A few drawings came over from Ron Cobb. I can't remember when Ron Cobb came on board and when we started seeing his stuff, but we had three quarter views of the Nostromo on the surface of the planet. Say I remembered about three of them. I believe the first one was white, er, and it was quite NASA looking and that was the one that we... Ron made, ah, the first prototype. Er, Ron was trained as a pattern maker and to be honest,  he wasn't too sure of just working with just one view, a three quarter view and so Brian realised this and said "Bill, can you work with Ron" and you know, I'd... I could work in plastics but I had no idea about wood and Ron was going to make this in some Malaysian wood, Jelutong, and you've got to be good with tools in order to do this, for god sake, I was, you know, I er bumbled away with plastic kits at college and I couldn't use a lathe, nothing, erm, so Ron got me some balsa wood and a couple of craft blades and it was, it was that bad, and we didn't even get any balsa cement and so I made up this model it was probably about, pff,  at most , maybe 16 inches long, and er, pinned it together with dress making pins. Brian came in , had a look at it and said "That's the shape, that is it". So Ron then proceeded to make my er, my abortion out of real wood, and once that was complete, Brian said "Right, totally encrust it with wiggets"( Alien Makers 1, interview with Bill Pearson)
  2. Bill Pearson: That was the first prototype for the Nostromo lander, that's about twelve inches long, carved in jelutong, ah, the Malaysian wood. To be honest, I am self taught when I was at college supposedly doing graphics, I was building models, so everything was being made out of a bit of plasticard and plastic kit bits, so when it came to this, I had never actually used wood for anything. I was given one drawing of the Nostromo, and I had a pattern maker with me who couldn't read this one drawing. He was used to having plans, so he couldn't make something from a three quarter view, so I asked a buyer to get me some wood, some balsa wood. He brought the balsa wood back, didn't bring any balsa glue, so I roughed up this maquette and stuck all the balsa wood together with dress making pins. The director Ridley came over and saw it, said "That's it! That's what I want" and then my pattern maker colleague made that in jelutong and then I covered it in little bits of plastic. (Bill Pearson's June 2013 Two Hour Lecture At 'The City Of Glasgow College' DVD)
  3. JD: I met Bill once in 1995, and this model actually came up in conversation. He said it was in a shoebox under his bed for ages until his girlfriend at the time asked him for one of his models, and it was all he had to give her. ( JD1http://www.therpf.com/f10/alien-nostromo-maquette-model-3986/#post76575) 

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