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2001 Astronaut Meets Monolith--Done!


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This old Lunar Models kit has been on the shelf for years. I acquired it from a vendor long forgotten. It has been calling me off and on to build it.

First problem: It is a Lunar Models resin figure with sheet plastic to build the monolith. It goes without saying that there will be casting, fit, and accuracy issues. It's a Lunar Models kit, remember!

Accuracy: Bowman met the monolith in a hotel room, not on the surface of the moon, so the moon base is out. The chest and back packs worn by the Clavius Base astronauts in their silver suits could be used, but those parts are radically different (and missing from the kit box) from those worn by Bowman and Poole on Discovery (which are in the box). Bowman was wearing his red suit. The kit monolith is way too small and out of proportion with the movie prop.

Casting: Rubber molds were used for pouring the resin pieces. I know this because I was pulling out small chunks of rubber from the ribbed suit details. This means that the next guy got a resin casting worse than mine. I dug out many resin plugs where they should not have been because of missing rubber on my pieces when they were cast.

Fit: The rubber molds did not join properly on most pieces, causing large mismatches along the seams. I've spent many hours carving on the ribbed arms, legs, and torso of the space suit. Some of the mismatches were in excess of 1/32-inch with very visible overhangs. The ribbed hoses were a pain to clean up.

The figure is 1/8 scale, which I determined by looking up the actor's height and adding a few inches for the boots and helmet. The movie prop monolith was 12 feet high. From photos, I determined the width as 4 feet 11 inches and the thickness as 9 inches. I am using the movie prop dimensions and not those used by Clarke in the books or the dialogue in "2010."

This is a work in progress, with the figure taped together and the monolith in its initial rigid foam core state cut to size.

2001Astronaut1.jpg

2001Astronaut2.jpg

2001Astronaut3.jpg

2001Astronaut4.jpg

For accuracy, the helmet is the worst piece. I had to extend the front by 1/8-inch in order to get the correct shape to the glass. This led to filling and building up the front top. It still did not look right. I enlarged a photo of the helmet's profile. Horrors. I have to add 3/16-inch to the top (see white plastic strips to establish the height and contour. The glass must be extended back as marked by the tape. I've already sanded off the oversize and inaccurate panels on the back of the helmet to be replaced by scratchbuilt ones. For filler, I'm using Squadron White Putty, Elmer's Almond Wood Putty, and Mr. Surfacer 1200 out of the bottle. This helmet has a long way to go to carve the recessed window (both sides) and build up the entire top to cover the white plastic guide.

The foam core monolith will be covered with black sheet plastic that I have on order from the LHS.

Hope you like how this looks so far.

Ed

Edited by ewahl
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Hi, Rusty,

 

It was a "Special Limited Edition" resin figure. No date. Original price tag $99.99. I paid $50.00 on the discounted price tag. Look for Kit # FG 17-18-19.

 

I have no idea if the master patterns have survived.

 

Ed

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Having see this in person at our meeting, I think Ed chipped and filed more grooves in that suit than anyone should have to. The mold shift on the suit was horrible. Every time he comes in it looks better and better. Between this and his Space Pod from "2001", I hope he gets them done soon. They really look great ithe flesh (resin?".

 

Nice job Ed.

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Thanks, Bill,

 

I always appreciate the encouragement I receive from you and the rest of the guys at the meetings , , , and also from you viewers here on the DF.

 

Ed

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

Looks great...remember that the monolith had a smooth glass like surface.

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Hi, Scott,

 

I have a great reference book that describes the procedure and materials used to build the prop monolith. I am following the painting and finishing instructions, so my finished monolith should look like a miniature of the original. I was struck by AMS while working on the helmet. I decided to try making a rubber mold and resin casting of the helmet so I can hollow it out and insert a head. This means I must vacuform the helmet glass also. At the LHS, I ordered a 1/8-scale head bust made by Williams Brothers for flying model aircraft. I am now attempting to modify the generic head with putty to carve a passable likeness of Dave Bowman's head for the inside of the helmet. Both shoulders on the torso need correction because of the incorrect method provided for attaching the arms, and that work is in progress also. Thanks for looking.

 

Ed

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  • 9 months later...

This project is in need of a major update.

 

First, the helmet as built up, then with two casting copies. One casting copy was hollowed out to accept a head. The second copy was used as a master form for a vacuform copy of the glass.

2001Astronaut8_zps878dc21b.jpg

 

2001Astronaut13_zps858982c6.jpg

 

The metal collar ring on the suit needed eight open slots carved into the resin to match those on the real suit. Also, the shoulders had to be sanded down to a smooth curve, puttied to fill the incorrect grooves, and fitted with the six grey straps not included on the resin figure. The straps are Evergreen strips.

2001Astronaut7_zpsefd34b2f.jpg

 

There is a pocket on the back of the helmet that can be fitted with "mission boards" that will assist the astronaut in preselected tasks. The original resin helmet had details that were so bad that I had to file them off. Then I had to cut the pocket into the helmet. The eight mission boards are close replicas of those seen on screen and in the few photos taken of the helmet from the back. I made them from a combination of materials, including Evergreen strip, PE ship railing segments, Evergreen grooved siding, and tiny silver metal buttons.

2001Astronaut14_zps6e4bb46d.jpg

 

Here are some shots of the full space suit with the solid helmet, the carved out helmet, and a close-up of the empty helmet with the glass tacked into place.

2001Astronaut11_zpsf97f3937.jpg

 

2001Astronaut15_zpsd6ee4299.jpg

 

2001Astronaut16_zpsf650f1b5.jpg

 

Other progress not pictured:

Monolith covered in black plastic sheet ready for painting.

Lighted hotel room floor and light box ready for installation of strip lighting (from MicroMark).

Chest and backpacks in painting progress.

 

Ed

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ADVANCED AMS in full bloom here folks. It looks great when he brings it in to the meeting with something else new AND improved. It will look fantastic when completed.

 

Keep up the good work ED!

 

Bill

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  • 3 months later...

BUMP! Hey, looking at the pix and the helmet is set high on the collar. Looking closer, it almost appears as if you are making it a practical (aka 'working') piece! Is that so?

Regards,

Robert

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  • 1 month later...

Some slow progress is being made. The monolith is done, as are the chest and back packs. The helmet was painted, but I was not satisfied with the look, so I scraped the paint off to do it over. The head for the inside of the helmet is still a work in progress.

 

The floor is a bit too bright in this test photo, so I will have a dimmer to bring the brightness down a little.

 

391_zps2ad05427.jpg

 

392_zps5fc3ccc6.jpg

 

 

403_zps6b96dc66.jpg

 

Comments are welcome.

 

Ed

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  • 1 year later...

It is time to finish this project. The waiting has been too long. The project sat dormant for a year while I worked on other creations.

 

For the hollowed out resin helmet, I purchased a pilot's head bust for a flying model in 1/8 scale from Williams Brothers. Let's just say it was a generic head, and the proportions were not anatomically correct and the features were soft. I spent many hours trying to reshape the face with putty and carving and sanding, followed by more of same several times. I tried, I really did, to sculpt a passable likeness of David Bowman, but the basic misshapen head defeated me. I finally had a face, so I primed and painted it. Then I had to trim away anything that would not fit into the helmet.

 

From an image on the internet, I reduced and made mission emblem decals for the helmet, chest and back packs, and a shoulder patch for the left shoulder on the space suit.

 

2001%20Astronaut%2024_zpscmhse4er.jpg

 

2001%20Astronaut%2028_zpsp8xoeiwb.jpg

 

There is an antenna array that is at the upper rear of the helmet. These are very difficult to see in the movie, but using still frames I was able to determine its size, shape, and look. It is tiny. I used short lengths of fine wire and plastic chips held together with super glue.

 

2001%20Astronaut%2030_zpsyokuar5w.jpg

 

Here is the completed scratchbuilt helmet with head installed, front glass in place, mission boards in thier recess on the back, and the antenna in its correct location.

 

2001%20Astronaut%2033_zpssbjzkoet.jpg

 

 

At last, it was time to assemble the various components. Here we have the chest pack in place with the hose connecting it to the suit fitting. Also notice the hand controller on the left side of the chest pack, which is used to control the thrusters on the back pack.

 

2001%20Astronaut%2037_zpsj1hypd7t.jpg

 

The back pack connects to a fitting on the other side of the suit. Note the shoulder emblem patch.

 

2001%20Astronaut%2039_zpsjurqnh2d.jpg

 

The helmet/head assembly was glued to the collar ring of the suit. The last piece added was the air hose from the top of the back pack to the right side of the helmet at the collar line. Here are three views of the completed 2001 Astronaut figure, presumably that of David Bowman.

 

2001%20Astronaut%2041_zpsbvnloqg1.jpg

 

2001%20Astronaut%2044_zpssflaeplu.jpg

 

2001%20Astronaut%2046_zpsnv8swsu7.jpg

 

Now for completing the scene. See the next post for the whole thing finally assembled. The monolith and lighted floor were separate projects in themselves. I did add a dimmer to the lighting to tone it down a bit.

 

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Here is the finished diorama that I started at least four years ago. I'm happy with it. It looks like the original vision I had for the final result. What more could I ask? [better lighting would help.]

 

2001%20Astronaut%2051_zpsaxtgwbx9.jpg

 

2001%20Astronaut%2056_zpstmcmm5n2.jpg

 

2001%20Astronaut%2057_zpsaelszhkg.jpg

 

Ed

Edited by ewahl
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Thanks, Dave and Chuck,

 

If you are fans of the 1968 movie "2001: A Space Odyssey" that set the standard for all following sci-fi movies to match or exceed (few ever did), I wanted you to see a scene involving the crucial elements at the end of the film. 95% scratchbuilt. My respect to the movie folks is far greater for those who could make models look real and move convincingly than I have for the CGI artists who can make anything look real using electronic pixels.

 

I've been watching the counter for number of views increasing, but I certainly would have liked a greater number of comments from the viewers. Comments are always welcome.

 

Thanks again.

 

Ed

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