On The Bench 224b: Eliot Brown’s Satellite of Love


Well, I was debating this, but Mr. Merriman said just do it and so here I am. Truly cult-ish, Mystery Science Theater 3000 may be long gone, but Joel, Mike and the bots live on in my heart. The ship their minds were assaulted on with cheesy movies was the Satellite of Love. It was my first real scratchbuild attempt, some 6 years ago, which stalled out because of technical ignorance. Also needing to do the surface detail in photo-etched brass. So the climb from the slime has been slow.

I was lucky to have my own set of –limited– reference photos of the model. I spent a lot of time figuring out how to indicate all the surface detail. Weird, crazy maps of the “unfolded” duodecagons, sufficient to glaze anyone’s eyes over!

I finished the surface detail artwork, done in Adobe Illustrator, and used the Pulsar lamination system to prepare the brass sheet. I use .003″ brass and spray paint the back side. A bath of ammonium persulphate eats through in about 40 minutes, but leave a nice, clean edge unlike ferric chloride.

I am right at the point where I have all the tiny pieces and will assemble my first ship!

Photo 1: The Satellite of Love as she sat on a filing cabinet at Best Brains Studios.

Photo 2: Self-assembling duodecagons! All hexagons and pentagons– the size is fairly arbitrary, but I worked off of a blown-up picture of the ship’s profile; I wanted it about 8″ long.

Photo 3: Here’s the mold box with the master and the first cast duodecahedron.

Photo 4: Very exciting to see the proportions check out!

Photo 5: SOL all together, with four cast-up duodecagons connected by two cast-up hegagon spine elements with the little “appendage” already cast and held in place by friction fit.

Photo 6: Bits and pieces– lots of them… this is one of two surface detail molds. When I lay in resin, I poke out the air bubbles– so I kept it small so I could get them all before the resin thickened. I used some etched brass for the “Buck Rogers” semi-circle fins and a tight little grid on a pair of pieces.

Photo 7: First all-body cast– despite minor problems, looks okay.

Photo 8: These little pieces were a brain-bending ordeal! The artwork was awful to do– I can’t imagine doing it by hand; I used Adobe Illustrator. I am using ammonium persulphate to eat my brass! But, in the end, satisfying in that ALL the pieces hung on!

Eliot Brown

One comment

  1. Hey there!

    I love the classic SOL design. Did you ever do more with this model?

    I’m working on digital model myself. ). Would you be willing to share any of your reference pics with me?

    B.J. West

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