Building Fear: Way Stations and Vehicles
At the other end of the soundstage where Nemec
created the tundra set, he built a way station where
the mercs were intended to take shelter when they
arrived on the planet. Designed with the idea that it
was dropped off a decade earlier, the way station was a
flat pack station that could be reassembled by a couple
of people. It was set up with everything one needs to
survive on the planet for long stretches of time -- a
comm center, maps, kitchen, latrine, berthing area,
maintenance space and a recreation area.
Once assembled, the station would be usable by
research scientists, explorers and/or mercenaries on a
stopover. "It was designed to be utilitarian, somewhat
military, with bits of old-school hard stuff, just in case
everything fails," says Nemec. "It was definitely not a
place that one stays in for a comfortable getaway. We
kept it relatively monochromatic with color accents
here and there, such as yellow handrails, orange fire
extinguishers and such. We wanted it to feel the effects of the elements in the environment, so we tried to let
that inside in a way that affected the general patina in
the way station. Everything is a bit dulled down."
Outside the way station is the location where the
mercenaries' spaceships land. Again, wanting to stay
away from green screen, Nemec had a fully equipped
spaceship commissioned, complete with functional
doors and ramps. It even used actual landing gear from
a large 747 jet. Like the way station and some of the
other large props, there is a certain futuristic-retro feel
to the design. The spaceships were no different.
Designed to be tactical cargo ships, they were built
with everything from instrumental panels and controls
in the cockpit to power modules and sleeping harnesses.
"We went through a lot of permutations," recalls the
production designer. "We started out with a design that
was very sleek, but we weren't finding a balance. We then
looked back into some of the Necromonger warships,
but we didn't feel that was right either. We wanted to
stay with something that was real, yet futuristic: a ship
that seemed as if it could fly, do vertical takeoffs and
landings, as well as travel through space."
What many of the cast enjoyed on set was hopping
on the jet hogs, the vehicles that Boss Johns' crew off-
load from their ship and use to travel short distances on
the planet's terrain. In keeping with the retro-futuristic
theme, Nemec designed the jet hogs to be reminiscent
of a chopper motorcycle, but instead of wheels, the
machines hover and are powered by air turbines and
jet propulsion. "In the beginning, the idea was to go
very sleek -- much more of a Yamaha approach -- but
nothing fit with the hog world," recalls Nemec. "We're
very happy with the way the jet hogs turned out."
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