Archive for April 17th, 2012


Gene Rizzardi and the making of the clear Enterprise

Gene and the CLEA-AH "E"

Here is a pic of the grand master model maker Gene Rizzardi and his finished clear Enterprise E model. The model was built for Captain Picard’s ready room from Star Trek “Nemesis” and funny story goes along with this beautiful model.  Way back in 2001 a lot of the sets for Nemesis would be built and dressed for shooting a day or so before they were needed for filming.  One of the biggest issues with getting sets ready for filming trouble is getting the director over to see the sets for approval, This is very true with all shows because everyone’s time is spread out where there is an overwhelming amount of work on everyone’s plate…. Many times he wouldn’t be able to show up till the day before or less and any change was a big change in the 11th hour. That’s the nature of the beast and we all are on scramble mode till the last shot of the film is done!!!!  This model is one very big example of this… a few days before the ready room was to be shot all the dressing and lighting was in place. My boss Herman Zimmerman, had me make a display model of the Enterprise E to have as a part of the dressing. The study model built for ILM on First Contact was used again and was set in the corner of the set….. The director walked in and made a hand full of small changes,  he caught site of the Enterprise model in the corner and after looking at it for a moment he turned to Herman and said in a very British accent: I think I would like to have this model CLEA-AH (clear). Herman discussed the major issues of such a request, yet Stuart was very passionate about having a clear ship so the request stood.. Herman came back to the office and asked what it would take to make the ship transparent!!!!!! Yikes,,, I said it would take about 4 weeks and about $8000. Holly Cow said Herman and off he went to pitch the heavy news. He came back and said the change was still wanted and to go ahead with making a new “E” This in return postponed being able to shoot the Ready room so other sets had to be quickly finished to fill the Ready Rooms slot. Herman asked If I could make the model but there was no way to do both the art and the model at the same time. Herman took the project down stairs to the FX department and the job was given to model maker Gene Rizzardi. Gene took the master pieces of the “e” model from stage and started to sand and buff the pieces smooth as glass. Special platinum rubber molds had to made to accept the clear resins needed to make the ship parts clear…. Problem ensued right away with the parts sticking to the molds and the surface of the parts not curing… after multiple attempts regular RTV molds were made and seemed to work better with the resin than the Platinum molds did. Know the issue was casting parts without bubbles in the middle. After many try’s Gene got some good pieces and now had to spend a great deal of time sanding and buffing the materiel to a perfect smooth and clear finish. Gene made three or four final pieces as backups, and after all was said and done I believe the models cost to be about $13,000. and took 6 weeks to complete. The model was placed on the set, filming began and in the end you can kinda see it in the far background of a couple of shots!!!!! As short as it was seen in the background it at least made it… The model we made for First Contact is only seen as a shadow on the wall… HAAA! HOLLYWOOD!!!!!! Anyways the behind the scenes crew worked their magic and the finished piece was spectacular…

April 2012