Archive for May, 2011


Star Wars, 34 years old today

May 25th 1977, The world of movies and Science Fiction changed forever. Thank you George Lucas for making history and for creating the magic that has inspired us all!!!


Suzieg, aka Miss dixie of new jersey, a pin up update

Howdy all and Happy Friday!  Thanks for all the great notes and stories on the 25th of Top Gun earlier this week, and to start the weekend off right, you all get a special double Friday pin up update.  The below post celebrating the 21st Birthday of miss Kendell Clements, and in this post the introduction to the very Lovely Miss SuzieG. Suzy and I met as fans of each others’ work a few weeks back, and after a few conversations a big shoot was set.  While texting a message last week, I spelled Suzie wrong enough that spell check turned her into a Dixie,  so now Miss G has a new nickname to go along with her real one, HAAAA! Suzie and her husband are flying out from NJ for a week in San Diego come the end of June, and for a couple of hours she is going to sneak away for a pin up shoot aboard the USS Midway and to finish off the theme, Suzie is going to treat us all to her take in the much requested Star Trek Red Dress series.

Miss G’s background is high fashion, which she does ever so elegantly, and she has dabbled into a pin up with a couple of pics and she has set a very high bar in that arena as well.  This is one highly anticipated shoot and can’t wait to work with Suzie at some very cool locations….  Stay tuned for more updates as they come along, and below is a link to follow to check out more of Miss G’s work.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Miss Dixie


pin up update with miss birthday girl, Kendell Clements

This Sunday is my friend Kendell Clements’ big 21st Birthday, and I wanted to post some of her pics and wish her the best on this momentous day!!!!  These pics are from the shoot we did last March out at Thompson’s aviation yard, and like the ones posted a few weeks back you can see Kendell has a charm and a magic in her modeling style and technique.  If she were born a mermaid many a sailor and ship would be lost at sea, HAAAAA!!!!  So be sure to wish Kendell a Happy Birthday if you stop by, and stay tuned because in early June Miss Kendell will be giving her go for the fan favorite Red Dress series from Star Trek!

Kendell in B&W

Kendell and the Huey

those eyes those eyes!!!!


top gun, the 25th anniversary


The date is May the 16th 1986, and Paramount Pictures releases the #1 smash hit of the Summer, “TOP GUN”.  This was an exceptionally exciting time because this was the first movie I worked on, and I drove from LA to Phoenix, Arizona on opening day to watch it in my favorite theater, The Cine Capri.  I find it so hard to believe that less than a year earlier I was a produce clerk at Bayless Markets and then all of a sudden my big dream of working in the movies was a reality.  It was a fast year to say the least and the whole experience of watching the movie and then seeing all of our names in the credits was very surreal!!!  I’m sure Doug, AKA Deg3D is going through this fantasy land experience as we speak with his starting in  Hollywood less than 6 months ago!!!  Go get em DEG!!!!

Writing this post brings back a lot of fun flashbacks and at the same time makes me realize I’m a lot older than I feel, HAAA! Anyways, Top Gun is the story of the best of the best Navy pilots that are hand picked to become even better pilots by training at Top Gun in Miramar, California. During a brief encounter with a Soviet Mig, Cruise and Edwards become legendary by making pretty close contact with the Soviet pilots.  Both men get awarded the chance to train at Top Gun.  A love story begins between Cruise and Navy advisor,  McGillis. and falls apart when drama unfolds as friends are lost.  Cruise has to cope with the fact that he feels responsible for his gunner’s death, and he is unable to operate as a pilot while carrying this heavy burden…Crisis arises at sea and Cruise has to pull himself together to help save his fellow airmen in an all out battle with the Soviets.  In the end victory is ours, love is rekindled and the sun sets on one awesome film!

The movie was the first big hit of the summer and became a world wide blockbuster that launched so many careers into super stardom.  Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, Kelly McGillis, and Anthony Edwards to mention a few.  The Cold War was a big topic in the 80′s and this movie brought it to the forefront.  Full of action, drama, romance, and some incredible aerial sequences that still stand as a milestone to this day.  Director Tony Scott and his crew put together a beautiful film with its awesome color and pacing.  The score by Harold Faltermeyer and the songs by Kenny Loggins,  Berlin, Cheap Trick, Loverboy, and the classics by Jerry Lee Lewis and the righteous Brothers made for a perfect soundtrack full of top ten hits, and many of the hits produced some very cool music videos.  “Take my breath away” was the breakout hit by Berlin with beautiful vocals by lead singer Terri Nunn; the band was on their last years as a group, and they also had songs featured in “Space Balls”, and “Innerspace”.

The live action was being filmed in San Diego and Nevada, with the above deck sequences being filmed aboard the USS Enterprise CV-65 and interiors aboard the USS Ranger CV-61.  In the Bay area, the behind the scenes folks responsible for the visuals were gearing up for the second leg of the film. The VFX team did some amazing visual work that tied together beautifully with the live action Aeriel scenes. The master minds behind the FX was Special Effects supervisor, Gary Gutierrez, and Director of Photography, Rick Fichter.  The two had worked together previously on “The Right Stuff”, and the work they did on that film showed off their talents at creating incredibly real aircraft miniatures in flight that rivaled actual footage of the real planes.  USFX based out of San Francisco was the VFX house that would be used to build all the F-14′s and F-5 models for the flat spin and explosion scenes.  Chief Model Maker David Sosalla was running the crew, and we were working together at Apogee in Van Nuys, CA.  David was finishing up a project he had going in Southern CA before he could break free to go to the bay for Top Gun.  David would often borrow me from my Boss, Grant McCune, to run molds and to build little parts for him and when the time came for the big move up North, Dave asked If I would like to come too!!!!  YEAH!!!!  Everyday a new adventure would take place at Apogee and I was off to work on my first big movie.  This was about mid November when we started working on the planes and we were in a warehouse over looking the bay.  The building was freezing and the ventilation system was a fan in an open window.  After the icy introduction we were off and running on getting all of the planes built.  There were three sizes of the F-14′s, two nine foot planes, a bunch of 6 footers fashioned off of some ducted fan RC models by Larry Wolfe of Jet Hanger Hobbies, and then what seemed to be hundreds of 1/32 scale kits.  The F-5 soviet jets were also ducted fan models recast for the film.  The models were built at a frantic pace and everyday loads of them would be trucked off to the mountain top location in Oakland.  The models, once there, would be thrown off 80 foot manlift’s, spun on wires, blown up, shot at, and burned on a daily basis.  I went on location once to see these incredible events and within an hour I saw three of the jets miss the drop net and disintegrate into millions of tiny pieces!!!  The hill top was terribly cold and horribly windy and there was no shade nor shelter to stop the weather that cursed and beat everyone to death.  The filming schedule for our part of the film was relatively short and we wrapped out at noon on Christmas Eve.

This was one of those life changing times and filled with so many memories and new friends.  Long gone are the days of miniature crews and FX being done this way, and I am so glad that I was allowed to share in the fun of these golden times.  On film everything looked so incredible and the crew had really outdone themselves with these incredible visuals.  It was a real treat to work with Gary Gutierrez and I’ll always be a fan.  His work on “The Right Stuff” still stands as some of my favorite movie magic.  Working with David Sosalla and Rick Fichter would go on for many years to come and they were always great fun to do shows with.  Below are the names of the talented crew that put all of these FX together, and it would be so cool to catch up with everyone again.  With all that said, Happy 25th Anniversary to TOP GUN and to all of those that made it happen!

Special Effects by
Peter Cairo
special effects
Steven C. Foster
special effects (as Steve Foster)
Gary Gutierrez
supervisor of special photographic effects
Allen Hall
special effects coordinator
Robert G. Willard
special effects
Marvin Gardner
special effects assistant (uncredited)
Jamie Hyneman
special effects crew (uncredited)
Mike Menzel
special effects technician (uncredited)

Visual Effects by
David Carothers
model maker: USFX
Samuel Comstock
animator: USFX (as Sam Comstock)
Stuart Cudlitz
model maker: USFX
John Eaves
model maker: USFX
Rick Fichter
director of photography: USFX
Whitney Green
production manager: USFX
William Groshelle
animation supervisor: USFX
Donald Hansard Sr.
process coordinator (as Don Hansard Sr.)
Don Hansard
process engineer (as Don Hansard Jr.)
Marghi McMahon
model maker: USFX (as Marghe McMahon)
Ted Moehnke
pyrotechnician: USFX
Earle Murphy
model maker: USFX
Kjell Ness
assistant model maker: USFX
Allessandro Palladini
assistant model maker: USFX
Mitchell Romanauski
assistant model maker: USFX
Steve Sanders
model maker: USFX (as Steven Sanders)
David Sosalla
model department supervisor: USFX
Wes Takahashi,

from the film, the old Paramount logo

the story

the title

the beautiful opening images on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise

F-14 launch


incredible LIVE action areial scenes, no CGI here


encounter with a Mig

Filmed like George Miller's Mad Max trilogy only in the air. awesome shots and incredible lighting

Edwards and Cruise

Val Kilmer

the wooing of McGillis

romance is in the air

the boys are always in trouble and have to get their do from Tom Skerrit

A very young Meg Ryan

death on the high seas

Tony Scott's incredible lighting added so much to the mood and feel of the film as seen in this spectacular image

a row of Tomcats at Miramar

more of Scott's magic

the greatest shot in the world. the tail mounted camera as the F-14 launches from the deck and rolls into battle

a victorious return

the boys are a back and the sunsets with the end of 1986's Top Gun!!!

the VFX maestro, Gary Gutierrez

the world famous Rick Fichter

the F-5 at USFX, hey I have hair in this pic!!!!

David Sosalla

Mitch Romanauski and Steve Sanders work on one of the 6 foot F-14's

Stave sanders on the set

launching missiles

the F-14 takes a bow

the falling F-5

one of the VFX cameras equiped with the shaking drill addition for those bumpy looking shots

off the man lift




getting ready for the wire rigged flat spin

1/12th scale F-104 cockpit models were used!

ready, set,,,,,


Mitch, Earle, and Gary discuss the shot


psycho, the 50th anniversarry, update

Well this is a story that started in August and is still in the works, but like fine wine the wait will be worth it. I went on a major trek to find all of the original filming locations so the “then and now” gallery is really looking beyond awesome. I also met the body double actress for Janet Leigh and will be interviewing her shortly so stay tuned and hopefully this will be done before the 51st anniversary comes along. HAAA! In the meantime here is a street view shot of the building used as the hotel in the opening sequence of the film. and one of the then and now shots as well.

Enjoy and have a good one.

the hotel

Central and Adams


fire at will Miss Kay jay

By popular demand here she is for a middle of the week pin up update.   Lethal weapon Miss Kay Jay returns today in an “if looks could kill” theme for a sizzling edition from last February ‘s 2011 shoot!


enterprise-e engineering corridor

Here is a rare shot of the Ent-E engineering corridor. Note the translights at the end of the hall which lets you know that the optimum use of this location, from a camera’s point of view is from the center of the set. This set was realized for ST Nemesis and is where Riker first encounters Shinzon’s Viceroy.

e e corridor


profiles in history auction #44

Good morning and happy Wednesday.  GOOD NEWS for you collectors out there, or if you’re like me a window shopper, the new Profiles in History auction catalog #44 is now out, and what an awesome auction they are having.  Below is a link to the downloadable version, and I have already spent hours looking at this one and am so glad that my wife can hold me back from these incredible  auctions, haaaa…..  Tons of great movie items, art, and just a cornucopia of things that we all wish we could have.  Here are a few pages from my wish list and by far the best thing in this catalog for me is the Spaceship from  Zombies of the Stratosphere…also used as Commando Cody’s ship in Radar Men from the Moon) A real treasure!!!  OK then off to the drawing board so enjoy the download and have a great day!!!


the coolest model ever

Wow It's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

What a great car

COOOOOOL,,,, stuff from the Rocketeer

the not so Jupiter 2, jupiter 2

very nifty Trek stuff

and holly cow the simple blaster from "Forbidden Planet"


it’s miss Kay jay friday, an arizona pin up update

Here is one more post for a gorgeous Friday.  Miss Kay Jay is the very lovely and talented lady from Arizona who a few months back had a small feature post in the beloved red dress series (  ).  Today here she is again giving her take on an aviation pin up theme.  She is every inch an amazing model, and her style is sleek, elegant, and very sassy.  She is a favorite to work with and look forward to more shoots in the future, so until then enjoys some new pics from one of the queens of Arizona modeling.  Miss Kay Jay.

kay jay 1

Kay in Color

Kay in B&G

Kay give-n the big gun a go

For more of Kay see the link below


greg jein’s k7 space station

Happy Friday, and I just came across some cool pictures of Greg Jein’s beautiful K7 Space Station from the DS9 episode, Trials and Tribble-ations.  Greg Jein is one of the greatest model makers of all time, and his passion for Star trek is equally as great.  This was definitely a labor of love project, and it shows in all the details.  I love Greg and so miss the days of working in his shop back when real models were used for movies!!!  So here are some fun pics to start the weekend, and hope everyone has a great couple of days off!!!

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May 2011
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