In 1997 a great big bastard of a Red Dwarf model was built for the re-mastered project. It was too big to properly film in a motion control studio, so this ‘pencil’ model was forever immortalised in CG form in both the re-mastered project and Series VIII a year later. 14 years on, and that beautiful, detailed model will finally make it on to the screen for Series X.

We’ve known that models were on the cards for a while, now, but the confirmation that this Red Dwarf model will be used and, in Seb’s own words, it’s “had a full refurbishment, and may well have lost a fair bit of weight around the midriff” strongly suggests they’ve cut it down to BtE dimensions. It is exactly what I was hoping for and that new lick of paint looks absolutely gorgeous. It certainly doesn’t look like a model that’s been moth-balled for over a decade.

This Red Dwarf model was originally built by the BBC visual effects department which, as you know, included various people who now work for Mike’s Tucker’s Model Unit. Unfortunately, today’s update strongly suggests (the exact words used are “The new model shooting unit”) that the original build all those years ago is going to be as far as their involvement in Series X goes.

At this point in the show’s history, it’s not just about the decades of model work experience present within The Model Unit, but the experience they all have with Red Dwarf itself. The progression of the model shots from series to series is very clear, such as the experimentations with snow in III leading to the beautiful snowy model set created for Quarantine. Presumably the new series will have shots more complex than stock Red Dwarf fly-bys and the absence of all that combined knowledge is definitely a massive loss. The last time this happened we had the brilliant Bill Pearson for series VIII, but that was a series with minimal model work. At this point it’s possible we’re jumping to conclusions, but losing The Model Unit (presumably including Pete Tyler, their DoP of choice) is a bit of a gut punch.

What we know for sure is GNP have brought in Peter Talbot as the head of the new model unit. His CV makes encouraging reading, with such classics as Moon, Batman Begins, Batman, Memphis Belle and, erm, Don’t Die Too Hard! so his experience and abilities are not in question and I’m really looking forward to seeing his team’s work on screen. We should be hugely excited and grateful that models are back but I do feel like the guarantee of quality we’d have with The Model Unit isn’t currently there. They leave behind some very big shoes to fill

But, you know, at the end of the day JUST LOOK AT THAT FUCKING MODEL. IT’S BEAUTIFUL. A video is coming later today, so hopefully so we’ll get a look at the whole thing and see what it looks like post buzzsaw.

EDIT: The video’s been posted and it seems to show the model mid-refurb. The paint job really was in quite a state, so massive props (lol, get it?) to the art department for the spruce up. Still haven’t seen it in all it’s shortened glory, but I’m sure I’ll get over it.

89 comments on “The Red Dwarf model, there. Also, no Model Unit?

Scroll to bottom

  • For the record – as stated somewhere else before, don’t care about continuity with the damn Dwarf model – but cutting this pencil down to size will not make It the same as the BTE design for a number of reasons – The point of the nose Is much longer on the pencil design, the ass Is completely different, there’s a large satellite on top of the BTE version. So this is technically Red Dwarf Mark 4.

    Bugger me though, that model Is just stunning. Really really stunning.

    As I tweeted earlier, check this shot of Peter’s work on the final sequence in Tim Burton’s Batman. I have no fear these model sequences will be fantastic! I mean… have you seen MOON? MY GOD!

  • >some very big shoes to fill…

    >A video is coming later today, so hopefully so we’ll get a look at the whole thing and see what it looks like post buzzsaw.
    So it’s definitely getting buzzsawed then? What a shame. Still, it’s beautiful and maybe using it as my new desktop pic I can start some buzz around RD in my environs.

  • Lol Im awaiting the hordes of people saying what you just said – when for years all we’ve heard Is ‘fucking pencil, too long’. Big lol time!

  • She looks fucking beautiful. *wipes tear from eye* Got the shivers when it did that shot into the front scoop….

  • > Got the shivers when it did that shot into the front scoop….

    Same! I can’t believe this is happening…

    The model work in Moon is outstanding. We’re in safe hands!

  • She looks fucking beautiful. *wipes tear from eye* Got the shivers when it did that shot into the front scoop….

    Absolutely. The lighting inside the model creates a lovely effect at the centre of the scoop as the camera zooms in.

  • Looks though the back end is powered by 2 x 70mm PC case fans?

    It’s been in space for 3 million years! A bit of dust is expected.

  • Are model shots becoming more common again? I know everything has seemed like it’s CGI for the last 10-12 years, thereabouts (not just any new Dwarf, but I mean EVERYTHING), but I don’t know how much model shots in the industry overall have been kept buoyed.

    Anyone know enough to venture an answer …?

  • I’ve just seen the pic of the new model and the first words that entered my mind when I saw it were: “Fucking Beautiful!!!”

    I think I’m gonna have that pic as my new desktop background. I simply cannot resist.

  • Only a physical model or prop can get this kind of reaction. :)

    True. I’ve never seen CGI get any sort of reaction. Wonder why that is though. Is it pure nostalgia, or is it the fact that someone has actually built the ship, so in a way its actually real.

  • The fact that that’s a *photo* of a real thing, not just something that’s been built virtually. That’s what gets me giddy about models over CGI.

  • True. I’ve never seen CGI get any sort of reaction. Wonder why that is though. Is it pure nostalgia, or is it the fact that someone has actually built the ship, so in a way its actually real.

    Babylon 5 springs to mind as a series which got a great reaction – from some quarters – for its CGI.

  • > Tough to do CGI well on a TV budget (both in terms of money and time).

    Which is why Lucasfilm can’t get the Star Wars live action TV series (titled, at least for now, Underworld) off the ground yet.

  • Examples of good cgi In a tv series – suggestion?

    Mind you, there’s a difference between realistic cgi and good cgi In my view. I’d much rather real visual’s any day!

  • BTE did an excellent job with the use of CGI where it was needed, even given the budget it hadn’t. A lot of people worked above and beyond the call on that, the side shot down the ship with the Memorial Garden was stunning.

    Examples of good cgi In a tv series – suggestion?

    New Battlestar Galactica had quite impressive CGI, but their budget might have been considerably larger…

    These RD models though… I genuinely cant’ believe that Doug went back to models. I asked him the question at DJ whether they would be bringing models back, in the back of my mind I didn’t think it would happen.

    Yet it has, they actually have and it’s exciting, and it’ll be very interesting to see how models shot look in HD shooting digitally and not on film.

  • Odd…. my post has been removed ???

    EDIT: I’m back.

    Ya’know…. I’ve yet to watch Battlestar Galactica. May be my next box set marathon.

  • I’ve not seen Battlestar Galactica, well not a full episode, but one of my friends never had it off the TV in his flat, so I’ve seen the CGI for it and it has this more ‘real’ feeling than you typically get with CGI.

  • Great work Mr. Stabby!

    I enjoyed all the seasons of BSG and I’m not usually one for seeing long running sci fi/fantasy box sets through to the end. The CGI was very good and made Babylon 5 look like a big pile of shit.

  • The first couple of series of Battlestar had the best CGI as well, because they didn’t try to do anything too fancy. It worked because everything was filmed as if there were real camera men floating around in space suits. Gave a real weight to everything.

    That model is astounding, I encourage everyone to take a look at the full resolution photo. Can’t wait to see this thing moving around in HD.

  • Later seasons of Star Trek (later Voyager and DS9, and all of Enterprise) had excellent CGI for the models, too. But their budget was through the roof compared to Dwarf’s. And I’d *still* take Dwarf’s model shots over any of it.

  • That’s very debatable at times…Enterprise at least had fantastic quality, but often felt off due to the way the ship was shown zipping around like a fighter jet, in the sort of shots that are easy to create in CGI but are really hard with physical effects.

  • >Richard Naylor tweets they’re filming 5 characters in the sleeping quarters today!
    Hmm. Hattie is currently at the SFX Weekender, right?

  • The CGI in Starhyke are pretty good too*, at least for the cracking ship shots, and they did that with a low budget. Mind you, it took so long to get it broadcast (I think it’s only recently it’s been/being shown on the cable channel Showcase TV.. which I’ve never even heard of) they’ve had literally years to tweak it.

    And yeah, that model shot is great! Next stop, Starbug hopefully. I wonder if they’ll just reuse the old models? I’d imagine there are a few around. Will they give us other shuttle-craft designs too? (I know nobody will answer that yet, I’m just voicing my thoughts out loud. Sort of. With text. I’ll stop rambling now.)

    *I thought the show itself watchable but a bit ropey. Probably better than Hyperdrive but not as good as Red Dwarf by a long shot. It had some good ideas though and the last episode was particularly interesting… It might have had legs.

  • Quick warning to all – Bobby has posted a spoiler-ish pic on his blog. Shows a little more than I expected.

  • The pic with Danny blocking the monitor? I didn’t really notice anything more in that than we had already seen.

  • I emphasis spoiler – “ish”.

    The monitor shows elements of the set that have not been seen before, plus the rest of the pic shows set that has only been shown out of focus (bar the left hand side).

    All teaser photos of the set had failed to show the main element of each set. In my view – this pic (although obscured) shows some of the main element.

  • Last night I asked Richard Naylor about the camera they’re using for the model shoot and it’s a RED Epic (as with the live action stuff) but shooting at 2K rather than 4K. So, not film. INTERESTING.

    Does anyone know enough about model shooting to perhaps offer an opinion of the ramifications of this? Presumably using the Epic for this sort of stuff is kinda unprecedented.

  • If they’re shooting high speed isn’t there a tradeoff in terms of the resolution they can shoot at?

  • I *think* so, but I’m way out of my depth. Is it just a case of shooting 2k at double speed gives you a 1k finished shot?

  • 300fps is possible at 2K apparently. Man, would I love to see those. Just enquired about raw HD model shots on Twitter…

  • I asked Richard earlier today why 2k instead of 4k:

    “I think I’m right in saying, shooting at 2k Red doesn’t use full sensor, but better for shooting with high focal lenses.”

  • Ah, so rather than go for the size which is useful for cropping, you gain the cinematography. Lovely.

  • Indeed – It’s almost certain there would be no use for 4k on the model shots as they are so specifically staged, best make the shots look as beautiful as possible. Fan-smeggin-tastic.

  • Andrew is in charge of the DVDs. Therefore I’m reckoning we’ll probably get the raw HD flybys.

    i’m still genuinely gutted that Mike Tucker and the guys dont’ seem to be involved with these models, but I am confident they’re in REALLY safe hands…

  • Looking at that model again, I can make one prediction based on it, although it ain’t exactly surprising.

    We won’t be getting a version of the old “Lister repainting the Red Dwarf name” shot. If you look at the size of the windows underneath the name they would look hideously out of scale with that zoom out.

  • I’m hoping for III – V style credits, with the brief shot of Red Dwarf at the start before the music montage kicks in.

  • I would be hoping for I-II style opening, but that’s only because I love the atmosphere of those series. Realistically I hope for III-V the same as you, but only if there is actually enough action in the series to carry it. The remastered I-II episodes and Back to Earth had really underwhelming opening credits for the reason that there wasn’t really that much exciting to fill them with.

  • If there isn’t enough action in the series to make a decent montage then they can just make a montage of Chris Barrie pulling funny Rimmer faces. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of them.

  • The Remastered credits were underwhelming because they were serving as a showcase for some of the CGI stuff. BtE credits were underwhelming because there was only around 70 minutes of material, and they had to not give any spoilers.

    With series X, there are six half hours to pick the best clips from, same as the old days, and I can already think of a couple of moments from the episodes I’ve seen that’d look great in the title montage.

  • Man, I am so psyched for the X title sequence. It’s bound to start with the new model shot, then slam into the montage of scenes, but this time it’ll have the cast names a la BTE over it… eight lanes of shimmering cement running from here to Pasadena. Smooth, safe, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past. I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food. Tire salons, automobile dealerships and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. My God… it’ll be beautiful.

    Hmm. Post kinda got away from me there.

  • >Traffic jams will be a thing of the past.
    … for at least three months.

    Also, you forgot pawn shops, check-cashing services and places to sell your jewelry.

  • I wasn’t underwhelmed by the BTE credits. I bloody loved them. Exactly the same format for X will do me nicely.

  • Is the actor credits thing now a requirement on TV? I was curious as to why they were added and if RDX will have them.

  • I love the bte credits too. Actually I’ve never been disappointed by any of the montages, but the bte one may be my favorite.

  • Thought the BTE titles were OK, but could do without the actor credits. Too American.

    Crediting actors during the titles is now considered “too American”. Never mind the number of sitcoms that did this in the 70s and 80s.

    Jesus fuck.

  • >Crediting actors during the titles is now considered “too American”. Never mind the number of sitcoms that did this in the 70s and 80s.

    Over a montage of clips from episodes? Examples please.

  • Not over a series footage montage as such, but Only Fools and Horses credited the actors in its opening sequence. So did Men Behaving Badly. So did Blackadder. So did One Foot in the Grave. And Fawlty Towers.

  • > Over a montage of clips from episodes?

    Having an opening montage of series clips is quite an American thing, but it’s also been a Red Dwarf thing since 1989. Adding cast credits to that is hardly a huge departure.

  • Will Peter Talbot be able to recreate the look and feel of Red Dwarf?

    Will Peter Talbot be able to give us a look of something that we’re used to?

    The answer is yes to both these questions as Peter Talbot has already DONE work for Red Dwarf!

  • Will Peter Talbot be able to recreate the look and feel of Red Dwarf?

    Will Peter Talbot be able to give us a look of something that we’re used to?

    The answer is yes to both these questions as Peter Talbot has already DONE work for Red Dwarf!

    Ah, marvelous. Sounding better and better.

  • Bloody good spot that, Danny. Odd that it’s not on his IMDB page, but presumably it’s the same fella!

  • I can’t see how it can’t be the same Peter Talbot. Bill Pearson and ‘Peter Talbot’ work on the same project in Moon.

    Weird how nearly everyone has assumed that this guy is new to Dwarf when it seems he’s been here since 1998… very strange indeed.

    Apologies Peter for not noticing sooner.

  • I don’t mind if the model shots feel a bit different anyway, so long as they keep the same weight and grittiness that characterized the originals. If Moon is any example this series should look stunning.

Scroll to top  •  Scroll to 'Recent Comments'

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.