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Old February 21 2013, 12:03 AM   #31
Warped9
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

Potemkin_Prod wrote: View Post
Not much evidence of what I'd call "hard landed" either. Nice work though!
In the film they do land hard even though the ship remains upright albeit at a slight angle. Part of the ship does look imbedded in the lunar soil. To be more accurate I should have made it look like a bit of blast effect (from the descent engines) and disturbed soil from the impact. Even so in the film they still manage to lift off to return to Earth which I found a bit hard to credit.
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Old February 21 2013, 12:41 AM   #32
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

THanks for the explanation. Not sure I've ever seen the original film.
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Old February 21 2013, 02:48 AM   #33
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

The beginnings of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

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Old February 21 2013, 03:13 AM   #34
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

Sorry, it's Flash Gordon and not Buck Rogers.

...and thankfully no Twicky either.
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Old February 21 2013, 03:54 AM   #35
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

bidi bidi bidi.
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Old February 21 2013, 04:28 AM   #36
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

I love Twiki!

--Alex
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Old February 21 2013, 02:25 PM   #37
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

You know, when I look at the basic hull shape of this thing I'm reminded of some of the pre TOS designs done by Masao on his Starfleet Museum website. Take away the fins and the landing wheels and there's the basic shape for a 22nd century pre TOS ship variant in it. One of those "primitive" ships Spock could be referring to in "Balance Of Terror." That is if you ignore ENT...which I have from the beginning.

For those not familiar with the site.
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Old February 21 2013, 05:42 PM   #38
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Re: A parade of spaceships...



Even though Dr. Zarkov’s Rocket Ship is pure pulp sci-fi in terms of design there are some interesting things about. The full-size exterior mock-up of the ship itself predates the Flash Gordon serials, but still it was a full-size exterior. Of course we also get to see a “flying” filming miniature and the two exteriors are not exactly the same it appears (much like the differences in the full-size and miniature filming models of the TOS shuttlecraft). The flying miniature rocketship appears not to have the rivet detail that is apparent on full-size exterior, notably around the access hatch and where the winglets fasten to the fuselage. The original design (seen in the screencaps) did not have the ray cannon affixed to the bow (it was added later in the serials), but it is included in the reference drawings I’m working from and so I’m including it also. The one real detail I’m uncertain about is how the forward wheel housings are attached to the fuselage and details for the wheels as well---those details are lacking in the reference drawings. I don’t know if I’m that keen on studying hours of serial footage just to get a better understanding of tthat detail.

The interior set we see is not actually the interior of the full-size exterior. As I understand it two interior sets were made originally although I don’t recall having seen the aft compartment myself. Still it’s interesting the contours of the interior don’t match the exterior as if the designers or producers thought well enough to account for the ship’s mechanicals and hence less interior space than one might have expected. Certainly the interior is interesting in the fact that there is only one seat available (for the pilot) when the craft is supposed to be able to hold more than one person. Anyone else besides the pilot has to make do with hand-holds while standing.

Another interesting aspect is that the ship is actually more like a rocket plane than the traditional upright missile style design. It takes off and lands more like an aircraft, but with apparently very little take-off area required. Although it’s called a rocket ship we also hear it is propelled by a “gravity neutralizer” which is mentioned more prominently in regard to landing the ship. If we accept this as some form of anti-gravity system then the short take-offs and landings as well as the rather small and stubby wing/stabilzers make more sense. Originally the numerous tubes surrounding the middle of the fuselage were intended as the rockets, but later in the serials the four aft facing exhaust ports (or what look like such) are also used as rockets. Interesting, too, that when the ships of Flash Gordon were shown in flight they were accompanied by an electrical like sparking and humming sound f/x rather than the roar of a rocket engine, which, unlike today, would likely have been a very uncommon and unfamiliar sound to most in the 1930s.

The ship doesn’t have an actual airlock (much like a lot of sci-fi designs including the TOS shuttlecraft), but rather has a simple access hatch. Unlike in Star Trek and othe SF films, though, in Flash Gordon they thought nothing of opening this door while in flight in space, something they knew better not to do or even suggest on Star Trek and other film and television SF.


As dated as it might look to contemporary eyes I must admit, much alike the TOS shuttlecraft, it would be a blast to have a full-size mock-up on hand to display and goof around with.
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Old February 21 2013, 05:53 PM   #39
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

Nice! The ship and series that inspired Captain Proton on VOY. (Although knowing your opinions, I'm not sure if you ever watched those episodes.)
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Old February 21 2013, 06:06 PM   #40
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

B.J. wrote: View Post
Nice! The ship and series that inspired Captain Proton on VOY. (Although knowing your opinions, I'm not sure if you ever watched those episodes.)
I've seen bits and pieces of them.
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Old February 22 2013, 12:33 AM   #41
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

Okay, this project is being temporarily suspended because it's dawned on me that the reference illustrations I'm working off of are not looking the way the should. What I mean is that shapes and proportions on the drawings are not consistent with screencaps of the actual fullsize or miniature filming models. It's possible the conical tail section isn't quite as long as it should be and the large tailfines are not the right shape. Screencap images make it look very much like the tailfins do not have the angle shown in the reference drawings and that they should be closer to parallel with the ships longitudinal centreline. The ship also looks to sit a bit closer to the ground (when landed) then it appears in the drawings. Also the ray cannon in the drawings is lacking detail that is clearly evident onscreen.

What this means is that I'm going to get a good side elevation image of the onscreen models and make some quick drawings off of those and compare them with the present reference drawings. Until that's done I'm suspending taking this model further.
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Okay, that didn't take too long. And my problems are relatively easy to fix. The reference drawings from The Spaceship Handbook are indeed off. The tail section aft of the midship collar of rocket tubes should be about 18.2 percent longer---easy enough to fix by stretching the tail section out. Also, as I suspected, the tailfins are more raked in angle than shown on TSH drawings. The outside edge isn't quite parallel to the ship's centreline, but it's close. And finally from what I can discern the landing wheels are indeed mounted a bit higher on the craft to allow it to sit closer to the ground when landed.

We can now proceed with our regularly scheduled program...
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Old February 23 2013, 02:33 AM   #42
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

Corrections made and now it's beginning to take shape.

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Old February 23 2013, 08:34 AM   #43
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

You're progressing nicely with your Sketchup skills. How did you make the curved surface of the fins?
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Old February 23 2013, 11:44 AM   #44
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

^^ First I created the outline of the fins. Then I created the shape of the edge and used the Follow Me tool to extrude along the outline. You then have to use the Intersect tool to merge some of the conflicting surfaces after the extrusion. After intersecting you cut away the excess, connect the furthest points to each other to complete the sides then finally soften the lines to get a smooth surface.
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Old February 23 2013, 03:16 PM   #45
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Re: A parade of spaceships...

Here I've scaled a side elevation of the ship from the book reference drawings alongside a screencap of the ship from the original film. I've scaled the drawing as close as I can to mirror the image of the ship from the photo. It isn't prefect, but it's more than enough to show that the reference drawing is definitely off. The most notable inconsistency is the length of the aft section---it's clearly far too short in the drawing. You can also see the fins are also more steeply raked on the model. Finally the shape of the forward section doesn't see quite the same as the drawings.



I certainly am curious to know what references were used to create the drawing. If he was working straight from screencaps alone it's still hard to see how he could have missed this. If by some chance he was working from archival materiel (such as original drawings) then perhaps the original design was meant to be shorter and the actual mock-up was made larger.

I would really like to see a really good large image of the ship in profile, assuming there is one somewhere amongst all the Flash Gordon serial footage. There isn't any such image in the original film.
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