Thursday, 13 May 2010

Top Five Craft - #5

While i'm sitting here not doing much, thought i'd set up another "TOP" and here we go with my favourite craft. Mebbe SF mebbe not.
Watch and see.
In at Number 5 is the Valley Forge from "Silent Running".
Setting aside any favoritism towards the film itself, its here because, with the noticble very important exception of "2001" in 1968, most spacecraft up until then were still adhering to the Fifties design ethos of smooth, featureless craft.
"2001" was a blip, putting up on screen very detailed, very belivable designs that didn't look a million miles away from what could be created with the current technology, given the funds.
As i say, a blip. You only have to take a look at the other big SF film made in 1968, "Planet Of The Apes", to see the spirit of Flash Gordon was still alive and well in designers hearts.
Until the Valley Forge, Sequoia and Berkshire flew along and suddenly we had a mass of pipework and girders not unlike an oil tanker in dimensions and practicality.
Everything about it looked practical and as if it had a purpose, with no thought to asthetics.
And the domes at the back were the topper - SO way ahead of the time and spooky how you've now got the real deal down in Cornwall.
All of which would earn its place here. But the modelwork makes it doubly so.
The 26 foot long miniature was constructed from metal, wood, plastic, "850 Japanese model kits of German tanks" (guessing that would be Tamiya), and thousands of custom resin-cast parts.
Construction took over eight months and involved over thirty people. The superstructure and fuel pods were inspired by the 1970 Osaka World's Fair Expo Tower. 2½" steel pipe was bolted together for the ship's basic armature and it was constructed in three sections on a rolling platform.
The two foot blow-molded acrylic domes were hand drilled and laced with three layers of copper wire.
Parts were attached to the model using a new glue that unfortunately aged and delimitated over a short time. Numerous parts fell off during shooting. The model took six months to build and was disassembled, after shooting, in about an hour and a half.
Most of the model fell apart over the years and very little is left of it today. Bill George was gifted one of the geodesic fuel pods by Greg Jein.


Andrew Glazebrook said...

Yay , the Valley Forge rules !!! It was in my top 10 movie spaceships here

Mangamax said...

Bah! Beat me to it!
But how many of yours will be in mine - and where will they rank? (BTW, had forgotten the, er, "buxom" ship from "Battle Beyond The Stars". Great ship and such a shame no-one's ever done a kit of it)

Spikeimar said...

And of course they ended up using the model as the Agro-ship in Galactica, even so far as to mocking up a studio interior (though with a terrible photo backdrop)