Bill Pearson's Online Portfolio Website
First Online:
December 25, 2014
Initial Production Time:
2 weeks
So, a little background on how this project came about. Bill Pearson was a British modelshop supervisor and model & prop maker working in the film & TV industry around the world for nearly fifty years. He unfortunately passed away in 2020. You can see his IMDB Entry here. He's also been a good friend of mine for some years now as his modelshop was next door to my workshop in Shepperton Film Studios. I would ask his advice on projects I was working on every so often probably starting in the late 2000s, and he'd give me modelmaking bits & pieces I'd need, and it progressed from there. Around the end of October 2014, he asked me to scan eight of his portfolio pages containing eighteen old 35mm photos and post them on the modelmaking forums for people there to see. They covered various models he made for films such as Dan Dare, Flash Gordon, Dr Who & Day Of The Triffids. I posted them, and that was that.
Alien (1979 © Bill Pearson)
Outland (1981 © Bill Pearson)
A few weeks later, I was helping Bill move from his old workshop in Shepperton Studios (I work just a few doors down from him), and I came across a biscuit tin full of old photos up on a shelf. I had a quick look and thought some of them looked interesting, so I asked if I could borrow the box and scan some of them, which I did, around hundred (roughly a quarter of them). Bill would never have the time to do this, so he was happy for someone else to get them out there, as they were just going to be boxed up and put into storage. A few days later I came across a second biscuit tin & A4 envelope both packed with photos, so I borrowed these and scanned another hundred or so (again roughly a quarter of the total). Then I found another pile a few days later, and another envelope a few days after that, and then I though I might as well scan his portfolios, so retrieved those from storage. I scanned a total of 438 loose photos and 147 portfolio pages, along with 12 transparency slides, and the majority of the images have never been seen before. I also got copied ten CD-Rs & DVD-Rs containing 1327 digital photos, along with 179 photos copied from Bills camera. They roughly cover a period from Alien in 1979 up to his latest projects for 2014/15. Around 2004, Bill started using a digital camera rather than 35mm SLR, so many of those digital photos have been copied over rather than scanned. The main list of films covered is as follows;
  • Blake's 7 (1978)
  • Alien (1979)
  • Dr Who (Undated)
  • Flash Gordon (1980)
  • Dan Dare (Undated)
  • Day Of The Triffids (1981)
  • Outland (1981)
  • Crash (1984)
  • Roy Chubby Brown's UFO (1993)
  • Space Precinct (1994)
  • Nostradamus (1994)
  • Bugs Series 2 (1996)
  • The Borrowers (1997)
  • Masterminds (1997)
  • Lost In Space (1998)
  • Red Dwarf Series 8 (1999)
  • The Astronaut's Wife (1999)
  • Wing Commander (1999)
  • Notting Hill (1999)
  • Battlefield Earth (2000)
  • The Parole Officer (2001)
  • Die Another Day (2002)
  • Thunderbirds Movie (2004)
  • Alien Vs Predator (2004)
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
  • Casino Royale (2006)
  • Moon (2009)
  • Jaime Oliver's Dubai Cooking Show (2009)
  • Prometheus (2012)
  • Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
  • Space Ark - Rough Model (2014)
  • The Man From UNCLE (2015)
  • Saurus (Never Made)
  • The Zone (Never Made)
  • Dog Star (Never Made)
  • Red Dwarf Christmas Special (Never Made)
  • Terry Gilliam's 1884 (Never Made)
There are also a good few odd and unidentified and/or undated photos as well. Every single loose photo available covering Alien, Dr Who, Flash Gordon, Outland, & Red Dwarf was scanned, everything else is a selection of the best photos that were there. Every single portfolio page was scanned too. The films people will probably be most interested in will be from his early days, but there are only a handful of those. This is simply because the photos he's kept from much earlier, only tend to be one or two of a finished model for use in a portfolio, rather than lots of photos taken during the making of each model. It's worth adding that some of the models & props depicted may have been partially or entirely made by others working with/for him, or even made by other people entirely, so I'm not crediting everything here to Bill, they're just Bill's photos.
Flash Gordon (1980 © Bill Pearson)
Space Precinct (1994 © Bill Pearson)
I assembled all the material into an Online Portfolio Website, creating the graphics, writing up the HTML from scratch in Notepad, and hosting it on my own webspace, so Bill could use it as a resource for work, interviews, fans & such. All the physical photos were scanned at 600dpi & saved as 90% quality JPEGs, any slides/negatives at 7200dpi, and digital photos copied 1:1 from the originals, so the quality is as good as it's going to get if anyone is using these as reference material. The source material quality really varied, taken with different cameras over the years, and some of the original photos were polaroids, some 3x5, 6x4, 5x7, and a handful larger. A number of the earliest photos look very red, having begun to fade. Also, a number of the images used in the second portfolio are ageing colour photocopies which have begun to degrade and leach, but some have held up better than others. I had access to just about everything that was available from Bill's workshop, which is the vast bulk of the material Bill has, along with some discs kept at home, so there probably isn't a whole load more stuff left to scan.

I cannot in all good conscious write this page, without saying that it will forever nag at me that I wasn't there for Bill in the last six months of his life, as I could have been. I'm sorry that I became one of a long list of people who gradually stopped taking his calls. There was no animosity, it was simply because it made my life more convenient at the time, and I wasn't the friend I should have been. I'm keeping the portfolio and all related downloads online, for fans to see off into the future.
If you're interested in any of my fanmade projects, you can contact me via email at , or through the Rob's Online Showcase Facebook page. Check out & 'like' that Facebook page to see the latest in-progress updates to any current projects, and check out my Wants List to see if you can assist me with any future projects or upgrades.
Web design, text & graphics © copyright 'Rob McLaine', all other images © copyright to their respective owners.