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You can count on one hand the number of Halcyon Nostromo model builds to be found online. Recently, I added another to that count…
In January of this year, self-identified RPF lurker HMR started a thread there that showcased his Halcyon Models Nostromo 1:960 kit workup, a project influenced by others he has seen.
In his own words:
Seen a few really nice builds of these kits and picked up some inspiration from them, when deciding what I wanted for my own version:
Lighting for the hull, gear-bays, engines and bridge. Possibly fiber optics, although I have no previous experience with it.
Making new antennas and probably other parts. After going over the kit I would have liked a few more details (don`t we all?!), especially on the smaller parts.
A display base, primarily for hiding power wires via the main landing gear. Maybe a plaque to go with it.
It won’t take even the casual viewer very long to realize that HMR exceeded his goal! And that base he built for it is top-notch.
It is impressive that he took on some of the detailing techniques having no prior experience at them. (Guys like him give me encouragement as I attempt new model-making techniques.)
His Nostromo is well-detailed, well-lit, and has one of the most authentic paint jobs I’ve seen on this model. He’s added enough detail to give the model scale.
The Nostromo is a bit like the Millennium Falcon, IMHO, when it comes to weathering: subtlety is the key. Too much dirtying-down distracts the eye from the marvelous details. HMR’s use of grays, browns, and blacks evokes the 12-foot filming miniature used for the undocking and landing scenes.
I’ve included a couple of behind-the-scenes photos of the paint job for comparison. Since the photos were taken with different lighting, the base colors won’t match, but the style shows through.
All Halcyon model photography in this post is property of HMR and used with permission.
HMR has packed quite a lot of detail into this model. For the record, here are its dimensions (the latter two columns contain dimensions, scaled up to “real size”):
|Length||bridge to engine flaps||14.2||360||1,133.9||345.6|
|bow spar to engine flaps||15.4||390||1,228.3||374.4|
I am especially impressed with his steady hand and those belly lights… they’re straighter than the ones in the movie!
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn more about this modeler and his project. Here’s a brief Q&A:
THE NOSTROMO FILES (TNF): How long have you had the model before building it? Any interesting experience associated with getting your hands on it?
HMR: I got it February 14, 2020, from “hobbykollectibles” on eBay. Fantastic seller. Even listed “numerous scratches on plastic bags”. Those were the bags containing the part sprues! I started planning the model in August 2020 and the build early January 2021.
A weird thing after opening the box, it had an old bookshop like, stale smell. That smell really stuck around. Only overpowered by the smell of laquer paint eventually.
TNF: What would you say was your most challenging kit build prior to this?
HMR: Every model kit is very challenging for me in its own way and requires its own approach in my opinion. I have had a few projects go belly up though. I melted a Hobbyboss CV90 styrene kit I spent months on, while gently heating it in an oven, because I had no idea oilpaint actually took that long.
The most challenging was not a model kit at all, but a CNC router kit (Ed. note: CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control router. These machines can make precise, efficient cuts in a fraction of the time it would take to make by hand.) I decided to design a box for my selection of electronic control components. That was a pretty steep curve dealing with interference, shielding and high voltage.
TNF: How long have you been building models?
HMR: I have always tinkered with hobbies requiring a practical skillset, but I really got into models the summer of 2018. Bought several kits growing up, but never had the skill or patience to do them properly. My first experience was as as kid, building a Chevrolet Bel Air kit with my dad around Christmas. That is, he built it with me over his shoulder.
TNF: What particular techniques did you teach yourself for use in assembling this Nostromo project?
HMR: My key takeaway is to ideally test stuff out, before applying it to the actual model… ideally.
PVC and fiberoptics was a first for me. Lessons on both were many. One that comes to mind is leave enough spare fiber for it to reach its intended spot, without relying on three hands.
I also crashcoursed GIMP to make a plaque that turned out as an imaginary registration certificate instead. I hated GIMP at first, but it got addictive pretty fast. (Ed. note: GIMP is a free graphics editor.)
TNF: What advice do you have for aspiring Halcyon Nostromo kit builders?
HMR: Grab your favorite beverage, set your own pace and enjoy being in the bubble. Take a break when that bubble pops and find some inspiring reference photos for example.
Straighten the model in warm water (if it’s warped) and accept that the parts do not fit like you would expect. Place the counterweight in the bridge as the manual calls for before glueing the model shut.
TNF: How long have you been an ALIEN fan? What was your first ALIEN movie?
HMR: I am not sure, but at least 20 years. I remember smuggling home a VHS copy of Alien 3 despite not being allowed. Hid it from my parents and watched with super-low volume to not get caught.
TNF: What appeals most to you about the Nostromo, as depicted in the film? As a model?
HMR: It has changed alot while getting to know it better, but everything from the aesthetics to the purpose it was supposed to fulfill. It kind of all makes sense while still being mystic and leaves much to the imagination. However the main thing for me is that the “real thing” are models belonging to an era when modelbuilders were the main source of making that special effects fidelity possible. I am so happy it’s still being applied with new technology for fantastic results, like the Razor Crest in The Mandalorian.
Here, for your further viewing enjoyment, is a gallery of HMR’s photographs of the model-building process. Enjoy!
You can read HMR’s entire RPF thread at this link: Halcyon Models Nostromo 1:960 build.
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