Main

Alien Franchise

Predator Franchise

AVP Movies

Prometheus

A Cinema Timeline

A&P Forum Avatars

A&P Fanart





A quick summary of the drop ship
sequence from the script:


The scene begins with the Sulaco gliding over the cloud strewn atmosphere of Archeron. Vasquez, Drake and Frost are field-stripping light weapons with precise movements.

Around them, in racks, are an arsenal of advanced personal artillery. Vasquez swings one of the Smart-Guns out on a work stand.

It is a computer-aimed, video-targeted automatic weapon. Drake imitates her moves behind her with his own weapon.

The Drop-Ship engines pitch increases as it is readied for flight. Ferro and Spunkmeyer take their seats in the cockpit. Ripley stands in front of it, watching. Burke joins her.

A massive APC, Armored Personnel Carrier, crosses the loading deck. It pulls up beside the Drop-Ship.

The troopers are suiting up for the drop to the sounds of Sgt. Apone barking his jarhead chants to pump them up. Strapping on their bulky combat armor. All the soldiers are filing up to the door of the APC.

Apone verbally pushing them the entire way. The line of soldiers double time into the APC. They find their seats and begin strapping in.

Ripley comes in and looks around at the melee of activity. She quickly finds a seat. Gorman takes control of the Mobile Tactical Operations Bay (MTOB). Checking out all the monitors.



Bishop engages the throttle and drives the APC up a ramp into the Drop-Ship. Hudson slaps the up-raised hand of a fellow trooper Vasquez.

The APC comes to a stop on the ramp. It is lifted up into the belly of the Drop-Ship as the ramp closes. Hicks and Gorman lock into their seats.



Ferro sets the drop controls in the cockpit. Everyone in the APC can hear her over the speakers. The ship is lowered into a cargo lock on a massive launch rig. It comes to a jolting stop and locks into position.

Ripley looks nervous. The cargo lock's inner door closes above the ship, sealing the Drop-Ship in the blackness of the lock, except for a solitaire blue Klaxton that plays over the ship.



Looking through the cockpit windows, we see the outer doors of the cargo lock open below the Drop-Ship. Revealing the blue, cloud strewn surface of LV-426. Ripley looks very nervous. Clamps slam back.

The ship drops. Ripley closes her eyes...the point of no return. The Drop-Ship dives toward the atmosphere of Archeron. It looks like a tiny black mosquito next to the planet.



It's engines igniting with a roar of a tiger. It screams down through the stratosphere, plunging into masses of white clouds. The shaking of the ship is jolting him around in his seat. He looks very tense and is gripping the chair tightly.

All the troopers are being bucked wildly in their seat restraints. The craft is being bounced around like a balloon caught in a strong air current.

It is descending through a very thick, gray cloud layer. Still screaming through the extremely dense layer of clouds.



The Drop-Ship's flight computer screen displays the Archeron landscape below the clouds. The graphics are just lines, but it is easy to tell where the valleys and hills are.

The pictures move with the ship. It emerges from the low cloud ceiling. The rocky, wind carved landscape of the planet is visible directly below it. Hicks still asleep in his seat.

Looking through the cockpit windows, we see the outer doors of the cargo lock open below the Drop-Ship. Revealing the blue, cloud strewn surface of LV-426. Ripley looks very nervous.

Clamps slam back. The ship drops. Ripley closes her eyes...the point of no return. The Drop-Ship dives toward the atmosphere of Archeron. It looks like a tiny black mosquito next to the planet.



AVP Wikia Specs:

UD-4 Dropship transport series

Model: UD-4L

Class: Dropship

Technical specifications

Length: 25.18 m

Width: 15.3 m (pods deployed)

Height: 6.05 m

Mass: 18,620 kg loaded;
34,630 kg maximum

Maximum acceleration: upward of Mach 12 with TF-220/A-14 ramrockets

Engine Power: Twin Republic Dynamics TF-900 turbines, Two TF-220/A-14 combined cycle engines

Fuel Source: 310 kN dry thrust for each Republic Dynamics TF-900

Armour: Superlplastic-formed diffusion-bonded metal matrix composites (MMC)

Navigation Systems: Herriman-Weston 5 / 480 flight computer

Armament:
Nose-mounted 25mm gatling gun
in the "Gargoyle" cupola
7x AGM-220C Hellhound missiles
(ait-to-ground)
3x AGM-204A TSAM
(Threat Suppression Attack Missile)
3x AIM-90E Headlock missiles (air-to-air)
32x 150mm Mk. 16 Banshee 70 rockets
12x 70mm Mk. 10 Zeus rockets
8x 120mm Mk. 88 SGW anti-tank missiles

Crew: Pilot and Weapons Officer

Passengers: up to 60

Cargo capacity: 103.6 cubic meters and payloads up to 16,000 kg

Consumables: Fire retardant, flares, raft, emergency rations, sleeping bags

Other systems: AN / ASC-155 with digital datalink

Year introduced: Entering into service at the end of the Tientsin conflict

Role(s): Tactical armed transport

Era(s): 2170s

Affiliation: Colonial Marines







The Drop Ship Sequence
By SFMZ Webmaster

When it comes to sci-fi film awe struck launches of any fictional and/or futuristic craft, James Cameron's Aliens drop ship sequence is one of the most exhilarating rides on the big screen. The sheer intensity and build up to the drop from the Sulaco is aptly showcased by Private Hudson's popular quote, "We're on a express elevator to hell, going down!"




Concept artist and legend Syd Mead was given the challenge to design the drop ship. Mead stated in an interview with AlienExperience.com, "I did a very complete design job for the DROP SHIP design; longitudinal section fitting the assault tractor into the hold, the articulation of the armament pods and the landing posture; tracks at the rear and skids at the front.

I liked it and I guess Cameroon liked it too, but my design was a casualty of the movie’s fast paced production. The drop ship was first built as a camera angle prop in the drop bay set, and then a model was made to link visually with the partial drop ship set piece. The assault tractor became a dressed 747 plane tow truck, ‘de-leaded’ and covered with appliqués."



Setting the Stage

These photos, made available online by Stephan at Flickr, show the miniature clouds along with effective lighting to create a realistic atmosphere. Light flash effects were added to the scene to give the appearance lightning was erupting underneath the clouds. You can click on any of the thumbnails below to see the larger images at Stefan's Flickr site.



Stefan/Flickr: Early test using Mark Roberts Motion Control rig and periscope lens with either a supafrost or a pro mist filter taped to front.



Stefan/Flickr: Test shoot (left image) for cloud backgrounds for drop ship re-entry. In the background is Mark Roberts' first motion control rig. Peter Tyler at the controls. Background plate (right image) about to be filmed for drop ship re-entry sequence. Clouds made of Fibrefill.



Stefan/Flickr: Drop Ship miniature for re-entry sequence in front of Motion Control Rig. I think this is a smaller model for wider shots, there was a larger one which had opening wings etc.. We are looking up, it is hanging upside down so that the wires are on the blind side of the lens. Apparently Derek Meddings sometimes used to shoot upside down in the Gerry Anderson days because the audience wouldn't be looking for the wires underneath. (Obviously Derek himself wasn't actually upside down)


UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship

The UD-4L Cheyenne Dropship is used to carry troops and provisions to other planets. The dropship has many variable weapons. They also carry the M577 Armoured Personnel Carriers. The UD-4L's main feature is it's ability to take off and land from unprepared sites.

In addition to its role as a transport, the Cheyenne can act as a gunship with its weapons pods and fixed point rockets, as well as using its internal cannon. All things considered, this is the ship of choice if you're getting into some heat.

The payload bay is a 9.5 l x 4.5 w x 2.4 h meter (102.6 m3) volume with a 3.92 meter wide deck ramp suspended from four dual-hydraulic assemblies.

The deck ramp can comfortable carry a fully-crewed M577 APC (with turret stowed) or a HALOS stores pallet, and is able to raise the cargo completely into the payload space from ground level. Within the bay, latches are automatically activated, extending to hold cargoes in place when the deck is raised.

A 20 cm cavity to either side of the payload bay separates the cargo volume from the outer skin and contains the main structural members, cable runs and the blower pipes from the forward turbines to the aft lift nozzles.

Aft of the payload bay, a step gantry can be lowered to the port side to allow crew access. Forward of the bay, a small volume accommodates three seats for passengers and additional crew. Click on the avp wikia link at the bottom for more details.







John R. Mullaney Aliens Dropship Print

A huge fan of Jim Cameron’s 1986 classic ‘Aliens’, John created this exhaustively detailed cross-section artwork by carefully studying art department artwork & blueprints and painstakingly pausing the DVD to achieve total accuracy to the design of the Colonial Marines’ Express Elevator to Hell. The result is a stunning homage to one of the finest pieces of sci-fi hardware in cinematic history. Click image to go to Mullaney's site for print details.




Click thumbnail for full view of Deviant Artist's drawing.



Excerpts and References:
wikipedia.org, Miniature Clouds Photos, Drop Ship Drawings, avp.wikia.com






Main

Alien Franchise

Predator Franchise

AVP Movies

Prometheus

A Cinema Timeline

A&P Forum Avatars

A&P Fanart



Site design by SFMZone. Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Viewing Requirements: 1280 resolution or above. | TOP^