As a youngster, my favourite Anderson show was Fireball XL5. OK,the later Anderson series were better made and had stronger stories, but XL5 was set in SPACE. I followed XL5 in TV21, and was furious when it was demoted to the back page, then dropped altogether. The only compensation was the excellent Zero X, by my favourite TV21 artist, Mike Noble. Its an enthusiasm I have maintained over the years, and was delighted to find XL5 episodes on video, and (more recently) on Youtube.
Over the years, I have made occasional models to decorate my work room, and decided to make the XL5. At the time I made it, all the commercial kits were either too expensive or too large. Thanks to a plan in a commercially available Anderson-oriented magazine, I set about making the ship from a 12mm section of wood dowel for the fuselage, plastic card for the fins and bits and pieces of wood for the details, together with a blob of millliput here and there. The rear jets are pieces of cocktail stick, while the bulges on the tops of the wings are pieces of matchstick sanded to shape -nothing wasted! I had wondered about making a clear cockpit, but after burning my fingers (literally) on an earlier project, I was less ambitious here. The model was sprayed with silver enamel, then details added with artists acrylic paint "borrowed" from my partner, some lettering and cockpit details were added with Rotring rapidograph pens. The model now sits on a cardboard mount at a 45 degree angle, as though taking off.
I followed on from the XL5 a couple of years ago with the Enterprise from Star Trek; I still much prefer the original series to any of the later ones. I found a plan on the internet, and set to work with my usual mix of materials. The disc shaped section is a thin piece of wood sanded to shape, with milliput at the top and base to give the raised up centre. The main engines are pieces of chopstick, as is the fuselage. As usual, there are bits of matchstick here and there. The main problem I had was assembling it all, as the engines insisted on sagging. I ended up making a V-shaped piece of plastic which I slotted into the fuselage, and the engine arms rest on this.
When you make a model like this, you discover all sorts of odd things- for example, there were two different designs of Enterprise in the programmes; one had bulb-like projections at the rear of the engines, the other had a sort of grille here -I think the heights of the engines may also have been slightly different.
These days I find few things in the shops appeal to me, and I can't afford to be a collector, so this is a cheap way to add to my small collection of space-related bits and pieces.