objects are what we do and they're all prototypes," explained
John, a fine art graduate who has run his own business in
Brentry for 15 years making everything from film and stage-sets
to one-off pieces for trade shows.
gallery: Click here to see the gondola taking shape
did building work for a while after graduating but I got sick
of standing around in the mud with a bad back so I got into
freelancing and set up my own workshop," he said.
2003 John's company Bad Dog Design made 60 objects
for films and television including the 20ft Bafta mask seen
on stage at the BBC television ceremony in April.
Davies of Cameron Balloons sewed the silver envelope of
the record-breaking orbiter
is also responsible for the arch visitors to The Priory (with
Jamie Theakston and Zoe Ball) came through, for a number of
Aqua Scutum's window displays and a rather unusual giant flower
commissioned for the Eden Project.
it (the flower) was taken down because the people at Eden
decided it looked too much like a fanny," grinned John.
Cameron commission threw up its own problems, not least that
had to make the model 10% smaller than the original in order
to fit it inside a crate for shipping to Germany for the exhibition,
we had made it exactly to scale, the cost of getting it there
would have been prohibitive."
gallery 2: Click here to see more of John's models
process is a mix of sheer hard work and precision engineering.
uses polystyrene blocks which he carves to scale.
has to be done carefully - we have to watch we don't take
too much polystyrene out in the sanding stages or the edges
wont fit and believe me 5mm can make all the difference."
cut the shape of the gondola cylinder using high resistance
wires which are like guitar strings that you pass a low volt
current through till they get hot.
the basic shape is completed it is coated it with fibreglass
and polyester resin then it is flattened using car body filler
and bits of wood.
coats the polystyrene model with fibreglass and polyester
is about finish - you do the thing with the finish in mind
and it's often the longest part of the process."
working on the commission for six weeks, the model is ready
for shipping to its new home - an exhibition space created
inside a converted gas cylinder in Oberhausen.
idea was conceived by Mr Dieter Borer of the Swiss Foreign
Ministry with the intent to show what can happen in Switzerland
other than mountains and chocolate," Wolfgang Voltz the
exhibition organiser explained in an email.
will get to see the model of the gondola for the first time
on 10 May when it arrives in a packing crate.
it no longer looks like this polystyrene alien thing and I
have to say I'm happy with the look," said John.
going to be hung under the spare envelope (made for the second
Brietling Orbiter attempt) which is 58m tall so the gondola
itself is going to be dwarfed."
the city in Bedminster, the spare
160 ft silver envelope from Breitling Orbiter 2 has been laid
out for checking before being sent to the exhibition.
Noble, Cameron's project director is enjoying the feeling
of deja vue seeing the envelope again.
never expected to see it back here again, it's very exciting,"
envelope from Breitling Orbiter 2 and John's model gondola
in situ in the exhibition
built Orbiter 3 in 1999 which made the first non-stop flight
around the world but the spare envelope which will be part
of the exhibition belongs to Orbiter 2.
converting it so it will be filled with pressurised air rather
than helium which is very expensive and it'll hang from the
top of the gas cylinder which is 110m high."
record-breaking real gondola is on display at the Smithsonian
in Washington in a hall full of aircraft firsts from the Wright
Brothers plane, Spirit of St Louis to the Fokker T-2 - the
first plane to fly coast to coast without refuelling.
Wolfgang Volz (the creative force behind the exhibition) asked
for a replica we got in touch with Bad Dog," said Alan.
"There's no pretense; it's not the real thing, but once
it's hung under the envelope it will look very realistic.
Hayles, Cameron's Gas Department Manager is equally excited
by the model project.
is a different scenario because the balloon was designed to
fly around the world using helium, so to be asked to suspend
it inside a building was quite a daunting task but I'm looking
forward to the challenge," he said.
all we like to rise to a challenge at Cameron's!"
exhibition runs from 27 May until 31 October 2004.