Space Precinct



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Space Precinct logo My first big break into Television was working for Bill Pearson on Gerry Andersons' live action science fiction series.

24 fifty minute episodes were made, meaning 18 months of breakneck pace modelmaking, crammed with creative opportunites to make up vehicles, sets, buildings and spaceships. Even with the important models that had been pre-designed, there was plenty of leeway to ad-lib with surface detailing. An extreamly productive and satisfying time for me (not fully represented by these few photos) with models getting plenty of screen time.

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Added male interest The discarded cargo containers from the 'Princess' (as made by Alan Brannan and the boys), formed the basis of this 1:100 miniature, as did a huge block of carved Polystyrene.Chris Trice helped with the Radar dishes. The windows have frames from a discarded roll of film someone found in a skip .... Chubby Brown's UFO....so if you look closely enough, you might be able to see some scantily clad females at the windows. Dear oh dear...and before the watershed too.
In one end… ...out the other. Closely following Steve Beggs original design, this ship was vac-formed over two carved Eurathane patterns. Chris Trice fabricated the robot arms. About 1:100 scale. The 'Scavenger' collected space junk and was supposed to be automated (I think).My artistic contribution to this one, was to make the edges of the steel doors in its maw, shaped like teeth and to give it a means of ejecting waste out the rear…a mechanical anus, if you like.
"Re-cycled WHAT?" 1:200 suburb again, showing the detailing of theindustrial underbelly. Air re-cycling, Sewage re-cycling, heating and cooling systems and other proccesses that would be absolutely necessary when living in space (?). John Wellar and myself made the patterns and then I cast them in Fast cast resin from silicon moulds. not before he had sneaked half an R2-D2 in there!
Eat your heart out Valerie Singleton Using mostly scavenged items, these futuristic skyscrapers are completely add-libbed. The windows are little pieces of SCOTCHLITE painstakingly cut into little squares and stuck on, one by one. Scotchlite is that reflective material found on the heels of training shoes etc and reflects so much light back(sticky-back plastic,basically), that internal lights were not needed. A seperate camera pass for the windows would be composited in post production.
Princess2 The 'Princess' against a green screen. The 'Blue screens' we all hear about weren't used on Precinct because many vehicles were themselves blue, which would have caused obvious optical problems. The Princess had neither blue nor green details, so it wouldn't have mattered...just so happens its a green screen.
"I've accidentally super-glued myself to the model!" The only reason that I pose in these photos is so that people can see the true size of a model. The foreshortening belies the length of the princess, which was about five feet long....yeh RIGHT!
Too futuristic? Originally scheduled to be shot in a chase sequence with the police cruiser, but then not. Steve Begg said (rightly so - in hindsight) that he couldnt shoot this or the production would go mad. The technology of this car was clearly ahead of the cruisers (what with its dated bell jet nasa style engines and mine with its illuminated green rings - some sort of anti-gravity affair) and that you could clearly see the drivers in the cockpit - where none were visible in the cruisers (the hero vehicles), where, by rights, you should be able to see the drivers. Thats one of the problems of having an impossible schedule where a lot of the design falls upon the modelmakers to do...and even they only have the time to make it up as they go along.
Anti gravity drive Steve filmed the car parked up on a roof as a consolation..and showed me rushes. The car exploded into a thousand pieces!! Someone even handed me a piece of it!! I had been had. It was what Steve called a 'jump cut' and the piece had been duplicated out of my sight! They would never blow up a car like that......might need it to be modified or resprayed and filmed again. Too tight a budget to waste a good car.
Me and Mona Look at me, standing there all proud like I made it all.....well, I didnt. Bill made the Mona sign, Alan made the vac formed window for me (following my 'design') and the tables and chairs too I think. But I made the rest and I supervised the job as a whole, so I think I had the right to do this. Space Precinct was my first real sci-fi based series...I was lapping it up...and had something to prove....very annoying to all and sundry Im sure. I think Ive relaxed a bit more now.
"Can you tell what it is yet?" Given not much more than an hour, I painted this planet in a mostly Rolf Harris stylee.. ie. with a big brush! From certain angles the Earth itself looks like its completely covered with water, so no land masses were needed. Sometimes, you just have to 'let go' and use the force. The most satisfying hours worth of work I have ever done. Expanded image has a photoshopped starfield behind it...quite convincing I think. Shame Steve Begg had to paint 90% of it black!
Precinct 88

Precinct 88

Orbiting police station at 1:72, perspex shell clad with 'kit bits', measures approx 2'x2'x3', 4 weeks, working from Steve Beggs' artwork with some freedom to detail. 75% build.

Suburb

Suburb

5 ft diameter orbiting community at 1:144 scale, almost entirely made of plastic, yet withstood 18 months of shooting. Sticking to Steve Beggs production design with more imput on surface detailing. 70% build

Mona's cafe

Mona's Cafe

5'x3'x2' miniature set at 1:12, Timber, MDF, plastic sheeting, miniature posters, (cut from mags) and lots of black powder-paint were used in this. Cafe is my own Design (i.e. I made it up as I went along) 3 weeks. Seen in episode 'Deadline'

Temple

Temple

Pyrists' temple/spaceship from two episodes 'The fire within'. 3mm thick ABS sheeting over a steel frame. 5 different colours of speckle and some cocoa, were used to paint and weather this 3 foot high model. Lots of freedom on surface detailing, some of which has its origins from 'ALIEN'. Supervised construction. Two weeks.

Rock set

Inside a rock

6'x6'x4' miniature set for episode 'two against the rock', a prison located inside an asteroid, a model guard moving in the travel tube and super-imposed live actors complete the illusion of size. Timber and perspex structure clad with polystyrene sheet for rock texture. Supervised and led the construction.

Guess

You'll never guess...

..what this background vehicle was made from. Believe it or not, a babys' rattle formed the base and the starting point for construction of this 'make-it-up-as-you-go-along' piece. 5" high only, 2 days. A favourite among the crew I believe. Still rattles too.

Laser Cannons

Laser Cannons

Large scale cruiser nose with stop-motion guns, that fold away and retract into the body of the craft. Tips of barrels were illuminated so that the optical department had something to key onto. Made by Bill Pearson and myself.

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