Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bringing The "Linear" Falcon to Life

Early in the production of Star Wars, Joe Johnston and Ralph McQuarrie designed Han's "Pirateship" as a long bodied rocket-like vessel. Big engines on the back, a cylindrical body (underneath a lot of structural details) and a nose cockpit. This early conceptual design of the now iconic ship is sometimes referred to as the "Linear Falcon". However, concerns were raised that linear arrangement seemed too much like the Eagle transport vessel of the then airing TV show, Space 1999 (1975-1977).

A model of the ship had already been built, so rather than scrapping the 5' behemoth, they modified the cockpit into the hammer-head configuration we're now familiar with as the Leia's Blockade Runner. The old cockpit was removed, and became the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon we know and love.

Below is a work in progress model of that original design, based on Johnston's studio model, and McQuarries beautiful production paintings.

The scale is based on the 8' diameter of the movie set Falcon's cockpit (a model of which has been transplanted here from my model of the Falcon onto a model of the Blockade Runner body) Greebles were pulled straight off the Falcon as well, making a sort of mock up of what a full scale set of the ship might have looked like. I also used some virtual kitbashing to complete a few details, cutting up models of tanks and trucks to add to the exterior (which is how many of the studio-scale Falcon details were created) The ramp design is based on Joe Johnston sketches.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Yavin exterior with the Millennium Falcon

This is a composite that shows what might have been if the full scale prop of the Falcon had been composited into the shot of the Yavin Base exterior. I found copies of all the original elements of the shot that ended up in the film, and started playing around with recreating it from scratch, adding an element of my own. To get the Falcon into the shot, I used sketchup's photomatch tools to match the perspective of the hangar shot below. Then I added some simple figures into the scene where the actors are standing, to set the scale. Next I added my replica of the full scale movie set into the scene.

Here is the final composite

Now here's the the stack of effects elements

and finally, here is the shot as it appeared originally in 1977, without the Falcon


Thursday, March 14, 2013

1950s Millennium Falcon

a bit of a "now for something completely different" while I've been busy with some projects....

a while back I realized that the Falcon was basically just a flying saucer with some serious stylistic modifications. Like the Enterprise before it, the ship transcends a basic Forbidden Planet style craft in some ingenious ways, but it got me thinking. What if Star Wars wasn't Lucas's interpretation of old TV action serials like Flash Gordon, but was instead a direct adaption of a hypothetical 1950s show featuring a farmboy, a space cowboy, and a old samurai flying through the cosmos in a "hamburger and olive" flying saucer?

well, I've answered part of the question of what that might look like with this little model.

The cockpit is from a B-29 Bomber, which is rumored to be the inspiration for the actuall Millennium Falcon's cockpit. The distinctive mandible style is based on a pair of vintage Vernier Calipers. I have a theory that the mandibles on the real Falcon were inspired by a more modern version of Vernier Calipers, and that the designers chose that intentionally, based on George Lucas in interviews saying that he imagined the falcon as being able to grab cargo.

Full Scale X-Wing Model

Started work on this model some time last year, and recently got a chance to make some major progress with it. I'm basing the exterior almost entirely on the full-scale prop used in the Yavin Hangar scenes in A New Hope. I've used sketchup's photogrammetry tools to refine the great blueprints designed by user Oldman over on the Replica Prop Forum.

The design is actually for a long time collaborator who is planning to build a 1:6 X-wing. The renders you see here are my 1:1 model scaled down to 1:6. A generic 12" ruler there on the ground in front of the rebel pilot cut out should give the proper sense that this thing is going to be Huge...