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Starlog Photo Guidebook

Spaceships - New Enlarged Edition

Researched & written by David Hirsch and Howard Zimmerman

Copyright 1980 O'Quinn Studios Inc.

Fig 1

Battlestar Galactica

Universal, 1978, Color, 125min.

The feature version of Glen A. Larson's TV Spectacular. Various spacecraft designs appear in this film as the Battlestar Galactica leads a fleet of 110 vessels across the universe in search of the legendary lost colony, Earth, after their homeworlds are wiped out by the sinister Cylon Empire. The Galactica itself is a giant battlecruiser. Along each side of the craft are fighter launch pods, each holding 100 Viper fightercraft, ready for immediate takeoff. The battlecruiser has faster-than-light speed and is armed with heavy laser cannons at strategic points. The Vipers are small, one-man space fightercraft armed with twin laser cannons. They are also capable of planetary flight and landing. Since the Galactica is not equipped for soft landings, a fleet of shuttlecraft are kept aboard to take crewmembers to and from the surface of a planet. While Vipers are designed like supersonic jets to suggest speed, the bulky, box-like shuttles are useless as battlecraft. The odd assortment of craft in the "rag-tag fleet" range from the gracefully smooth surface Rising Star passenger liner to the bulky, slapped-together, modular Colonial Moving Craft. The enemy Cylons operate from Basestars that resemble two flying saucers docked atop one another. The Cylon attack craft are also somewhat like flying saucers, but with a flat, bat-wing design; each carries three Centurions: a pilot, a navigator and a gunman.

Fig 2

Special effects supervised by John Dykstra. Design: Dan Goozee, Joe Johnston, Ralph McQuarrie, Martin Kline, Andrew Probert. Chief model maker: Grant McCune.

Battlestar Galactica

ABC-TV, 1978-79, Color, 1-hour episodes

Special-effects laden space opera produced by Glen A. Larson. As the Battlestar Galactica and its rag-tag fleet continue on their journey through space toward Earth, they encounter many other farers. Most impressive of all is the City of Light spaceship from the episodes "War of the Gods" and "Experiment in Terra." The Shimmering, sleekly towered alien craft carries a fleet of bright, spherical ships that continually buzzed the Galactica fleet in search of Count Iblis (Patrick Macnee), an alien with terrifying powers. In "Greeting form Earth," a remote-controlled sleeper ship is picked up by the Galactica. It is aerodynamically designed with two large wings projecting form the side and one at the top (this is actually the redressed miniature and full-scale mock-up of Buck's shuttle from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century). Another ship form the same episode was the hammerhead-like warship of the evil Eastern Alliance.

Art Director: John E. Chilberg II. Miniature-effects supervisors: David M. Garber, Wayne Smith. Chief model Maker: Bryson Gerad. Modelers: Jerry Allen, Nora J. Allen, Sean Casey, Vance Frederkc, Michael Joyce, Philippe Lantz, Illyanna Lowry, Angelo Mariott, Richard Smiley, Ken Larson.

Fig 3

Galactica 1980

ABC-TV, 1980, Color, one-hour episodes

After the cancellation of Battlestar Galactica a year earlier, ABC-TV decided to go ahead with a pilot for a revamped series, this one taking place when the Galactica has reached Earth, in 1980. About 20 years have passed and all but Commander Adama (Lorne Greene) and Boomer (Herb Jefferson Jr.) are either lost or dead. Kent McCord and Barry Van Dyke replace Apollo and Starbuck as a grown-up Boxey (McCord) and his best friend Dillon, respectively. The same spacecraft are used (stock footage) and the Galactica's Vipers now have the ability to travel through time. (See Battlestar Galactica movie and TV listing for details and credits.)

Fig 4

Fig 5

In 1979 Battlestar Galactica became the most expensive SF-TV series ever produced, with an initial cost of one million dollars per episode. Most of that was taken up by the special effects budget. Here we see the Galactica, the last surviving starship of the human fleet, being attacked by a small Cylon raider. The robotic Cylons' attack craft are hangered aboard their faster-than-light mothercraft, called Basestars. Inset is a Basestar in planetary orbit.

Fig 6

Pictured on this spread is the hanger bay of a Cylon Basestar, where three fighter craft sit silently awaiting their strange robotic pilots. Inset: The valiant men and women of the Battlestar Galactica lead a "rag-tag fleet"- all that remains of the 12 colonies-in a desperate search for the lost thirteenth colony. Earth. Here the Galactica and two other ships from the fleet come under attack by the Cylons in the episode, "Gun on Ice Planet Zero."