Battlestar Galactica Designing Spaceships is a beautiful book


Battlestar Galactica: Designing Spaceships celebrates the design artists of BSG.

“There are those who believe the spaceships out there started here …” No, that’s not quite how the opening narration of the original Battlestar Galactica The series premiered in 1978. But those who believe that bringing believable and cool spacecraft to the screen takes a lot of human imagination, ingenuity, and TLC are right!

Hero Collector Books proves it with its latest volume, Battlestar Galactica: Designing spaceships. The book is a deep and detailed look at how the spacecraft from the original GSO and its reimagined counterpart were brought to the TV screen. It features and celebrates the achievements of artists, illustrators and artisans such as Ralph McQuarrie, Andrew Probert, Eric Chu, Ray Lai, Lee Stringer, Douglas MacLean and Gary Hutzel, among others.

Exactly as advertised, Battlestar Galactica: Designing spaceships is a beautiful 200-page tome, bursting with art that ranges from black and white floor plans to color paintings. It’s a bulky book but not too heavy, which means fans will enjoy spending hours holding it and poring over its pages.

Battlestar Galactica: Design spaceships. Image courtesy of Hero Collector Books

From Concept Paintings to Full CGIs, Battlestar Galactica Spaceships Are Beautiful

The visuals are the main attraction of the book. The section on the original series includes a dozen concept and production paintings by Ralph McQuarrie, best known for his Star Wars art. McQuarrie’s work for the BSG universe is just as fascinating as his paintings for Galaxy Far, Far Away. It’s not hard to see why his paintings helped sell the series.

Many of McQuarrie’s concept sketches feature prominently as well. They give readers an idea of ​​how the design of the show’s spaceships has evolved, particularly how the Galactic itself was envisioned as a futuristic aircraft carrier. (Fans of designer Glen Larson’s Buck Rogers in the 25th century The series will also appreciate seeing a first color sketch of the Thunderfighter from this show as a candidate for the Colonial Viper.)

Most of the book covers the reimagined BSG, starting with Eric Chu’s designs for the new Galactic in the Sci-Fi Channel 2003 miniseries, throughout CGI models designed for the 2012 Web series Blood and Chromium by a team led by Doug Drexler (who is no stranger to Star Trek fans). Sketches, paintings, digital models and previews, storyboards, plans and photographs of sets and even art department plans for dashboards help all readers to immerse themselves in the world of BSGships from.

I especially enjoyed seeing how Chu, seeking to satisfy both Sci-Fi Channel’s insistence on “complete originality” and the existing BSG the fan base’s desire for familiar designs, was inspired for its GalacticThe ribbed appearance of artistic vases by Italian designer Andrea Branzi. And seeing iteration after iteration of the Colonial Viper, one of sci-fi’s coolest ships, was a treat. There is also a fascinating tour through the annotated concept drawings by artist Ken Rabehl in the quarters of Commander Adama.

The text of the book, by Mark Wright, Ian Spelling and Paul Ruditis, is filled with interesting facts about the challenges designers face. BSG facing the series and the ingenious solutions they have imagined. The design, construction and use of the reimagined series Raptor Transport and Blackbird stealth ship are particularly interesting case studies of how the necessary trade-offs between artistic vision and practical reality can lead to solid results.

Wright, Spelling and Ruditis also reveal a few nuggets about versions of BSG that never have been. The version Bryan Singer was developing in 2001 when 9/11 and its aftermath, for example, still ended up shaping the aesthetic of the reimagined series in several key ways.

As they peruse the book, fans may sometimes be surprised to learn how the artistic and technological “wizards” behind the scenes pulled off their tricks. For example, I never noticed or suspected the Viper Mark VII in the Reimagined Series miniseries and the first season only existed as a nasal section in its full-size physical form!

Creating a compelling vision of a space civilization onscreen once, to say nothing more than once, is no small feat. Battlestar Galactica: Designing spaceships is a wonderful tribute to the talented people who made it. It should be a welcome addition and often viewed by any fan of science fiction film and television.

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