Peter Hirschberg

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Close Encounters Mothership Model

I took the family to the National Air and Space Museum in Dulles Va. a couple of weekends ago and had a great time. But the highlight of my visit had to be the actual studio model of the Mothership from Close Encounters!

Geek out on this!

The model had several humorous tiny details added by the modelmakers, such as this itty-bitty R2-D2.


Anonymous said...

AWESOME! CE3K was my all-time favorite SF film, saw it 30 times back in 1977 (of course I was 16...)

Always wanted to make a pilgrimage to see the mothership at the Smithsonian but hesitated due its out-of-the-way location not convenient to the main museum. THANK YOU for going and posting your excellent photos for those of us who might not ever get there ourselves. BTW not many folks realize the CE3K mothership is the most over-engineered, complex spaceship model ever made for a film: it took nearly a year to hand-craft it.

There are thousands of tiny hand-drilled holes laboriously hand-fitted with little fiber-optic light pipes that channel the glow from 60 feet of coiled neon tubes inside the model. When turned on it draws as much voltage as a New York City subway car. The magic from this kind of "real" special effect artistry is now gone forever in our age of cheezy CGI effects: so glad the mothership is now safely preserved as the historical artifact it truly is.

Anonymous said...

Peter - these are by far the best/ highest resolution photos I've seen so far of this model ! I'd love to see even more coverage - literlly every part of the model's surface in this level of detail. I'm working on a personal project and this would be extremely usefull !

- Jay Kushwara