Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Hello and welcome, my name is Gerard Duffy aka gmd3d, a mix of my name and interest, not very inventive but easy to remember. Feel free to look around and check out the number of science fiction designs I have worked on over the years.
You can also find my tutorial of how to build the USS Enterprise from Star Trek TOS in Lightwave3d, aimed for beginners, check under Lightwave Tutorial in the menu above, its is downloadable in PDF format and is free.
This blog features a mixed bag of designs and interests, you might find something at the side options to interest you >>>
I have made some very good friends over the years through forums, two of the remaining sites are listed below.
Lightwave3d and other 3d programs
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Blender & other 3d programs
“All are welcome”
My CGI program of choice is Lightwave3D by Newtek, which is an excellent 3D modelling and rendering program and I’ve used it since 2006, Lightwave3d was first seen used very effectively in Babylon 5 (1994) where the producers took a bold step with this new CGI visual effect technology approach and went on to make a name for itself in the entertainment industry, though now its use has dwindled.
Science fiction and designs created for these shows have always being of interest to me from as far back as I can remember, in book or film, the stories I enjoy the most are those that shows us possible futures where technology transports us to new worlds and where humanity has grown into a space traveling society.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
2001: A Space Odyssey,
The Day the Earth Stood Still,
When Worlds Collide,
Journey to the Center of the Earth,
The War of the Worlds,
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The old 1930s
© Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and other trademarks are held by their relevant copyright holders “no infringement is intended” I hold the copyright for my own works, please do not use my artwork, images, tutorial in any commercial setting without first contacting me.
I am always happy to see comments or suggestions on any of the artwork or designs, comments not in relating to the art or designs, ie: spam is deleted.
This is my choice of designs, I classed as a short-range vessels or auxiliary space vehicle that can transport more than two people over great distances, having hyper-light or sub-light speeds and some cargo carrying abilities, yet still classed as Auxiliary.
Lambda-class T-4a shuttle a very elegant design and really conveys that imperial stamp, this design has Hyperspace abilities with some armament and shielding to protect it , was a multi-purpose transport with a trihedral foil design used by the Galactic Empire during the Galactic Civil War, and was considered an elegant departure from the standards of brutish Imperial engineering. The shuttles were often used by high-ranking Imperial officers and such dignitaries
Star-fleet Runabout This is a cool design and one of the better designs to created for Star Trek Deep Space 9. it could be based on the versatility of Space 1999 Eagle’s based on some non canon information that I find interesting.
To make this versatility the Danube-class featured a modular design with the aft section being swappable for mission specific modules
The Eagle, Moon-base Alpha’s workhorse spacecraft in Space 1999, this has always been a firm favourite in design and appearance, I moved it down from number 1 place as it hampered by limited range.
Flown by a number of pilots, their captain is Alan Carter, the Eagle had the look and feel that many in the 1970s would be close to a realistic look for a space craft in the 1999s, at least I did.
The Surak, Federation-registered long range shuttle that was in service in the late 23rd century, I love this design the moment it appeared Star Trek The Motion Picture, sadly only appeared once in all the films and TV episodes as far as I know. With its detachable main cabin to enable to dock to another Starship when Transporters are not an option for whatever reason that arises in Star Trek, a fantastic design by the creative talents of Andrew Probert
Colonial Shuttle the work-horse for the Colonial Fleet, it can be between 85 and 110 ft long, commanded by two pilots and having room for a large number of passengers it can also carry one LandRAM land craft, but the design is limited to sub-light speed, but has significant cargo and crew capabilities.
Orion III This is a great design from 2001: A Space Odyssey and is a 2 stage lift off requirement mainly for passenger transport, apparently very limited in range only orbital abilities, its its design, that places it in 6th place.
A fan favourite “Class-F shuttle-craft” or Galileo 7, The twenty-four foot long and could carry at least seven passengers, and a smaller aft section, which contained a small engineering area. only interplanetary abilities, but somehow manages to keep up with the Warp driven USS Enterprise in “The Menagerie”.. Perhaps it has some limited warp speed?
Ranger 3 the shuttle that takes Buck Rogers from the 20th century to the 25th century while Buck is frozen, it does have features of the USA Space Shuttle, but greatly smaller, so its good to have even a fictional NASA craft appear in my top 10 Shuttles
Red Dwarfs support craft own by Jupiter Mining Corporation and manned by the last human alive by the name of Dave Lister, the last known human alive, and Arnold Rimmer, a hologram of Lister’s dead bunk mate. The other characters are Cat, a life form which evolved from the descendants of Lister’s pregnant pet cat Frankenstein; Holly, Red Dwarf’s computer; Kryten, a service mechanoid. this craft changes from each season, but I do like the basic design.
This is a selection of hero fighters or the good guys only I will follow with the bad guys and there fighters in a later post.
The Incom T-65 better known as the X-wing starfighter gains the top position for me mostly due to its versatility and range and general coolness, both humanoid and droid work too pilot and control this fighter.
While I think Buck Rogers starfighter look better and possibly is a little more manoeuvrable, the X-WINGS hyper-drive and fighter shielding makes this that bit tougher.
so this is my number 1 in my top ten.
Buck Roger’s Starfighter designed by Ralph McQuarrie and built by Mike Joyce & Ken Larson, design wise it my favourite more than the X-wing. I have always just called it Starfighter not the other name given to it by the model builders, the Thunderfighter, the name never suited it in my thinking, I recently learned it could have been called a Starfury and that works for me far better.
It has interplanetary range, but has very limited interstellar range and must make use of Stargates in space, no exact information or locations are ever mentioned in the show about them.
The design is in a firm 2nd place in my list of top 10 designs
I do like the classic design more than the 2003 remake. The Viper has limited sub-light range but can using emergency boost get near light-speed but pilot beware of your fuel gauge. 2 turbo lasers for it main armament and one pilot, there is a 2 seater that appears later in Galactica 1980, one assumes that the Galactica always carried such a fighter from the start it is 3rd in my list.
BTL Y-wing starfighter, you guessed it another Ralph McQurrie design, a fighter-bomber and not as manoeuvrable as the X-Wing, but its heavy armour and heavy payload makes this fighter 4th in my top 10
The Gunstar is in one of the 1980’s best science fiction films and its also one of the first to use Computer-generated imagery or CGI for visual effects, created by Ron Cobb for the film. The Gunstar carries a complement of two operators, a pilot and a gunner. but has room for 3 crew, It’s primary weapons are lasers, photon bolts, particle beams and a new weapon called the Death Blossom and 5th place in my list.
Hawks Fighter as seen in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, is a vary cool design and has both space travel and atmospheric abilities, with claws for landing or attach itself to other craft. built by Vance Frederick and Kenneth A. Larson, shame it will never be seen again and is in 6th place in my list.
SA-23E Mitchell-Hyundyne Starfury is used by Earth force with a closer adherence to real physics with regards to how human vessels manoeuvred in space, and that it could be depicted in an interesting and exciting way., the pilot stands with his or her back against what would be the wall/floor when at full thrust having no seat for a space fighter possibly the most practical design, very manoeuvrable, fast,there are a number of classes and has 1 pilot, Designed by Steve Burg and defined in Lightwave by Ron Thornton.
makes it in at number 7 in my list.
The Thunderbolt is as Starfury but with some atmospheric abilities, with what we would call a standard pilot seating arrangement, this ship has 2 pilots and I would have liked this to feature more than it did a cool, tough design.
BTA Fighter, I know next to nothing about this design, I have seen the film several times, but apart from having both pilot and navigator, I am at a loss.but I like the design enough for it to make it 9th in my list
The Mark IX Hawk is a warship featured in the first series episode of Space 1999 called “War Games”, it is highly manoeuvrable and well-armed, designed by Special Effects Supervisor Brian Johnson and then built by Martin Bower. Manned by 2 officers, pilot and gunner.
its 10th in my list due to limits of speed and range
Full-scale models of the “Hammerhead” fighters used in the series were created in Australia at RAAF Base Williamtown. An unverified report stated that, while they were being stored on board the freighter before shipping, crewmen from a Russian freighter were caught taking pictures of them after mistakenly thinking they were a new kind of advanced U.S. tactical fighter
Every hero needs a villain, and every villain needs a deadly fighter to attack the hero, the following selection are mine.
The Cylon Raider carries a crew of three Centurions, a commander and 2 co-pilots and normally carried into battle by a Basestar, each Basestar carries 300 of these attack ships and while they don’t have light-speed abilities, are quite a danger to any Colonial Viper, famous for their pin-wheel attack.
These ships can be beaten by human pilots due to quick and very human illogic thinking and reactions
1st place in my list due to design.
The Advanced Tie Fighter or Darth Vader’s Fighter only appeared once in Star Wars films and I for one wish it had seen more screen time, this could be the only canon Tie fighter that has some hyperspace abilities. it is also said to be faster then the standard tie fighter design.
2nd place in my list
Interceptor Tie Fighter, like all but Vader’s Advanced Tie Fighter, these ships have no hyperspace abilities and require the use of a carrier ship or base, and like other Tie Fighters have no shields. they rely on speed and lots of it. RZ-1 A-wing interceptor was developed by the Rebel Alliance to counter this design, which is in fact faster.
3rd place in my list.
Scorpion Fighter as seen in Buck Rogers in the 25 century, This model was mostly the work of Illianna Lowry and designed by David Jones. I like this design and like all other vessels in Buck Rogers, it makes use of Star-Gates located in space to make long distance trips.
4th position in my list.
The Hatchet fighter, also used as pirate fighters, Draconia Fighter, everyone used this fighter in Buck Rogers in the 25th century, its is strange to see the pilot sit over the main engine section, but it is good to have more Buck Roger’s designs making it to my list.
6th place on my list.
The Tie Fighter and where it started, its a basic design really with no frills save for the side panels, distinctive sound when in motion (I know, no sound in space) single pilot, no shield, no real armour, no hyper-drive, no hope, for just been so deadly and great in Star Wars.
7th in my list
Dan Dare Pilot of the Future (2002)
The Treen Fighters, this is from a animated show I like made in CGI by Foundation Imaging called “Dan Dare Pilot of the Future” , I liked the designs in the show which are all based on the Frank Thompson British comic of the same name from 1950.
Drone Fighter, in the TV show Jason of Star Command, and I liked the design, who ever built it had a lot of fun and I did wish they had more screen time, as this was for kids the drone fighters fitting the name where unmanned so no one was killed when they where destroyed, shame this restraint is not more prevalent on TV shows now
9th position on my list.
Another Buck Rogers enemy fighter from the episode, Flight of the War Witch, Part 1 & 2 , this design just appealed to me when I saw it for the first time on TV in the 1980’s and to this day, I have never built it in Lightwave3d, but one day perhaps.
10th position in my list.
Every hero and villain needs a base to call home a place where you can hang your hat and control your crew or minions.
You don’t get any more daunting than the Imperial Death-star,” in this case” the second one, why? because its unfinished and looks more interesting I think. its size is nothing less than a small moon 160 and 900 kilometres in diameter according to a number of sources, other franchises have made their base bigger etc… but this one is more impressive to me.
1st in my list
Earth Space dock was imagined as having a total height of over three miles, and it’s first seen in Star Trek The Search for Spock, in what I think its one of the best opening scenes in Star Trek films showing the wounded USS Enterprise approching,
2nd on my list
Moonbase Alpha, the central location and destination in Space 1999, clearly made in homage to Clavius Base in 2001: A Space Odyssey. back in 1975 when this show was first aired, the year 1999 seemed such a long ahead in our lives that its seemed entirely possible that something like Alpha would be around by the time we reached that year, little did we know now in 2015 the closest we would be is the incredible international space station. Alpha has around 300 inhabitant and a Eagle complement of between 26 to 50 Eagles when fully operational.
this is 3rd on my list.
Orbital office complex seen in Star Trek The Motion Picture, the third space station we had ever seen in Star Trek the first been K7 and the second is Epsilon 9 station, the orbital office was created by Andrew Probert and was used again as Regula 1 Space Station in the Wrath of Khan, I like it this way around
4th on my list.
Space Station V appeared in 2001 serenade by Strauss The blue Danube, as the PanAmerican World Airways Orion III makes its approach, in the film, space station V was the largest orbital structure ever built until 2001.
For me the best science fiction film ever
5th in my list
Space Station Theta seen in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Space Vampire”, Ken Larson states on his website “Thete Station was built from recycled Draconia parts and a 70mm film can”, I liked it and would liked to have seen more of the design
6th in my list.
Babylon 5, I will admit that it took me awhile to get into this series, but I always liked the design of the base, “last, best hope for peace”. The station is home to 250,000, including about 100,000 humans and 2,000 Earth-Force personnel and is 5 miles long (I have heard it’s supposed to be longer, but I cannot confirm that yet)
is 7th on my list.
Deep Space Station K-7, seen first in the original series episode Trouble With Tribbles, the only star-base shown in the original Star Trek TV series in one of my favourite episodes and because of that K7 make it into my top 10 list, there are more exciting designs out there, but I do like this more and is 8th on my list
The Wheel as seen in the classic science fiction film “Conquest of Space” directed by George Pal and featuring designs by Wernher von Braun in 1955.
I still like to watch this film and is 10th in my list.
Do they make your list ?
Buck Rogers Starfighter
Another of Ralph McQuarrie designs
A great design, rumour has it that the design was not originally intended for Buck Rogers in the 25th Century staring Gil Gerard and Erin Gray, but for the Glen Larson earlier production, the famous and fabulous classic series Battlestar Galactica (1978) as the Viper. I am glad they went with that BSG Viper design and the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century inherited this great and I think a more suitable design for Buck Rogers, there is a cross-over day dream I had since the 1980s to this very day.
Starfighter: a 2 seater design
Interesting information I found is that the builders at Universal-Heartland did call this design the Thunder-fighter but if I remember rightly it was going to be called a Starfury and I called the altered design that is seen in the episode “Happy Birthday Buck”
Quadfighter: a four setter design
I see this almost as a family saloon, but I could see where the need for a larger design people carrier was called for.
Traeger fighter:a 2 seater
This design only seen once in the Buck Rogers episode called “Happy Birthday, Buck”, for some reason the name Thunder-Fighter suits this design more than the original ship seen
But it stayed in the collective memory of the viewers at the time, I know it did in my mind and what I liked is the extra wings and the built up area forward of the cockpit, gives a complete look to the design and it’s just cool 🙂 by no means perfect.