Alien: Nostromo's New Engine Room Miniature

leading from
Nostromo

Nostromo Engine room as it is in the final movie
a) New Engine Room Required inspired by Aztec Temple illustration
The engine room went through changes right up until the end of the production and a new engine room was required, since the pillars from the old one had become back thrusters for the Nostromo. It was approaching Christmas of 1978 and as they were winding down in the model shop, other members of the crew had moved onto other projects. The last minute engine room towers were required in ten days and a fast solution had to be found to meet the deadline. Bill Pearson and Phil Rae found themselves saying to each other "how the hell are we gonna do this?"

Ridley produced an illustration based on a strange Aztec temple which had a teardrop motif appearing in its detailing.

Bill looked at it and thought "yes, tear drop like, let's see what we can do. "

 the engine room (photo posted by Philip Rae at www.eagletransporter.com/)

b) Cannibalising Airfix Space Shuttle Kits
For model dressing, they had previously used, amongst other things, the newly available space shuttle Airfix kit.  Since money wasn't a barrier at the time Bill Pearson had got clearance to buy two hundred and forty of these kits and so these were used with EMA tubing for the larger parts. Philip Rae thought that it was likely that no children had any Space Shuttle kits for Christmas, but the remaining modelling team went to town with it. So on the model towers, one can see multiple space shuttle fuel tanks and boosters. This was completed in ten days and was used in the final film.
(See also: 200 Airfix Space Shuttle Kits)


 psrt of engine room  (photo posted by Philip Rae at www.eagletransporter.com/)
  1. Martin Bower: " It also meant we needed to build a new engine room, hence the use of all those Airfix Shuttle parts! But the odd bits we didn't use did not get wasted either. We kept seeing this strangely familiar face peering round the workshop door. Terry Gilliam was his name and he needed a few bits for a space sequence he was doing next door for a film called Life of Brian. (Sci-fi and fantasy models, No.?,  Alien: The Models, the definitive story part 1, p30 and 51)
  2. Philip Rae: The towers were built just before xmas 1978, mainly using Airfix Space Shuttle kits and EMA tubing for the larger parts. As with the other stuff we went to town on it. (Philip Rae/Deraenged at www.eagletransporter.com/)
  3. Philip Rae: Put it this way....no kiddies got an Airfix space Shuttle that Xmas! (Philip Rae/Deraenged at www.eagletransporter.com/)
  4. Bill Pearson: Our engine room changed right up until the end of the production. Ridley produced an illustration of an Aztec temple which had a teardrop motif appearing in its detailing. As we were winding down in the modelshop, crew had moved onto other projects. The last minute engine room towers (four off) were required in ten days. A fast solution had to be found to meet the deadline. For dressing we had previously used, amongst other things, the newly available space shuttle Airfix kit. The equipment bay, tank and lifters provided the solution for this job after I got clearance to buy two hundred and forty of them! (from Sketch to Screen, p95-96)
  5. Bill Pearson: These towers, this was shot, this was the engine room of the Nostromo, and er, this was left til the end after everybody had left, and there were er, well there was myself and one other model maker. Anyway to make four of those towers within ten days and we thought "how the hell are we gonna do this?" and Ridley Scott had come up with a drawing and it was based on a very strange Aztec temple  . I thought "yes, tear drop like, let's see what we can do." As this point on Alien, money was no object whatsoever, no problem. So I used the Airfix space shuttle kit, the Enterprise space shuttle, and you got the boosters and the tank. I thought "right, we've got four of these towers to make", so I ordered, that's the booster there, that's the tanks there. I ordered two hundred and forty of them and that's what they were made from. We got it done in ten days, that's what counts. (Bill Pearson's June 2013 Two Hour Lecture At 'The City Of Glasgow College' DVD)
Nostromo engine room section (source martinbowersmodelworld.co.uk/)
 the engine room (photo posted by Philip Rae at www.eagletransporter.com/)

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