Ian’s Newsround – Fucking Horrid Models

I’m sorry, but I’m absolutely livid about this. Comet Miniatures have listed two Corgi models, of Red Dwarf and Starbug. Both are due in September 2003, and both are the ‘Movie Version’. The minis themselves aren’t bad – I’ve always wanted a little Starbug, and they’re only a fiver each. The problem here is that it seems that the Movie will use a new version of the ship – similar to the Re-Mastered version, but even flatter. It looks shite, frankly. They’ve even made the front scoop much shorter, so it resembles a giant pencil more than ever before. John and I were both thrilled when we read that physical model shots would be used in the movie, but we wrongly assumed this would mean a return to the ship of Series I-V, which was really good. But no – like Series VIII, Red Dwarf is going to look fucking ugly. FUME!

Meanwhile, over on the official site, (which, incidentally, is yet to acknowledge these models, or the planned Java game), Andrew Ellard has written an excellent article about the use of Time as a plot device in the series. It’s full of Andrew’s pet theories, and makes a cracking read. Deck 5 is clearly the best part of the official site – holding Time Hole and Down Time, as well as links to the Mr. Flibble and news archives. Marvellous. The main news on the official site is about the cast DVDs, The Brittas Empire and WomanWizard, the progress of which have been reported here this week. This proves that Ganymede & Titan is better that the official site. Actually, come to think of it, it proves fuck all. Oh well.

As John mentioned yesterday, I’m off to see Norman Lovett later. Yippee! Expect a full report in the coming week.

43 Responses to Ian’s Newsround – Fucking Horrid Models

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  1. Bit late with an explanation of this…well 14 or so it seems!… but I just stumbled on this site as a result of searching for pics of the Corgi Red Dwarf model whilst watching re runs on Dave. The reason I was looking for pictures was that I actually designed the model and made the prototype for Corgi. It always amused me that the very, very, very, fragile resin part for the front scoop clearly got broken before the model had it’s date with the photographer for all the promo images and was forever more seen in that state! Seems it didn’t escape your keen eye though and got mistaken for a feature on the redesigned “full size” Red Dwarf. Hope yo uenjoyed the models when you finally got some.

  2. I find this stuff endlessly fascinating. What was the process for designing the model? Did you have to work from supplied pics? Or did you get Chris Veale’s 3D model, or get to view the actual physical model at all? I’d love to know more in-depth stuff for this. Were you at all involved with the Starbug model, or the Series VIII Skutter toy?

  3. Hello Rich! I think it’s a GOOD model and I LIKE it. But then I like the pencil Dwarf more than most people on G&T seem to.

    Did you do the Starbug one as well? I think everyone agrees that that’s an all-time classic.

  4. I still proudly have both of mine. The Starbug is probably the best individual piece of non-book, non-AV RD merchandise there has ever been. They go for a FORTUNE sadly these days. Everyone should have one. Wish I had the Skutter though.

    I have nothing against the pencil version of the ship either to be honest. It’s just another interesting design variation in a show compromised of interesting design variations.

  5. Blimey, I didn’t realise they went for that much. I had long since lost my box and one of the figures, then two or three years ago (at LFCC, I think?) someone was selling a fully boxed set for fifteen quid, so I had it. Rather glad I did, now!

  6. Got the boxed set for £4 in 2008 from the clearance bin of a London model shop me and my now-wife were only in to get out of the rain. My eyes practically popped out on stalks.

  7. Starbug and Red Dwarf proudly sit either side of my TV. The However, as much as I’d like to have a little play with it, my Skutter has never left its RDVIII packaging.

  8. I quite like the pencil Dwarf, it’s just the CGI rendering of it that’s horrid

  9. Starbug and Red Dwarf proudly sit either side of my TV. The However, as much as I’d like to have a little play with it, my Skutter has never left its RDVIII packaging.

    Open it. I dares yer.

  10. Looks like 2003 was a worse year for Model Portfolio Pics than 2017.

  11. G&T Admin

    Oh God, I was a horrible 16-year-old.

  12. No, you were livid. Pay attention.

  13. The pencil (long) Dwarf is and always was horrible. I don’t blame the model designer for accurately designing a model of a picture of an ugly spaceship though.

  14. Oh God, I was a horrible 16-year-old.

    The boy Symes. The Smegmeister.

    No, you were livid. Pay attention.

    At least he apologised beforehand.

  15. Hi all, wow I didn’t expect the response to my post that there has been! In response to some of the questions; no I wasn’t involved with the Skutter model, actually I didn’t realise one had been made (Or had forgotten about it till now!). I didn’t make Starbug, that was the handiwork of George Turner who I worked for at the time. The job had a very tight deadline so we ended up with me making Red Dwarf and sculpting Lister and Rimmer whilst he tackled Starbug, the whole job took less than a fortnight if I remember right. My original sculpt for Rimmer got rejected though and his head ended up being done again by someone else to get a better likeness. The only reference material we had was a selection of pictures of the effects miniatures, so no digital files, no scale drawings and no dimensions, everything was sculpted by hand and eyeballed for accuracy. Much more fun that way! :) Somewhere stashed away I think I have all the original handmade prototypes of the models, I’ll have to did them out at some point…though that front scoop will be smashed on the origianl too I bet!

  16. The pencil (long) Dwarf is and always was horrible. I don’t blame the model designer for accurately designing a model of a picture of an ugly spaceship though.

    is the pencil dwarf really that bad? imo it looked fucking dreadful in CGI, but i thought the actual model of it was really rather impressive

  17. The model obviously looks a billion times better than the CGI version, but it’s still crap compared to the original model.
    Mind you, the bizarre halfway house we have at the minute is my least favourite of the three.

  18. the scale of the current model feels *really* off, no way is that thing a ship that’s five miles long. at least with the pencil model, it feels like it has some length to it.

  19. It’s been said before but I don’t understand how they manage to make a model that is physically bigger look so much smaller than the original, and the bit that gets narrower towards the front is far too long and doesn’t scale like it would if it was still the pencil. It is a compromise though and it does like -quite- good

  20. is the pencil dwarf really that bad? imo it looked fucking dreadful in CGI, but i thought the actual model of it was really rather impressive

    The description of it in the first novel as a ‘clenched fist of metal’ or similar is amazing. The pencil one is fine out of context but looks too streamlined and tidy, especially for the ramshackle, chaotic, mixed bag of a four-man crew it ended up with. It doesn’t suit the TONE of the show at all. In my opinion etc etc (though corretc corretc).

  21. Pencil Dwarf takes the incredibly unique design of Red Dwarf and turns it into just another generic sci-fi spaceship.. The ONLY iconic feature it has is the nose “cone” and ramscoop, which are the features recycled from the original design. The rest of the ship looks like something out of a mid-2000s space RTS game.

    In fact I’m pretty sure you could replicate it exactly using the ship-builder in Galactic Civilizations 2.

  22. I’ve spent a bit of time this last week making a 3D version of the current, shortened pencil version of Red Dwarf for that poster competition. As you can see, the front section and scoop takes up almost half the length. I played around with it in Photoshop, shortened the front, narrowed the scoop, extended the boosters at the back and added back that weird organic-y piping at the front – and, personally, I think something like this might work better. Interested to hear everyone else’s thoughts.

    img.GeneratedImage {
    width:230px;height:300px;margin:10px;border-width:6px;border-color:#000000;border-style:solid;
    }


  23. Just looked at it and it’s basically the same as the BTE version.

    Also, quick shout out to myself for successfully posting an HTML embedded image after 10+ years of failed attempts on G+T.

  24. I’d make the tapering front slightly longer and the ram scoop slightly taller, but apart from that that looks really good. Kind of impossible to make the model we’ve got look like that, though, without essentially building a new one, and at that point you’d be better off just building a new one.

    What we have is a compromise, but at the end of the day I’m just glad we’ve got a model – pencil or stout little bin.

    Oh God now I’m looking at the two side by side and my brain can’t make up its mind which is “right”

  25. I agree, the current model is essentially a cut and shut of the old one – and it’s beautifully detailed and restored. They got rid of the stupid asteroid bays and rebuilt it so that the rock had punched a hole in the hulll – which works a lot better. But yeah, any larger structural, proportional changes and you might as well go back to the drawing board.

    And yeah, I’d much rather have a slightly wonky miniature than a well proportioned CGI version.

  26. added back that weird organic-y piping at the front

    What *was* that? I never could work it out.

  27. I don’t know, that original model had a lot of odd bumps and lumps, weird jagged, overlapping plates, that cluster of little toadstool like things poking out of it – it was quite strange. It did help to sell the scale of the thing though, these weird gigantic structures and tiny pinpricks of light made it look massive.

    The newer model is much more recognisably hi-tech and mechanical in nature – I guess it’s down to individual taste as to whether that’s an improvement or not.

  28. it’s mining stuff, probably. they can use it to suck all the ore out of rocks, like a big straw.

    or something like that? it’s anyone’s guess

  29. I always just assumed they were masses of cabling, lashed together and sealed to the outside of the hull (and presumably quite heavily insulated/lagged etc for protection). The whole point of the ship is that it’s a complete mash of architectural styles and fashions and bits from years and years and years – decades upon decades, I assume – designed and added and tacked on with absolutely no consistency besides the very basic overall structure. The sides certainly shouldn’t look flat. Again, the description in the novel totally had this right and the original model matched this the best by far.

  30. it’s mining stuff, probably. they can use it to suck all the ore out of rocks, like a big straw.

    or something like that? it’s anyone’s guess

    I’d say the other way, when they reach a JMC base after their job is done, that swings off the ship and attaches itself to massive tanks and all the hydrogen, helium etc get squirted down those pipes into the correct storage containers.

  31. …I’d say the other way, when they reach a JMC base after their job is done, that swings off the ship and attaches itself to massive tanks and all the hydrogen, helium etc get squirted down those pipes into the correct storage containers.

    I like this theory.

  32. It’s been said before but I don’t understand how they manage to make a model that is physically bigger look so much smaller than the original, and the bit that gets narrower towards the front is far too long and doesn’t scale like it would if it was still the pencil. It is a compromise though and it does like -quite- good

    It’s partly because the new model has visible windows. If each of those represents one of the floors, Red Dwarf now appears no taller than a large tower block.

  33. I want to believe the windows are atria. I don’t, though.

  34. It’s been said before but I don’t understand how they manage to make a model that is physically bigger look so much smaller than the original, and the bit that gets narrower towards the front is far too long and doesn’t scale like it would if it was still the pencil. It is a compromise though and it does like -quite- good

    It’s partly because the new model has visible windows. If each of those represents one of the floors, Red Dwarf now appears no taller than a large tower block.

    Just watching an episode from series one and some of the towers towards the back of the ship have 5 stories of lights and have room for another 10 or so of the same size with the same spacing and they aren’t even the tallest things on the top of Red Dwarf so that’s a 160 ft structure which is about I’d say a 60th of the height of the model very roughly from an eyeball.

    That’s 9600ft, or 1.8 miles. Which is about right for a 5 mile long ship. Even if it’s less it’s still a lot closer to correct than the current model.

    They did a fucking good job with that original Dwarf.

    I wonder if with having the vertical style windows for the new model they were going for something close to the hexagonal windows in the sleeping quarters, but really they’ve just made it look tiny.

    Would love a new model for XIII, continuity isn’t a big deal now for Red Dwarf anyway. CG and 3D printing and all that.

  35. Well, it’s made very clear in Skipper that the ship we have now isn’t the ship from series 1.

  36. I don’t think anybody ever thought it was, honestly. Although Back to Earth is a bit weird in it having a unique version of the ship that looks quite like the old one, but CGI and really far away.

  37. Yes, the BtE ship is a lovely callback, but obviously makes the whole thing more confusing when trying to put any continuity onto the ship’s shape.

  38. Made very clear in VIII that we don’t, rebuilt to the original plans and all that.

  39. I reckon Series I – V: Original shape, as verified in Skipper.
    Series VII: We’ll er…. gloss over Nanarchy.
    Series VIII: Nanobot rebuild to original spec. Ship starts to be destroyed at end of VIII
    BTE, X onward: The ship’s destruction was halted halfway through off-screen, and the back-end magically rebuilt by ‘insert means here’, leaving us with the BTE ship.

    Whatever it’s all a handwave, innit.

  40. Series VII: We’ll er…. gloss over Nanarchy.

    The reprise in BitR I replays the Nanarchy shot, replacing the old I-V model with the VIII CGI, but then you probably knew that already. Conclusion: Nanarchy was some sort of fever dream

  41. Can’t we conclude that series 8 was some sort of fever dream too?

  42. I reckon Series I – V: Original shape, as verified in Skipper.

    Series VII: We’ll er…. gloss over Nanarchy.
    Series VIII: Nanobot rebuild to original spec. Ship starts to be destroyed at end of VIII
    BTE, X onward: The ship’s destruction was halted halfway through off-screen, and the back-end magically rebuilt by ‘insert means here’, leaving us with the BTE ship.
    Whatever it’s all a handwave, innit.

    Ate the middle, cut and shut job from the Nanos

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