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Adam Savage is probably having more fun with Starfield than you are

The Tested team’s miniature starship is a master class in old-school model-making

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A scale model of the Constellation Frontier starship from Starfield, as designed and built by Adam Savage and the crew at Tested. It’s about two feet long, and sitting backlit on a workbench. It’s immaculately filthy. Image: Adam Savage’s Tested via YouTube
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Perhaps you had lost track of Mythbusters co-star Adam Savage since the show wound down in 2018. Well you’re in luck, because he’s been spreading the joy of art, design, and engineering on YouTube via his channel, Adam Savage’s Tested, for some time now. Would you believe one of the best series of videos that he’s put out in ages features none other than the role-playing game du jour, Bethesda Game Studio’s Starfield?

Before his time on the Discovery Channel, Savage worked for Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) as a model-maker on films like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. As such, he’s been regularly dropping incredible video bangers online, including my favorite so far — a master class on turning sheets of plain white styrene into a chunk of Star Destroyer.

For Starfield, however, he’s going whole hog. Working from the original 3D renders used to make the game, he and his team have 3D printed the Constellation starship Frontier in all of its glory. Over the course of four nearly hour-long videos, he goes into painstaking detail on everything from how the ship is mounted for motion capture, to the intricacies of its wiring diagram, to how to build up the kind of beautiful patina you can only get by entering and exiting a terrestrial atmosphere a few dozen times. The videos are a delight — especially if you’ve recently taken to painting miniatures for your tabletop games.

But the best part of it all is that Savage is clearly having the time of his life. In doing so, he’s also pointing out a few tricks of the trade that I’ve never heard of before. So far he’s encouraged me to grab a can of 3M Super 77 industrial adhesive for my next tank build (to create believable texture on the cast iron chassis), and I’m planning my first trip to Sally Beauty Supply for a fancy set of Tweezerman tweezers. I also have a sudden thirst for an elaborate table vice, but I’m not quite sure what I’d do with one.

There are four videos currently on the Tested channel for the Starfield build, with at least one more on the way. Once you’re finished with those, you might want to move on to his recent visit with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s arms and armor conservators to go through their junk drawer. If that’s not your bag, then maybe you just want to learn how to make your own screen accurate Blade Runner police ID card. Either way, your recommendation algorithm will never be the same.

You’re welcome.

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