Craft & Design
Inside Blade Runner’s Model Shop


This weekend, I happened upon the recent re-release trailer for Blade Runner (The Final Cut). The Final Cut version of the film, the only one where director Ridley Scott had full artistic control, was first released in 2007, but this spring, theaters started showing it again and this new trailer was put together for that release.

I’ve seen this movie a dozen times. I own four different version of it (including The Final Cut). And yet, I found myself compelled to watch the trailer (twice) and ended up spending the rest of my afternoon re-immersing myself in all things Blade Runner and Syd Mead (the conceptual artist for the film).

It wasn’t long before I was back looking at these amazing photos from the Blade Runner model shop that popped up on Imgur a few months ago. I love seeing these model makers from the early 90s working on such iconic props from the film as the Police Spinner, the ominous Tyrell Corp pyramid complex (check out all of that fiber optic cabling), the Offworld Colonies advertising blimp, and more. There are nearly 150 images in the archive. Here are some of my faves:

If you’re interested in learning more about Mead and his work on Blade Runner (and his official one-of-a-kind Lego Police Spinner from the film), check out this Make: post. In 2008, Joel Johnson of Boing Boing sat down with Mead and put together this wonderful and candid video series. Sadly, the videos were all broken on BB, but I found them on YouTube and have restored them here on Make:. Here is the segment on Blade Runner. Hit the above link for the rest of the vids in the series.

5 thoughts on “Inside Blade Runner’s Model Shop

  1. Great piece but I think you meant to sight the early 80’s, no? Blade runner was first released in 1982.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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