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Author Topic: Building models for filming  (Read 28265 times)

NFMike

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #125 on: January 19, 2017, 09:12:50 PM »

I too can't believe that we're up to 6 pages of very detailed coments yet not one single photo of something that has a million cameras pointing at it - not even a snippet, the studio, a movement rig, a water tank, a photo of the mechanical set-up, photos of historic things mentioned that are not in this project, any small fittings, an actual picture of the model (we all know what Hood looks like so it's no surprise/mystery) - on the shelf/trolley or otherwise - very strange.
Not strange at all. They are (presumably) working under a NDA. Breaching it could cost them this and/or future contracts and make their name mud in the industry - just to satisfy some nosey modellers. The contractual hierarchy was explained in the post mentioned earlier.
I'm really disappointed that you and others are even thinking this, much less going into print. If people won't accept that limitation John is quite likely to just clam up and we will lose a very interesting thread with the possibility of some pictures in the future.

John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #126 on: January 19, 2017, 10:08:04 PM »

Not strange at all. They are (presumably) working under a NDA.
I appreciate the contributions that you and other Mayhemers are making to this thread, the response to which has been overwhelmingly positive and very helpful to us. We certainly do make use of Non Disclosure Agreements when we consider them contractually appropriate, particularly when carrying out professional work in the USA and some other countries. Generally however, since our firm is fundamentally subject to the laws of England and Wales, the overriding legal basis for all our operations is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Intellectual property theft has regrettably become a major issue on the Internet and we have very effective procedures in place to safeguard our work from those who might seek, allow or facilitate misuse of what is termed our 'Work Product' for any reason. Our decision not to publish any images on the current thread has been explicitly described in my previous posts and I will not repeat those here. Modelmaking for us is a rewarding but competitive and serious business, and we therefore necessarily adopt a different perspective from those who pursue it purely as a personal hobby. However there is a great deal of common ground, and I hope those who appreciate that will find it interesting to keep following the work we are doing, just as we will continue benefitting from their input.
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #127 on: January 19, 2017, 10:15:10 PM »

 

 :police:  I going to let this continue to run for now, as I do want to see what transpires.   :police:



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bfgstew

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #128 on: January 19, 2017, 10:18:00 PM »

Well said John, totally understandable and it makes the finished product worth waiting for. I for one will be waiting with baited breath.
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #129 on: January 20, 2017, 08:26:33 AM »

Getting back to the intriguing business of constructing model boats, we've been asked to make a functioning RC one that is a little out of the ordinary. HMS Hood could achieve 28 knots. SS United States at least 35 knots, maybe 40. That's fast. But this original for this new commission was a little faster. Close to 300 knots.


Earlier this month there was considerable media interest in the 50th anniversary of Donald Campbell's final attempt to raise the World Water Speed Record in Bluebird K7, a hydroplane built around a ridiculously powerful Orpheus turbojet engine borrowed from a Folland Gnat military aircraft. Driven by the outstanding achievements of his father, Sir Malcolm Campbell, Donald took 'Risk Management' to a whole new level. Freudian psychologists would have a field day with this. Disregarding the doubts of the designers and engineers of the K7, he maintained that in order to go faster on water than man had ever done before, conservative thinking was worthless. The boat was fast because at high speed only small parts of the frontal sponsons and the stern rudder and guide vanes were in contact with the water surface. Bluebird was actually more about aerodynamics than hydrodynamics. And in the 1960's these sciences were far less developed than today. Donald Campbell was pushing his luck.


Officially recognised World Record Speed attempts require two runs in opposite directions within a limited time. Bluebird was taken to the Lake District for the attempt. The safe option was to make one run, wait for the water surface to settle, then do the other. Campbell preferred to use a different approach, turning around quickly and making the return run immediately, before the boat's wash had reflected back into the centre of the lake. This was based on the risky assumption the the engine would have enough fuel for the whole exercise. The Orpheus didn't only drive the boat forward, but its high thrust line kept the nose of the craft down. If power failed at high speed the vessel could 'go ballistic'. The strategy had worked before. But, on a cold grey morning on Coniston Water, Donald Campbell's luck ran out.


The actual K7 was raised from the lake bed 15 years ago and is nearing the end of a painstaking restoration. The plan is to use the craft for close up shots, and scenes of it moving at up to 75 knots. But it won't be able to go any faster, so for shots of the high speed runs we'll need a model. A really fast one.


These days, hydroplane racing is a sophisticated sport, but the craft are generally powered by high-performance outboard motors. That's not going to look right for a working K7 model. We'll need to use jet or rocket propulsion to get realistic imagery, with the exhaust plume, the heat haze and other crucial characteristics. In the USA amateur rocketry is a popular, if rather scary, pastime. And real working jet engines have been built in quite small sizes: for example in the movie '11 Days' - about the Cuban Missile Crisis - the 1:6 scale models of Lockheed U2 aircraft were RC controlled and jet powered. So it's not entirely 'uncharted territory'


The initial idea is that the model will be filmed on real water, possibly back at Coniston. We are taking advice on the most practical model scale, which has to provide authentic stability and 'scale effect' but also keep the weight as low as possible. Bearing in mind that the model may be risking the same fate as the full size boat, it's been suggested that we guide it along a very long carbon fibre monofilament line, which would be invisible on film and be stretched just above the water surface. To make the hull and sponsons, we'd probably make wooden 'bucks' and use these to vacuum form the shapes. For rigidity and 'unsinkability' we could fill the sections with lightweight polyurethane foam. My guess is we would need quite a few hulls, to cope with 'mishaps'...


I'm not aware if anything like this has been done before, so I don't know if it's really feasible, and any info or ideas would be welcomed.



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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #130 on: January 20, 2017, 08:39:03 AM »


Morning John,

Sounds a great project to be involved in!

I was always led to believe that most model "boats" used in film work were Not radio controlled, i.e. tracked or mechanically tethered in some way so as not allow the model not to drift out of focus and repeatability of the shot, how comes these models will be RC?
 
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plastic

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #131 on: January 20, 2017, 09:01:34 AM »

For a fast model like that I'd be looking at adapting drone technology - water is flat and the drones are stuffed with fast-reacting gyro systems - you are effectivly making a very low flying drone with some of its parts in contact with the water. Make it big enough to look correct in the water (1/3 scale?) and add winglets that can't be seen (between the front spnsons) as elevons to control the pitch stability.

More of an aeroplane than a boat.
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tigertiger

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #132 on: January 20, 2017, 09:39:32 AM »

***Topic tidied up***
Posts were getting a bit personal and not contributing to the discussion.
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derekwarner

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #133 on: January 20, 2017, 12:18:22 PM »

....as quoted by Mr Stedman......

"But this original for this new commission was a little faster. Close to 300 knots"


Well this latest comment is rather tangential to the deep rooted thread of warships in the Denmark Strait ..and other questions relating to vessels of that era

Considering we have a number of members well versed with this K7 [latest] enquiry, would it not be best to create a new thread for the K7 and maintain the enthralling thread of Battleship conflict and considerations for cinematography?

Derek

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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #134 on: January 20, 2017, 12:27:46 PM »

....as quoted by Mr Stedman......
Considering we have a number of members well versed with this K7 [latest] enquiry, would it not be best to create a new thread for the K7 and maintain the enthralling thread of Battleship conflict and considerations for cinematography?

Derek
That's an interesting point of view. However, the thread has so far necessarily focussed on the ships we have actually been asked to look at, and these have included not only warships but also SS Andrea Doria, MS Stockholm, SS America and SS United States for example. I think the current perceived focus on HMS Hood is simply because that is the first model to enter prototype stage, but it is very much a continuing 'learning exercise' whose practical lessons for us will apply, to some degree, to any watercraft we are commissioned to model for the TV or Film industries. The true focus of this thread, as I see it, is the cinematography angle, and that was how I saw the commission of Bluebird K7 being relevant, because it brings different but related issues to the table. So my preference would be to keep this as a single thread, to avoid splitting the discussion. After all, we have one timeline here in our Studio, and it is developing day by day with a single objective: to put a wide variety of diverse nautical craft on screen in a convincing manner.
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plastic

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #135 on: January 20, 2017, 03:28:43 PM »

I've followed this thread from the beginning - how did you build your prototype Hood so quickly? What construction method? At 12' long, how do you move it about and how much does it weigh? Is it rigid or bendy and need supporting along its length? did you have to fit any reinforcing stucture inside to support the weight and provide a rigid mounting for whatever dolly or motion system it's bolted to? Do you need a crane to get it into position and if so, how do you support it? Slings? Eye bolts?

Love to know the nitty-gritty details.
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Arrow5

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #136 on: January 20, 2017, 06:14:22 PM »

I could see a "Speed on Water" theme that would have an international appeal.  Donald Campbell`s exploits have been well reported on TV and in film. How about all the other contenders for the WSR, Cobb, Sayers, Sir Malcolm Campbell, Seagrave , a couple of Americans and the current holder from Australia.   Another theme that crossed my mind ( local to me) the WW1  Scapa Flow scuttling of German fleet.  The WW11 surrender and sinking of the Nazi U-boats is a rather forgotten episode too.  Just random thoughts, enjoying this .
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #137 on: January 20, 2017, 06:44:50 PM »

I could see a "Speed on Water" theme that would have an international appeal.  Donald Campbell`s exploits have been well reported on TV and in film. How about all the other contenders for the WSR, Cobb, Sayers, Sir Malcolm Campbell, Seagrave , a couple of Americans and the current holder from Australia.   Another theme that crossed my mind ( local to me) the WW1  Scapa Flow scuttling of German fleet.  The WW11 surrender and sinking of the Nazi U-boats is a rather forgotten episode too.  Just random thoughts, enjoying this .
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furball

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #138 on: January 20, 2017, 07:37:32 PM »

Quote
I'm not aware if anything like this has been done before, so I don't know if it's really feasible, and any info or ideas would be welcomed.


There's several gas turbine K7 models around, For example, http://youtu.be/y2ANJAVRQpQ which I think is 1/6 scale.


Lance
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #139 on: January 21, 2017, 07:58:11 AM »

The range of subjects suggested by Arrow5 are all interesting and thought-provoking. The decision as to whether any story will make it to the big screen is almost entirely guided by financial viability. And over 90% of those key decisions are made in Los Angeles. True, London and New York have leverage when it comes to TV productions, but for the cinema, Hollywood is King. A typical present-day feature film is 110 minutes long and has cost about $1 million a minute to make. To be profitable, a movie has to earn twice its production costs at the box office. And it takes a large audience to generate $220 million. Even on TV the budgets are alarming: an episode of 'Game Of Thrones' can cost $10 million to make. Not everything that appears on screen does make a profit, but it only got there because it established its potential to do so. And the organisational infrastructure of Hollywood is not really geared up to deal with low-budget films or documentaries.

The audience profiles are constantly evolving, and this is closely monitored by Studios. In recent years the established Western markets, notably the USA, have been static. All the growth has come from 'Syndication' agreements with developing areas such as India, China, the Far East, the Middle East and South America. People in these countries do not usually have sensibilities about issues such as the morality of the Second World War. But they are interested in stories about people, especially people under extreme pressure to overcome seemingly impossible adversaries. So to have a chance of international success all movies usually need a protagonist that the audience are inspired to follow on a traumatic journey to ultimate success or failure. The hardware, even if it is a 860' battlecruiser, is part of the supporting cast, it is never the star.

A good example is 'Duel', the first feature film made by Steven Spielberg. Superficially it is the story of a henpecked travelling salesman driving to a meeting, and how his ordinary saloon car is terrorised by a marauding truck. But in human terms, it is about how an unremarkable 'everyman' can shed his veneer of civilised behaviour and do 'whatever is necessary' to survive. The hero, memorably played by Dennis Weaver, believably goes from wimp to killer in the space of one sunny afternoon. And 'Das Boot' is crafted around the idea of being with a group of men who are imprisoned in a living hell, and are only able to carry on because of the leadership qualities of the 'hero'. It just so happens that the 'prison' is a submarine.

So any film idea has to begin by engaging with the question "Who is the hero, what are their strengths and weaknesses, and what is their emotional journey?". Some historical scenarios do lend themselves to such treatments, but not all. Hollywood makes 600 movies a year, and every single one is a struggle to get funding for. But, as they say, "Nothing worthwhile is easy"
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Arrow5

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #140 on: January 21, 2017, 09:03:51 AM »


Is the full size k7replica in the Lakeland (?) museum the same one that was used in the TV film "Across the Lake" ?   The K4 was a prettier craft with all the trappings of  Golden Age nostalgia of the 1930s.
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #141 on: January 21, 2017, 09:35:14 AM »


There's several gas turbine K7 models around, For example, http://youtu.be/y2ANJAVRQpQ which I think is 1/6 scale.


Lance
Thank you for that reference. At the moment we are talking to the Producers about the best way of representing K7 at speed on screen. We had a film crew at Coniston Water this week who shot footage of the lake and shorelines to match the lower-quality 1967 films of the World Record attempts. It was done now to get the 'winter' appearance of the scene, panning the camera on a 'Motion Control' setup at exactly the same rate as Bluebird was travelling 50 years ago. This might enable us to use a static Bluebird model (filmed on a Model Mover) and composite it into the background film, obtaining realistic speeds and movements by using a 'Motion Capture' technique.

We did briefly consider trying to enhance one or more of the 1967 archive films, but the shots do not hold enough usable data to make the translation viable, and it would be too 'artificial' on screen.

Utilising CGI for the whole sequence has also been considered. It would probably work for TV, but to reach cinema standards would be a very expensive and time-consuming process.

Current thinking for a working model of K7 is that it would need to be about one-third full size. This would mean a 9' long 'miniature', but it would need to be that big to make sure that it behaved dynamically in a  believable manner at high speed. Physics are the controlling factor here. It appears to be a 'high risk' option in every sense.

It's most likely that we'll be settling on a combination of ideas. In 'Black Hawk Down' some people wondered if the helicopters were models, CGI or real. In fact they were all these things, but the production standards were so good that it was seamless.

And as an aside, several people have wondered if we are going to recreate the K7 crash sequence. The screenplay has been written so that, by the end, the audience will already have become aware that Donald Campbell's recklessness has made him a man 'on borrowed time'. So when Bluebird roars out on the lake for her final run the viewers won't need to see what happens. They will already sense tragedy.
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John W E

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #142 on: January 21, 2017, 09:50:02 AM »

hi ya there - you have strayed into my territory of expertise here - and before you attempt anything to do with Bluebird K7 - you want to get in touch with a guy called Ernie Lazenby.   He built a perfect replica which was  jet powered and was endorsed by Donald Campbell's daughter, Gina Campbell.  When you have the endorsement of these two people, you may get some of the correct facts about Bluebird and the fatal run; such as tramping and also when the boat was recovered from the Lake the water brake was in the 'down' position which scuppered a lot of theories.   Just as an added note, Bluebird was just less than a stones throw from where I worked.   Although I didn't agree with what was done I did see it a few times.

John
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #143 on: January 21, 2017, 10:21:02 AM »

hi ya there - you have strayed into my territory of expertise here - and before you attempt anything to do with Bluebird K7 - you want to get in touch with a guy called Ernie Lazenby.   He built a perfect replica which was  jet powered and was endorsed by Donald Campbell's daughter, Gina Campbell.  When you have the endorsement of these two people, you may get some of the correct facts about Bluebird and the fatal run; such as tramping and also when the boat was recovered from the Lake the water brake was in the 'down' position which scuppered a lot of theories.   Just as an added note, Bluebird was just less than a stones throw from where I worked.   Although I didn't agree with what was done I did see it a few times.

John
I appreciate your interesting input! I will pass your message to the Screenwriter. Although the main Screenplay is complete and substantially 'locked down', it is likely that when the project eventually spawns a DVD/Blu-Ray release, then there would be 'Technical' and 'Archive' items in the Extras section. This all depends on decisions by the Marketing people, who are already insisting that all closeup shots of K7 should be of the actual restored boat, since this gives them more publicity opportunities with which to widen audience appeal in the pre-premiere period. As I previously mentioned, the film comes to an end just before the final crash, and so will not be addressing issues that arose beyond that point in time.
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #144 on: January 21, 2017, 01:31:37 PM »

Today a carefully selected group of 24 unsuspecting people were able to see the 3 minute 'Showreel' of the 12' model of HMS Hood ploughing through the archive North Atlantic footage. The two parts of the image were tricky to get right, but what really had us pulling our hair out was marrying them together. Several all-nighters and copious mugs of tea were necessary. And our McVites Plain Chocolate Digestive bill exceeded the GDP of most Third World countries. But we got it done on time.

We decided not to tell the 'Focus Group' anything about what they were about to see. We didn't give them pads and pencils either: we wanted them to just look at the screen and take it all in. For all they knew it might be an IKEA commercial, a trailer for a Tom Cruise movie, or a Miley Cyrus music video. Instead, it was their lucky day. Before Hood came on scene, we'd spliced in some film taken on the deck of a preserved US battleship, where a few crew were doing chores. This went on for two minutes or so, and there was no doubt that it was real-life footage. Then, without a pause, we cut to our model in action. But would the illusion be broken, and would the viewers notice the subterfuge? It's quite a difficult test for us to pass.


We were watching this in a private 'preview' cinema, projected on 35mm film with full surround sound. These days, editing is all done on video and then the resulting data file is used to cut and splice the film: the two media work very well together. The screen was about 25' wide, so even though the Hood model is fairly big, at times she was eight times her real size on screen. And at one point, as she turned bow-on right in front of the camera, the magnification was extreme. Our compositing guy had managed to deal with this by layering a CGI shower of water droplets from the bow wave, which at one point was so close to the viewpoint that liquid was cascading down the 'lens'. He spent six hours to get those three seconds of imagery right. It's a little contrived, but you can get away with such cheesy tactics once in a while.


The sound editor had put together a 'wild track' of effects from all sorts of weird sources. You have to do that because today's audiences find watching 'silent movies' very unsettling. As HMS Hood came in for her close up, threatening to run us down, I was watching the audience from behind. People were flinching. And that's when I knew we'd cracked it. Audiences don't react like that if they think they're watching a model.


Each of the 24 was then interviewed. You always use open-ended questions: you never lead the responder by asking something dumb like "Do you think that was a real ship or a model?". We haven't collated and analysed everything yet, but I'm optimistic. Not one viewer made any comment to the effect that the entire Showreel was anything but authentic. The Producers will see the Showreel tomorrow, and they're tough people to satisfy, but we seem to be going in the right direction.
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #145 on: January 21, 2017, 02:17:14 PM »

Is the full size k7replica in the Lakeland (?) museum the same one that was used in the TV film "Across the Lake" ?   The K4 was a prettier craft with all the trappings of  Golden Age nostalgia of the 1930s.
Good question. The movie, starring Anthony Hopkins as Donald Campbell, was shot at Coniston and covered the last two months of Donald Campbell's life. It was made in 1988. The Lakeland Motor Museum do indeed have a full-sized replica of the 1967 version of Bluebird K7, and one of K4 from 1939. I'm not sure if the K7 was used in the movie, and the Museum's website doesn't have this information. I've Emailed them to ask, and I'll report back here with their response.
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unbuiltnautilus

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #146 on: January 21, 2017, 07:34:07 PM »



The audience profiles are constantly evolving, and this is closely monitored by Studios. In recent years the established Western markets, notably the USA, have been static. All the growth has come from 'Syndication' agreements with developing areas such as India, China, the Far East, the Middle East and South America. People in these countries do not usually have sensibilities about issues such as the morality of the Second World War. But they are interested in stories about people, especially people under extreme pressure to overcome seemingly impossible adversaries. So to have a chance of international success all movies usually need a protagonist that the audience are inspired to follow on a traumatic journey to ultimate success or failure. The hardware, even if it is a 860' battlecruiser, is part of the supporting cast, it is never the star.




Well that puts an interesting spin on some of the choices of Chinese kit companies in recent years. We are all grateful for a 1/200 scale 300 model of HMS Hood, but surely from purely financial returns, wouldn't a KGV class make more sense. A five ship class offers more scope for multiple re-boxings.
!/350 Ark Royal, many thanks but surely Illustrious/Victorious/Formidable would sell more variants? 1/200 Mikasa, Japanese market excluded, where is the mass appeal?
But if you factor in the human factor, be that a pitched battle, a heroic but short part in history, a David vs Goliath story, it all starts to make sense. Maybe our western sensibilities are too often bogged down in the minutiae, the overtly technical. Maybe we should stand back and take a look at the bigger picture from time to time?
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Arrow5

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #147 on: January 21, 2017, 08:08:37 PM »

Interesting. I often wonder how"The Search For Red Oktober" was viewed in Russia ? Was the Connery character a hero or a traitor.   The Japanese view of "Pearl Harbour" a glorious victory not a day of infamy.  Holywood has a bad reputation for changing facts. "Enigma" for instance needed an on screen printed correction.  History is indeed written by the winner.  Back to speed on water, the Warby father and son team must be worth consideration, Ken holder  of WSR for a great many years, must be nearly 40 years.  The son is about to attempt to break his father`s record.   Holywood`s output of fantasy, magic,  flying superheros and vampires has sort of turn me off so called blockbusters .  Best boat movie for me so far was made by a German in South America, any guesses ?   "Das Boot" excepted of course.
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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #148 on: January 21, 2017, 09:07:05 PM »


 wouldn't a KGV class make more sense. A five ship class offers more scope for multiple re-boxings.
[
Fully agree with that. HMS Prince of Wales had a heroic career that lasted just seven months, all of it under the command of the outstanding Captain Leach, who went down with his ship while fighting gamely alongside HMS Repulse in the battle that signalled the end of the battleship. Quite a story for a movie there, I think...
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John Stedman

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Re: Building models for filming
« Reply #149 on: January 21, 2017, 09:23:43 PM »

Interesting. I often wonder how"The Search For Red Oktober" was viewed in Russia ? Was the Connery character a hero or a traitor.   The Japanese view of "Pearl Harbour" a glorious victory not a day of infamy.

I was talking to some German videogamers in their mid-20's recently about the fact that every Second World combat game puts the player on the Allied side. Didn't they balk at always being asked to gun down their own countrymen, I asked? They said no, it was a game, and they weren't even alive when the Berlin Wall came down, so it wasn't their concern. On the other hand, Japanese people that I met on the Arizona Memorial in Pearl 'Harbor' (sic) were very shame-faced and reticent: their national culture seems determined to perpetuate feelings of guilt for their 1941 - 1945 actions indefinitely. It's a tricky subject to air, but worth talking about if you have the opportunity.
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