Friday, 11 January 2019

U.S. Marshals 1998

This film has one of the best miniature plane crash sequences ever committed to celluloid with the miniature effects supervised by Peter Donen.

Three 1/6 scale Boeing 727 200 aircraft miniatures were built by Grant McCune design, the chief model maker was Montgomery Shook. One of the planes was used for the flying and landing shots, one was rigged for the shearing off of the wing and the other was built for the tail breaking off and then rolling down the embankment into the river series of shots.

The modeled results of explosive decompression.

Left; the Flying and landing model, right; the tail destruction and rolling into the river model.

Wings with extended flaps for the landing shots plus an access panel of windows to get to the interior electronics.

Rigging the wing shearing model.

Nose wheel of the landing model.

The aircraft in the film has to make an emergency landing on a public road which is lined with power poles. A 1/6th scale miniature road set was built by WKR Productions. A concrete road surface 1200 feet long (366m) with a central groove housing a cable actuated towing track was built outdoors. It was lined with California small leaf pepper plants to represent full size trees.

The cable was an endless loop powered by a 100 horsepower motor capable of towing the miniature up to 60 mph (90kph). Generally it ran at around 25mph (40 kph), the velocity required for the high speed shooting.


Miniature 1/6th figure visible through hole in fuselage.

Source: U.S. Marshals DVD special features.

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