How To Build The Black Hole’s Cygnus

The Black Hole was one of the most heavily-promoted flicks of the late seventies’ burgeoning category of post-Star-Wars sci-fi blockbuster-wanna-bes. Back then, the Star Wars universe was not yet a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney, and so Disney – like the rest of the studios – desperately tried to play catch-up with George Lucas’ (and 20th Century Fox’s) blockbuster.

The result was a flawed, but much-loved-by-fans-of-a-certain-age, epic. With the marketing might of Disney behind it, there were puzzles, read-along storybooks, model kits, and – perhaps best of all – Mego’s line of Black Hole action figures.

[Via] Action Figure King.Com

But what the model kits of the time couldn’t hope to duplicate was the sheer intricacy of The Black Hole’s delicate spacecraft. And you can’t really fault them for that: the complicated, visible girders gave the movie’s main setting, the wayward U.S.S. Cygnus, a cathedralesque look. Trying to mass-produce a replica of that in lightweight plastic would be begging for trouble: a model too delicate to stand up under its own weight.

But we live in the future now, and enterprising fans with mad 3-D skills – and no readily apparent budget ceiling – have finally put the Cygnus within your reach…for a price. (To quote a robot from a much more recent Disney sci-fi epic, it’s high…it’s very high.)

Industrious, and quite possibly even-madder-than-Dr.-Hans-Reinhardt Black Hole fan “Primitive Dave” has made it possible, via 3-D printing service Shapeways, to accumulate and assemble the pieces necessary for an almost-filming-ready model of the Cygnus.


This is not a project for the faint of heart, the scarce of budget, or those short on skills: some assembly, to put it mildly, is required. Better assemble some funds, too: all of the pieces necessary to put together the model itself run nearly $1,200.

A Flickr album by “The Lazy Modeler”, a.k.a. Jeff Bond, shows the painstaking construction of not just a complete U.S.S. Cygnus model from the Shapeways page, but one with internal lighting and blue LEDs for the engines.
Cygnus - Jeff Bond
Cygnus - Jeff Bond

(Jeff Bond played Dr. McCoy in some of the final episodes of the incredibly well-produced fan-made series Star Trek: New Voyages, and wrote the liner notes to the long-overdue official cd release of the complete soundtrack from The Black Hole itself. If building this model – and the eye-popping selection of other models in the background – doesn’t earn Mr. Bond serious geek cred, then those credentials, and the wealth of liner notes he’s written for many other soundtrack CDs, should put him over the top.)

The other thing about this entirely 3-D printed Cygnus model? It’s huge. Clear a shelf…a shelf that runs the length of an entire wall.
By the time it’s completed, and LED-lit, the only thing missing…is an equally detailed scale model of the relatively tiny U.S.S. Palomino berthed in the docking elevator.

Maybe “Primitive Dave” will have us covered on that in due time. (By the way, I suspect that Jeff Bond is not lazy, nor is Dave really very primitive. Call it a hunch.)

If you seek a massive modeling challenge, go in(sane), through (your entire bank balance), and beyond (the available space in your living room) aboard the Cygnus! Floaty robot buddies not included.

Stranger Things - Michael Maher

Star Wars Gets Stranger With Cast Of Stranger Things!

It is no big secret that Stranger Things kind of took off like wildfire here at the Retroist Vault. There are quite a few reasons why it managed to entrance us all. Naturally the easiest aspect of the series that attracted us was how it was a massive love letter to the 80s. From film posters to toys and music – it reminded us of the time most of us grew up in.
Stranger Things - Logo

Of course there was also the fact that it boasted a terrific cast. Stranger Things wouldn’t have been even half as enjoyable if not for the actors. While Millie Bobby Brown was the breakout star with her portrayal of Eleven. There was Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas, Noah Schnapp as Will, and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin as well. Each and everyone of these young actors brought memorable performances. In addition to the work by the supporting cast like Winona Ryder, David Harbour and so many others.

Furthermore there was the Lovecraftian horror meets Ridley Scott’s Alien by way of The Thing. Which presented more than a few scares throughout the Netflix series!

Another thing that creators Matt and Ross Duffer peppered throughout Stranger Things were nods to Star Wars. Which makes a ton of sense for children growing up in the 80s. I mean with Mike and his group who play Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not that hard to see them being fans of the Star Wars series as well, right?

Thanks to artist extraordinaire Michael Maher Jr. we can now see how the kids from Stranger Things would look in the Star Wars universe. Moreover perhaps that would now be the Stranger Wars films?

Image courtesy of Michael Maher Jr.

While I do love the idea of Finn playing Han and Noah as Luke. It really is Millie as Princess Leia and Gaten as Chewbacca that really makes it fantastic. The fact that in Maher’s Stranger Wars artwork Chewie is wearing Dustin’s hat – just a cherry on top. I wonder though…would Ryder and Harbour’s characters be R2 and Threepio?

What If Pixar Decided To Do Pulp Characters?

When it comes to Pixar there really isn’t much they touch that doesn’t turn to gold. Having said that however there are genres they’ve yet to tackle. Sure, they have given friendly monsters a go as well as a sentient vehicle universe. Not to mention moving films dealing with growing old in addition to the greatest Fantastic Four movie made. That was of course not an official film of Marvel’s First Family – but it was…INCREDIBLE…nonetheless.

See what I did there?

Ahem. While 2004’s The Incredibles marked Pixar’s first foray into superheroes. The talented Phil Postma is always eager to present different genres that Pixar has yet to approach. You might recall some of the other artwork of Postma’s that we’ve shared on The Retroist before. Like what if Rankin and Bass had produce a 1977 stop motion version of The Hobbit. Or perhaps Fisher-Price had produced Adventure People Killers to their toy line?

Back in 2013, it turns out that Phil presented Pixar versions of some legendary pulp characters. Such as Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon, Dale Arden, and Ming the Merciless of course.

Images courtesy of Phil Postma.

He also shared a look at what Pixar could deliver with Lee Falk’s The Phantom.
Pixar - The Phantom - Phil Postma

Last but certainly not least and the film I wish Pixar would truly deliver is The Shadow!

Make sure to hop on over to Phil’s official blog – The Minion Factory. You can check out even more of his fantastic artwork and even purchase merchandise.

Now that we’ve seen what some pulp characters would look like if Pixar was in charge of character design. How about re-watching what an animated series for The Rocketeer might look like?

[Via] Amazing Cartoons

Legend of Zelda

3D Printing of 1988’s The Legend Of Zelda Map!

When The Legend of Zelda was released to the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was a game changer. At least in terms of console gaming. With its addicting gameplay, numerous secrets, and to say nothing of the then sprawling map. It was in fact a really big deal. As well as being an absolute success for Nintendo of America – The Legend of Zelda sold two million copies that year alone!

Designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka really knocked it out of the park. I know I have in fact shared this story on The Retroist before. When I first rented the game at my local video store. There were no instructions, so I didn’t know about the Second Quest. Which happened to present the Player with tougher enemies and different locations of items and dungeons.

So I did in fact beat the harder quest first before I purchased the game for myself. Try to imagine my confusion when the dungeon maps I had made weren’t matching up. Thankfully for many of us it was Nintendo Power that really helped out when they published a map!

Image courtesy of Gamasutra.

It looks like a fan of the game went above and beyond the call using a 3D printer to create The Legend of Zelda map. Furthermore the creator spent 6 months designing it in the popular Minecraft game. After that they ported the work to a file for the 3D printer. Which just happened to take 24 hours to create, in addition to the six hours of painting the model.

Map images courtesy of Mike Matei.

It was collector Willard McFarland who purchased the 3D map and shared images with Mike Matei. Who in turn shared high resolution images on his Twitter account.

Zelda

If Mike’s name rings a bell then you probably saw that incredible video he created a few weeks back. The animated opening to The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by way of Mario Paint!
Mario Paint

Now that you are drooling over The Legend of Zelda 3D map – why not check out the original commercial?


I should point out that this ad features John Kassir as the man searching for Zelda. You might know John’s voice work on Tiny Toons Adventures, the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt, and Avatar: The Last Airbender to name a few.

[Via] Zelda Dungeon

A very big thank you to Ethan Gach of Kotaku for the heads up on the map. As well as to Gamasutra for the Nintendo Power map image used in this post.

Addams Family Stretching Room Portraits

uncle-fester-stretching-room-portraits
The Addams Family, the Munsters, and the Weirdly Gruesomes are three fictional families that I could see living in The Haunted Mansion. Melissa Doskotz obviously had the same idea because she created these wonderful Addams Family Stretching Room Portraits. These and other cool prints can be purchased at Melissa’s MellenIllustration Etsy Store.
pugsly-gomez-lurch-addams-family-stretching-room-portraits
morticia-addams-family-stretching-room-portraits
wednesday-addams-family-stretching-room-portraits

Want more Haunted Mansion goodies?

Please stop by my pop culture food blog – Between the Pages. I’ve featured tons of cool Haunted Mansion Treats.

Help Us Master Gracey, You’re Our Only Hope

I have been a Star Wars fan ever since I first saw Star Wars: A New Hope in High School. I’m also a massive Disney fan. When our kids were younger, Walt Disney World was our favorite vacation spot. One of my favorite rides and my husband’s absolute favorite ride at Walt Disney World is the Haunted Mansion. When I saw this Wonderful Star Wars / Haunted Mansion mash-up, I couldn’t wait to share it.

This great Haunted Mansion / Star Wars Mash-Up was made by Mary J. Hoffman on DeviantArt

Image courtesy of Mary J. Hoffman.

Image courtesy of Mary J. Hoffman.


This coolest thing about this print?
Mary also has Booger Vampire’s Crypt of DOOM Etsy Store where you can purchase this wonderful print or get it on pins, coin purses, tote bags, and more.

Want more Star Wars or Haunted Mansion goodies?
Please stop by my pop culture food blog – Between the Pages. I’ve featured tons of cool Star Wars and Haunted Mansion treats.

The Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set You’ve Always Wanted!

Custom LEGO sets are popular for a very good reason, not only does it give fans a chance to add that one item they desperately want to their collection, perhaps something that LEGO itself hasn’t gotten around to as of ye. Of course another reason is that it also allows builders to show off their considerable talent – like with this particular Atari 2600 Lego set that you know you’ve always wanted.

What is the story behind this LEGO Atari 2600?


Well this Atari 2600 set was created by one Chris McVeigh aka PowerPig and is actually entitled “This Old Basement” and is part of his pixel bundle. After taking a quick moment to hop on over to his little spot on the internet it is readily apparent that Chris has a lot of skill at creating such custom LEGO sets. It’s not just the Atari 2600 set you can pick up, yep, you can totally buy these – but there is also a set for the Intellivision and Colecovision. All of that is before you start scratching the surface of his other categories like arcade cabinets, cameras, radios, food, and even Bonsai trees!

Images courtesy of PowerPig's Builds.

Images courtesy of PowerPig’s Builds.

What is so special about this custom LEGO set?


I think that answer is plainly obvious but how about we take a moment to check out the detail that Chris has added in this LEGO set? First of all that television set should look very familiar to those of you who grew up in the 80s or perhaps just might be a fan of Stranger Things. Not only does it have those rabbit ears – but check out the control knobs…offering thirteen channels and a volume control – and a dark ‘wood’ colored finish.

As for the game that is playing on the television – to me it looks like a cross between 1981’s Lock ‘n’ Chase by Data East and Atari’s Slot Racers from 1978.

Image courtesy of AtariAge.

Image courtesy of AtariAge.

This table/cabinet looks to me like the type I remember seeing in the late 70s – a perfect place to store your opened Atari 2600 game boxes but it also marks the perfect location to place your rug. I love that this LEGO set has a trusty Luke Skywalker figure in his X-Wing pilot gear close at hand with a cold can of cola within easy reach as well – hey, gamer fuel was important then as it is today!

Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set - table - PowerPig

Last but certainly not least in this Atari 2600 LEGO set is…the Atari 2600! While Chris brilliantly constructed it’s intentional ‘simple’ design doesn’t let us fans of the system know if this is a Heavy/Light Sixer from 1977 or the 1980 CX2600-A model. Although I have to say I love the detail McVeigh put into it all – what with the cords that attach to the the joysticks and 2600 plus that ‘wood veneer’ front.

Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set - Atari - PowerPig

So make sure to hop on over to PowerPig’s Builds and pick up your own Custom Atari 2600 LEGO Set or see what else Chris might have to offer you for own collection!

A very big thanks to AtariAge for the use of their scanned Slot Racers box art in this post.