Monday, August 30, 2021

Battlestar Galactica Viper Mark l

1977 was a big year for me.  Two great films came out that year. Roger Moore in A Spy Who Loved Me with that crazy Lotus Esprit that turned into a submarine. And, of course, Star Wars. With the Death Star, Tie Fighters and Y wings, and the iconic X Wing fighter. 

Now, most Star Wars aficionados know that John Dykstra was in charge of the special effects and worked to develop the computer motion-controlled cameras that could repeat the same movements multiple times so the camera could make multiple passes with various mattes attached, allowing to replace the blue screen in the background and add multiple effects onto the screen.

This revolutionized the film industry. However, 1977 came and went, and back on Earth, TV executives were looking for something that could capitalize on the Science Fiction frenzy that happened the year before, and they turned to Glen Larson for something that would bring back that excitement. That would be Battlestar Galactica.

In 1978, the original Battlestar Galactica series introduced us to the Viper Mark I, commonly known as the Starhound Class. As the battle between the twelve Colonies and the Cylon Empire progressed, it was constructed somewhere in the 7th Millennium to replace the now obsolete 6th Millennium fighter known as the Scorpion Mark I.

These small, quick, single-pilot ships were stationed on Colonial Battlestars, each with a squadron of 75 ships, and were built for both atmospheric and space flight. It was first used in the military as a defensive counterattack against the Cylon Fleet not long before the First Cylon War.

Another version, the Recon Viper, sometimes known as the Starchaser, is seen during a mission with Starbuck and is used for recon.

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So, the Viper is typically a one-person fighter. However, there must have been a two-person version. In the pilot, there is a scene after the attack on the colonies. Adama is rummaging through the burnt wreckage of his home and the remains of his wife, Apollo, Athena, and Zak's mother.  

Apollo is stationed by the Viper as crowds began to descend on the ship, and Apollo urges Adama to hurry. Here, Adama issues the proclamation that people need to find transport, get off the colonies, and follow Galactica to Earth. 

Now the Viper design. Like the X Wing, Ralph McQuarrie also contributed designs for Larson's production company. 

Today we are taking a look at the Eaglemoss Hero Collection. 

The Viper squadrons were now stationed in launching bays onboard the Battlestars and launched into space on rails designed to keep the ships centered in port and starboard launching tubes.

The emphasis on mobility, which was critical to the Viper's success as a fighter, was similar to WW2 aircraft. However, the ship was now piloted with the pilot's right hand holding a joystick (you probably thought that was a gaming phrase).

The joystick now has a three-button fan-shaped handle. On the right, a green "IM" button, in the center, a "Turbo" button, and on the left, a "fire" button. Which is a natural position for your thumb to be in.

IM stood for reversing thruster, and the turbo provided that extra surge of power.

The three separate engines may now be easily enabled or deactivated. These controls allowed the pilot to take immediate evasive action if necessary.

The cockpit was, of course, hinged, and the pilots climbed in the same way rebel pilots got into their X-Wings as pilots do today in their jet fighters.

If you recall, the Viper pilot's helmet is trapezoid in shape and lacks a faceplate from the front, and resembles an Egyptian Pharaoh's headdress. I've always believed the lights on the helmet's rim were some kind of force field designed to keep the vacuum of space out if their cockpit's canopy was ever breached.

Now, unfortunately, the cockpit of this Eaglemoss Viper is devoid of any detail or a Viper Pilot figure.

Now looking at this model, I find the detail quite fantastic and not getting paid for that. 

Now, lengthwise it is exactly the same as the Viper Mark 2. Which is 10.75" or 27.3 cm and has a 6" or 15.24 cm  Wingspan. The tail raises to about 5" or 12.7 cm in height.  

Now, to scale, that would put the Viper to about 28 and 1/2 feet or 8.7 meters.

I'll leave a link in the description.

As a teenager, I loved to make plastic models from kits that you could buy from the store. Star Trek, Space 1999, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Star Wars X Wings and Tie Fighters, The Battlestar Galactica original version, and of course, the Viper. 

I would even make models from scratch, and sometimes I would kit-bash kits like crazy.  In one case, I took the front end of a Viper and the backend of an X-Wing with the wings modified.  Unfortunately, the only picture I have from the time is pretty degraded. But hey.

However, as an adult, you find that time is the most important commodity you can have, and building plastic models takes up quite a bit of time. 

So model kits like this from Eaglemoss are great for collectors like me who live busy lives and want something from our favorite Science Fiction films and TV shows to enjoy daily as part of our home displays. I am delighted so far with the hero collection from Eaglemoss.  I like the detail, except for the lack of cockpit detail, I like the size, and I like that this Viper is ready to display in seconds.  And I like the price.

Thanks for the view. And, watch this video right here for more Cosplay and Film prop fun.

Take care.

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