Model Shots That Look Beautiful Enough to be Paintings

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We're used to marveling at the painted concept art that comes out alongside a big space epic. The incredible spaceship images, the gorgeous planetscapes. But back in the day, practical model builders created some views that were just as lovely.

You can see the results on screen: Star Trek II's battle scene in the Mutara Nebula looks like a painting come to life. But sometimes you catch a glimpse of a set photo or behind-the-scenes image, and it looks just as good. And you suddenly realize: these practical effects makers were creating these vistas in real life, with no tinkering afterwards.

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Here are some of our favorite photos of model effects that look just as awesome as a painting.

As always, click to enlarge and see the full image — or right-click and select "open link in new tab."

Top image: Ship miniature by Scott Schneider for Alien Resurrection at conceptships.blogspot.com

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"V-The Final Battle" mothership, model by Greg Jein. Photo from Stipes' Universe

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Romulan Spaceship by Greg Jein for Mike Okuda. Photo at Drex Files.

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Reaverized Serenity model used for hard the landing sequence by Grant McCune Design, Inc. Photo by Keelhauler FFP 01 at Flickr

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The Nostromo's landing craft from Alien, by Visual Effects Supervisor Brian Johnson, supervising modelmaker Martin Bower, and their team at Bray Studios, based on combinations of Ridley Scott's storyboards and Ron Cobb's conceptual drawings. Photo from therpf.com

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The refinery from Alien, photo from http://www.zen171398.zen.co.uk

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Spaceship 3 by Will112 at deviantART

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Mars by Matthew Albanese at behance.net

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Ship miniature by Scott Schneider for Alien Resurrection at conceptships.blogspot.com

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Ship miniature by Scott Schneider for Alien Resurrection at conceptships.blogspot.com

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Enterprise model, on display at the National Air and Space Museum

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Enterprise D four foot miniature. Photo from Drex Files

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Enterprise D shuttle miniature by Greg Jein, photo from Drex Files

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Bajoran raider studio model, photo from Memory Alpha

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Voyager model, photo from Memory Alpha

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Kazon fighter model from Star Trek: Voyager, photo from Memory Alpha

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Concept ship model by Arne Beck at Concept Ships

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AT-ATs from The Empire Strikes Back, photo from Vanity Fair

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Dennis Murren in the Battle of Yavin IV, photo at May 25th, 1977

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George Lucas and the Death Star, photo from Insight Editions

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TIE Fighter test shot, from the rpf

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Star Destroyer tower, photo from Insight Editions

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Agroship from the original Battlestar Galactica, by Universal Hartland

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War of the Gods Light Ship from the original Battlestar Galactica, at Universal Hartland

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Cylon Raider and Viper models from the original Battlestar Galactica, at Galacticaa.net

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Replica of the 6-foot-long model from the original Battlestar Galactica, photo from Fine Scale Modeler

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Gemini Freight and Theta Station from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, photo from Universal Hartland

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Sinaloa from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, photo from Universal Hartland

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Transporter from Space:1999, photo from Starship Modeler

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The Hawk from Space:1999, photo from Starship Modeler

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Minas Tirith by Weta

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DISCUSSION

TheWhatBoy
TheWhatBoy

What I wouldnt give to be able to use the last image for a D&D campaign....sigh