Monday, July 21, 2014

Japanese Supermarionation Opening Titles.....With Translated Lyrics!

     Here's something fun!  The Japanese opening titles to the Supermarionation shows Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Joe 90, and the live action series UFO.  The real bonus here is that the songs have English subtitles!  The translated lyrics offer an interesting insight into how the Japanese viewed these iconic shows. Be sure to stick around to the very end to see the subtitled Mysteron voice narration from the beginning of Captain Scarlet.  I found this on Youtube and couldn't resist posting it.  Enjoy!


New Images of Thunderbird 1 From The Upcoming 2015 Series!

     2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of Gerry Anderson's most popular television series; Thunderbirds.  One the big events during 2015 will be the premiere of a brand Thunderbirds series.  This will be a re- imagining of the original series, but unlike the 2004 feature film; this new series has respect for the original source material and its creator.  It's going to feature a combination of miniature effects combined with CGI.  Since this aspect of production is being handled by the globally recognized WETA workshop, I know the show will be amazing.
      The real issue burning in the minds of longtime fans is what the new Thunderbird craft will be like.  Well, we've been given teasing glances at the new hardware incuding an underside shot of TB1 flying by the famous Hollywood sign, but little else.  I recently found an image of the new TB1 appearing as a large display model at a recent licensing and trade show.  This photo shows the craft's topside details.  Interesting features to say the least.   Note what appears to be cockpit canopy details. It really increases my excitement for the premiere.  I just hope the new series will get a proper stateside showing in 2015.  Enjoy!

Official Hollywood Sign Flyby Image


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Filmed In Supermarionation Coming This October!

     This October will see  the release of Filmed In Supermarionation; a documentary dedicated to the history Gerry Anderson's amazing puppet television programs.  Those of you who are long standing visitors to my blog will need no explanation as to why this is such cool news.  Shows such as Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, and Joe 90 were important parts of my childhood and have followed me well into middle age.  As a lifelong fan; I'm eager to hear the inside story and that's just what this film promises to be.
     Based on the 2010 book Filmed In Supermarionation:  A History of the Future by Stephen La Riviere (who also directed the film); this documentary will give viewers an unprecedented view into the creation of these legendary shows and the brilliant, creative minds that made them possible.  I can't wait.  Although October won't be here for a little while yet; I've posted two trailers below that should ease the pain of waiting.  Enjoy!

The Latest Official Trailer

The Amazing Teaser Trailer

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vintage Japanese Lost In Space Art!

     I'm always deeply fascinated by how American science fiction tv is interpreted around the world; especially Japan.  The following schematic images of the Jupiter 2, Chariot, and B9 Robot from Irwin Allen's Lost in Space are an excellent example of this.  These schematics are from famed Japanese illustrator Shoji Otomo who produced a vast number of  such drawings for Japanese Boys magazines of the 60s.  He is particularly famous for his anatomical drawings of  giant monsters from Toho and Tsuburaya Productions.  Enjoy!

The Dinky Sam Loover's Car Is A W.I.N.ning Ride!

     Well, I'm happy to announce that I've just scored another awesome Gerry Anderson related Dinky toy for my collection; Sam Loovers car from the classic Supermarionation series Joe 90.  In the show, Sam Loover was the World Intelligence Network (W.I.N.) liaison/handler to the show's protagonist Joe.  What I like about Sam's car is that its design is futuristic without being outrageous; much like Ed Straker's car in the series UFO.  I'm reasonably certain it was designed by longtime Century 21 designer Mike Trim.
     The toy is diecast metal and very durable.  I'm pleased that despite buying the toy oop; there are no paint or condition issues.  The pull-back motor mechanism works as well.  The real interesting aspect is the colour, the toy has a brilliant metallic red finish while the show's miniature was silver.  I could go on and on, but I'd rather let my photos do the real talking.  Enjoy!

For comparison with the Dinky Captain Scarlet Saloon Car and Dinky Ed Straker's car
Original Packaging photo courtesy of Mike Burrows

Original advertising art courtesy of Mike Burrows

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Matchbox Super Kings SRN6 Hovercraft!

    Since purchasing the Dinky hovercraft diecast; I've been on something of a hovercraft kick.  To that end I picked up the 1974 Matchbox Lesney version of the SRN6.  It's about 1/3 smaller than its Dinky cousin, but posesses an identical mechanism that rotates the radar aerial and engine prop. No opening hatches though.  I do like the blue and white colour scheme it's sporting.  This toy was part of the Matchbox Super Kings lineup making it roughly twice the size of a standard Matchbox diecast. It's nice, but feels somewhat less robust in terms of construction when compared to the Dinky model. I'll let the photos do the real talking.  Enjoy!

For comparison with the Dinky SRN6

Japanese Imai Thunderbirds Kit Commercials!

     I found a great video compilation Imai Thunderbirds model kit commercials from the 60s.  Imai produced the majority of Gerry Anderson/supermarionation related model kits for Japanese fans in the 60s.  These commercials are a lot of fun to watch and even feature some stop motion animation. Be advised that there is a 1 minute and 28 second introduction in Japanese before the fun starts.  It's worth watching.  Thank you Youtube!  I've also included a sampling of Imai Thunderbirds box art created by legendary illustrator Shigeru Komatsuzaki.  Enjoy!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Joe 90 and the Alvis Stalwart!

     While searching the web for images of unusual vehicles for my archive, I came across a very interesting find; the Alvis FV 620 Stalwart.  This amphibious behemoth was produced in 1966 by the Alvis Car & Engineering Company Limited  and soon thereafter adopted by the British Army. It proved itself a reliable workhorse and earned the nickname 'Stolly.'  It's a beautiful machine to say the least.  What really struck me was a fictional vehicle that bore a certain resemblance to the Stolly; the explosives transport truck from episode 5 of Gerry Anderson's supermarionation series Joe 90.
      In that episode our protagonist Joe must lead a convoy of these vehicles across difficult terrain and all the while carrying a highly unstable explosive.  The truck in that episode was created by legendary designer and model maker Mike Trim.  Joe 90 was produced in 1968 so it's possible that Mike was inspired by the Stolly which had been around for two years at that point.  While Mike Trim's book, The Future Was Fab:  The Art of Mike Trim does briefly discuss the explosives truck; the Stolly is never mentioned.  The similarities may simply be coincidence.  I've supplied some images below so you can judge for yourself.  Enjoy!

The explosives truck as it appeared in Joe 90
Mike Trim's original concept illustration

Photo of Clifford Toys Stolly Courtesy of Mike Burrows

Photo of  Clifford Toys Stolly Courtesy of Mike Burrows

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Japanese Illustrator Yuji Kaida on Youtube!

      I just discovered this great feature on Japanese scifi illustrator Yuji Kaida on Youtube.  Kaida san is known best for amazing paintings featuring Japanese giant monsters, heroes, and supermecha.  His work has included Toho's cadre of monsters such as Godzilla as well as Tsuburaya's Ultraman, and even Gerry Anderson hardware.  Kaida san's paintings have graced the covers of books, dvds, cds and even laser discs.   Numerous books have been published showcasing his work (I own a few myself).  In this youtube feature (courtesy of SciFi Japan) Kaida san discusses the motivation behind his work, his feelings on what separates a true kaiju from film from simply a giant monster film; and even his opinions regarding the two American versions of Godzilla.  Enjoy!


Doppelganger Dove Spacecraft Images!

     The article about the UFO series shuttle miniature got me thinking about another lifting body spacecraft that featured prominently in a Century 21 Production; the Dove from Doppelganger aka Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun.  The film detailed the ill fated space mission to a planet on the direct opposite side of the Sun from Earth.  Keen viewers will note that many of the actors, props, costumes, and miniatures would appear in Century 21's follow-up series UFO.  The film's melodrama aside; Doppelganger featured some top-notch special effects and miniature designs courtesy of master effects artist Derek Meddings.  Among the stand-out designs from the film include the multi stage Phoenix launch vehicle and command module, the NASA VTOL passenger plane; and the Dove lifting body.
      The Dove was, by far; my favorite craft in Doppelganger.  It's design was futuristic yet grounded in reality.  It never looked like it couldn't exist in the real world.  In the film it had VTOL capability and was able to go from surface to orbit without the additional boosters that the real world space shuttle required.  While it's true we haven't achieved that level of aerospace technology yet; the dove doesn't entirely defy aviation science.
      The following images are screengrabs displaying the Dove's best scenes and details.  I've also included a photo of Derek Meddings original production painting of the Dove taken at Andercon.  The photo is used with the permission of friend and fellow blogger Mike Burrows.  Enjoy!

Photo of Derek Meddings wonderful production painting courtesy of Mike Burrows

Lifting vertically from its tricycle undercarriage

Atmospheric wingtips still extended

With wingtips retracted for space mode

At this angle you can see the ducted fans for the VTOL engines

The Dove maneuvering away from the Phoenix Command Module

Actor Roy Thinnes in the Dove cockpit set