Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Commlock research

What a can of worms this has turned out to be!

If you think that researching a steam loco is tough, just try pinning down the details of a prop made for a 1970s TV show.

Obviously, the very 21st century Internet is your friend. Sci-fi geeks can be relied on to stuff masses of information on-line. They love details and laboriously check everything about their favourite show.

Starting with the excellent Space 1999 catacombs, we find that not all the props shared the same colour scheme.
  • Photos on the side were either upright or sideways. 
  • The surround to the screen was either black or grey.
  • Buttons could move around - especially on the "wonky buttons" proper where they appear to have slid down. 
  • Not all the buttons were numbered. 
  • The belt clip changed, and could move away from the back to the side. 

The whole thing was, like most TV props, horribly crude. In fact I'd suggest the Century Castings version is actually better then the real props. I'm going to make a best guess that looks nice to me. I might be nerdy, but not enough to closely examine a single episode and pic a specific example. It is fascinating though and a bit of an insight into the TV magic that produces these shows. I suppose the props didn't get a lot of love at the time, they were just "things" to be held and used to make the show. Certainly not the objects of veneration fans now consider them. Most ended up in a skip at the end of the series.

And the colour? A Ford grey is suggested, but I think Humbrol 64 will do the job. How battered I make it look is down to me.

Photos of a non-working prop. 
Photos of a prop with a working TV screen.
A suprisingly good Lego version.

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