Talk about a labor of love. Sculptor Grant Louden took Colin Hay's beautiful illustration (left), which appeared on the cover of a reprint of James Blish's The Star Dwellers, and recreated it in a beautifully detailed sculpture (right).
Over at Louden's website, he gives a detailed account of his 3-D reconstruction of the cover — including creating blueprints of the ship and custom-making parts out of plastic weld — and explains his passion for it:
I first came across this wonderful picture in Spacewreck in the late 70's, and still find it fascinating. Not only the mystery of the dead spacemen, but the nature of the small open craft in outer space – like a non-airtight midget submarine. The awkward angularity is also intriguing.
Seriously, check out some of the pictures of the work in progress at Louden's site. They're incredible.
And talking to Sci-Fi-O-Rama, Louden explains how he worked closely with the original artist to make sure he got it right, in every way that mattered:
We agreed an official license for each ship, and a royalty to go back to the original artist upon any sales for use of their work. It was important for me to recognise, celebrate, and remunerate their original – in every sense of the word – artworks.
I chose to build Star Dwellers first, for a couple of reasons. It was always my all time favourite of the TTA illustrations. Solemn, sombre and begging questions, and beautifully designed and rendered. Also it posed a considerable challenge. Just one view to work from, an incredibly complex shape to reproduce, with it's wild angles merging into a round nose cone, and intricately detailed. And two astronaut figures to model, so in doing this first I would gather and hone the skills and equipment needed to build any of the others.
Colin was absolutely fantastic to work with throughout the entire build. From commenting on prototype paper models, checking plan drawings, and constant enthusiasm and kind comments all along the way. He was invaluable when it came to building the unseen details of the ship. What would the interior look like for instance? Independently we had both been thinking WWII fighters and midget submarines as a look and feel. I asked if we should put floating seat harnesses in the cockpits, and Colin said indeed and wished he'd thought of them when doing his original painting. So it was wonderful to have so much input and encouragement, and it's made for a far more accurate and sympathetic recreation. Colin will be signing a Certificate of Authenticity to accompany the piece when sold, as well as a signed art print of his original. And I'll be passing on a two figure percentage royalty when it's sold.