A few years ago, we discussed the best Sci-Fi movie(s) between self-proclaimed connoisseur friends. We swiftly mentioned the usual suspects, and I stuck to Blade Runner until the end of the night. Naturally, the discussion drifted to the two 200-pounds gorillas of the category: Start Wars and Star Trek. I, of course, took the side of the positive, optimistic, hopeful, science-driven, and kumbaya make-me-feel-warm-and-fuzzy of Star trek. Surprisingly to many, I quoted the unfairly least appreciated – to my opinion – series, such as Enterprise or Voyager. Oh, by the way, I find Lower Decks hilarious and I recomend it! But understand me, I love Star Wars. I find it entertaining, and like many, I was hit in the face with the full strength of a comet when I saw the movie in the theater. Of course, I cannot reference here all the Sci-Fi giants. It would be a foolish endeavor, and I won’t attempt it.
Instead, I will share my afterthoughts. So, after the war, I Homer-Simpson slapped myself in the face, thinking out loud: “Space: 1999, you damn fool, you forgot Space: 1999!” If you don’t know Space: 1999, you are missing out big. This britt TV series first aired between 1975-77, with established stars of the time: Martin Landau (Commander John Koenig), Barbara Bain (Dr. Helena Russell), Nick Tate (Alan Carter – Mr. security and eagle pilot), Clifton Jones (David Kano – the computer whisperer), or Barry Morse (Prof. Victor Bergman – the mad scientist’s archetype). And, of course, the iconic eagle space ship designed by the genius Brian Johnson (more on this later). Well, if it still doesn’t ring a bell, the storyline is simple: Moonbase Alpha is earth’s nuclear dumpster – you need to store all that radioactive crap somewhere after all –, and everything goes well until September 13, 1999. Kaboom, the pile of crap, explodes, and the moon escapes earth’s gravity and slings into space. While the moon is freely drifting away from earth, the crew encounters many aliens and other challenges, keeping us glued to the curved TV screen. For the anecdote, I discovered Space: 1999 in Hungary, in black & white and with the infamous two-voice dubbing of the communist era. Meaning you had one voice for all female characters and another for all the male ones. You know what, it didn’t matter! The magic was there, and our imagination filled the gaps.
Gerry Anderson was for Space: 1999 what Gene Roddenberry was to Star Trek. The visionary behind the story and the TV series. He created many successful Sci-Fi shows such as the Thunderbirds, Stingray, UFO, or Captain Scarlet, all based on his signature puppets. To give you an idea of what these puppets were, watch Team America: World Police (2004). To the sensitive audience: beware of the storyline, though. You can learn more about Gerry Anderson on the official website (here).
I mentioned earlier the iconic eagle spaceship of Space: 1999, the brainchild of Brian Johnson. Johnson, born Johncock, is better known for his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the fact that he won Oscars for Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), and The Empire Strikes Back (1980). To me, he is the genius behind the beautiful and credible design of the eagles.
I am a true fan of Space: 1999. If necessary, the proof is that I own only one Sci-Fi model, and it is a transporter eagle. A few years ago, I found a diecast model auction on eBay of one of the episode-related models by Sixteen 12 Collectibles Ltd (here). Sixteen 12 makes the best diecast eagle models. And the price tag often confirms it. It is not uncommon to see these eagles fly away for more than $300, and I am not even talking about the studio-scale models if you can find one. Up to now, if you wanted a quality eagle, you didn’t have many options. MPC has a few kits, but we are talking plastic, and you need to assemble and paint it. I prefer the metal and ready-to-play models. Ah, there were the fugly Dinky eagle transporters toys with their awful green or blue color. A heresy! They are revived as well to my despair, so beware: those are not eagles!! 😊
Suppose you are on the market for an eagle. In that case, I have good news: Eaglemoss, the company specialized in producing licensed models of many shows, including Battlestar Galactica, The Orville, Star Trek, etc., launched a series of three diecast eagles from Space: 1999, at a very reasonable price – and I am sure they will have black Friday specials too (here). It is significant because it will hopefully drive down the market prices while maintaining good quality levels. Like Sixteen 12, Eaglemoss has a license to produce these models, which guarantees fidelity to the original. Of course, I had to have them, so I pre-ordered the eagles (transporter, laboratory, and side boosters) earlier this year. And they look good! The quality is undeniable, and the level of detail is high. When I compare them to my benchmark, I see no major issues, so overall, no regrets whatsoever. I will expose these eagles for sure! Last but not least, Sixteen12 will launch – when, I don’t know, they are already late – a 5″ eagles’ series toys that you can pre-order here.
If you have never heard about Space: 1999 and the eagle spaceship, I hope you discovered something new via this post. And, if you too want an eagle, now you have affordable options to own one. And you, what’s your preferred Sci-Fi movie spaceship? Or harder, your preferred Sci-Fi movie?
Credits: Gunther / mptvimages.com, qualitydiecasttoys.com, shoutfactory, IMDB, and others.