Saturday, June 09, 2012

Well, I'm off on another cerebral safari ...

It's been a really busy ten days and I haven't had time to sit down and do much more than sketch out some ideas and do a little bit of thinking.  I was at the end of my wick, basically, and just needed some time to veg.  A week ago Friday I did manage to stop by my local hobby shop on my way home and finally picked up my AMT Leif Ericson Galactic Cruiser model kit.  I won't go into a lot about this kit because what I could say has been said before and maybe said better by others.

The Leif Ericson had a very interesting history including its relative failure as a new line of model kit for AMT way back in the late 1960's.  Fast forward to the mid-'70's when the LE was re-issued not as the LE but as a "Interplanetary U.F.O. Mystery Ship" which looked a lot less like anything traditionally associated with UFOs and more like something from the Gerry Anderson TV Series "UFO".  In fact, I've often thought that the LE had a lot in common with the SHADO SkyDiver ... and that if you put the LE in an ocean it would have fit in a universe pretty much like the one that brought us the SHADO SkyDiver and of course Irwin Allen's "Seaview" submarine from "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

Anyway, way back in 1978 the first time that I had this kit (or knew of it) was as a 9 year old newly anointed sci-fi fanatic and the LE was given to me in its second format ... the AMT glow-in-the-dark "Interplanetary UFO Mystery Ship" (because UFOs and Bigfoot and ESP were all big / hot topics in the 1970's).  I received this kit along with the AMT "K-7 Space Station" model kit as a Christmas gift at a Christmas party at my dad's place of work (then First Magnolia Federal Bank where he was VP).  

 The original kits I received at that Christmas party oh so long ago ...

I'm really glad that these kits have been reintroduced and are affordable because with no real canon background (and a rather limited background as it is), a kit like this is just waiting to be fleshed out.  There's a lot of talk over on the Starship Modeler discussion forums about this kit but most if not all of that is simply about the LE itself.  Some of the discussion was interesting but when it was decided by group to have the evil alien race in the LE "universe" to be called the "Zork Empire" I had to throw my hands up and walk away.

That was years ago and my interest in the LE was put on the back burner amid other projects (like writing about 1200 pages of the adventures of my life).  Fast forward a few years and Round 2 has bought up the molds from AMT and re-released a cherished childhood memory.  The Leif Ericson is now available in two flavors; Original and Extra Crispy (or LE and Ghost Ship).

Original recipe (with original artwork, lighting kit, ooolala!) 

 Extra crispy recipe (missing a few pieces that the original LE kit contains)

Isn't life grand?

Anyway, lately I'd started thinking about the Leif Ericson / IUFOMS again and decided to finally do something about it.  I had some spare time one night so I sat down and just started typing out a history of the LE universe, real stream of consciousness type stuff.  Three glasses of sweet tea and one hour later I had basically almost 30 pages of history, notes, things I wanted to do with the model, technology, political and social movements, etc. and of course a worthy protagonist for the LE ... and it damn sure isn't the Zork Empire.



In fact, I've pretty much thrown out everything about the Leif Ericson and the Strategic Space Command other than the name of the ship and the design of the ship as well.  Two of the things that I threw out first were the scale debate and the duck-looking scoutship.  If you sand off the lightly pressed portholes in the ship you can make it any scale you want and I'm thinking that it's more of the 1/600 scale rather than the 1/500 that everyone is so happy with.  As for the mini scout ship ...

Quack-Quack!  Now with Doric style landing gear!

Starting from scratch has been the best thing about this project because it gives me a chance to combine a lot of scratch-building and intellectual projects that I've been meaning to get to together under one focus.

So, with the new re-release of the LE (and my probable purchase of at least two more examples of this kit) work begins on a new intellectual diversion and cerebral safari for me.  Look for updates on the Gray Stuff part of my webplace.  Here's a hint ... I'm building the bad guys first and I'm building them from scratch just because no one else has been building the bad guys.  


I like to do stuff that other people aren't doing and I like to do it first so that others can follow in my footsteps but then that's just me.