Archive for January, 2010


pin up update with eileen atkinson part 2

Here is a quick shot of Eileen to end the weekend with!!!!  It was a busy weekend, and I had a half hour or so to work on another shot from Friday’s shoot with Miss Eileen Atkinson and her introduction to classic pin up modeling!!  As I mentioned in the last post, Eileen is a natural and has an awesome talent for capturing the genre with great style and class!!!  Here she is pictured along side a US Army Huey Helicopter.  WOOOO!!!  Very nice shot Eileen!!

Miss Jungle Fever!!!


Pin up update with miss Eileen atkinson


Today was an awesome day outside…the air was still, the sky was full of clouds, and it wasn’t too terribly cold!!!  What all this means, of course, is that it’s a perfect time to do a new pin up shoot!!  I called My buddy Mark Thompson over at his aircraft yard ( and he let us come out for another awesome shoot amongst his planes and helicopters. Mark has a very unique place,,Acres of aircraft that he dismantles and rents out to productions across the world & he has one outstanding library of manuals on just about every plane ever made! Mark and his staff are some of the nicest folks you would ever want to meet and it is always a treat to shoot at his yard,,, My friend Eileen and I have been trying to do this photo shoot for quite some time, and finally our schedules and the weather cooperated.  Eileen works as a model for the NHRA drag races and does a great deal of their promotional work, modeling for just about everything from sun glasses to oil filters.  Miss Atkinson’s work is awesome, and her portfolio caught my eye as having that look of a vintage pin up model.  She proved to be much more than that, and her look and style captured the era perfectly, adding her own take on the poses and flirty expressions.  She definitely has a passion for what she does and especially for this genre…from certain angles she has a hauntingly similarity, especially in her smile, to the famous Betty Page.  A lot of models try to imitate Betty’s look, while working with Eileen it just came natural…in saying that, Betty was the icon of what 50’s pin up looked like and in what I was seeing in Eileen’s work is a new definition of modern pin up while capturing the flirty innocence that makes pin up today so hard to capture.  Looking at what we shot today, these are some of the best pictures I have taken…Can’t wait to work on and post more!!!  It was a great day…thanks to Crystal Star for whipping up one of her magic hair doos and also to Eileen’s sister, Rebecca, who made for a most excellent reflector girl.  We shot for about two hours and ran out of time way too early, so we are going to pick up where we left off soon.  Thanks, Eileen, for all the great shots and for such a fun day!!!

this is the same shot before the magic of photoshop fixed the background and the planes broken window.


Patrick Henry Hughes and his Dad, My heros!

We often pay tribute and talk about movie directors, writers, artists, composers, and films that inspire us, but today I saw two people that are more inspiring than you can imagine…the story is of a father and son and the beautiful music they make together. This one is a story that will leave you…well, very touched!!!  Of all the things I find beautiful in the world, this short film paints a most wonderful picture.


nostromo part 3, The work continues at Grant McCune design

the nozzles were created out of yogurt cups and miniature farmers pails

underside of bridge section

the detail builds

primered and ready for molding, next comes the base

a section of the Lunar module makes for the base

detailed and sized on sentra, this piece molded will line the back of the belly module

sentra {an air injected lightweight styrene} 3/8 inch thick make for the building material of the module...the surface is then scribed and paneled

micro detail patches are placed in areas to match the same as seen in the photos of the original.

levels of depth and cavities are created and piping fills the insets

yes there is a nod to The Empire Strikes Back here!!! the ATAT head now has been transformed into the main antenna array mount

Spaceballs pieces added to the deep detail hidden in the dark recesses here.

attaching the elements make for one heavy piece!!

micro detailing of the cones comes next using more tie fighter pieces along with WWII German RR cannon pieces

the master pipers were molded off of surviving sections of pipe from the Nostromo

the piping was molded off of the original

all assembled and primer grayed

here is the ship a couple of weeks ago as she was coming together,, seen here without the belly pod the area does look thin

seen here without the belly module, the ship indeed looks too light in mass in comparison to the rest of the ship

the side view shows the belly module adding a good amount of visual weight to the bridge area!

inserted and matching the paint

setting up at PSOL and finally getting the cockpit piece put on

the detail across this ship is so mesmerizing!

this thing has so many cool angles to get lost in!!!

the bridge needs some detailing then she'll be all done

Hi all and so glad to have read all the great comments about the Nostromo!!! Seems that we all love Ron Cobb and those UK modelers’ massive space tug and are all equally glad that it lives again!!!!!!  Today’s entry shows more of the detail construction and some of the set up at the LA Branch of the “Prop Store of London”.  You’ll see all kinds of cool stuff in the background, so there will be more to drag your attention around while looking at the Nostromo.  Todays photos start with the construction of the bridge’s belly module… this piece by looks of the paint and detail where it once was, indicates that it was added on much later in the model’s construction.  Somebody on stage probably said, “Hey, the nose section is a bit thin!!!  Beef it up a bit !!!”  And I am sure that is what caused this piece to be built and screwed in on top of tons of lovely surface detail.  Anyway, this whole piece was missing, so it had to be built from scratch using the photos at hand!!!  It is basically a fat box with loads of details in the recesses and three nozzles attached to it’s rear.  It also houses the massive three foot antenna array which was a bear to mount and keep straight…so with no delays, enjoy today’s Nostromo pics!!!  There are also 8 hidden Mickey’s on the ship now!!! but not in today’s pics!! R2 will be the last pic in the last entry for this one.


nostromo part 2

nostromo as seen in 1978 UK

Howdy there and welcome to Nostromo II, the restoration.  Following the post from a few days ago, here is more on the beloved model from Alien and it’s TLC rebuild. Many months ago I did a special on Martin Bower, and it showcased a lot of his model work on the Nostromo way back in 1978…little did I know, a few shorts months from then I would be seeing this massive model in person and also getting a chance to be a part of the remodeling crew!!  I thought the model was either destroyed or lost in the UK somewhere, and it was quite a surprise to walk in the model shop at Grant McCune Design and see this behemoth from across the room.  I remember stopping in mid conversation with Monty Shook and saying, “WOOO-AH THE NOSTROMO!!!!”  Monty said they were restoring it for a private party, and I couldn’t wait to get over and have a closer look.  I was there working on another project that only lasted a day or so and never really got a chance but to see it from a far.

Well, a few weeks later Monty called and asked if I wanted to come over and work on the ship for him…the rest of the crew were busy with other projects, and the model had to be completed so I was there the next day going over all that Monty, Jack, Olivia and Jason had done to get her to the stable and almost finished state that I first saw her in.  The mini details were what were left, and we went through the photos to decide what needed to be done…the more we looked the more missing things there were.

So, to start the project off, all the antenna arrays had to be rebuilt.  None of the original pieces had made it back with the model, so all of them had to be created new from use of the photos provided.  There were 10 arrays total, with the shortest being roughly six inches to the longest being 36 inches long.  Grant’s model kits and brass rod collection had been depleted, and there was almost nothing to work with so a huge search throughout the shop’s drawers and boxes produced some parts from the old 70’s kits.  New sets of brass had to be ordered and trying to find any of the kits used for the original were literally impossible or beyond expensive to acquire.  On top of it all, the photos provided little help on what parts were used because the multiple laying of parts on parts on parts made the pieces indiscernible.  With that said, the job of recreating the rods as close as possible to the originals came to be by matching the mass and diameters as seen from the photos and then translated out of the new material.  The detail piece that the rods were attached to did survive, and Jack molded the master piece so a definite scale could be used for lengths and measures.  The piece itself is a spaced out little chassis from the bottom of a 1/24th scale truck cab.  From there, multiple sizes of brass tubing were cut and assembled to create the under structure of the antenna’s the rods and were then mounted to the chassis base piece, and then the kit bashing and detailing began.

In these pictures you’ll see some of the finished miniature in England as it sets in the model shop, then there will be a couple of what the model looked like when Monty picked it up from KNB, followed by a shot of what it looked like before the micro detailing began.  The final pictures will show the construction of the antennas and  how they looked after being placed back on the model.  OK, enjoy and look forward to the next installment in the restoration of the great Nostromo!

Continue reading ‘nostromo part 2’


happy Birthday to John carpenter

It’s January  the 16th, 2010,  and it’s John Carpenter’s Birthday.  If you’re a regular here on the blog, John and his films are mentioned often, and today we all want to wish Mr. Carpenter the very best and a very Happy Birthday.  J.C.’s films were so influential to me as a youngster, and they were the cornerstone of my wanting to get into the movie business.  This summer will mark my 25th year in Hollywood, and I owe John a great deal of thanks for inspiring the path to my future!!!!

It took a while, but in 2000 I got to work on John’s “Ghosts of Mars”, and it was one cool ride.  The crew was awesome and working for JC was a great experience…a very no nonsense kind a guy and knows exactly what he wants, always complimentary and very keen & imaginative with how he sees things.  It was very easy to put his ideas down on paper and more fun to see how he would film everything once it was built.  Carpenter’s work is very unique, and his gritty & hard edged style accompanied by his dark witted humor makes him one wicked cinematic storyteller.  I love all of his films, Horror, Comedy, Drama, Sci Fi, Action, John has done them all; he’s a writer, director, editor, composer, producer, etc., and on top of it all, he and his wife Sandy are two of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.  Below are some cool links and a credit list of John’s awesome body of work !!!  Happy Birthday John and hope you have a good one.

Continue reading ‘happy Birthday to John carpenter’


the nostromo

Hi all, and Happy New Year!!  It’s 2010 and all those shows and cartoons I watched as kid in the 60’s & later in the 80’s showed a future 2010, with flying cars, massive gloomy cities, there’s a place called Moon Base Alpha, a computer defense system called Cyberdyne has almost annihilated most of civilization, and expansive and elegant spacecraft go to Jupiter and beyond…if you think about it, “BladeRunner” is only 7 years from now!!!!  I guess a lot is going to happen before 2017, HAAAA!!!!

Even if these things didn’t happen for real, they do on the big screen.  The movies and sci fi of 2010 are birthed from the cyberworld in almost every element of traditional movie making:  models, creatures, sets, animals, environments and just about everything else is constructed in the computer.  But once not to long ago motion picture spacecraft were made by hand from wood, plastic,  glue, and bashed model kits!!!  Soon after their glory time of  being on stage under hot studio lights and being moved around on motion control rigs, their worn and beaten forms were disregarded as trash or stripped down to be something else.  The Nostromo from “Alien” was one of these fabulous models that spent the last decade or so deteriorating away to age and the elements.

Designed by Ron Cobb and built by an incredibly talented model crew in England, the Nostromo is one of the most iconic movie space craft to ever grace the silver screen. Fox had all the models and relics from Alien stored away, and somewhere in the 1980’s, bestowed the lot memorabilia to the world famous Bob Burns.  Truck load after truck load came to Bob’s house where he lovingly displayed as much of the movies treasures as he could. If you don’t know of Bob Burns he is one of the biggest sci fi collectors of all time.  He and his wife, Kathy, have turned their home into a museum, and there are toys and relics from so many incredible shows from the early days of cinema to some of today’s modern classics.  Anyway, the Nostromo is as big as a car, and Bob had nowhere to display, restore or house the beast, so the guys over at KNB took on the model to one day fix it up.  KNB is one of Hollywood’s busiest make up and creature shops, and the Nostrome never had a chance to see more than the storage unit due to their consistently overwhelming schedules!!

Fast track to sometime in 2009,  where the folks over at The Prop Shop of London were able to acquire the model and, looking at what was left of the Nostromo, they knew they had to call some of the best to try and restore the badly damaged model.  Monty Shook of Grant McCune Design was called, and TPHOL hired the crew on to do the repairs.  Below is the GMD and TPHOL links so you can see the early and first days of what the Nostromo was like and then watch the progression of how the ship slowly and meticulously has been restored.  Stay tuned for more updates as the model finishes it’s rebuild and gets displayed in it’s new resting place in the lobby of the Prop Store of London.




January 2010