and below: The original model before restoration work began.
The original 44 inch Eagle
Transporter, designed by Brian Johnson for the Gerry Anderson
television series "Space 1999". This was the largest of the initial set
of four scales deemed necessary for special effects filming. Built
in 1973 by Space Models for a reportedly £3000, it was constructed
from brass, wood, perspex, and aluminium. This heavy duty model, weighing
in at nearly 35 pounds, was the principal effects model during the first
series of 24 episodes and was the first of a total of three 44" models
built. For the 2nd series the model was renovated, different detailing
was used inside the two central cages and extra pipework was added to the
rear engine section.
New detailed paintwork was added which
during the course of the series was gradually obliterated by resprays to
cover the repairs caused by the wear and tear of filming. During the last
half dozen episodes the special effects crew were mostly using a newer
(third) 44 inch model for most of the effect shots but this original eagle
still had to be used as it was the only model equipped to fire freon gas
through its main engines to simulate the rocket exhaust. After the show
ended the model was again repainted and put on display at an exhibition
in the seaside town of Blackpool, then in the early eighties it was acquired
by Gerry Anderson fan/collector and model maker Phil Rae who repainted
the red stripes back onto the passenger pod. Originally though, the red
stripes were actually only painted on one side of the pod, allowing the
model to represent the two styles depending on which side was photographed!
March 2002 the model moves to its new
home in Nottingham.....
looks to be in reasonable condition here, the model was severely damaged
and had been repainted since the series had ended. That, along with many
years of neglect, required that the model be completely restored.
Perspex (plexiglass) cladding on the shoulder pod removed exposing Jelutong
wood construction and the beginning of paint stripping, showing original
As a Space 1999 fan, owning an original
Eagle is a dream come true but the reality is that after 29 years the model
looked as if it had crash landed once too often and was in a bit of a mess.
The joints in the brass framework had come
apart in over fifty places, the spine wasn't properly connected or aligned
and almost split in two, the perspex cladding on the shoulder pods was
loose in several areas, the nosecone was cracked and misaligned and the
engine section was also twisted and broken.
The good news is that apart from a few
bits of brass pipe it was all there and nothing was missing.
Ideally I would have preferred to have
left the model as it was and not alter it in anyway as this could be seen
to be destroying its originality. However there comes a point when you
have to act and so to ensure that it will last another 29 years it was
obvious that I had to strip the model down and completely restore it.
The decision was made easier by the fact
that the model wasn't in 'filmed' condition. If it still had an original
studio paint finish then I would probably have made just a few simple repairs
with superglue - which seems to have been the case for the last 20 years!
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