Jump to content

Progress Build of Pegasus Hobbies Space Ark Spaceship From When Worlds Collide Movie

Recommended Posts

Fellow Modelers,


In 1951 the Paramount Pictures movie When Worlds Collide was released, and told the story of the coming destruction of Earth by a rogue star called Bellus and the desperate efforts to build a space ark to transport a small group of men and women to Bellus' single planet, Zyra.  It is basically a modern re-telling of the biblical story of Noah building an ark before almost all of humanity is destroyed by a flood.  I have always liked this movie even though much of the acting is really bad.  My favorite part is the “Space Ark” spaceship design used to get the survivors off Earth.  I believe it is one of the coolest rocket designs to come out of the 1950’s.  Legendary movie artwork painter Chelsey Bonestell worked as an adviser on the film and created the Space Ark design.  The movie was a commercial success and When Worlds Collide won an Honorary Academy Award for Special Effects at the 24th Academy Awards.


In 2010 Pegasus Hobbies released a simple diorama kit that includes the Space Ark, a section of launch ramp and a vac-form landscape base (#9011).  The ABS plastic kit has only 26 pieces and the detail is sparse but the spaceship and launch ramp are very accurately done.  This kit has been in my stash for many years but I only recently decided to build it.  This should be a short progress build since not many modifications are planned.  Let’s get started…



Image 001: The kit box with excellent artwork is shown.  The scale is listed as 1/350, but based on an overall body length of 400ft. (less nose spike) presented in the movie and a model ship length of about 10.875” (less nose spike), I come up with it being approximately 1/441 scale.





Images 002-004: All of the kit ABS plastic parts are shown still attached to their sprues.  The needle nose spike (not shown) came in a tiny separate package and appears to be made out of evergreen styrene.



Image 005: The Space Ark fuselage body parts were glued together first.  After sanding out the seam line I filled in the panel lines.  I felt the overall appearance of the ship was improved by removing these.



Image 006: There were multiple tiny sink marks and imperfections on the fuselage.  It was critical to sand away these imperfections since the topcoat paint was going to be aluminum paint, which has a tendency to highlight surface flaws.



Image 007: All of the kit parts are shown after they have been sanded down and cleaned up.



Image 008: The kit does not provide a good way to permanently attach the Space Ark to the ramp.  All that is given is a small raised tab on the bottom of the fuselage showing where the fuselage is supposed to be located on the skid/cradle.  Since my Space Ark will be permanently mounted to the ramp a small modification was made by removing the tab, drilling a couple of holes and shaping a piece of scrap sprue to act as a connecting rod between the fuselage and the skid cradle.



Image 009: I will admit I do not like the needle spike that is supposed to go on the nose of the fuselage.  It is the only aspect of the design that rubs me the wrong way.  I took some artistic license and decided to leave it off the model.  Instead, I glued a small diameter styrene piece to the tip of the nose, added a lot of slow-set superglue filler and sanded the nose to a sharp point.  It is a small detail but for me it greatly improved the overall look of the ship.




Images 010-011: The only awkwardness of the Space Ark assembly is joining the three-piece horizontal rear fin parts.  It takes a good deal of superglue filler and careful sanding to make the connection points seamless.  To make handling easier these parts were completely finished before being attached to the fuselage.




Images 012-013: These two photos show the finished Space Ark.  Although all the parts had a tight fit and the alignment was good, there was noticeable gaps where the wings and rear fins connected to the fuselage.  To correct this 5-Minute Epoxy was applied and then wiped over with damp Q-tips to remove any excess outside the gaps.  Once again this was an important step since the aluminum paint will magnify any gaps that are left.


Until next time…



  • Like 18
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thursday night I saw the movie again, what a coincidence! It's certainly not much of a movie, but I like to watch movies that I saw as a kid. And the special effects are very good for the time and considering that it was a B movie. I love the ship and its pristine metallic look.



  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For some reason, this spaceship is what comes to mind when I hear this song



Or the song gets into my head when I see the craft


or both :confused:


Watching with interest


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

psdavidson-Thank you for the interest and musical tribute!


Fellow Modelers-Below are several photos of the actual Space Ark miniature and launch ramp taken during filming in 1950.  The special effects set was really huge!  Hopefully anyone who is a fan of this movie but never seen these images will get a klick out of them.  I know I did.

















  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was quite young (Late teens?) when I first saw this movie.
Anything Sci-Fi was watched. I enjoyed it at the time. Maybe it's time to watch it again...





  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fellow Modelers-In this post work on the project continues with assembly and painting of the vac-form base and ramp.



Image 014: The kit base was out of a fairly sturdy vac-form plastic, but I made it more rigid by adding 1/4” X 1/4” Evergreen styrene pieces spanning the length and width.



Image 015: The first step of painting was to coat the entire base a dark gray color (Model Master Engine Gray-2034).  For some reason the gray in this photo appears darker than it really is.  This was the only solid color applied to the base.  All other colors were added by dry-brushing.  



Image 016: Next, the “rock areas” were left Engine Gray while the “plant growth areas” were dry-brushed (MM Field Green-1712).



Image 017: Random dry-brushing of a yellow-orange color (Testors Flat Sunflower-1191) was added next.  The goal was to break up the green and add color variation.  I intentionally chose stark, bright colors to make the display more attractive. 



Image 018: Dry-brushing the “rock areas” with a lighter gray (MM Medium Gary-1721) gave these sections depth and greater interest.



Image 019: This photo shows the entire base after the “rock area” dry-brushing was complete.



Image 020: Just a little more of the yellow color was added to a few sections to give it extra pop!  Once this was done the entire base was airbrushed with a 50/50 mixture of Testors Dullcote/MM Thinner to give it a dead flat finish.



Image 021: I wanted to add trees to the base to hopefully take it to another level.  The photo shows the foliage set I picked out at my local hobby shop (in the Scale Railroad section).  I picked this out because there was more than one color, they could be cut and shaped to different sizes and they were in expensive (I am a very cheap model builder).



Image 022: Several small holes were drilled into the “plant growth areas” of the vac-form base to accommodate the trees.



Image: 023: I shaped and cut each tree so they would all look different.  They were located sparsely and at random to look natural.  The lower trunk of each tree was bent to 90 degrees and attached to the bottom side of the vac-form base with slow set superglue. 




Images 024-025: Another thing I like about these trees is they give the appearance of large size.  This diorama represents a pretty large area and they help force that perspective.



Image 026: After some test fitting, I found gluing the ramp section and ramp supports together before adding them to the vac-form base was the best way to proceed.  During these tests I also noticed several of the bottom support pieces had a very snug fit into the vac-form base recesses.  I did not like this and felt a loose fit between the ramp supports and vac-form base would make sure both assemblies went together with no binding.  To achieve this, I cut off the sharp bottom corners on all five ramp support pieces.  In this photo you can see how they have been notched.



Image 027: The launch ramp assembly was painted a very light gray color (MM Flat Gull Gray-1730).  I thought this was a good color to use to represent concrete.  After the paint dried the concrete section was masked off and the areas representing the metal railings were painted with a steel color (Alclad Steel-ALC115).  This photo shows the assembly masked off just before the Alclad paint was applied.



Image 028: The launch ramp assembly is shown after all the masking tape was removed.  No weathering was done to the launch ramp as this was new construction in the movie.





Image 029-031: These photos show the launch ramp after it was glued to the vac-form base.  I am happy with the contrast between the ramp and base colors.



Image 032: The large base nameplate was worked on next.



Image 033: First it was airbrushed a red color (Testors Flat Red-1150).



Image 034: Next the left and right outside sections were loosely masked off and a yellow color was applied (Testors Flat Sunflower-1191).



Image 035: This photo shows the nameplate after the masking tape was removed.  




Images 036-037: I wanted a smoother color transition between the red and orange so I over sprayed a weak red paint over the center section.  Doing this made all the raised letters red again and produced a pale orange color on the background.  Next, the raised lettering was dry-brushed with white (Testors Flat White-1168) shown in the second photo.



Image 038: The final step on the nameplate painting was to dry-brush the raised lettering with a yellow color (Testors Sunflower-1191).  




Images 039-040: The base/launch ramp is shown after the nameplate was glued into place.


Until next time…



  • Like 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fellow Modelers-In this post work on the project continues with painting of the Space Ark and skid/cradle.  This is the last progress build post.



Image 041: I normally do not use primer paint on plastic models, but I did apply it on the Space Ark to help cover any missed micro-scratches.  I used Model Master Lacquer Primer (2782) since my go-to primer paint (MM 2738) is now very difficult to find.  This primer had a rough finish and I used a very soft cloth to buff it smooth.





Images 042-044:  The Space Ark was airbrushed an aluminum color (Alclad Polished Aluminum ALC105).



Image 045: The wing rockets were painted the same color and added to the Space Ark.



Image 046: The skid/cradle was painted next.  The first color selected was steel (Alclad Steel ALC115) because I wanted it to be darker than the Space Ark.  I also used Alclad here because it can be hard masked without pulling up the paint.




Images 047-048: The skid/cradle required a good bit of masking since the rockets are supposed to be metal color and everything else is red.  The photo shows the skid/cradle after the steel color was masked off.



Image 049: The photo shows the skid/cradle after the red (Testors Flat Red-1150) was applied.  





Images 050-052: The skid/cradle is shown after the masking tape was removed. 




Images 053-054: These photos show the skid/cradle after it was glued to the Space Ark.  Once the skid/cradle was permanently attached to the ramp the build was complete!    





Images 055-057: These photos show the complete diorama build.  As stated earlier this was a simple project and a short progress build.  Thanks to everyone for following along and the encouraging comments.  I hope you enjoyed it like I did.


I will be posting a lot more finished photos of this build in the completed model section.


Until next time…



  • Like 14
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/22/2022 at 5:58 PM, psdavidson said:

For some reason, this spaceship is what comes to mind when I hear this song



Or the song gets into my head when I see the craft


or both :confused:


Watching with interest



This version gives me goosebumps! 


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...