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Making the sci-fi spaceships of youth a reality

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The Star Dweller 3D model
The Star Dweller 3D model

For the past two years Grant Louden has been building a 3D model of his favorite spaceship design — the Star Dweller, painted by Colin Hay for David Estes's pulp paperback novel The Star Dwellers. For decades Louden has been transfixed by the fascinating covers of 1970s sci-fi from the likes of Hay and Chris Foss. "I used to browse second-hand bookshops," he tells Sci-fi-o-rama, "not for the novels but their cover art."

"I used to browse second-hand bookshops, not for the novels but their cover art."

But it wasn't until recently that he decided to turn that fascination into art. Louden's stunning recreation of the Star Dweller is painstakingly detailed on his site, showcasing everything from early sketches, blueprints, and paper models to the final product. It was built using styrene plastic and steel wire, with modeling clay used for some of the smaller details. And Louden wasn't just inspired by those artists, he also reached out for permission to recreate their designs. In Hay's case, Louden even received advice and encouragement from the original artist. "He was invaluable when it came to building the unseen details of the ship," he says.

Louden is already at work on his second model, a recreation of a Tony Roberts ship design from Omni magazine.