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Aliens: Sulaco cargo lock release panel replica
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Mike Rush
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Joined: 30 Jul 2009
Posts: 184
Location: Hertfordshire, England

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the small window at the top, I wasn't sure whether to use white perspex or frosted perspex. So I cut out and sanded inserts from both materials. Here you see them with the matte black vinyl 'HOLD' decals ready to apply.



Here one is applied and the other is under way.



I knew that spraying the TV part red was going to be tricky. It has so many grooves and recesses that the paint needs to get into. I could really have done with an airbrush, or a hot day and lots of thin coats, but I didn't have either of those. I did a quick test-spray on one of my failed spare castings, and my fears were confirmed: the surface took the paint perfectly, but a lot of the indented details were left untouched. It's an odd effect and there's probably a physics reason for it, but what I needed was a way round it.

My solution was to use a brush and go over the whole piece painting only the recesses in red. I even wiped over it with a paper towel afterwards, to remove excess paint from the surface. This ensured that no brush marks were left to spoil the cast finish. The result was quite odd-looking, as all of the recesses were red but the highlights bare. It looked like dry-brushing in reverse!

But now I could safely spray the whole part, knowing that if the paint didn't reach the recesses it would not matter. Here is the painted casting, plus a spare.



So here is everything needed to finish off the TV part. Two rectangular lights, three round lamps, the 'hold' window, and my cut vinyl lettering. I opted for the frosted perspex as I think it matches what's seen in the original photo.

Notice that I have also bought a green keycap for the second button.



The vinyl going on. I could just as easily have made the vinyl into stencils instead and painted the lettering, but I prefer doing it this way - it's simple, it's quickly done, and I happen to think it looks the part.



The red TV part now with everything attached.



A quick note about the lights. Having studied the film I can safely say that the lights did not do anything. Ripley kind of slaps vaguely at the buttons and then pulls the lever. Nothing lights up. Now, I'd be willing to bet that the propmaker put working lights in there - it just seems silly to include all those lights and not even wire them up - but for whatever reason, on the day there were no lights. This means that my replica is screen-accurate already!

It's also handy because the way these RS lights are sold, you buy the housings and the bulbs separately. Even the switches require a separate plug-in module for the switching action. So by not illuminating it I'm saving a fair bit of money. At some point in the future I may decide to go back and add bulbs, but mostly I just wanted to get it finished. If I wanted to I could also weather it to match, but for now I'm happy not to.

And so at last, finished it was. It may not be the best build in the world but I'm quite proud of it because:

a) it's finished
b) it was entirely researched and constructed on the basis of one photograph
and
c) I don't think anyone's done it before Smile

Here are some photographs. I hope you like it and I haven't bored you too much. Thanks to those who helped along the way.



Notice that the keycap, although green, photographs exactly the same turquoise colour as the auction photograph. Smile


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"We're not heroes - we're from Finchley"
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panaflex
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Joined: 02 May 2009
Posts: 193

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, what a fun read this is. Thanks for the tour of cool prop.
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joberg
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Joined: 06 Oct 2008
Posts: 8522

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good job Mike Cool Sharp stuff from beginning to end...as for the painting of "corners and small recesses" it's called "fluid re-bounding" Confused

The corner or recess you're trying to paint is too small to be hit properly by the mist of a spray-can (big drops of paint) than the mist of an airbrush (smaller drops). Also, static electricity (resin, plastic in general) might further impede the paint process (on metal parts, it's better to actually have a small electric charge so the paint can go into small cranies and stick better to the surface...but that's another story altogether ).
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superjedi
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Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 387
Location: Newport News, VA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man! That was a great read. Excellent work on a very cool looking prop.
Love the result.

Now hang it on the wall and grimace as you pull the handle down!
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SKIN JOB 66
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Joined: 16 Jan 2008
Posts: 2620
Location: FRANCE

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great thread and build, bravo Mike !

(but I think it should be moved in the "Sequel Props" section, it has nothing to do with the first A L I E N)



Fred
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Ki-Djowac
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Joined: 23 Feb 2012
Posts: 161
Location: Belgium

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is without a doubt a very unique build !! Awesome work there!! Congratz ! Very Happy
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