Thursday, 25 October 2007

Wish List - Scorpio

There has yet to be a model or toy of the Scorpio from season 4 of Blake's 7. This would be top of my wish list for a nice small replica.The model was built at the BBC in the early 80's by, amongst others, Ron Thornton of Foundation Imaging fame. After working at the Beeb Ron went on to pioneer computer generated spaceships in Babylon 5 and Star Trek Voyager.

The detailed model suffered from some rushed lighting & camera work, poor compositing and very grainy footage. I'm sure if these models were placed side by side with feature film models of the same time they would compare quite favourably

The prop only last for one season, its brief on-screen career was ended when it crashed into the forests of Guada Prime. There are one or two scratch builds around the world but if anyone has made a small replica I am not aware of it.

UPDATE
As Glazy points out Titan Find are working on a model of the Scorpio.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Serenity

Firefly was the short-lived classic TV series created by the talent-force that is Joss Whedon. The series spawned a well received feature film, Serenity, named after lead character Mal Reynolds’ ship. I always pictured the series as being ‘The Adventures of Han Solo’ and Serenity was defiantly in the mould of the Millennium Falcon. The design echoes its insect origins and makes nice use of multi-levels, something you don’t often see in a smaller ship.

This ship comes from Dark Horse, best known for their comics output. This is what they have to say:

Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, made his big-screen writing/directing debut with this sci-fi epic, continuing the story begun in his fan-favourite TV series, Firefly. Fans of the cult-hit TV series and the major motion picture, now available on DVD, will love this ornament featuring the rogue ship Serenity.
Hang or stand for display! Comes with base (shown) or hanger.


Publication Date: Aug 16, 2006
Format: 6" long x 3 1/2" wide, full colour ornament

The model has a nice weight to it and sits well on its stand. There is an option to hang it instead but I would not recommend doing this from your car mirror – it’s just too big! I would imagine this is why they’ve called it an ornament; perhaps you might consider hanging it over your desk or from your Christmas tree. Personally I think it looks fine on its stand.

The level of detail is fine, noting exceptional, but it seems fairly accurate. The biggest disappointment is the absence of the Serenity name from the side of the hull, something prominently seen in the movie. This is a shame and lets down what is otherwise a very nice piece.

Also available is an ‘in disguise’ version which depicts Serenity’s flight through Reaver territory disguised as a Reaver vessel. It’s not pretty, it’s not meant to be either. I’m undecided if I want to shell out for this one, I think I’m happy with the standard version.

Also available soon are these two ships, the first is Inara's Shuttle:The second is a reaver ship



You can read another review here

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Battlestar replicas

These great replicas come from two different manufacturers and from two very different versions of the same show. I've always been a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica ever since I saw it as a kid at the cinema here in the UK, (they re-edited the TV movie pilot episode for theatrical release.) The Galactica has always been a great ship, very much in the wake of the phenomenon of Star Wars but still original and distinctive. The original ships are from Japanese manufacturer Konami and are made of plastic. The level of detail on these models is exceptional and far superior to the die-cast Hasbro titanium ships. Konami released 3 Battlestars, Galactica, Pegasus and Atlantia. My mate Glazy managed to get me these from Forbidden Planet in Middlesbrough, at the time I only wanted the Pegasus and Galactica and didn't pick up the Atlantia even though Glazy had managed to reserve me one. Whenever I've denied the little voice inside me shouting 'buy it' I always end up regretting it later. I don't plan on ever selling any of these but they have increased in price quite considerably, enough to push any Atlantias out of my price range.

All of these ships are about 4 inches long. The new Galactica from Hasbro had its stand hole positioned too far back, it meant that the front dipped down when displayed making it look like it was heading into a nose-dive. This picture shows how it should appear with the stand set back, in reality my ship was never this level so I decided to do some alterations!
Using the two screws on the underside I opened up the model. I carefully drilled a new hole closer to the middle of the ship. I then used the plastic housing from the original hole and slotted that into the new hole. You can see the new hole in this picture below, its close to the lettering. The original hole can be see towards the back of the ship, close to the rear screw. Its not the most pretty of modifications but it does the job very well. My Battlestar now flys in a straight line!

It's interesting to have these four displayed together and compare their designs and detailing. The Konami wins hands down for detail but the Hasbro models are die-cast and have more weight to them. Overall the level of detail and finish is good on the Hasbros too but its only when I got close in with my camera set to macro that I could appreciate just how much detail is on the Konami models. I wonder how much of the detail comes down to the source material? Obviously the original series used large practical models with massive detailing built up from kit parts. The new series relies on CG models which may or may not have as much detail as the classic series, my instinct say they probably don't.
I always love a good sister-ship! Design variants within a fleet are always enjoyable and the Pegasus is no exception. Its not my favourite design to be honest, its a bit too clunky and symmetrical for my liking but its fun to see the two ships together.
Read a review of Hasbro's BSG replicas here.

Welcome

Hello fellow closet toy spaceship fans. I've set up this blog to comment on some of my growing collection of toy & replica space ships. It's something I've enjoyed collecting for almost 13 years now and I have amassed quite a large collection. alas most of them live in my loft, out of sight due to a lack of space, a growing family and a demanding business. I felt that putting some of this stuff on a blog, and eventually a website, would help rem ind me of whats hiding upstairs.