Author Topic: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999  (Read 6368 times)

Offline Paul Wagner

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    • Stoccata School of Defence
UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« on: May 13, 2012, 07:49:26 PM »
With the establishment of SHADO in 1969, it was envisioned that Earths front line of defence against the UFO menace would be a space-based, nuclear-armed interceptor, so the Orbital Weapons Launcher (or O.W.L.) program was established. The first generation interceptors, in use when SHADO became operational in early 1980, were moon-based single seat craft, armed with a single long range, low yield nuclear warhead surrounded by a shell of depleted uranium ball bearings, the theory being that by exploding the missile in the path of an approaching UFO, the shrapnel would shred the incoming spacecraft.

Here is my Mk.1 moonbase interceptor, the Bandai kit (excellent, if you can find one) with scrathbuilt, analogue-dial filled cockpit, and a set of prototype decals by Jbot (awesome, BTW).


SHADO Moonbase Interceptor by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Moonbase Interceptor by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Moonbase Interceptor by puddingisacat, on Flickr


Interceptor cockpit by puddingisacat, on Flickr

Offline Paul Wagner

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Re: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2012, 07:49:58 PM »
And this is the Foe, and probably my best ever score on eBay - my SHED Models UFO! Gotta say this sat on the shelf for a long time because I was too scared to attempt it, as it contained 1 sheet of roughly vacformed styrene, 1 sheet of roughly vacformed clear stuff, and a whole bunch of little metal bits (there is a photo pf the kit, after I’d succesfully assembled the central cone bit). In the end, however, construction was pretty straight forward, only really requiring patience - and the ability to scratchbuild the inevitably One Missing Bit (one of the internal veins). The clear bits were carefully shaved and Futured, and the result is, I think, quite stunning.


SHED UFO kit by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHED Models UFO! by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHED Models UFO! by puddingisacat, on Flickr

Offline Paul Wagner

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Re: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2012, 07:50:24 PM »


The moonbase interceptors proved more effective than anticipated, but losses were also greater, so after 2 years of operations a review was carried out in an effort to improve the design. Modifications that were recommended were:

Retractable landing gear (one interceptor lost after a skid, damaged by space debris, collapsed on landing)

Laser pods as secondary weapons (two interceptors lost to enemy fire after using their missiles)

Backup solar power source. to power life support and thrusters (one astronaut lost after his ship lost power while on a vector away from earth)

Replacement of bubble canopy with smaller slit window used on Moonhoppers, as heat and radiation management proved to be a problem.

An extra crew member, as the workload was considered too great for a single pilot, even with moon base controllers.

Additionally the unguided missiles were replaced with a cruise-missile derived design that allowed the weapons operator to alter it’s course in flight, as the target manoeuvred to avoid interception. The warhead was also modified so the ball bearings were expelled in a 70 degree cone forwards of the missile only, after one interceptor and several satellites were destroyed by stray shrapnel.

The new interceptors entered service in mid 1984, and this time the Orbital Weapons Launcher appellation stuck, and they became known as OWLs. The Owl was hugely popular with its crews and much more effective than the Mk.1, the combination of weapons allowing the interceptors to corral the UFOs using the guidable missiles and close to dogfighting range with laser cannons to finish off any that escaped.

Here is my OWL, modified from the Bandai interceptor I made when I was a kid, and somehow managed to survive. Note the Angry Owl squadron markings!


SHADO OWL by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO OWL by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO OWL by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO OWL by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO OWL by puddingisacat, on Flickr


Offline Paul Wagner

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Re: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 07:50:46 PM »


With the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1984, a huge amount of money became available to SHADO under the cover of the Star Wars program. First on the wish list was the unromantic but urgent need for a utility craft to replace both the aging shuttles and rather limited Moonhoppers. Conceived of as a  "space helicopter", the now familiar Eagle was a born.

Key to the Eagles success was a new micro-fusion power plant that delivered so much power that the rather industrial design was able to enter and leave Earth's atmosphere through sheer grunt. The pod system allowed it to fulfil multiple roles, and when the first examples were delivered to Moonbase in 1988 the Owl pilots found, much to their embarrassment, that the transporters out-performed the fighters in every way except close-in agility.

A request for a new interceptor based around the Eagles engine was immediately forthcoming, but as a stop-gap measure a pod was developed to carry 2 missiles and necessary sensors, and for a brief time armed Eagles took over as interceptors, relegating the Owls to point defence of the moon only – a role that they were ideally suited to, and in which they were retained until 1996.

Here is my SHADO Eagle, made from an old Airfix kit that survived unbuilt from when I was a kid! (plus some extras)


SHADO Eagle by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Eagle by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Eagle by puddingisacat, on Flickr

Offline Paul Wagner

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Re: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2012, 07:51:30 PM »

The Owls replacement, named the Hawk, was rushed into service in 1991. All the designated design features were incorporated into the new fighter, but early models were plagued by technical problems caused, for the most part, by the speed and urgency with which the ship was designed. Not until 1995 would the definitive production version, the Mk.9, enter service, but from early on it was clear the Hawk represented a quantum leap in capability.

Twice as fast at the Eagle and three times that of the Owl, the Hawk had the range to patrol deep into space and intercept UFOs long before they came into the range of the Owls. Additionally, the old missiles were replaced the "nuclear torpedoes", where both the engine and the warhead were in fact the same micro-fusion reactor. These weapons had an acceleration 7 times that of the conventional missile, fast enough to outpace the UFOs and allowing, for the first time, interceptors to directly target enemy craft and do away with the rather dangerous area-effect warhead – and it is from these weapons that later plasma, proton an quantum torpedoes were eventually developed.

As a United Nations sanctioned organisation, SHADO officially didn’t tolerate overt shows of nationalism, but this became difficult to enforce on remote outposts such as the Mars FAB. This is well illustrated on this colourful Hawk Mk.9, christened “Lonesome” by it’s isolated crew, and bearing it’s impressive tally of kills (another habit SHADO officially disapproved of). Note the Hawk squadron markings, and the crew inside the cockpit, as I managed to give this one an interior and windows!


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Hawk Mk.9 by puddingisacat, on Flickr


Offline Paul Wagner

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Re: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2012, 07:52:03 PM »
Even as the engineers struggled to de-bug the production Hawks, work was started on a follow-up, the Kestrel. The aim was to develop a craft with the performance of the Hawk, but to match the Owl’s dog-fighting ability, and to be able to not just enter and leave Earth’s atmosphere like the Eagle, but to manoeuvre and fight as a conventional atmospheric fighter as well. It was armed with 2 neclear torpedoes, and a dorsally mounted laser turret that could fire behind as well as forwards and to the sides.

From the early 1990’s the moon had become a dumping ground for Earth’s nuclear waste, and the original SHADO moonbase had been expanded, and eventually turned over to civilian use as “Moonbase Alpha”, while SHADO relocated to a purpose-built facility “Moonbase Beta” on the dark side of the moon. Two squadrons of Kestrels were delivered to SHADO and undergoing trials on Earth at the time of the 1999 moon disaster.

On September 13, a massive chain reaction detonated the vast fields of nuclear waste stored there, and while nobody has ever proved alien interference as the cause, it is now generally believed the theoretically safe atomic waste exploded because it was being bombarded by a highly focused, unknown form of energy. What is a fact is that, as Earth reeled from the consequences of the moon’s shift in orbit, the aliens launched the largest mass attack seen for a decade, which was primarily fought and ultimately repulsed by the Kestrels.

And finally, here is the Kestrel, built from the old Hawk model that survived (kinda) from when I was a kid:
 

SHADO Kestrel by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Kestrel by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Kestrel by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Kestrel by puddingisacat, on Flickr


SHADO Kestrel by puddingisacat, on Flickr

Paul

Offline Lensfire

  • I'm nuts. And proud of it!
Re: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 09:44:10 PM »
These are absolutely superb! I have always been a fan of the Gerry Anderson shows, and the craft designed for them are some of the best ship designs anywhere.
Your updated interceptor looks absolutely right, entirely in keeping with the designs, and your history makes perfedct sense, too. 
I never could beleive the Moon being blown out of orbit (the science in Space 1999 never benefitted from any knowledge of physics) but the suggestion that alien intervention had something to do with the events on 13/9/1999 makes far more sense than anything else.

The Kestrel is a really nice design!
Modelling what ought to be, not what is.

Offline ChrisF

  • Doesn't mind rough when he knows its gonna be rough...
  • Ham-fisted? Maybe. Master modeller? Definitely!
Re: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2012, 01:11:19 AM »
Top marks sir !!

Offline Doom!

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Re: UFO Interceptors 1980-1999
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2012, 06:01:19 AM »
As a kid that show was to slow moving to hold my attention but I always loved the ships, you've done a really nice job on these. :)
Doom!
Jeff G.