Hey all and Happy Friday!!!! I have to say it has been great fun going through the old boxes of art and photos to put up on the blog here!!! Sure is a lot more stuff in my garage than I thought I had, and even some secret treasures that I really forgot about. I found a cup of snow from the North Pole (Santa Clause 3), Dilithium Crystals and snow from the Andorian planet’s surface (Enterprise), and too many other things to write about this morning. The big finds were the cases of Gold Enterprise’s from the last three TNG films. They all still look really good for the amount of abuse they got on stage.
Here’s the story of how these golden eggs came to be on First Contact:
Herman Zimmerman and I were talking about the observation lounge and how they were going to have to sculpt an Enterprise E profile to go with the half carvings created for the Ent. D. It was one of those things that in the back of my mind I said: “If we could do those gold ships differently, we could make full size models and have them gold plated!!” The only thing is, I said it out loud as I thought it… Herman looked at the broken half sculpts on the floor and then looked at me and said that he loved that idea and asked when could I start making them….We laughed and then the massive stress and joy of this new project was what I felt next!!! We were still heavy in the designing phase of things, and these models had a pretty severe deadline. This was before eBay, so I went and scoured the hobby shops all the way from Los Angeles to PHX Arizona to find any and all kits of the Enterprises. What was available then was the Enterprise A, a TOS Enterprise that was too small so I opted to get the cutaway version that was substantially bigger, and the Ent. D. That left the “B”, “C” and the new “E”. For the “B” I grabbed one of the Playmates toy which was a good scale. For the “C” my friend Nelson tracked down a beautiful Garage kit that, too, was a good scale. For the “E”, I had just finished making a big 28 inch study model for the producers here in LA and for the model guys and gals up at ILM. It was almost too big, but there was no time to sculpt another one so it had to do. Herman asked for 3 of each ship because we were now going to have the smashing of the case scene. In the end, we wound up making 6 of the “D’s” and about 6 or 7 of the “C’s” because it was the one that all the glass would fall on top of. Getting them all built was a huge challenge because the kits are just awful to work with, and most of the seams were huge and the choice of part lines put large, deep lines through what should be a clean surface. The Enterprise A was the worst because it has this kinda wood texture on every inch of the ship, so I wound up filling every line and sanding it smooth to make the finished gold plating look like an Oscar. Time was short, so the smooth look only happened on the TOS, A,C, and E. The rest were as is. To expedite, I made one master of each ship, molded them and then made solid resin castings. The ships were very heavy and after the plating was complete, they felt like solid blocks of gold. Jim and Dan are the two guys that run ArtCraft Plating, and they did an awesome job with the gold plating of the ships…they get all my business, and I recommend them to anyone that has something they need plated in any kind of metal or finish! Herman was getting tense with the deadlines, and my in and out of the office juggling routine between art and models made it even more difficult when things were due by the end of every day, but in the end everything worked out fine. The models turned out gorgeous once mounted and they were hit with those Halogen jewelers lights built into the case. Mike Okuda made great little plaques for each ship that really made the whole display sing! The saddest day was when they filmed the smashing scene, and it was brutal to watch the models get hit with rifle and glass!!! Oh well, that’s what they were made for, HAAA! Anyway, here are some pictures of the golden babies for you to enjoy!!! Have a great weekend.