This was the decade that Science Fiction modeling exploded.
And the decade's major influences
can be reduced to four names: Gerry Anderson, Irwin Allen, Gene Roddenberry
and Stanley Kubrick.
Britain's Anderson was the children's sci-fi specialist whose "Supermarionation"
shows including "Supercar"
(1960), "Fireball XL-5"
(1962-63), "Stingray" (1963), and his Supermarionation
"Thunderbirds" (1964-66). Although his
plots and characters tended to be as wooden as his big-headed puppets, his
vehicle miniatures were truly state-of-the-art.
Mr. Anderson was reigning over syndicated children's TV, Irwin Allen -- a schlock B-movie producer who would a decade later
schlock A-movie producer -- dominated American network sci-fi with such
beloved -- albeit hokey -- fantasies as "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964-1968),
"Lost in Space" (1965-1968), "The Time Tunnel "(1966-1967), and
"Land of the Giants" (1968-1970). Again, it's
Allen's vehicles -- particularly the Seaview, the Flying Sub and the
Jupiter 2 -- that are remembered fondly, not his stories.
At the other end of the TV sci-fi spectrum, Gene Roddenberry's
"Star Trek" (1966-1969) was a magnificent ratings failure that would, in
decades to come, serve as the cornerstone of a multi-billion-dollar
entertainment empire. Designed by the show's art director, Matt Jeffries,
"Star Trek's" U.S.S. Enterprise represented a
quantum leap in starship design that, unlike the dated "cigar with fins"
spaceships that were still in vogue when the decade began, looks wholly
contemporary more than 45 years later.
The second quantum leap in
speculative spacecraft design occurred just two
years after "Star Trek's" premiere with
the 1968 release of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey."
Featuring near-future spacecraft based on rigid scientific
principles and given form by imaginative model-makers who added levels of detail
never before seen on the silver screen, the gorgeous designs that sprung from
this landmark motion picture set a new standard for realism that, even after the
real year 2001,
may have been matched, but have yet to be surpassed.
Designs from all
four creators -- and more -- can be found in this lengthy section.