Thursday, October 7, 2010

Awesome Build Review - "Aliens Dropship" and USS Sulaco Hangar Bay

Remember the movie Aliens? I must have seen this movie like 10 times at the cinema (I was in college at that time, and found it exhilarating to bring different girls to see the movie and watch them hide their face on my shoulders .... cheap thrill I know but hey, it was fun).

There was a few things I loved about that movie. First, the Colonial Marines rocks. Loved their weapons and military stance. Second, I loved what James Cameroon did with the Aliens, and the introduction of the Alien Queen. And lastly, the APC and Sulaco's Dropship. Until today, I still think the Dropship is one of the best designed Sci Fi vehicles around. A few years ago, I managed to get an original DVD extended version, and couldn't believe I could tell which were the extended scenes, and the last time I watched this show was so many years ago.

When I was in the US (my Uni days), I found a small comic shop by the town square that sold the Halycon Aliens Dropship, besides other goodies. An old lady managed the shop alone and she was very helpful and nice. She thought it was cute a Chinese guy from a country she never heard of could even be a Sci Fi fan. (She would asked me if we live up on trees, and I'd say yes. Then she would ask me how we got to the top of the tree, and I'd say we use the elevator. We had a good laugh after that). She was the one that introduced me to Comic Cons, and explained the gist of Sci Fi culture in the US to me. I would spend my free time there, sometimes just to chat with her and helped around.  2 years later, her shop closed down for no reason. It wasn't until a few months after that that I discovered she had passed on. Just thinking about her now rekindles some fond memories, and in a very special way, I do miss her company. The shop was eventually emptied out and remained empty on the day I graduated.

I remembered after when I bought the Halycon Dropship, I was going through the parts diligently imagining how I would build her. I didn't have any of my tools with me then, and my paints and airbrush set was still in Malaysia. So I kept her back in the box and eventually had her packed and shipped home to Malaysia. I never had the chance to build her as my kit got stolen by a relative before I got home from US, and it wasn't until recently (15 years later) by some miracle I accidentally found my kit again, haphazardly assembled and painted, and stashed in a showcase with some other finished kits of mine (also stolen from me). Well, long story there but suffice to say, the matter is now closed and all has been forgiven. Blood is after all thicker than water, and it didn't help my parents insisted I do the "gentlemanly" thing. So now I have no choice but to borrow some pictures I found on the net to show you how the kit looked like before assembly.

Damn, that was really a fine kit despite some inaccuracies. Halycon no longer produces kits anymore so the only other way to get this is to shop at eBay. During my search, I found an impressive WIP report done up by "Fly-n-hi" in the forum in 2007 using the Halycon kit. This is his amazing result (click the link to see how he did it)

I also found some behind the scenes shot of the Dropship bay and decided to saved them into my hard drive. I suspect these images helped out with another excellent build up.

And here's the spectacular build I found. I actually found this site by accident at the office while I was surfing for "Aliens Dropship", and I am willing to bet very few people know about this amazing build - its the United Space Marines (USM) Sulaco's hangar bay, equiped with two Dropships, and a very detailed APC and scratch build power loaders. The diorama itself is 3 1/2 feet long, emulating the actual Sulaco's hangar bay as seen in the movie. And the creative use of 1/72 scale military figures with walls and floors of the hangar made from foam core, styrene and syntraparts, gave life to this diorama. The lighting addition was a nice touch. The project took 6 months to complete. End result - one of a kind. The diorama truly represents a scene of life on board the Sulaco ... before the Marines met those Aliens.

A special thanks to idMonster from Starship Modeller for helping me find the link

And lastly, here's a couple of impressive photoshop/CGI images I found of the Dropship in action but not in the movie. Pretty inspiring huh? Enjoy

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