Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jet and Gerry

In a small and recent series of strange coincidences, the delivery of some of my old toys to the Monkeyhouse has led me to posting these images of a model I once had.

This is labelled simply "Command Module" and is, to my recollection, the last remnant of a larger model I once had - one of the first I made myself (including decals and painting, mind!), aside from the odd ham-fisted collaborative attempt on fighter planes with my brother, and some snap-together Star Trek models (Enterprise, Klingon Warbird, Vulcan... thing) I also had and am only now remembering I gave away, along with a small Wrath of Khan poster, to a Trek-loving friend. No loss to me at the time, but still. Oh, and now I'm remembering that I also had an Apollo 11 lunar module in 1:100 scale, complete with astronauts and Moon surface. I wonder what became of that...?

I digress. I was all ready to post this with the request that if any readers knew what it was and who made it, could drop me a line; only, in a last-minute Googling I found the answer - it's a Martin Bower-designed Gerry Anderson model. See how the pilot, loose from his chair seems to show his scorn for my poor memory in time-honoured style:

In fact, its proper name is Starcruiser1, as detailed further here, and as seen on the box below:

And yes, I did have the rest of the model, though I'm guessing it got lost, snapped off through months of use and positioning around a steadily cluttering late childhood room (I'd have been maybe ten when I bought it?)
I wasn't what you'd call a Gerry Anderson fan, though I did watch my share of Stingray and Thunderbirds, and even a bit of Captain Scarlet as a student,catching up on some furtive childhood viewing. It was bleak stuff, and like UFO perhaps a little beyond my usual viewing tastes (I also found Blake's 7 similarly moribund). But Gerry's works definitely sunk in, becoming part of the background noise of my teen geekdom that, maybe Doctor Who did for others. And so the news that Gerry Anderson died today still saddens me. Supermarionation aside, the model work in his later series was never anything less than excellent for it production values, and I think that Anderson deserves to be placed alongside Ray Harryhausen as a master of bringing the world in miniature alive on our screens.  His shows were fun, moralistic, and for the most part optimistic ventures, and his heroes were not hard to cheer on at all. I feel we may not see much of their like now in a more 'three-dimensional' age of storytelling and programming.

Rest in Peace, sir.

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