Alien Versus Predator 2004

The visual effects were supervised by John Bruno.

Bill Pearson’s UK miniatures crew built the miniature icebreaker ship in this movie. It had a flat bottom and was placed on a flat glossy surface that represented the ocean covered in simulated ice and snow. The dimpling of the welded platework that makes up the superstructure of the ship is very convincingly modeled. Among other things, they also built the satellite that features in the opening shots as well as a helicopter and the miniature support structure that chains up the puppet alien queen. The satellite was designed to look like the silhouette of the Alien Queen before being revealed for what it is.

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Alien Vs Predator - Photo 057 (2004 © Bill Pearson - DigiPhoto)

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Alien Vs Predator - Photo 168 (2004 © Bill Pearson - DigiPhoto)

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The production miniatures crew, in Prague, under miniatures supervisor Richard Van Den Bergh were responsible for various miniatures including the underground alien temple and an abandoned whaling village which eventually collapses into a sinkhole formed as the underground temple is destroyed.

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Enigma 2001

There is a 1/5th scale U-boat model featured in this fictional story based on the Enigma code breaking effort going on at Bletchley Park in England during the second world war.

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The miniature sequences were supervised by Jose Granell who was then at Mill Film. (This division of the visual effects company The Mill was disbanded around a year later in 2002). The surface submarine shots are totally convincing, filmed at sea with a real horizon and about the best miniature submarine shots I have seen. The merchant ship models are less successful with the exploding models looking very bare of both detail and  paint weathering. Unfortunately they look like they were made of foam core and were only designed for distant shots but were then employed for close ups.

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The submarine model was given to Bletchley Park for outdoor display at the end of the production. Recent photographs appear to show that along with a change in location its original movie paint scheme has been over-painted all in grey primer,and the towing fixture on the bow has been removed.

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Magic camera Company, Jose granells’s most recent company (and a re-birth of the company name of legendary miniatures supervisor Derek Meddings of which Jose Granell was an integral part), has some reels and photographs of the submarine in action, the submarine miniature from K19 Widowmaker. along with various other examples of superb model ship work.

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K19 The Widowmaker 2002

Most of the Submarine action in this film appears to be Computer Generated but there was a model built and photographed for the sequence where the K19 submarine surfaces rapidly breaking through an ice sheet. In fact a part of the extra features on the DVD, looks at the visual effects and covers the model shoot, entirely neglecting the much larger digital portion of the effects work. Lets face it models are inherently more interesting to look at than a couple of people pointing at a computer screen.

Even so there is not very much of the model left on the screen in the actual movie after the digital team has covered it in particle effects snow and ice.

The miniature effects were produced by Mill Film.

UPDATE 14/04/2015

I have just stumbled across an old Cinesite miniatures reel that, among other things, clearly shows the model being shot motion control for the underwater shots as well as a surface aerial shot.

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