Alien :Adding a new cockpit to the Nostromo

a) Call of emergency
The Nostromo changed dramatically through the course of the film, the first model was about ten feet long and had protruding lobes on the front.

Behind these would have the bridge section, with the viewing area/ window behind the lobes.

With the change in scale from 1:35th to somewhere in the 1:100's,  this required the construction of a new bridge section.

The Nostromo modelling team were over at Bray, while the main unit was based at Shepperton.

They asked a runner who was travelling between to two studios, if he had seen the set of the bridge.

They asked him how big the set was, using people stretched across the floor as a measurement guide.
He responded with " One; one and a half."




b) Redesigning the cockpit
This would come out as about ten foot, while the miniature would have been one hundred feet across.

So they brought this information to Brian Johnson's attention, and he solved it by designing a new section to plug in at the front of the ship.

Originally this was located just behind the "twinned lobes" part of the ship, as it had to match the windows on the full-size set, they had to remake these smaller and perch them on either side of a new unit, now located in front of the lobes.

Brian got Ron Cobb to produce a drawing and then they worked from the new design, Ron Cobb had no control over what they did with his drawing.

Bill Pearson personally preferred the original design but, saying that, one couldn't knows how the interior will be featured in a film.

He thought that if they had left it as it was, it wouldn't have been a great problem, but, then again, they wouldn't have known how it was going to be edited in the final film and that again can make a difference.

Martin Bower fixed a docking tube and radar dish in that area also.

Source quotes
  1. Bill Pearson: After most of the model had been built we were informed that the scale of it had changed from 1:35 to approximately 1:150! This necessitated the construction of a new bridge section. Originally this was located just behind the "twinned lobes" but, as it had to match the windows on the full-size set, we had to remake these smaller and perch them on either side of a new unit, now located in front of the lobes. Also Martin fixed a docking tube and radar dish in that area. (From Script to Screen, p94)
  2. Bill Pearson: The Nostromo changed dramatically through the course of the film, the first model was about ten feet long and had protruding lobes on the front. Behind these would have the bridge section, with the viewing area/ window behind the lobes. We were over at Bray, while the main unit was based at Shepperton. So we asked a runner who was travelling between to two studios , if he had seen the set of the bridge. We asked him how big the set was, using people stretched across the floor as a measurement guide.  He responded with " One; one and a half." This would come out as about ten foot, while the miniature would have been one hundred feet across. So we brought this to Brian Johnson's attention, and he solved it by designing a new section to plug in at the front of the ship. Brian got Ron Cobb to produce a drawing and we worked from the new design. I personally preferred the original design but, saying that, one never knows how an interior will be featured in a film. If we had left it as it was, it wouldn't have been a great problem, but, again, we didn't know how it was going to be edited and that again can make a difference.(Sci-Fi & Fantasy FX  #48, p27)
  3. The cockpit section was added to the Nostromo at the eleventh hour, placed between the hanging "lobes" that were originally meant to be at the front of the ship. The problem was that some full scale cockpit windows had been built, but were completely out of scale with the windows situated behind the lobes on the model - there were eight or nine feet between the full size windows but a scale 128 feet between those on the model! Something had to be done, and this cockpit with its appropriately scaled windows, was the answer. The radar dish and additional probes were added at the same time, presumably to keep Ridley Scott happy (SFX#6, p34)

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