Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo, third officer reporting.
October 9, 2011 7:04 AM   Subscribe

The Nostromo model from the first Alien movie sat outside in the rain for over two decades before it was bought by The Prop Store in 2007. They sent it to Grant McCune Design to restore it to its previous glory. Part one of the video detailing the restorations and then part 2, part 3 and part 4. Note that the embedded video in the main link is a shortened ten minute version of the twenty minute four part series.
posted by octothorpe (31 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Every time I see someone who can visualize creating, restoring, or fashioning props like this, I get so jealous out of my complete lack of manual dexterity or ability to build anything. Still, this is so cool.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 7:22 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's got to be a "... and destroyed your expensive ship" joke here somewhere, but I can't find it.
posted by Trurl at 7:46 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


[Deleted a bunch of comments - if your only contribution is "this is a complete waste of time", feel free to just move on. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:54 AM on October 9, 2011 [7 favorites]


If what I wrote counts as threadshitting, please delete. It's a well-created post and I'm glad I saw it. I don't suggest for a moment that Octothorpe should not have posted it. I apologize to those offended.
posted by argybarg at 7:56 AM on October 9, 2011


I love the attention to utterly gratuitous details on this "blueprint."
posted by Pirx is my co-pilot at 8:03 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find it interesting that the rusty gutted prop looks exactly like you'd expect a rusty gutted starship to look like after 30 years of exposure to the elements.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:10 AM on October 9, 2011


I can't believe that prop actually was exposed to the enviroment for 20 years, looking at it. Props to the builders! Wow.
posted by cavalier at 8:12 AM on October 9, 2011


Now that is a space shuttle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:13 AM on October 9, 2011


I hope that they quarantined those people to ensure that no xenomorphs burst out of their chests.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:25 AM on October 9, 2011


Gorgeous.

As a young sci-fi fan, one of the things that had always struck me about Alien was the how the Nostromo was not visually featured as a thing, but more as a texture. This is in stark contrast to the usual fascination with spaceships themselves and their frequent treatment as members of the cast: the Enterprise, the Death Star, the Millenium Falcon. Those films lit the money, as it were, and the models were featured. The very shapes of each of these examples were celebrated, yet I never felt like I knew what the Nostromo looked like, or even how large it was.

The entire film is claustrophobic in that way, I guess. We see little of the derelict ship. We barely get a glimpse of the monster. We think we see the people clearly, but that's called into question too. All we're ever really shown is Ripley.

It's amazing to get a clear look at the Nostromo. I feel like I peeked under the film's skirt.
posted by rlk at 9:05 AM on October 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


You have no idea how happy this post made me. I love absolutely everything about that movie, and I was always upset that I felt like I never got a clear enough view of the ship. Now I have!
posted by Krazor at 9:07 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


What rlk said. Many thanks for this Octothorpe - the photographs are gorgeous. I want one.
posted by Chairboy at 9:17 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been following the Nostromo rebuild for awhile, wishing I could come and help out. Love the ship. When I saw the post I lapsed to my Jack Black inner voice: "should have been MINE!".
Nice post.
posted by asavage at 9:23 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why does this happen? Who thinks that a monumental prop would be better stored outside than sold to someone who cares? Is it studio bureaucracy? I heard a story somewhere about how someone found one of the original Death Star models in a dumpster. You'd think that if the studios liked money, they'd auction off every last sliver of costume and prop after they were done with them.
posted by pashdown at 9:53 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "Now that is a space shuttle."

Yeah, that is kinda bugging me... isn't the ship in the link the shuttle, rather than the Nostromo itself?
posted by jiawen at 10:06 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks! As a huge fan of this movie and ship, I feel lucky to get to see it like this. I think it's one of the most under-recognized characters in all film: A filthy wreck that gets blown up for hosting an evil parasite. Hail Nostromo!
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:06 AM on October 9, 2011


It would be great if this gets auctioned at Sotheby's, put into a permanent collection somewhere, and eventually into a major art museum exhibit (Guggenheim? Whitney? MoMa? Your most popular show ever awaits you).
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:25 AM on October 9, 2011


jiawen: Nope, that's the Nostromo all right. I think what might be throwing you there is the scene where it detaches from the orbital ore refinery that it's towing in order to answer the distress call from the planet. The shot on the page you link to is actually the refinery, wrongly captioned. It does have 2 shuttles, and one of them (Narcissus) is the ship Ripley escapes in at the end.

More geeky detail and faux specs here, though once again the refinery shot top left is a red herring. Scroll down for Nostromo shot from behind just after separation from the refinery.

I really need to go and do some work now...
posted by Chairboy at 10:31 AM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is wonderful but I really wish there was a way to live inside those hallways and interior sets.
posted by Brainy at 11:38 AM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, there's always the Star Trek flat. In Leicestershire.
posted by Chairboy at 12:01 PM on October 9, 2011


Do want.
posted by Splunge at 12:29 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


These are such cool movie stills.
posted by Meatafoecure at 12:50 PM on October 9, 2011


Why does this happen? Who thinks that a monumental prop would be better stored outside than sold to someone who cares?
In this case, it actually did wind up in the hands of someone who cared -- Bob Burns, who used it in his legendary 1979 Alien-themed Halloween show (here's more of his Alien collection). But Bob's house was in suburban Burbank, and he must not have had the proper warehouse space to store it. My guess is that he figured covering it with a tarp was at least better than letting the studio toss it in a dumpster.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 2:20 PM on October 9, 2011


Does it seem like there's no windows on that?

Also, is there an expected price range for the auction?
posted by newdaddy at 4:00 PM on October 9, 2011


I know everyone goes on about Geiger, but the ship designs in Alien are just as beautiful in their pure sci-fi spirit. I respect this act of devotion.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:27 PM on October 9, 2011


Chairboy, thanks for the clarification! I'd seen similarly mislabeled pics and never understood the difference. (Guess I should watch the whole movie again at some point.)
posted by jiawen at 6:59 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice timing! There's a Halloween special showing of the movie in Sydney (Hoyts Broadway if anyone's interested) - can't wait to finally see it on the big screen. I will be wearing my Nostromo crew shirt and gibbering like a lunatic when Nostromo shows up.
posted by ninazer0 at 12:06 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]




Nice timing! There's a Halloween special showing of the movie in Sydney (Hoyts Broadway if anyone's interested) - can't wait to finally see it on the big screen. I will be wearing my Nostromo crew shirt and gibbering like a lunatic when Nostromo shows up.


Thank you for linking to this! I've seen it on the big screen at the Chauvel, but I'd love to see it agian.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:08 AM on October 10, 2011


jiawen: "Brandon Blatcher: "Now that is a space shuttle."

Yeah, that is kinda bugging me... isn't the ship in the link the shuttle, rather than the Nostromo itself?
"

If you believe the Alan Dean Foster novelisation, that's the Nostromo. The thing they leave in space is the refinery the Nostromo is towing.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:05 AM on October 10, 2011


The shuttle (Narcissus) is the little white diamond thingy Ripley escapes in.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:43 AM on October 10, 2011


The guy who built the model was Nick Allder, and I found this quote in American Film:
"To give you an idea of the real proportions," Allder said, "the actual Nostromo would probably be eight hundred feet long, and the fuel refineries would then reach a mile and a half across."
posted by dhartung at 10:59 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


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