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Old 20-07-2007, 09:51 PM   #1
Big Rab
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Default Original Builders

I have just been wondering and now thinking out loud.

Does anybody know who the “actual” builders were that made the original models of Joe 90’s car, Fireball XL5, SPV, S.H.A.D.O. Mobile, Interceptor and so on?

What are there names?

Can we contact them?

Can we find out some history about them and the models they built?

Could they tell us what other models they built and for what programs / films?

Perhaps they could tell us who decided what would change from the concept drawings to what actually appeared on the screen?

For example, the S.H.A.D.O. Mobile, from Mike Trim’s concept drawing to what we have come to love.
Was it the guys on the shop floor that said “we cant do that, this would work better because I have a Faller kit in my box” or “ Johnny Express wheels are not wide enough” and so on!

I hope these guys are still around, perhaps still in the "industry", maybe DX or Mr Bower knows them or even something about them.

I am not too sure what I am trying to say here but it would be great to contact the guys from “Space Models” for example, just to acknowledge there work and get some “behind the scenes stories” regarding the design and building of our favourite models.

Wot dya think????????
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Old 20-07-2007, 10:16 PM   #2
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Peter Aston (and crew) built a lot of the later stuff. Space Models in Feltham built Prof McClain's car. The large XL5 was built by Bill James (I think) but Space Models also built many of the models. Peter Aston is still around. Wag Evans sadly died a few years ago. Many of the model crew are still around but fairly widely scattered and a good number are now retired.
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Old 20-07-2007, 10:49 PM   #3
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Default Shop floor guys

Thanks Chris, that’s a Fantastic start,
I Just wish we could contact them some how, as I suppose, they are the ones that started us all off on this road at some point, professional and amature.

It would be good to put some names and faces to the creations (photos???) they made, just for the record, or perhaps even as a fitting epitaph in some cases?

Perhaps Eagle could do a special thread regarding a “Roll of honour” for special people regarding design, inspiration and building of our favourite models, sets and TV shows?

That may sound a bit too much flag waving but I think that these guys deserver to be recognised.
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Old 20-07-2007, 11:20 PM   #4
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Hear Hear !
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Old 21-07-2007, 09:59 AM   #5
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That is a good idea and it would certainly be an interesting addition to the forum if it could be done.
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Old 21-07-2007, 10:53 AM   #6
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A very good idea.
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Old 22-07-2007, 11:51 AM   #7
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If you can get hold of the book I ghosted for Derek Meddings - 21st Century Visions - many of the model makers and their individual contributions are credited. The book does turn up on Ebay from time to time - prices can vary.

Among the other credits DX didn't mention, Ray Brown was responsible for building the original mole and other pod vehicles in addition to the 1/16th Fab One, Space Models predecessor Master Models, run by Larry Barr built many of the original Thunderbirds craft, and I think also Joe's Jet Car rather than Space Models.

Once delivered to the studio, kit parts and other trim were added by studio model makers - including Mike Trim and Alan Shubrook - who were also responsible for the dirtying down. In fact a model may have gone through several hands to achieve the finished result.

Hope this helps.
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Old 22-07-2007, 12:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Sam. I was hoping you'd jump in to fill the holes.
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Old 22-07-2007, 01:37 PM   #9
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Will probably be able to give a bit more info once I've checked through my files. The effects model makers usually didn't get on-screen credits - I think Peter Aston was a notable exception - so it's not so easy to identify who was involved with any particular show.
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Old 22-07-2007, 02:21 PM   #10
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great idea this thread , nice one Rab
cheers Paul
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Old 24-07-2007, 07:02 PM   #11
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I came across a 1960's video clip showing Thunderbirds 3 & 4, along with the large scale Mac's Jet Car being built (showing all of the solenoids and wiring inside the vehicle). The narrator said it was "the AGM company".

I can't find any info about this anywhere.

Anyone else come across this?
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Old 24-07-2007, 09:11 PM   #12
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I've got it somewhere on my PC if I can find it.
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Old 25-07-2007, 09:48 AM   #13
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I've been going through my files and found a letter related to this behind the scenes footage from Larry Barr. This is dated 29th January 1968 and refers to fiming carried out the previous Friday. At this point it seems that Larry was running a company called Aeronautical and General Modelmakers (hence AGM) which must have been a successor to, or new name for Master Models. What's surprising is that you can see a nice looking model of Zero X in some of the footage, which is odd considering this was well after it appeared in Thunderbirds Are Go or Captain Scarlet.

Will post some more info about other modelmakers after I've done some more delving.
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Old 25-07-2007, 10:33 AM   #14
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Aeronautical and General Model Makers Ltd of 5 David Road, Poyle Trading Estate, Colnbrook, Slough trades under the name Master Models.
http://www.mastermodels.co.uk/
Run by Lawrence G. Barr.

They've got a few photos from Anderson etc...


Sam/ Chris- do you know much about the history and people behind Master models and Space Models?
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Old 25-07-2007, 11:25 AM   #15
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Hi Martin -

I think Laurence G Barr is the son of Larry Barr who ran AGM/Master Models in the sixties - I'm not sure how far back they go, but I believe some of the staff left to set up Space Models some time in 1966. The full size Fab One used in Thunderbirds Are Go/second season Thunderbirds was one of their earliest commissions. I believe they also built the puppet scale Thunderbird Six Tiger Moth and Secret Service Model T Ford - both involved Wag Evans. Space Models had premises in Feltham and Andover at one time. Space Models also created the Eurosec/Shado Mini Moke jeep conversions.
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Old 25-07-2007, 12:30 PM   #16
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I went job hunting at Space Models in the early eighties not knowing the Anderson connection. Unfortunately they weren't hiring at that time. I remember that most of the products on display were travel agent aircraft models and desktop aircraft models. Had I known the connection, I might have tried a little harder.
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Old 25-07-2007, 02:26 PM   #17
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Last time I spoke to Peter Aston, he told me that HE was responsible for building the SPV and the Angels jets. He was working on one of the Harry Potter films at the time.
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Old 26-07-2007, 03:29 PM   #18
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After a bit more checking, here's some more detailed info on the model makers and suppliers for APF, Century 21 and Group 3.

Mastermodels Ltd 1950s - 1966 (?) Spur Road, Feltham Trading Estate, Middlesex

Originally run by Larry Barr, employees incuded Wag Evans. Refurbished puppet size Supercar, built two foot Fireball, three foot Stingray and most of the original models of the main Thunderbird craft (apart from TB5).

Aeronautical and General Modelmakers 1966 (?) - present day, original address Hospital Road, Hounslow, Middlesex

Directors : L.G.Barr, D.L.Highgate. K.G.Drummond.

Built Joe's Car, TB1, TB4 Zero X models.

Space Models 1966 (?) to present day (?) Located Feltham and Andover

Directors : Brian Pugsley and Derek Ridley

Employed Wag Evans who built puppet scale Fab One, Tiger Moth, Model T Ford, 44 inch Eagle. Company also produced computer panels and commlocks for Space:1999.

Other model makers :

Bill James - Pattern maker with workshops in Cippenham, Slough. Built two foot Supercar and nine foot Fireball. went on to make cockpit sets for Thunderbirds and later shows. Also built full size Fab One front section for effects shots.

Brian Johnson - Believed to have built/helped to build early installations such as Space City, Marineville, Tracy Island, London Airport

Eric Backman - Joined APF arouond 1962. Built many of the alien craft for Fireball and Stingray. Now in Australia.

Ray Brown - Joined APF late 1964, built many of the pod vehicles, including The Mole (he had to hand turn the drill section as the model workshop had no lathe at the time). Built 1/16th Fab One, and credited for introducing the foam rubber suspension for road vehicles. Probably also built the Sidewinder.

Miike Trim - Joined APF as a model maker in 1964. Built Hoods Temple, London Airport buildings. Specialised in dirtying down vehicles, then became designer/storyboard artist.

Roger Dicken - Joined APF in 1964. Responsible for building Thunderbird 3 launch bay, and specialised in providing miniature set dressing for the effects unit.

James Channing - Joined APF in 1964. Built Creighton Ward Mansion miniature.

Peter Aston - Joined APF 1965 (?). Built Penelope's yacht (?), SPV, Angel Interceptors. Specialised in aircraft (?).

Alan Shubrook - Joined APF 1966. Specialised in model buildings, dirtying down and detailing models. Built Western town for Joe 90.

Brian Smithies - Joined APF 1966 (?) Specialised in set dressing, dirtying down and detailing models. developed techniques for creating realistic miniature trees.

Tony Day - Modelmaker on Doppelganger. Helped rebuild main rocket model overnight when original destoyed on launch pad.

Other modelmakers at APF/Century 21 included Charlie Bryant, Dave Palmer and Tony Dunsterville. Martin Bower later provided models for Space:1999.
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Old 26-07-2007, 05:56 PM   #19
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A brief update regarding Space Models. A search on Google seems to suggest that the company is still in existence, and appears to have been established in 1947 - which contradicts other stories I've heard. Brian Pugsley still appears to have some connection with the company.

For more information about Wag Evans' work at Mastermodels and Space Models, he was interviewed in the 90s by Simon Archer for Century 21 Magazine (issues 6 and 7). An interview with Bill James appears in issue 9.

Should also have mentioned Terry Reed, one of the other principal model makers for Space:1999.
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Old 26-07-2007, 06:45 PM   #20
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Space Models were at Pier Road on the North Feltham Trading Estate when I went there in the eighties. I've still got the information written on a card somewhere. I'm not sure but I seem to remember that they might have moved since.

Wasn't Dave Mitton there also?

Just checked. They're still at Pier Road.
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