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Building An Army Of Terminators
"One of the joys of this film is you get to see all the machines in the lexicon of Skynet,” says McG. "It's just like a contemporary military: you've got machines in the water, in the ground, in the sky... It was an amazing adventure just looking at the different Terminators of this world because you want to see the success and failure of everything Skynet tried on their way to the T-800, their most proficient killing machine.”

Created from drawings by production designer Martin Laing and his team of art directors, the army of machines that rampage through "Terminator Salvation” came to life under the direction of Stan Winston, the legendary creature creator who designed the original T-800. Sadly, Winston passed away during the making of this film. "Stan confided in me once that he created imaginary monsters as a child to keep him company,” McG reflects. "He said he felt like the only kid in the world who did this. Little did he know his childhood friends would come to be the heroes of millions. But most of all, Stan was a good guy who loved what he did. It was a real honor to have had the opportunity to work with Stan Winston. I intend to dedicate this film to his memory.”

John Rosengrant, an effects supervisor at Stan Winston Studio, led the 60- member team to create this generation of Terminators, and also oversaw all the special effects make-up. Winston originally hired Rosengrant to work on the first "Terminator” film and became the artist's mentor. It was the beginning of an incredible journey, one that has seen phenomenal advancements in animatronics and special effects over the intervening years.

For Rosengrant, the sheer volume of work demanded by this production required some innovations. "The challenge on ‘Terminator Salvation' was to come up with lighterweight materials that still replicated metal,” says Rosengrant. "We used combinations of urethanes and plastics, which were painted using breakthroughs in paint technology to achieve a metal look.”

On "Terminator Salvation,” the challenge also became creating Terminators that would be logical extensions within the world of the "Terminator” universe. "Because we're in a period prior to the timeframe of the first three films, we had to, in a sense, reverse-engineer,” explains Laing. "In the same way that your laptop from ten years ago was thick like a brick and then, over time, got thinner and thinner, the Terminators you already know are the thin laptops and our Terminators are the bricks. They're more primitive in their brutality and bigger in their design.”

On top of that, McG had a specific aesthetic in mind that would color the entire film, but especially the machines. "I didn't want a shiny, robotic world,” McG expresses. "I didn't want a clean future. I really wanted a distressed future. I wanted a dirty patina on the metal of the machines, like they're a bunch of Soviet era tanks that haven't been able to go in and get painted or tuned up in a long, long time.”

Moreover, because the film takes place post-Judgment Day, a full complement of Terminators, many of which were only hinted at in the earlier films, is revealed. "We are in an interim period,” says Christian Bale, "In the flash forwards to 2029 that we've seen in previous movies, Skynet has absolute dominance of all the armies of T-800s and Hunter-Killers. But what we're seeing here is the genesis of the T-800. In the present, we've got a lot of T-600s, which are more primitive versions of the T-800, and a phenomenal array of machines.”

Skynet's preeminent foot soldier is the T-600, which McG describes as "bigger and nastier” than the T-800, "a `57 Buick compared to a 2009 Mercedes Benz.” A hulking seven-foot-three, rudimentary version of what would eventually become the T-800, with a simplistic rubber skin pulled over the face and rag-tag clothing

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