Don’t worry, this 8.4 meter (27 foot) Australian Viper won’t bite, but it’s likely to do a number on any Cylon Raiders that wander too close to Canberra. As recently reported by Riotact, creator [Baz Am] has been painstakingly piecing together this 1:1 scale replica of a Colonial Viper Mark II from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series in his shed for several years now, and at this point things are really starting to come together.
On his personal site, [Baz] has been maintaining a build log for the fictional spacecraft since 2017 that covers everything from the electronics that power the cockpit displays to the surprisingly intricate woodworking that went into the lathe-turned 30 mm cannons. He’s even documented interviews he conducted with members of the show’s special effects team in his quest to get his version of the Viper to be as screen-accurate as possible.
No matter how you look at this build, it’s impressive. But one thing we especially appreciated was the skill with which [Baz] manages to repurpose what would otherwise be junk. For example, the main cockpit display is actually an in-dash navigation system pulled from a car, and the engine’s turbine blades are cut out of aluminum road signs. He’s even managed to outfit the Viper with an array of real aircraft instruments by collecting broken or uncalibrated units from local pilots.
While the Viper might look like it’s ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice, there’s still quite a bit of work to be done. The craft’s fuselage, made of metal, wood, and foam, needs to be coated with fiberglass, sanded, and then painted to match its televised counterpart. [Baz] says that process will take at least another year, but also mentions off-hand that he’s thinking of adding a functional reaction-control system with cold gas thrusters — so we’re going to go out on a limb and say this is probably one of those projects that’s never quite finished. Not that we’re complaining, mind you. Especially when you consider the shaky track record the Battlestar Galactica franchise has when it comes to neatly wrapping things up in the finale. Continue reading “Life-Sized Colonial Viper Touches Down In Australia”→
[Glen A. Larson] passed away on Friday at the age of 77. He may be most widely recognized for being a producer of the original Battlestar Galactica, Magnum, P.I. and Knight Rider television series’. But for us his association with a row of LEDs which illuminates in a back and forth pattern will always be his legacy.
When we heard about his passing we figured that we would hear about his invention of the Larson Scanner but that was not the case. A bit of research turned up a pretty interesting Wikipedia bio page. He has origins in a music group call The Four Preps and actually composed or collaborated on a number of television theme songs among other notable accomplishments. But nothing about electronics. Did this man of many hats actually invent the hardware for the Larson Scanner used as the Cylon Eye and on the front of K.I.T.T., or does it simply share his name?
Evil Mad Scientist Labs claims to have coined the term Larson Scanner. [Lenore Edman] confirmed to us that EMSL did indeed start the term which is used to name their electronics kit and directed us to [Andrew Probert] who lists effects for the TV series on his portfolio. We’ve reached out to him for more information but had not heard back at the time of publishing. We’ll update this post as details emerge. In the mean time, if you have any insight please leave it below including the source of the information.
If you are not aware, a Larson Scanner is so interesting because the pattern calls for a fading trail of LEDs. It is not simply a fully illuminated pixel moving back and forth but includes dimmed pixels after the brightest one has passed. This is an excellent programming challenge for those just getting into embedded development.
The best place to get the build details is their progress updates page. Each week the cadre of teenagers tried to post some info about their progress, and we’ve got a big grin on our faces after reading through them. The simulator aims to provide you with as much of a space flight experience possible given the restraints which gravity imposes. The cockpit can roll and pitch a full 360 degrees in each direction. Of course safety is a concern and they were careful with their frame design and pilot restraint system. But so much more goes into this than just the physical build. There’s sound, lighting, and the virtual simulator, all of which have been complete at an impressive quality level. There’s a ton of video posted and we’ve embedded one short clip after the break showing off the cockpit’s dashboard.