One show that screened on our television sets during late 1969/early 1970 was “UFO”. Dying aliens from a distant, beleaguered planet were visiting earth in the unending search for human body organs to transplant into themselves. You don’t see today’s children watching something this gruesome! (Then again, there is the Internet.) Created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson of “Thunderbirds” and “Captain Scarlet” fame, “UFO” was a bleak and realistic portrayal of people fighting invading aliens. Using real actors rather than marionettes, plotlines presented mind control, hypnotism, drug taking, bloody violence, blackmail, murder and fear with state-of-the-art special effects to produce a show that would never pass the censors today as family entertainment. Set in the near future of 1980, the show did have its drawbacks – purple wigs, grating music at times, stilted acting, cringe-worthy sexism, pop dancing and a seemingly endless array of huge, false eyelashes on the ladies. SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organisation) battles the alien invaders with Moonbase Interceptors, Skydiver submarines, Moonhoppers, Lunar Tanks and groundbased Mobiles – all handsomely and realistically produced under the watchful eye of Derek Meddings who oversaw the FX sequences. And they are still impressive too, considering that they’re only models hung on wires and moved in front of a painted cyclorama.
Here’s a totally bizarre concept – let’s launch a fighter jet from the front of a futuristic submarine while it’s submerged and have the aircraft travel up through the depths to burst through the surface of the water and rocket across the sky to shoot down flying saucers! It’s even weirder than it sounds! Yet, it actually works, thanks to meticulous design, detailing and daring model sequences that present such an unfeasible idea as virtually “real”. There have been many model kits of the SKYDIVER and it’s offspring, SKY 1 over the years, by companies such as; Bandai, Imai and Wave Models, none being particularly accurate or large enough to be impressive. That’s all changed for the better now with the release of a studio scale kit of the SKYDIVER combination, one of the most popular designs from the mind of Derek Meddings. Built in two scales for the TV series, 1/48 and 1/24, the SKYDIVER models were approximately 31 inches and 62 inches in length – two and a half feet and five feet. Cassini Models have released the pair as separate resin kits to the smaller of the two sizes - 1/48 scale. This review concerns the SKY 1 kit and, by the time you read this, I will have completed the DIVER section to have an accurate model of this intriguing design.
Photo 1: The kit parts laid out.
Photo 2: The wings and tailplane glued into position.
Photo 3: The fully painted pilot.
Photo 4: The rear plate painted and detailed.
Photo 5: Minor parts waiting to be glued into place.
Photo 7: Masking off the model to spray additional colours
Photo 8: Panel lines being added to the basic paintjob.
Photo 10: The completed model awaiting the weathering stage.
Photo 9: Adding the vinyl decals and extra details to the model.
The completed model was hung from a clamped piece of board using invisible thread coloured blue in front of my sky background and various shots were taken of it with the camera set on Automatic minus the flash. Yes, I did have to drill three small holes into the resin to hang the model, however they can easily be filled with Bluetac and painted over at a later date. The support thread was then removed in the computer using the clone brush in Microsoft Digital Image Pro 7. I also added a couple of jet exhausts to some of the shots to simulate SKY 1’s launch from the ocean.