Model, Spacecraft, Mother Ship, Movie, "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind"

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This is the model of the alien Mother Ship used in the filming of the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" (Columbia Pictures, 1977). The ship was conceived by Steven Spielberg, the film's director and screenwriter. It was made by a team headed by Gregory Jein, using model train parts and other kits. When filmed with special photographic and lighting effects, the model appears to be a huge, hovering craft. Rotating, colored lights underneath the ship added to its effects.
Looking closely at the model, one can find tiny hidden smaller models which are not seen when the Mother Ship appears in the film. These models were added by the model makers as internal "jokes." They include a Volkswagen bus, a submarine, the R2-D2 android, a U.S. mailbox, an aircraft, and a small cemetery plot.
Alternate Name
Mother Ship Model,
National Air and Space Museum
Restrictions & Rights
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Wood, plastic, and metal
Length, 63 inches; width, 38 inches; weight, shipping, 400 pounds; case: 74 x 74 inches
See more items in
National Air and Space Museum Collection
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA
Exhibit Station
Rockets & Missiles
Country of Origin
United States of America
Inventory Number