abandoned refuge (not CGI)
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Abandoned Refuge
...form and function are constantly revealed through decay.
This is a ~1/32 model-diorama of the famous AT-AT Starwars vehicle. The concept dictated that the refuge looks twice abandoned.... First abandoned by the Empire and then by the local primitives.
After winning an online contest at starshipmodeler.com the model was featured over at Gizmodo.com and has hence been sold to a private collector in Texas (took 2 days just to pack it!).
The AT-AT model is a heavily modified ATATRON kit. The ATATRON kit is a garage kit which is not commercially available.  I managed to get hold of one because I was commissioned to put some finishing touches on the prototype model and to make the molds for it, so later I was given one of the castings as a “bonus gift”. However the ATATRON I got was one containing mostly reject cast pieces. So Instead of repairing the reject/miscasts I decided to use those imperfections in my favor.
Directing the pose.  I made the head posable using a bike chain derailer for a neck. I also ran a steel rod through the front leg, to keep the resin from bending with time. I intentionally made more "miscast" parts and there was also a whole lot of dremeling to make the model look even more derelict. The voids and crevices were filled with various found objects.
Weathering in progress. That's the inside of a broken radio in there... with lots of dirt and paint on it!  
              The brick ruins being sculpted out of balsa foam, on the top left.  The final result, botom left and right.
With a few extra modifications and heavy weathering I finally put together a battle damaged and abandoned AT-AT. To give more depth to the scene I added another layer of time by building a primitive refuge that utilized the already abandoned AT-AT. To make things even more layered I made the newer refuge abandoned as well.   It didn't bother me that the more primitive inhabitants of this later refuge would make the decision to build a refuge in and under a battle damaged AT-AT. The impractical things that are simply there because they look cool. One of those sinfully cool things in the Star Wars universe is the AT-AT it self which of course is arguably the most important component of the best SFX scene ever made.
The defense station/refuge could have been abandoned for many reasons but  most likely because the AT-AT had been deemed to unstable/unsafe after sustaining more damage from attacks and from natural corrosion of both the AT-AT and the ground on which it still barely stands on. I had the primitives building wooden support structures which would aid in the prolonged standing of the wrecked AT-AT. 
The stone structure on the ground was carved out of balsa-foam, then sealed with shellac and then painted and weathered with acrylics.
The added wood work on the AT-AT is of course made with natural tree branches and tied together with weathered string. And... nothing says real rock, like... real rock, so the rocks (and dirt) in the diorama are all real as well. The biggest rock that sits on the edge of the diorama was sanded flat where it meets the flat vertical side of the diorama base in order to give the sectioned cut of the terrain a more credible look.
Since the beginning of construction I wanted the AT-AT to stand only on 2.5 legs which was also a great excuse to put in the primitive refuge wood work for added support (I don't want the model actually collapsing on me). But even with the wood work, the front leg is still only half there, so I though it wise to insert a steel skeleton in that damaged front leg assembly to keep the plastic from bending and buckling over time.
Maybe the reason there was so much hoopla about this model, was because people just want the Starwars mythology to be left to age gracefully.  Or maybe they just want another sequel.
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"Inspired-by" ART:
Painting by Oliver Wetter http://fav.me/d7h2jej
 Cover of a mock magazine by Nick Symeou
             Background by Jake Rowell.  http://bit.ly/1euzmDI
abandoned refuge (not CGI)

abandoned refuge (not CGI)

A 1/32 scale Sci-fi diorama from a place far far away... a long long time ago.
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