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REVIEWS & INFO
TV Show Info
Behind The Scenes
Wilfrid Hyde White
Black & White
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century - A Media and Collectible Resource, 1928-2005
Prop Review - Inside the Thunder Fighter|
We recognize and know it as a Star-Fighter, but to the prop builders this
full size replica was simply known as the "Thunder Fighter". What remains
of the original prop is in poor condition, its the result of many creative
minds working together to produce an amazing ship..
The full scale studio mock up is built mostly of plywood with various metal
components, inside its hull are connecting hoses which direct steam to
various points and other hydraulic lines used to slide back the heavy metal
cockpit widow. The Thunder Fighter was built using a unique construction
method, normally such a complex shape would be somewhat expensive to
sculpt and cast so the studio craftsmen came up with a simple and cheaper
solution. First they constructed the parts as flat panels and then cast them
in rubber, with the flexible panels they were easily glued into place. The
exhaust ports feature long detailed plates which extended from the front
of the nozzle to the rear, so incorporating this technique meant they
could avoid complex molds and expensive tooling.
At first it was built as a two seater fighter but later in the series a second
forward fuselage was built which featured four seats, this allowed the film
makers to use the ship for different shots. The interior of the ship was
complete with full instrumentation, although the exterior of the ship is
actually smaller than it should be because the audience has no real means
of assessing the true scale of things, objects always appear larger on film
than they do in real life.
The Universal art department proved that it was capable of turning out
first-class work that was both original and within budget. Like most TV
spacecraft the Thunder Fighter was built as two craft, one is a miniature
used for special effects purposes and the other is full scale. When it
comes to full size props the Thunder Fighter is one of the best ever made
in its time as it was constructed with an unbelievable level of quality.
With a realistic cockpit design it included a functioning roll back canopy,
a fully upholstered seat complete with four point restraining harnesses
and a very realistic instrument panel complete with labeling.
There's not much left of the original cockpit now, these images show the
deterioration of the fighter sitting helplessly on a lonely lot, its very sad to
see it like this. Parts are falling away and missing, no doubt bits have been
taken as mementos, this is the last cry of a truly awesome ship..
A couple of nice images which shows the front end landing gear, plus one
of the rear exhaust ports, you can clearly see the deterioration. For more
information and images visit the web address below..
Images and information courtesy of the following website:
Original screen Images of the Thunder Fighter in Action..|
A couple of shots of Buck climbing into the cockpit..
Two views of the seating arrangement, you can see twiki in the rear seat..
The joy control stick, you always get a view of this with any major combat..
The image below shows the thunder preparing for a blue screen or sky shot..
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