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Various Sci-Fi Spacecraft Subjects

There's more to science fiction modeling than subjects from Star Trek and Star Wars. While these are certainly the most popular, there's both some innovative designs and outstanding kits based on the wider body of sci-fi subject matter. At its core, sci-fi modeling is a creative endeavor, and there's nothing more creative than making your own design and scratchbuilding it. Subjects based on lesser pantheon sci-fi media subjects and those wholly creative projects define the bookends of what you'll find lurking on this directory page.

For more images of sci-fi spacecraft, check out our Readers' Gallery.

Battlestar Galactica | Yamato | Space:1999 | Alien/Aliens | Lost in Space | Various | Original Subjects |

Battlestar Galactica

[Griff's Pegasus build]

Battlestar Triton by Jeffrey Griffin

"There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians. Or the Toltecs. Or the Mayans. Some believe there may be brothers of man who even now fight to survive . . . somewhere beyond the heavens."

With these words the TV show "Battlestar Galactica" began, promising another episode full of fun, adventure, and a bit of cheesy drama. The series was one of the more successful Sci-Fi TV shows of the 70s, and despite the cardboard characters and linear plots, it was enjoyed by children and adults alike. Most of the episodes were full of fast-paced action, from fire-fights in the corridors of the character's base-ship Galactica and in the pitilessly-cold vacuum of space between the Colonial Viper starfighters and the Cylon's deadly Raiders , to plots revolving around such things as fires near the fuel cells and life-support failures. All in all it was a good show, but the centerpiece was clearly the huge, nautical-mile-long battlestar named Galactica.

Though the show was cancelled after one season, it could not die, and has been resurrected in the form of the (best forgotten) Galactica: 1980 series, which lasted a partial season, and 2003's re-imagined series from cable network SciFi, which lasted 4 seasons.

(thanks to Tyler Robbins for that intro).



Space Battleship Yamato

Not too fast in the water, but a DEMON in orbit!

Image: 1/700 Yamato by Phil Campbell

Probably one of most successful anime (Japanese animation) series of the '70s was Space Battleship Yamato, brought to the states and "kiddified" as "Starblazers". The central theme of the show was the Battleship Yamato, whose sunken wreck was secretly refitted as a space-battleship when Earth was under seige by the planet Gamillion.

Running down the axis of this resurrected juggernaut is a "wave motion gun", which acts as a kind of high-speed particle sandpaper beam. This weapon alone packs enough punch to take out a small moon with a single shot. Manned by Earth's best and brightest, the Yamato took off to save the Earth through at least six movies and three TV series.

Without question, spacecraft technology is one of the stars of the show. The series gave us tremendous space battles, fought by varied assortment of craft. Most of these made their way into kit form by Bandai.




The Hawk! Coooooool...

Image: Jim Small's MPC/Airfix Hawk

One of the shining lights in the 70's TV sci-fi desert was Gerry Anderson's Space:1999. Running for two seasons, this live action tale followed the adventures of the Moonbase Alpha crew as they tried to survive on a runaway Moon, blown out of Earth's orbit. While many of 1999's plots come off a bit campy by today's standards, its hardware - most notably the Eagles - still stand out as some of the better spacecraft designs to grace the small screen. Despite limited kit support for the program (three kits, not counting the "Alien" with space dune buggy....), there is still a thriving interest in the hobby around Space:1999's design.



Alien Series


Image: Greg Bachmann

Given the limited screen time of the hardware from Alien and Aliens, their enduring impact on the sci-fi community and sci-fi modelers says something of their innovative and attractive qualities. The original movie broke new ground with its huge refinery ship, the Nostromo. James Cameron offered a new vision in the sequel, giving us equally memorable vehicles like the USCM Dropship. While these ships haven't been a common subject for manufacturers, the kits are out there, with new and improved versions popping up on the garage kit market for time to time.



(see also vehicle reviews in the Robots & Vehicles section)

Lost in Space

{Micah's Jup2]

Image: Micah Roger's Jupiter 2

Irwin Allen, famous (or maybe infamous is a better word) for his sci-fi movies, turned to TV in 1964. His idea for a space adventure series called Lost in Space was pitched to CBS just one week before Gene Rodenberry pitched Star Trek. Allen 's proposal was accepted, and led to one of the decade's more successful - and campiest - shows. Immensely popular in the beginning, it faded over time as Allen concentrated more on outrageous plots involving the evil, effiminate Dr. Smith. A blatant appeal to boomer nostalgia resulted in the 1997 Lost in Space movie. It was faithful to the original spirit of the show, with state-of-the art FX, plenty of action, and plot holes you could fly a Space Derelict through with room to spare.

The TV show's spacecraft and vehicles were designed with an eye to what looked cool, and not what might actually work (a fact that led NASA to decline Allen's original invitation to advise the series). Until Polar Lights arrived on the scene in the late '90s, the only kits in existence were old (and expensive) Aurora offerings or equally expensive resin garage kits. ERTL also supported the movie with two surprisingly good kits of the Jupiter 2 and Robot.



Other Subjects

Gangly lil' thing

Image: John Lester.

There are so many vessels and vehicles appearing in so many TV shows, movies, books, games and comics it would be impossible to list all on one page. Garage kitters and major manufacturers alike have put out kits in ones and twos, from the Alien Attacker (ID4) to the Perry Rhodan Glador - and what kitmakers haven't issued, talented scratchbuilders have made for themselves. There's so much more to sci-fi than Star Trek and Star Wars - and here's some proof:



Original Sci-Fi Subjects

Top view of John's excellent ship

Image courtesy John Douglass.

One of the most treasured aspects of the sci-fi modeler's hobby is the free range the genre gives to the imagination. While many (if not most) models we build are kits of media sci-fi designs, or modifications of those kits, that's not all we can build. Unlike the strictly historical modeler, we can build whatever enters our fevered imaginations .... and quite a few people do.

Literally millions.


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