Rodger Young Original Large Size Model
The battle cruisers in Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi film are straight from the covers of pulp sci-fi. Brash, fun and unfettered by NASA consultants, the Rodger Young is a thundering war horse with some serious firepower and heft. The models were created by the Thunderstone team at Sony, including model-maker George Willis, and the sizes of the models made for the film varied from 6 inches to eighteen feet, and twelve were nineteen inches long with an animation rig that was inside of it. The one of the archives is the large size version. The miniatures took a year and a half to create. Unusually, due to limitations in the availability of computer compositing, it was decided to make multiple models to represent the entire fleet rather than run multiple passes on the same models. Model-maker George Willis, who work on Mickey Rourke costume for Iron Man 2, says "At the time they were making all these big-budget action films, and there weren't enough computers in the world to do the animation. There were computers that hadn't been made yet that had been bought in advance to be working on these films... the Starship Troopers art department came to the model shop with a bunch of storyboards and said 'Which of these shots could you do in some way other than computer effects?'. They were budgeted out. Just the rendering time that was required to do these shots was a huge obstacle. With the amount of computers they had and the ones they were able to get, there was no way they were going to be able to finish Starship Troopers in time for the release date. So part way through the project as we were building the spaceships for Starship Troopers, Sony at the time had its own model shop, which was called Thunderstone. They were doing Starship Troopers and Contact at the same time. There were three main versions. There was one that was eighteen feet long, and then there were two that were nine feet long. The eighteen-foot version was actually built where it would come apart in two sections for the destruction sequence. There's a designer's rendition somewhere of how the damage would spread once the nuclear bug-juice hit the Rodger Young and started eating it away. When you look at the Rodger Young you think that it's this big, heavy indestructible battle-cruiser." It still has the lights, electronics and fiber optics attached for the filming sequences.
For shots where the ship fills the screen, something with a little more detail was needed. The 18' model was created for this purpose. The high detail allowed the camera to get in really close without betraying the model's actual size. Boss Films created an 18' model of their own, using the Thunderstone molds, to do the shot where the Rodger Younggrazes an asteroid.
- Producation made