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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Leif Ericson Galactic Cruiser-FINISHED PICS!

The Leif Ericson model kit was originally introduced by AMT in 1968 in an attempt to cash in on the enthusiasm and popularity generated in the sci-fi realm by "Star Trek" and was the first in a planned series of Strategic Space Command ships.
Matt Jefferies, designer of the original starship Enterprise, was hired by AMT to design the Leif and its accompanying scout ship.

Here are some of his early sketches of the two:

Leif Ericson:


Scout ship:


Interestingly, the design shares some characteristics with the Botany Bay sleeper ship which Jefferies also designed, primarily the submarine-like "conning tower".

I myself built this kit as a boy.
Along with the Enterprise and Klingon models in my collection it was one of the few kits that included light bulbs for the engines.
The kit also came with a vinyl record called "The Sounds of Outer Space" that played 60's era "spacey" music.
You can listen to it here:


The Leif Ericson has proved to be an enduring design and it has appeared in one form or another on covers of several sci-fi novels and in CGI.
Most notably it served as the inspiration for the Battlecruiser MacArthur from "The Mote in God's Eye" written by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.



Sadly though, the model was not a commercial success so it remains the only model ever produced in the Strategic Space Command fleet.
Over the years, original kits in good condition sold for several hundred dollars on eBay.
The current kit I'm building now was re-issued by AMT in June, 2011 and now features red LEDS instead of light bulbs and is missing the vinly record.
My build will feature lit windows in additon to engines. I will also be building it with ParaGrafix's excellent photo-etch set:



To read more about the history of the Leif Ericson go to this link:
http://www.projectrho.com/SSC/index.html
 

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Discussion Starter #2
First things first.

Here are photos of the box art including side panels:






The model is molded in blue-green plastic.

Parts in bags:



 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Decals:



This is a much more comprehensive decal sheet than the oriignal kit had.

Instructions:






The backside of the instruction sheet features a Strategic Space Command adventure story involving members of the Leif Ericson's crew.
A nice little touch but I'd rather have the vinyl record that came with the 1968 kit!

Here's a link to the story:

http://frank.bol.ucla.edu/lestory.htm
 

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Weren't the sound FX in Sounds of Outer Space,the very same ones used
in a couple of Filmation's cartoon productions as well as used in
Star Trek the Animated Series?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Step 1

Drilling out and filing the windows to shape. The windows are either round (easy) or oval (harder).

Conveniently, the window are molded as raised details on the hull, no doubt as an aid in decal placement:



Here are the tools I'm using to open the windows:



After drilling I use my xacto style knife to remove excess plastic:



Whatever styrene AMT used for this kit is fairly soft in comparison to other kits I've seen which helps speed up this process a lot.

Finshed windows after shaping up with round and curved needle files:



I should be done with this step in another couple of hours.
All told I think it will take about 4 hours to finsih opening up all of the windows.
I know it would go a lot faster using a dremel and router bit but I like the control doing it by hand gives me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Weren't the sound FX in Sounds of Outer Space,the very same ones used
in a couple of Filmation's cartoon productions as well as used in
Star Trek the Animated Series?
Possibly. Can't tell you for sure but it would not surprise me.
A lot of stuff back then got recycled.
 

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Sadly though, the model was not a commercial success so it remains the only model ever produced in the Strategic Space Command fleet.
I've always wondered... did Jefferies do any other sketches, relating to any other "potential ships" in this series? Did anyone else? I'd love to see other ideas which got tossed out. Heck, that would be an amazing scratch-building opportunity.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Weren't the sound FX in Sounds of Outer Space,the very same ones used
in a couple of Filmation's cartoon productions as well as used in
Star Trek the Animated Series?
Futher investigation has yielded this information which indicates a connection between the Leif Ericson and Filmation making it all the more probable Fimation may have used the music from the record...

"While the Leif Ericson never appeared in the original (Star Trek) series, Mike (Okuda) mentioned that it did show up in a couple of places on Filmation's storyboards for the animated Star Trek series in the early 1970s, although the ship did not appear in any of the finished episodes of the animated series."

And...

"David Penn and Scott Snell did an amazing job at identifying both the source of the music and the spoken words in the record. The lyrics are from a 1967 psychedelic rock record called "Cosmic Sounds" by The Zodiac. The music was originally used in "The Twilight Zone" and was released in "The Twilight Zone: 40th Anniversary Collection" set."

The above was excerpted from articles found at this site:

http://frank.bol.ucla.edu/le.html#SoundsOfSpace
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I've always wondered... did Jefferies do any other sketches, relating to any other "potential ships" in this series? Did anyone else? I'd love to see other ideas which got tossed out. Heck, that would be an amazing scratch-building opportunity.
I'm not aware of any other Jefferies concept sketches for other ships in the SSC series specifically; however, there is this bit describing how the Leif influenced the design of another ship for a proposed TV series ...

"Around 1975 Matt Jefferies was hired by George Pal to work on a TV series based on THE WAR OF THE WORLDS."



"As you can see the Hyperspace Carrier Pegasus is an outgrowth of the Leif Ericson.
Note that instead of two side engines, the Pegasus has four, two on each side.
For the TV series, Jefferies actually had the Pegasus upside down in relation to the Leif Ericson, in order to make the connection less obvious.
The TV series was never picked up, alas.
But this is a facinating glimpse of what might have been."
 

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Discussion Starter #18

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Discussion Starter #19
If you are interested you can see my WIP thread here: http://www.hobbytalk.com/bbs1/showthread.php?t=339076
The main thing that may interest you is the modifications I made to the landing bay doors.
I remember your build thread Ken. Those door hinges are a big improvement-mind if I borrow the idea? I also like how you did the landing lights in the shuttlebay. Your build gives me something to shoot for.
 
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