[SSM's 15th Contest: Wrecks]

Contest Rules | Entries | Home

The Mysterious Derelict On LV-426

Sponsorship opportunities available ------ Ask us about them!

by Klaus Schäftner

Scale: 1/500

On the planet's surface wind and dust drive down in sheets...

In 1979, when i watched the movie alien, i was such fascinated from the strange design of the Derelict designed by H.R.Giger, the famous artist from Switzerland. The biomechanical structures really looked "not man-made"- just like a giant fossil from a life form that lived millions of years ago.

27 years later, on a lucky early morning, I found this very rare resin kit on eBay... I don't know the manufacturer of this kit. The scale must be at 1:500 (taken from the size of the entries/original movie scene) The measure of the finished model is 22cm x 35cm.

The kit included 3 resin-parts: the main body, portside arm, and starboard arm (also included a resin-base 30cm x 30cm, that I didn't use). To my disappointment the detailing of the body surface was poor.There was no cockpit, no clear dome, only an ugly resin ball. Some of the details where formed wrong, like the exhausts and the reactor gondolas. So there was a lot of work to do to make it little more realistic.

The modifications I did:

First I removed the ugly resin dome. I used a drill for cutting out a new cockpit. I made holes for a realistic look at the engines and removed the wrong exhausts on the portside arm. I added new exhausts to the two reactor-gondolas.

The new exhausts, the ends of the 2 reactor-gondolas and the tiny little space jockey in the cockpit where formed from epoxy putty.

For the detailing of the biomechanical structure on the model's surface I used small steel-springs and chains, steel-net, wire and fine string. I also did some damage, covered with mesh-wire for a realistic look. (...because it must be very old wreckage as well!) To combine all this material with the resin I used repair cement and glue for the thin string. The repair cement was perfect to create that typical biomechanical "boned growing look".

My imagination of the derelict is that this is not the exactly same body when the ship was intact in space! The heavy impact on the planet's surface deformed it from its original structure, so the wrecked body is bent and dented.

The diorama base is a wooden, hexagonal plate that measures 45cm diagonally. The basic shape of the landscape is made from 50mm polistirol foam plate. I used a screw through the middle of the main body (cockpit) to fix the model on the wooden plate.

In the movie, the derelict was simply still laying there in the landscape. So what happened? My imagination was an accident, made from this crazy alien in the chest of the dying pilot. So it must be an impact... Or isn't it? (And of course the planet lv-426 is not the home world of those terrible beasts.) So I put the body of the ship as if it had rammed down on the planet's surface, with the front of the derelict filled up with heavy rocks.

In the movie many of that rocks looks like bones with a smooth surface like they were polished... - or maybe melted down from a firing (nuclear) heat-storm? I formed the structures of the rocks with polish-plaster like pushed away from the impact. Some broken parts of the ship are melted together with the ground and gives this strange touch of a boned landscape.

For painting the body of the derelict I used colour from Revell. So the basic colour was dark grey, second a dry brushing with medium grey and washing with rust. Finally I did a dry brushing with light grey and little sepia dust from the planet's surface. For the landscape I made a thin washing with watery wall-colour umbra/black and a finish dry brushing with sepia-grey.

Image: Above/right

Image: The crew's first view

Image: Port side

Image: Port engine

Image: Portside exhaust

Image: Hard to describe

Image: Space jockey

Image: Starboard

Image: Starboard exhauts

Image: Starboard generator

Image: Cockpit dome

Image: Entrance

Thanks to our sponsors:

Anthony Murray


Go back up | Starship Modeler Home | Site Map | Feedback

This page was last updated 25 October 2007. © 2007 Starship Modeler