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 Post subject: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:03 am 
Location Scout

Location: Hertfordshire, England
Country: United Kingdom
A few years ago I was helping someone with a project which entailed a lot of research into the hangar set. I ended up constructing a scale Sketchup model of the set, along with the stage building itself! I discovered a lot of details and things that people probably miss. The project never happened so I am left with a lot of research and trivia. I thought I would share some of it here, if anyone's interested.

(Please note that although I built the set, the two vehicles were grabbed from the internet. Also, if you see any errors don't expect me to change the model! I know it isn't perfect, but the model itself is not the point of this thread.)

Let's start at the very beginning. This is Pinewood Studios, home of James Bond, Batman, Judge Dredd, and thousands of other films.

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This is D stage. D stage covers about 18,000 square feet and is 35 feet high inside.

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D stage also has an eight foot-deep 'tank' cut into the floor. The tank is about the size of half a tennis court, and came in handy for this particular set...

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Here is what D stage would have looked like during the filming of Aliens. You can see that the stage is filled with one end of the hangar set. (The rest would be filled in later using miniatures.) I have omitted the dropship for clarity.

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Notice that the building has two large doors. Let's go down to the closer one and get our bearings.

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This is the view from the stage door. If this view looks oddly familiar, it should: the cast appear in a famous publicity photograph, lined up beneath the dropship and looking this way.

That overhead gantry is supposedly used to carry dropships to and fro, as well as service and refuel them. The real one never moved, but when Bishop calls down dropship 02 there is a miniature sequence showing the gantry picking up the ship and moving it into position over the drop doors. Large arms descend and lock onto the ship to suspend it while the doors open. (Interestingly the positions of these connections are outlined on the dropship models, as red boxes.)

Those silver rotating beacons are interesting. There is no rotating light; instead the base conceals a spotlight which shines at a mirror and is diverted upwards through a hole in the cylinder, where it hits another mirror which is hanging from the top and rotating! This casts a beam of light around without having to move the lamp itself. At least three of these were made - one even turns up in the atmosphere processor scenes at the end!

The floor of course is largely made up of those famous plastic pallets. According to the set plans, there were over 1400 of these used!

Okay, let's walk forwards and turn back this way to look at the door.

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Clever! The real stage door is covered by a false Sulaco door, making it easy to get in and out. In the film this door is usually down. It is up for the briefing scene, but is cunningly concealed by a stack of crates. Again, this view is the same as another famous publicity photo; the one with a bright light shining from behind the cast.

If we look to the left we see this:

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The matching door to the left is non-functional (behind it is the stage wall) as is the 'cargo lock' - however there is another cargo lock door that does work. We'll come to that later.

Flanking the cargo lock are two videophones, which are purely decorative and never used in the film. Many people know that in the publicity photographs they have a large yellow 'VIDFONE' header on them, but in the film it is gone. What nobody seems to know, is why!

Continue turning your head left and you'll see the door to the ready room.

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The ready room set was built, as was the locker room beyond it. If you stepped through this door the gun racks would be on your right.

Keep turning left to see this.

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There's that second cargo lock mentioned before. This is where the powerloaders are kept! In fact, for at least one shot ("Is there anything I can do?") you can see two loaders standing inside. However only one loader was ever built - a mirror was used to simply double it up.

You're also standing by the airlock in the floor - the one which Ripley later uses to blow the queen out into space. Let's gain some height and get a better look.

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Remember that tank? This is where it comes into its own. The airlock is built over it, allowing for some depth to the set when the doors are opened. That line of pallets is also over the tank. Note that these are the same ('Star Wars') pallets used in the colony sets.

Look at the design for a second - notice that the shape of the airlock means that if the doors slide open, that cut corner keeps it clear of the main drop bay doors.

Okay, I'm going to bring in the dropship. One dropship was built, although the starboard side was always away from the camera and so was never fully finished. It just about fits inside the stage! Let's move to the aft of the ship and look this way.

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In case you had ever wondered, this shows where the action at the end of the film happens. Ripley and Bishop exit the dropship and walk aft (arrow). Bishop is dragged up into the landing gearwell (arrow).

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Bishop's top half is cast aside and lands on the deck, where it stays until Ripley opens the airlock; at which point it slides almost to the open doors (red arrows). Newt is told to "Go!" (green arrow) and runs straight to this hatch in the floor, where she climbs down and crawls under those pallets. (This is why the tank was so important.) Ripley (blue arrow) makes a run for the cargo lock and closes the door before the queen gets there. The queen chases Newt, lifting out those pallets as she goes.

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Ripley emerges from the cargo lock for the big fight. Eventually she opens the airlock and tumbles in, holding the queen. This is the view as they topple over and fall. (This part was accomplished in miniature.)

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The red ring shows the last pallet lifted up by the queen where Newt is trapped - until the queen is distracted by Ripley behind her. The green ring shows the position of the airlock control panel used by Ripley to close the doors. Or does it? In the early Sulaco scenes there is no panel there - in fact Dietrich is seen to be closing the doors using a remote control!

Let's go back to the 'ready line' scene. Here's the view as the marines exit the ready room, with the APC parked and ready.

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How did the APC get there? I surmise that it must have been something like this:

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APC drives (reverses?) in through the big stage door and waits up by the dropship, then drives forward and round the corner.

This is interesting: the drop doors are surrounded by these sections of striped 'kerb', with fluorescent lights inside. However when Spunkmeyer brings the loader over here to load a missile, the kerb would be in his way. Solution? Remove one kerb section. Oh, and paint stripes on the floor so nobody will notice! Check if you don't believe me.

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More trivia: several of these numbered signs go in sequence around the walls, but go straight from 'Airway 4D' to 'Airway 6D'. Where's airway 5D?!

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Well, that brings this tour to an end. I hope I was able to show you something new. If nothing else, perhaps the views of the set within the stage space give you some idea of what it might have been like to be there at the time.

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Last edited by Mike Rush on Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:35 am 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:04 am 
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Amazing! Now let's build a full scale version...

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:11 am 
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im down Reto. i think it would be epic if we can build one and get most of us there for pix.

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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:20 am 
Lifer
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:47 am 
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Whoa, thanks Mike! Amazing post!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:51 am 
OORAH TO ASHES
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Yeah this is a great look at the hanger bay very impressed with the work you did on this and yes lets build a full scale version


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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:08 am 
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Location: Germany
Woah! :shock:
Mike you did an amazing job here! Thanks a lot for posting this!

Cheers,
Stefan


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:39 am 
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Awesome job looks amazing. Did they fully build the drop ship?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 10:29 am 
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Very impressive work as ever, Mike.

:like:

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:06 pm 

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Absolutely stunning man, thank you for sharing this!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:44 pm 
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Simply brilliant.

Thanks for posting it up Mike. 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:52 pm 
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Absolutely incredible amount of work! :shock:

Makes me wanna watch the film again. :wink: 8)

MattRendar wrote:
Awesome job looks amazing. Did they fully build the drop ship?

As Mike says above:

Quote:
One dropship was built, although the starboard side was always away from the camera and so was never fully finished. It just about fits inside the stage!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:46 pm 
You there! Get me a Turkey!
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WOW, impressive sir...most impressive!!

Now...is my garage big enough and can the 'tank' be used as a storm shelter? Hmmmm...

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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:59 pm 
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This was Pure Awesome-ness!!! :delta: :delta: :delta: :delta:

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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:17 pm 
reload
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You're to bad man! :D
Thanks for posting it Mike.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:32 pm 
I like Giraffes
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NIIIIIICE!! Epic work!

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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:40 am 
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that is awesome!!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:29 am 
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:like:

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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:49 pm 
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hi all im just new here..
ahm.. any one can help me??
cause i want to play these game..
but my pc is still
broke.. up
any one can help me or guide me in other
word teach me what can i do for my pc

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:21 pm 
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Are there any good closeups on the videophones? I've never noticed them before!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:30 pm 
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*FAINTS*

Wonderful work Mike, simply wonderful!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:38 pm 
Lifer
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retrogarde wrote:
Are there any good closeups on the videophones? I've never noticed them before!

This is the only pic I have-

Attachment:
PDVD_103.JPG
PDVD_103.JPG [ 211.92 KiB | Viewed 5873 times ]



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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:17 am 
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Edited my description to match :oops:

Thanks Sarge!

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 Post subject: Re: Sulaco hangar bay: a virtual tour (image heavy)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:09 pm 
Matser of Typos
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Willie Goldman wrote:
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This, your work is freaking amazing!!!!!


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