Andrew Ainsworth

Andrew Ainsworth arrives at the High Court of Justice on April 8, 2008 in London.[1]

Andrew Ainsworth is a British prop designer[2][3][4][1] who worked on the 1979 film Alien creating the prototype translucent Alien costume and various props.[5] He is perhaps best known for his work producing costumes for Star Wars (1977),[6] but has also worked on Superman (1978), Flash Gordon (1980) and Outland (1981).[5]



By July 3, 1978, Ainsworth was working on Alien with H. R. Giger's team.[7] When he began working on the film, the Alien costume was still planned to be translucent and Ainsworth began sorting out the problem of making the suit.[8] He was also to make the dome on the Alien's head in transparent PVC by a special process.[8]

Translucent Alien

A translucent Alien costume.[9]

Ainsworth produced numerous experimental translucent costumes, but, by August 3, 1978, he still had not found the ideal solution or produced anything useable; the material was not resistant enough and tore too easily. Ainsworth also built a special oven to make the translucent costumes in which the molds rotated at a constant speed, spreading the liquid rubber evenly.[8]

By August 12, much to the disappointment of Giger, Ainsworth had still not come up with satisfactory results. Additionally, the molds had been badly damaged by his experiments and "the great heat", and had to be "patched up" by the plasterers in meticulous detail, or possibly even remade. However, Ainsworth had determined that what the team wanted could only be done with metal molds, but they didn't have enough time to "make such things". Thus, they decided to give up making a translucent Alien and instead made the costume out of latex.[10]

In addition to his work on the Alien costume, Ainsworth worked on "spaceship props, control panels, hatches etc, monster, flying helmets, ammo boxes, facias, tracks, Auto Dock controls, clear domes, radiator panels, computer room corridor, moulded costumes" and supplied vacuum-formed "space panels" to Shepperton Studios, Bray Studios and E.M.I. Elstree Studios.[5]


  • The film Outland, for which Ainsworth worked on space suit helmets, space suit backpacks, back sets, boots and gloves,[5] has been noted to have a very similar design to Alien. In fact, parts of the space suits costumes used in Outland were later reused for the costumes of the salvagers who recover Ripley at the beginning of Alien's sequel, Aliens.


  1. 1.0 1.1
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3
  7. H. R. Giger. Giger's Alien, p. 60 (1979), Morpheus International.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 H. R. Giger. Giger's Alien, p. 62 (1979), Morpheus International.
  10. H. R. Giger. Giger's Alien, p. 66 (1979), Morpheus International.