Memories of Nostromo: Dayton’s story


Dayton Allen sculpts figures and builds models inspired by Alien and science fiction. His creativity is spontaneous and he often makes prototypes based on current media favorites before they hit the commercial market. Dayton lives in the US and he regularly posts his work on his Sith_Fire30 Facebook page.


I wasn’t exactly sure what I was seeing when I first laid eyes on the Nostromo set as a child. I was channel surfing for my dad, back in the days when remotes were indeed “remote”. I came across the movie of the week when my dad paused at the command of “turn” to watch a scene with a man standing alone in what looked to be the hold of a cargo ship. My father wasn’t much for science fiction other than Star Trek so both he and I were watching this scenario unfold for the first time.



I wasn’t sure what the guy was looking for, but the sound of the chains instantly made me feel uneasy. By the time the guy in the cap found the cat I knew something was about to happen and asked my dad if I could turn the channel….then “it” appeared just out of focus.

What was I looking at? The next thing I remember (in glances) was the jaws of a mouth opening viciously while the man in the cap looked awe struck….then I looked back at my dad, squinting my eyes like I ate something sour, cringing in fear before this television screen. At a quick glance I remember seeing the cat looking up and around hearing nothing other than the chains, water and my dad finally saying “turn”.



I didn’t hesitate.

It was 1984 – I was a little late to the game than others I suppose. Moments after the “cargo ship” scene I asked if I could see more. Nothing else was on, it was a Sunday night. Why not. The next scene was the air ducts, then the galley, then the corridors, the bridge, the corridors…those corridors. Not only was I being assaulted visually I was being destroyed by the sounds emanating from the ship. When the beast wasn’t the threat, the ship itself held me in a claustrophobic grip.


aliendc_2303 (1)


I was fascinated by it…as much as I was when I saw the Millennium Falcon for the first time. A mess of pipes, machinery, chaos…you didn’t know where the alien creature was hiding because it seemed it was everywhere! After the movie ended, it was bedtime…..I had to go to bed after THAT!?!?

Years later I returned to the Nostromo, having a crazy idea to customize figures and environments from the 1979 film. My hobby is an action figure customizer/sculptor/model builder. In 2011, 27 years since I first saw that “cargo hold”, I began to delve into the Nostromo’s many secrets that were held in darkness on the big screen.



The amount of art and creativity that went into the production of the ship, both interiors and exteriors, its lighting and the sounds was extensive. All created on a limited budget, involving artists/directors that would become icons.

In the Alien universe, the ship was merely a towing vessel. Top of the line in terms of its efficiency (it only needed two engineers onboard) but a low end work horse nonetheless. In our universe, it redefined how starships would be represented in film. It brought a grit back into space exploration.



Today I enjoy not only sculpting the crew, the beast and the cat of the ill-fated ship, but it’s 9th passenger – the Nostromo itself. It went along for the nightmarish ride, dying along with much of the crew in the end, with only an extension of itself roaming the cosmos for the next five decades.




[Ed. note: Originally published on: Nov 1, 2017 @ 08:00]


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