Alien: The Derelict during construction

Leading from:

a) Giger visits Bray in September
On the 20th September, H R Giger is driven to Bray Studios by Seymour where the special effects group are working. In the middle of the main hall is the framework of his tried and trusty derelict with a nucleus of steel tubes. The whole surface is covered in netting.

b) Giger loves the Derelict
Dick Butten, one of the modellers, had built the shape of the craft up, Martin Bower noted that the person who created the 12 foot wide polystyrene shape over a steel framework was an outside contractor. and the Peter Voysey spent a month covering it with a coat of plasticene and fitting it out with cables and technical accessories. Martin Bower believed that several hundred pounds of plasticene were used, and they cleaned out every florist, toy and craft shop around. This was applied and sculpted all over the model with thousands of EMA pipe bends pressed and then spray painted directly over. The final thing would be fine for filming as long as no one pressed too hard  Giger is delighted with the way they have built it up from his plasticene models. He tells the group of his delight and they seem very pleased. Giger admired the work of Peter Voysey very much and his work exceeded Giger's wildest dreams.

c) Helped by O'Bannon's absence?
Giger. however much he considered Dan O'Bannon a friend, he openly acknowledged his disputes with him and Dan's displeasure with his derelict design and wondered of that the fact there was success with this model was due to Dan's departure in August


Peter Voysey working on Alien derelict ship  (photo by Dennis Lowe)
Source quotes
  1. H. R. Giger: 3 August, 1978, Shepperton Studios. Next day O'Bannon
    flies back to America. Mia films him as a souvenir. (Giger's Alien, p24, ) 
  2. H. R. Giger: 20 September, 1978, "Seymour drives me to Bray Studios, where the special effects group works. In the middle of the hall is my tried and trusty derelict, or at any rate the framework of it, with a nucleus of steel tubes. The whole surface is covered with netting. Dick Butten, one of the modellers, has built it up, and now Voysey has to cover it with a coat of plasticine and fit it out with cables and technical accessories. I'm delighted with the way they have done the job, built up from my plasticine models, I say so to the group, and they seem very pleased. Extraordinary -suddenly they are working from my designs. Has O'Bannon's departure got something to do with it? As always there simply wasn't time to make any other design. (Giger's Alien, p26) 
  3. Martin Bower :"At this time we were joined by Peter Voysey. He had been working on the sets, in particular the huge "space jockey" over at Shepperton. Now he set about detailing the Alien derelict. An outside contractor had built a huge 12 foot wide polystyrene shape over a steel framework based on one of Giger's (pronounced Geeger)drawings. Now he had a job of detailing it! I cannot tell you exactly how many pounds of plasticene he used by I believe it was several hundred. I know we cleaned out every florist, toy and craft shop in the area! This was applied and sculpted over an entire models with thousands of EMA pipe bends pressed into it and then spray painted directly over. It was filmed that way and was fine as long as no one pressed it too hard! " (scifi and fantasy models, Alien The Models: The Definitive Story part Two, p37) 
  4. Nick Allder :"The model was built of polystyrene with a fibreglass 'skin'." (Starlog, October 79, p68)
  5. H.R.Giger (22nd November 1978) : "Voysey has been very busy for over a month with covering the derelict, a job calling for a lot of patience and a lot of skill. He makes such a perfect job of it that it exceeds my wildest dreams."(Giger's Alien, p26, )

Alien derelict ship (photo by Dennis Lowe)

Alien derelict ship (photo by Dennis Lowe)
On the board in the background, a poster or at least someone's rendition of the artwork by 
Robert McCall for 2001 A Space Odyssey can be seen. (see also :
Possible Robert McCall inspiration for refinery platform)
derelict ship engine (source Giger's Alien p24)
Alien derelict ship (source: Giger's Alien, p26)
derelict ship engine (source Giger's Alien p24)
derelict ship engine detail (source Giger's Alien p26)
Alien derelict ship (image found at Propsummit)
Alien derelict ship (Giger's Alien p26)
Alien derelict ship (Giger's Alien Diaries)
Alien derelict ship (photo by Dennis Lowe)

The front of the Nostromo is seen in the background but here we are introduced to the features on 
the side of the main body of the derelict and seen in detail below, two blisters like  windows.  
(photo by Dennis Lowe)
closeup of side detail the derelict (photo by Dennis Lowe)
derelict arm (Giger's Alien p27)
derelict arm (Giger's Alien p27)
Derelict entrance (source: Giger's Alien p24)
Derelict entrance (image found at Propsummit)
Derelict entrance (image found at Propsummit)
Derelict entrance (source: Giger's Alien p24)

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