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Original Warrior Tripod hero prop

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Hi Guys,

Our forum friend, Andy Hopkinson has let me photograph his original screen used, hero prop of the BBC TV series Tripods fighting machine. This actually took place during a visit to photograph the original Moonbase model from Space:1999 when he owned it. We were discussing all things BBC Visual Effects and of course the subject of the Tripods came up. Andy disappeared for awhile and returned with a case containing this model. I was completely gobsmacked and my jaw went to the floor (almost literally).

Andy rescued this prop from a junk pile that was being skipped and I was so glad he did. I have a particular soft spot for this model, I love the design of it's form, it's very organic and the more you study it's shape the more you discover as the level of detailing is fantastic. Recently a silver specimen owned by Mike Tucker was display together with this model at the Small Space exhibition in Hanslope. These are the only two models built in this scale and luckily they have both survived to be reunited at the show. This is an annual event run by Matt Irvine (one of the senior designers at visual effects) highlighting British Sci-Fi by showcasing original and replica models and props. Unfortunately the silver version electronics have failed but it is also in remarkably good condition and now complete with it's original lid thought lost.

This original prop is beautifully constructed and still fully functional. There is a control handle which fits into the head of the model and was masked with blue CSO - colour seperation overlay - material, electronically removed in post production. The infamous ring of lights used during the Tripods "growling and roaring" effects was achieved using a motor and rotary switch gear affair, this is highly engineered in design and execution by Tony Mckillop, not much electronics in those days, micro controllers were very expensive. The body is cast in fibre glass and beautifully sculpted, there is a raft of fine details in grooves and raised lines all over it's surface. The supporting legs are not simple tubes either, they are lathe turned metal for the most part and made to very small tolerances by a specialist engineering company.

This model has the original finish which is now aged and starting to become worn in places not really surprising considering it's age. Recently Andy was able to procure a half set of original guns as these were missing from the model from which he could replicate and complete the set.
 

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Exterminator

Deputy Commander
Staff member
I was at Smallspace 2, and it was great to see the two of them side by side, still remarkably intact after so many years ... but that's enough about Mike and Andy! The Tripod models were fantastic to see, much bigger than I thought they would be. They are beautifully made, even on the inside. As you can see from Bernie's great photos, the inner workings are quite tight fitting.

It was great to see the lighting system working on Andy's Tripod, I remember seeing it on the series when it was first broadcast. Must see if a DVD has been released ...

Oh yes, there was also a smaller Tripod model on display with the two large ones. I'll see if I can find a photo.
 

Neo-Uk

Alphans
I saw them there as well but didn't get chance to look (was stuck at my table).
When the top was off I wondered what all the electrical work inside was for, didnt know all that was just to do the lighting.
 

Assad

Alphans
You can still read the book. Ironically, this was the first of the Tripods books I read, and I worked backwards through them..

Oh, I read 'em all (though I haven't read the prequel yet - maybe now is the time, since I am remembering that I hadn't read it! :) )
 

Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Andy and I have been chatting about a CAD plan for builders, he has kindly offered to loan me his model so I can do this work. I would love to build a replica in kit form and have been thinking about this ever since he allowed me to meet this prop in "person" I will at least photomap it properly as I was a little..... star struck the last time I saw it... :lol:

Thanks Andy for allowing me to photograph and publish these images, I am sure he will be surprised how many Tripods fans are out there. :yes:
 

Exterminator

Deputy Commander
Staff member
That would be something!! Would you consider making both versions (Andy's red "security" one and the standard silver one)?
 

Exterminator

Deputy Commander
Staff member
Ah, I found that shot of the three Tripods together. Here it is.
 

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Captain Sci-Fi

Commander
Staff member
Bob Eastough who ran Fine Art Castings was a good friend for many years. The Tripods model was a little over 6" high and nicely detailed being cast in white metal. Bob not only licensed an extensive range of figures through BBC Worldwide from Dr Who but also manufactured and sold the equipment used to make them, he was a skilled and imaginative engineer. I spoke to Bob perhaps 10 years ago, he had retired having been diagnosed with MS.

I believe the modelling for some of their range was done by Barry Jones who also owned Halcyon Models. Barry produced some excellent kits I remember vividly seeing the prototype APC and Drop Ship Kits at his home in Liverpool.

If you are out there guys, stop by and say hi, it would be great to hear from you. :D
 

MoonbaseAlpha

Chief Eagle Pilot
Hi guys,

I bought one of the Fine Art Castings Tripods many years ago, but have never made it up.
I intended it to be a little brother to the red one.

Andy H
 

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OMG Excellent!

Wow, this is my first post, I'm actually over here looking for info about Thubnderbirds puppet eyes, but stumbled over this and am gobsmacked!

I was at the Hanslope event last year with my K9, and saw the silver tripods, but couldn't attend this year as my daughter was being born! So I was really miffed to have not seen the red Tripod, as I've recently started a model of one, and the red one is my favourite!

Looks like a great forum, really exctied to look through all this stuff, the photos at the top of the page are out of this world - brilliant, thanks for posting!
 
Hi Alpha (and Captain)
Is that a resin head on the FAC Tripod?
I remember mine being in white metal and in two bits top and bottom
Was there different versions of this out?
 

MoonbaseAlpha

Chief Eagle Pilot
Hi RustyD,

Wellcome to our humble area :thumbup:

I'm very happy you enjoyed the photos (there will be a lot more to come in the future, I promise...).
If your a fan of British TV there's loads of info here for Doctor Who, Blake's 7 and lots of other stuff.
Although as the site name suggests, it's definately not restricted to Space 1999.

Sorry you couldn't make it to Hanslope last time, was a lovely day, both weather and people, oh yes off course copious amounts of bacon sandwiches and a few models cramed in to fill up the gaps ;););)...

Don't worry about not seeing the red Tripod, I'm sure I'll be able to pursuade him to stride over the Uk again and park up at Hanslope next year (Off course space permiting...)

And congratulations on your new young lady :thumbup::clap::thumbup:


Andy H. ;)
 
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Exterminator

Deputy Commander
Staff member
Hi Rustymetaldog!

Like Andy said, welcome! So pleased you've found something "interesting"!! :yes:

I was at Hanslope, and I saw the trio of Tripods on display. Definitely put the next Smallspce in your diary!!

Having seen the actual models, I've bought the two series on DVD. I expect Andy will want to build the Tripod city ... !! :lol:
 
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