Watching Skyfall it never even occured to me that they didn't blow up that Aston Martin DBS. Part of it is that the scene was so convincing I never questioned it, and part of it is that this is a big budget movie - they waste money like nobody's business. Why wouldn't they blow up a classic car?
But they didn't actually explode the car, so Aston Martin enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief. What they did was way, way cooler: they blew up a 3D printed scale model.
German company voxeljet printed up three scale models of the famous vehicle, and painstakingly painted them to look exactly like the real thing. And yes, you read that right: they printed up the car. 3D printing is one of the most science fictional technologies out there, a process where three dimensional solid objects are created by an additive process of putting together layer after layer of material. It's almost like magic. In a few years it'll be something we all have in our homes, and it will change the way we approach material goods.
In the meantime it's obviously changing the way movie models are made. The fact that movie models are made at all anymore is pretty exciting; that they're being done like this is even cooler. And the Aston Martins created by voxeljet were of especially high quality and detail.
"Propshop commissioned us to build three plastic models of the Aston Martin DB5. We could have easily printed the legendary sports car in one piece at a scale of 1:3 using our high-end VX4000 printer, which can build moulds and models in dimensions of up to eight cubic metres. But the British model builders were pursuing a different approach. To ensure that the Aston Martin was as true to detail as possible, and for the purpose of integrating numerous functions into the film models, they decided on an assembly consisting of a total of 18 individual components. The entire body is based on a steel frame, almost identical to how vehicles were assembled in the past," says voxeljet CEO Dr. Ingo Ederer.
Model making via 3D printing is not just faster than doing it by hand, it's more precise and can create more accurate replicas. On the one hand I'm sad that model makers - some of the most unsung heroes of the special effects industry - are being further marginalized, but at the same time I'm happy to see anything that's practical in nature.
Thanks to Phil Nobile for the link!