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Old 12-10-2012, 11:43 AM   #1
Calamity Si
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Default S.S. Trojan

Hi guys, please see below for a brief article I've written on the topic of the S.S. Trojan miniature from Red Dwarf.




Like a veritable Sean Connery, I'm on the hunt for a ship! The S.S. Trojan to be precise. It made its first appearance in Season X's premier as the main setting for the episode where its found mysteriously abandoned by our boys from the Dwarf.

Being a very geeky sci-fi fan, my passion has always been the ships that ferry our heroes and heroines from place to place. It's kind of akin to train-spotting I guess (oh dear) but when you've been watching sci-fi for as many years as me, you start to get an appreciation for the design of these things. Whether smooth and sleek like a space -bourne 'lamborghini sesto elemento' or a bulky trash can like the big red one, there's always something interesting to note when you see a new ship for the first time. What luck then when a little gem shows up in the very first episode! When I first saw the S.S. Trojan, my first impression was of a floating X-box controller in space. Of course, due to the poor lighting and distant perspective, it wasn't really possible to make out much detail at all! However, what a treat it was to finally see ACTUAL MODEL SHOTS in a sci-fi program once again. I honestly thought that CGI had well and truly taken over the universe by the end of the 90's. Weirdly enough, a deep sense of something began to stir in my chest...was it...pride? By jove, I think it was! The kind of pride you feel when you see a new Royal Navy warship slip into the sea for the first time or see a new British designed aeroplane take to the skies... You know that someone, somewhere did something right for a change, and what's more - they were BRITISH! (Union Jack flag: Commence fluttering)


Anyways, I watched the rest of the episode in earnest, hoping for further glimpses of this unusual vessel. I swear something about it looked familiar...but dammit, can someone get a light or two on that thing? We later find out that she's a 'Quantum-Twister' (A new and perhaps one of the more novel methods of sci-fi propulsion that I've heard of... Kinda makes me think of the ice-cream though...) You know it's funny. Search the net under 'Star trek ships' or 'Battlestar Galactica ships' and your screen is filled with specs, diagrams, model shots, replicas fan-art etc. Try doing the same for Red Dwarf and what do you get? A few blurry screen-caps and that's about it. Sure there's enough reference material out there for Starbug but not much else and certainly not much from this series so far...but I know - I'm impatient. Always been a flaw of mine. I actually wrote to Steve Howarth, the genius model-maker behind the bulk of Red Dwarf's exterior shots for this series and I have to admit - I gushed a little. I asked him about reference photos and his inspiration for the design. There I was, hoping for a glimpse of a deep and introspective design process, filled with concept sketches and mock-ups. The reality turned out to be something a little different and provides an interesting revelation of what it's like to work in that industry.

"From my point of view, the Trojan was a disappointment", said Steven. "It looked SOOO much better in my stills as it had internal lighting to give it life. Plus it was very dark, so you couldn't see the panel work...and it was WAAY too small - it only measured about 16" long! It wasn't really 'designed' as such (unless you count labouring over which bit gets stuck to which and which way round) It was three main toy parts, blended together." He cryptically adds: "One from a very famous franchise indeed..."

I've decided that I want this model. Badly. I want to know which toy parts he used and even moreso, I want to know where all of these bits and bobs go after completion of a production. My worst nightmare is the thought of a skip somewhere filled with broken parts and models which would otherwise find good homes with fans such as myself.

On where to find the ship, Steve had this to say; "I do not possess the model. Production keeps all models - even though all the toys I purchased myself from a carboot sale, so you would have to approach them about the model. They are disbanded from their office in Shepperton now and I don't know where they are, so I can't tell you. Your guess is as good as mine."

Part of the reason this season is so hyped up and popular is the whole 'back to the roots' concept of live studio audiences and 'real' studio models. Steve does give credit to Neil Ellis, who helped him with the large panel close-ups of the Dwarf. But one thing we both noticed is how the credits at the end of the episode sadly fail to mention either of them. I can't help thinking how unfair that is, considering how much input and effort they both put into it...

Anyways, I'm off to go hunt again for my own Red October, the S.S. Trojan. If anyone out there hears anything or knows who I can contact to track it down, please drop me an email at calamity_si@yahoo.co.uk.


Cheers all,

Si

Last edited by Calamity Si; 12-10-2012 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 16-10-2012, 08:28 AM   #2
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Blimey! I didn't know you were going to quote me on a website!! (don't you usually have to ask permission to do that?) I better watch what I say to fans in future - they may have a say on fansites! Luckily, I only tell the truth, but when certain details are omitted, it makes me sound like Ive said something else entirely. I said Neil Ellis had done MORE than half of the panel (so I helped him, not he helped me)(He also did the refit on Blue Midget) and although I was responsible for the Dwarf Ship refit(including the new asteroid), Bill Pearsons' Models seen in the final episode (cant say what they are - not allowed) will probably have more screentime than all the Dwarf ship shots put together. No need to ammend your article, I just wanted to set the record straight.
I have many shots of the Trojan during and after construction and you will have access to them once I have updated my website (I now feel a lot of pressure to get moving with this)(needed a kick up the bum - thanks)where ALL the pieces used will be revealed (if I can remember what they were cut from)
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Old 16-10-2012, 08:47 AM   #3
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Hi Steve, sorry didn't mean to miss-quote you mate. You'll have to put it down to un-bridled fan enthusiasm and my own inexperience with these things. I wondered of you'd ever get round to reading this. I didn't actually intend to make such an article of it when I first emailed you but after you replied, I thought it would be a novel way of getting the topic 'out there' so to speak...

Thanks very much for your reply-(again) and for clarifying some of the info. I really am looking forward to seeing those photos. You are a legend!

P.S. I also posted this on the Red Dwarf forum...may I post your response there as well just to clarify the points you made please?

Last edited by Calamity Si; 16-10-2012 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 16-10-2012, 08:59 AM   #4
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Hi Steve,

Just caught up with this post, many thanks for your input. It is always a good idea to ask if any comment can be quoted, personally I always ask and make notes at the time to be sure what is said is recorded correctly.

Steve is quite right, things can be skewed out of context very easily. I don't think that was the intention here though. Effects work is usually subject to a hush agreement of one kind or another and we should be very mindful that this is how these guys earn their living.

Now I'll take the chance to thank the team for their efforts, they look brilliant with the high definition visual quality standard already met and exceeded. Can't wait for the next episode....
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Old 16-10-2012, 09:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamity Si View Post
Hi guys, please see below for a brief article I've written on the topic of the S.S. Trojan miniature from Red Dwarf.

I've decided that I want this model. Badly.
Cheers all,

Si
Hi Si,

I want to answer this part of your post specifically. Bill Pearson has said elsewhere on the forum that the studio models will be put up for auction soon, I am guessing it will be through the Prop Store of London, if you are serious you might want to email them and register your interest, they will let you know.

Good hunting....
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Old 16-10-2012, 09:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Sci-Fi View Post
...It is always a good idea to ask if any comment can be quoted, personally I always ask and make notes at the time to be sure what is said is recorded correctly.

Steve is quite right, things can be skewed out of context very easily. I don't think that was the intention here though.
I take that on board...as mentioned I should have perhaps put a bit more thought into the whole process. I can only hope that I make a better model-maker than journalist...
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Old 16-10-2012, 09:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Sci-Fi View Post
Hi Si,

I want to answer this part of your post specifically. Bill Pearson has said elsewhere on the forum that the studio models will be put up for auction soon, I am guessing it will be through the Prop Store of London, if you are serious you might want to email them and register your interest, they will let you know.

Good hunting....
Thanks very much, Captain! That's probably the best lead I've had so far!
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Old 16-10-2012, 09:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamity Si View Post
Hi Steve, sorry didn't mean to miss-quote you mate. You'll have to put it down to un-bridled fan enthusiasm and my own inexperience with these things. I wondered of you'd ever get round to reading this. I didn't actually intend to make such an article of it when I first emailed you but after you replied, I thought it would be a novel way of getting the topic 'out there' so to speak...

Thanks very much for your reply-(again) and for clarifying some of the info. I really am looking forward to seeing those photos. You are a legend!

P.S. I also posted this on the Red Dwarf forum...may I post your response there as well just to clarify the points you made please?
No problem Si. Good luck at the Prop Store BTW (and I like the DARKRIDER ship design)

Last edited by futureboy; 16-10-2012 at 09:41 AM. Reason: forgot name of avatar even though only just read it.
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Old 16-10-2012, 11:07 AM   #9
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No problem Si. Good luck at the Prop Store BTW (and I like the DARKRIDER ship design)
Thanks so much Steve. You saying you like one of my designs is like Christmas, Easter and Birthday all rolled into one for me! I don't think my face is big enough to contain the grin that's playing across it right now!

If you're bored and have a few minutes, I'd be honoured if you'd check out my gallery here: http://calamitysi.deviantart.com/gallery/
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Old 16-10-2012, 11:21 AM   #10
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Alright kiddywinks, here's the mother-load! By VERY kind permission of the great Steve Howarth, please see below some EXCLUSIVE construction shots of the fantastic S.S. Trojan!

Img_6055.jpg

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I hope Steve will excuse me quoting him again, but he mentioned the following points, which I thought were really interesting;

"Note, the windows holes cut out BY HAND, with a scalpel - not lasered by a computer. I would say 5 major components and some tricky blending...The Binoculars at the back - Bills idea, the engine pieces were moulded from a japanese kit I bought in america over 15 years ago!!!"

I would just like to extend my sincere thanks to Steve for being so generous in sharing his work and especially for being so patient with me and all my pestering!
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Old 16-10-2012, 10:38 PM   #11
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Great stuff, thanks both, what an insight. It's a great looking ship BTW, lovely to see it in "daylight" can appreciate more of the details.
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Old 17-10-2012, 02:49 PM   #12
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I forgot to mention that Bill did the damaged sections.
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Old 17-10-2012, 03:01 PM   #13
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Yeah I loved the close-ups of those sections...kinda reminded me of the battle damaged USS Enterprise-C from "Yesterdays Enterprise". This it's such an unusual design of ship...did you test-fit the parts and make it up as you went along?
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Old 17-10-2012, 05:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamity Si View Post
Yeah I loved the close-ups of those sections...kinda reminded me of the battle damaged USS Enterprise-C from "Yesterdays Enterprise". This it's such an unusual design of ship...did you test-fit the parts and make it up as you went along?
I had a BIG bag of carboot toys and I just saw a few that might make a ship. the shapes dictate where they should go (for me) as certain lines follow through and some dont, if non of them do, then I have to decide which bit to chop out to make that happen and in the Trojans' case it was a chunk out of the place where the front section meets the back section (you can see it in the photos). In an ideal world, I'd rather have carved a larger shape from scratch, but there wasnt the budget.
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Old 17-10-2012, 06:12 PM   #15
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Great to still see this kind of model building still in use on a sci-fi production! Very nice ship!
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Old 18-10-2012, 06:25 PM   #16
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Excellent model Steve, as always. Spotted the upside down General Grevious starfighter from a certain famous franchise. It's fun trying to work out the other bits now. I think the engines might be from the Aoshima Garubo Jick from the Ideon TV series. - Pic here
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Aoshima-Spac...-/170828283422

Well done to the FX and model crew.
All the best.


Last edited by yorkie; 18-10-2012 at 06:29 PM.
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