1/10 Scale Discovery One Prop Replica
The Discovery ship prop used in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick sci-fi movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” is said to have been 54 feet long. This is a precise replica at 1/10 scale. Diagrams and other research by Adam Johnson, author of “2001: The Lost Science,” were used to recreate the entire ship in 3D-CAD. Adam Johnson’s research was also used in analyzing the port side of the Discovery ship, which was never shown on camera, to infer what the hidden side would look like. The length of the original movie prop was intended to be 57 feet. However, it is said that upon construction the size was rescaled to 54 feet due to factors that arose during filming. There remains much debate as to which was the actual size of the prop that was used. The length that the Discovery would have actually been also ranges from 100 meters to 150 meters. For this project, the most commonly recognized 54-foot scale has been used.
Katsuya Nishisaka – Director of Production
Unlike other replica projects where there is an original prototype that can be used as reference, the props from “2001: A Space Odyssey” were destroyed post production. To overcome the challenge of finding accurate reference material, Katsuya Nishisaka spent many years on in-depth research. Due to the fact that the port side of the ship is obscured in the movie scenes, much of the detail from this side is based on conjecture. However, in the pursuit of making it as accurate as possible, uncountable conversations with other researchers from across the globe, advice from Adam Johnson, author of “2001: The Lost Science,” as well as acquiring high-quality metal photographs from Piers Bizony, the author of “The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey,” were relied on to create the most accurate reproduction possible.
All of Studio Ren’s personnel, with additional assistance from sculpting master Yasuyuki Kobayashi and a number of college interns, spent over a year exclusively on this project.
With the advice of Nishizaka, this collective of passionate creators proceeded with the single goal: creating the highest quality Discovery replica to date. It was more than eight months into the project before that goal was finally in sight.
Yasuyuki Kobayashi – Prototype and Development The curved lines of the Discovery are where Kobayashi’s expertise shone. It was through the directions of Kobayashi on the challenging curved lines of the parabolic antenna and heat dissipation fins that brought everything together.
Adam Johnson – Advisor Researcher and author of “2001: The Lost Science,” Adam Johnson’s advice brought true authenticity to the project. His advice and inspections throughout the production process enabled the highest level of accuracy to be achieved in the final version of the Discovery.
Piers Bizony – Advisor As a science journalist, space historian and author of “2001: Filming the Future,” his authoritative insights and research were invaluable.
The effective use of 3D printing, handmade drawings, and assembly capture the soul of the original prop.
Characteristics of the 54-foot Prop
The Command Module
Within the 11-meter sphere is the cockpit, the EVA (extravehicular activity) pod 3 hangars, the artificial gravity-generating residential quarters, and the HAL 9000 computer Brain Room, which is responsible for all navigation. The original prop is a 6-foot (1.8 meter) sphere, and the body is made of wood and fiberglass. In addition, thin metal plates, acrylic plates, and paper strips were used, and the color of the paint was delicately applied to bring out the most detail.
A total of eleven containers for storing supplies line the length of the ship, connected to the spine with couplers. Five different sizes and a total of sixty containers line the spine of the ship. Each container is unique; each container has eight sides, five of which are also unique. The prop containers were made from wood. The exteriors were covered in acrylic panels, and model kit components were used to create the details. The couplers of the prop were molded from aluminum.
The Nuclear Engines
Heat from nuclear reaction was used to heat liquid hydrogen and create propulsion from the rocket engines. The concept was based on actual research that took place during the Cold War, though it was never fully developed. The prop rocket modules spanned more than four meters. There is a single photo that still exists of the production of the actual prop. The details of the piping, heat dissipation fins, and fuel tanks were created using plastic model parts made by Airfix, Renwal, and Faller models.
The Antenna Array
A large parabolic antenna was used for communications with Earth. In the movie, HAL 9000 uses the malfunction of this antenna to draw the crew outside the ship in an attempt to eliminate them. There is no existing material left detailing the construction method of the original prop. Images from the movie were used to recreate the details of the antenna.
The handmade production of the Discovery by a collective of top-class modelers.
The goal was to make a top-tier collector item that recreated the atmosphere of the original prop.
The production staff appoints world-renowned modeler Bome.
In order to create the best quality product, I worked first to identify the problems and issues involved with the production of a hand-made model. Some overseas manufacturers have already adopted the method of directly processing and painting 3D finished printed products, but this is the first experience for Kaiyodo. I was concerned about how it would turn out at first, but once I proceeded with the work, I came to realize that it was not so different from resin cast. On top of that, it was an easy-to-process material, so there are very few differences between each finished model. 3D printing is a reliable process that is already being used in Hollywood productions, and it is easy to see why. Since everything is painted in white with the exception of the command module, I added thin layers of inking and shadows so the model would not look monotonous.
Each Discovery model is made with the soul of world-class modelers.
Handmade under the full supervision of
Although Japan has produced and sold handmade miniatures in the past, I can say that the Discovery could be an epoch-maker of a handmade product which we’ve worked on with all our efforts, and I decided that I wanted to work with a production staff made up of accomplished members. It is a great honor for me to be able to lead the initiative. In order to organize a production team of top-class Japanese modelers, I assembled members who have made names for themselves doing work in industry magazines, and popular modeling artists from Wonder Festival. As the models are created with the soul of world-class modelers, I can vow that each and every Discovery model is even more breathtaking than the prototype model.
Display this ultimate masterpiece in the best way.
The original nameplate with photo-etching. The base is made of high-quality acrylic.
The luxury acrylic stand.
LED light glows in the cockpit.
It has been my dream for many years to make a Discovery replica product. Unfortunately, due to licensing it was never possible. That all changed this year when the Discovery license was due for renewal, and we received the go-ahead. My first involvement in the Discovery was 40 years ago, and started with an unofficial production of the Discovery by a young modeler working with Kaiyodo at the time, my associate, Katsuya Nishizaka. It was a scratch-build with the command module built using a ping-pong ball. After watching “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the theater as a boy, Nishizaka was so impacted that he spent many years trying to understand it better. What did the port side of the Discovery look like, and what was the order pattern of the containers? Questions like these consumed him. He sought out other researchers from around the world, never losing interest. It was seeing his dedication that made me decide to one day make an impeccable recreation of the Discovery that would do him justice. 40 years later, when the news came that the license was available, he called me right away. Unbeknownst to me, Nishizaka had a huge collection of hand-drawn sketches based on his research. (I was a little disturbed by his level of obsession.) However, after long last his hard work has finally paid off. What we have achieved with this Discovery project is truly noteworthy, in my humble opinion. From start to finish, no stone was left unturned. In the final stages many discussions took place with Adam Johnson, with several of his insights incorporated into what we believe is a truly remarkable 54-foot Discovery prop replica.
Master Production: BOME
Handmade Production: Masanobu Oka
Made in Japan
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1/10 Scale Discovery One Prop Replica
[160cm (about 5’3″) long, comes pre-painted and pre-assembled
with luxury acrylic stand and original photo-etched nameplate, ready for display]
Exclusively at for customers in the U.S.2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and all related characters and elements © & ™ Turner Entertainment Co. (s19)
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