Saturday, July 10, 2010

Space: 1970's Top Models

I spent an awful lot of time in the 70s building model kits of spaceships. I know for a fact that I had the Star Trek Enterprise (although I could never get the nacelle pylons to stay up), Klingon Battlecruiser, 2001 PAN-AM space plane, Star Wars Millennium Falcon, X-Wing and Darth Vader's TIE Fighter kits, the Space: 1999 Eagle and Hawk, the Buck Rogers Starfighter and Draconian Fighter, a couple of Message From Space kits, and the Battlestar Galactica, Viper, Cylon Raider and Cylon Basestar.

About half of these models ended up getting destroyed through overenthusiastic play or adolescent bouts of random destructiveness (I remember I blew up my Millennium Falcon with firecrackers for no good reason that I can recall, much to my later regret), but I'm pretty sure that a bunch of them are stored somewhere in a box in my parents' basement. One of these days, I'm going to have to go and try and find them so I can post photos of my built-up kits here on the site.

By the time the Galactica kits came around, I was pretty good at assembling the models, but I was still horrible at painting them, and those wet-transfer decals were the bane of my existence. Since they would invariably tear when I tried applying them, I decided to try and make the damaged decals work for the kit, and would try to disguise them as battle damage. This illusion was enhanced (I thought) by taking a cigarette lighter and lightly scorching the plastic of the models to suggest laser burns. It actually worked pretty well, except when I would get overzealous and accidentally set the plastic on fire, creating nasty plumes of toxic styrene smoke.

I think the Monogram Battlestar Galactica kits were my favorites. I just loved the designs (and still do), and those particular models came out pretty decent. Sure the Galactica model was sadly under-detailed, but I really enjoyed pitting it against the Basestar in a battle of dreadnauts.

The ones I really wish I still had, though, are the MPC 1999 Eagle and Hawk. I absolutely adore those ships. Someday maybe I'll track down those kits again when I can afford them.....


  1. (although I could never get the nacelle pylons to stay up)

    LOL! You weren't the only one, Chris!

  2. I found a bunch of my models this evening. I'll dust 'em off get photos up here soon.

  3. I had a BSG model that I'd primed but never did get painted or assembled. I'd planned to just smother that thing in kit-bashed battleship guns.

    Call it 'the one that got away'...

  4. I have a couple of the original Star Wars plastic models still shrink wrapped, also the ship from Black Hole. At one time I had plans to have a hobby, but I never had the time.

    - Joe

  5. Christopher,
    Looking forward to seeing your built models on the site.Back in the 90's I built many science fiction kits for a family member. They ranged from Star Wars to Battlestar Galactica and beyond.

  6. I went on ebay and purchased the majority of the models you have listed so I could assemble them and put them up in my son's room before he was born. The room looked great but I was laughing out loud when the crooked Enterprise nacelle pylons were mentioned. I spent hours trying to get those dam things to look right... Not possible!

  7. You may be interested to know MPC is re-issuing the Eagle, and I would bet the Hawk is not far behind: