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Book details
  • SubGenre:Film / Direction & Production
  • Language:English
  • Pages:148
  • Hardcover ISBN:9798350958768

The Rocket Factory

The Making of the Rocketeer's Helmet and Rocket Pack

by Michael Possert Jr.

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With over 300 photos and images, The Rocket Factory: The Making of The Rocketeer's Helmet and Rocket Pack explains all the numerous iterations, tests and prototypes that went into the making of the iconic helmet and rocket pack. Prop maker Michael Possert Jr. takes you behind the scenes with the fabricators and designers responsible for bringing the Rocketeer character to life.


In 1990, Disney filmed The Rocketeer, a movie from the comic book of the same name by Dave Stevens. A small crew from a modest company was tapped to make the Rocketeer's helmet and rocket pack on a very short deadline. The journey of those props, going from comic book design to the big screen, has never been explored. Shown for the first time is the fast-paced race to get the props finished, for director Joe Johnston, in time to shoot the movie.

About the author

Michael Possert Jr. has worked in the entertainment industry (film production, television, streaming, stop-motion animation, theme parks and music videos) for four decades working as a miniature fabricator for special and visual effects, a prop maker, art department crew leader, art direction and design. He is also known for restoration of movie props and miniatures including work on the Close Encounters of the Third Kind mothership, Terminator 2: Judgment Day stunt shotgun, Aliens dropship and, in 2019, the Prototype Four rocket pack pattern from The Rocketeer. Michael was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Central Michigan University with a major in film and dual minors in marketing and advertising. When not working in the entertainment industry, Michael spends his time on personal art projects, growing giant pumpkins and restoring historic homes and classic travel trailers. The Rocket Factory: The Making of The Rocketeer's Helmet and Rocket Pack is Michael's first book.

Book Reviews

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In-depth look at the crafting of an iconic movie prop Wow! What a fantastic behind the scenes view into what it takes to make these hero props that are essentially the star in the movie. I grew up a huge fan of The Rocketeer as a film and when I found out Mike was pivotal in the making of these awesome props I flipped my lid. Full disclosure I have had the great opportunity to work beside Mike on more recent projects and his talent and experience go hand in hand with his nature to nurture and lead. The Rocket Factory is a fabulously intimate look at the fabrication and design iteration process. The book is laid out very well with huge detail photos every step of the way. It's a fun look as well as a calculated road map to prop making! I suggest everyone that's ever been a fan or a bit curious about movie props to grab a copy and strap in for a jet fueled artistic journey! Also there are some timeless haircuts now immortalized within these pages. Cheers and have a great read! Read more
A must for Rocketeer fans and makers Never have I felt more like a book was made for me. My parents made a Rocketeer costume for me when I was a kid out of cardboard tubes, papier mache and leggs eggs and unknowingly set me on a path that ultimately led me to 3d printing, moldmaking and casting. This book offers a fascinating glimpse into the process of developing the props for the film including the various iterations leading up to the final design, insight into materials and processes used and fantastic behind the scenes photos. So much work and artistry goes into film props such as these and you typically don't ever get to hear about it and I'm so grateful for Michael Possert Jr. has put this together. Highly recommend! Read more
Memories of great times Mike has put together a passion project that will delight fans of the Rocketeer. I was a fan of Dave Steven’s graphic novel and excited when the project came to Design Setters. The Rocket Factory brings together all of our personal memories and those of key production members to share with the reader. Thanks for making this happen, Mike. Read more
The Rocket Factory If you are a fan of The Rocketeer, then this book is a must have! The author, who was part of the creative team to bring the iconic character to film, has done a fantastic job of documenting the process with never-before-made-public interviews and photographs that are simply amazing. It’s a high quality publication that needs to be in the collection of every fan. Read more
Excellent read! What a great book to have. With very little available in regards to the making of the Rocketeer, Michael put together a wonderful detailed book on the making of the helmet and pack. This is a must have for any fin head! Read more
THE ROCKET FACTORY The Making of the Rocketeer's Helmet and Rocket Pack I had the honor of working with this master class crew of wizard thing-makers at Design Setters when we were building the large "dry for wet" Deep Core for James Cameron's THE ABYSS. It was after that, I found myelf working in the model shop of Walt Disney Imagineering, a couple miles from the Design Setters shop. I dropped in one day for a social visit and found them working on these amazing props for THE ROCKETEER. This book is a captivating chronical of the hidden processes behind this production. I had enjoyed the Dave Stevens graphic novel, especially the way he gathered and incorporated details and characters from the early days of Hollywood and the Southern California aviation legacy so faithfully. So, I was already excited by the prospect of seeing The Rocketeer brought to the Silver Screen. Michael has done a masterful job of collecting documentation of the design and production evolution and sharing with us the processes employed by these master artists. He presents this story as a narrative that allows us to experience the challenges of the creative saga as well as the dynamic teamwork of some of the most talented and hilariously fun team members I've had the privelidge to work with. Though I had read one of the Dave Stevens' illustrated novels then seen the movie, I had been left with the impression that the designs for the helmet and jet pack were lifted straight out of Stevens' illustrations, so it was a surprize to see how the design evolved through iterations I never suspected. The beautifully finished props not only satesfied the aesthetic intent, but also had to accommodate the needs for "Hero" close up screen presense, and also serve the needs of the kinds of practical stunt work employed that today would be accomplished with CGI. I applaud Michael Possert, Jr. and his fellow artists and their achievements. This volume is a real treasure. Read more