Master of Disaster!
Irwin Allen was a producer responsible for some of the most important Film and TV fantasy creations of the 1960s and 70s, including such legendary titles as The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, Lost in Space, and Land of the Giants. Often called the Master of Disaster, his series and films often focused on both great trials and the hopeful view of which people desired to have of the future, when deep in the age of a hair-trigger cold war.
Perhaps his work might seem a little campy today, especially in an age which is every inch as cynical as his own was. However, and perhaps because the media of our age has turned in on itself, and is focused increasingly on the breakdown of the order we know the bright and hopeful lights of the work of Irwin Allen seems to sit better on our conscience, for all that these things seem a little ‘wobbly’.
Voyage to See what’s on the Bottom?!
For me, the most important of his series was always Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which sprang out of the Film of the same name which Allen produced in 1961, in which the state of the art Seaview submarine races against time to save the Earth from scorching flames from the Van Allen Belt.
The film was one of the most impressive SFX films of its time. Indeed, so expensive was the production – with the Seaview filming model itself costing in excess of 240,000 USD – that the studios almost demanded something be done with them after the film was such a hit at the box office. This, of course led Allen to the series we know, and love today.
The cast and story line of the film was re-worked for the series, which aired first in 1964 to create a more usual short form episodic series (and served as a model for Star Trek in its turn). By the time the series had r\wrapped up in 1968, and four seasons, it had gathered a reputation for both monster of the week type episodes and interesting social comment on the state of the Cold War – which the Seaview’s role as a non-military research vessel made appropriate. Everything from impending atomic doom, oil slicks, over population, spies, and the development of technology brought viewers back, week after week for the Phantasmagoria of the Seas.
Indeed… The popularity of the show led to an interesting turn in its production, in that whilst the first season was little more than a fairly pedestrian horse opera, with an emphasis on two-fisted action and adventure, as the show developed it began to become increasingly technical and socially observant. As it began to combine the ‘flash’ of the Bond era with the criticism of the age, fans were presented with a show that challenged convention and forced audiences to think ‘outside the Goggle Box’.
Even though subsequent seasons toned down some of the political and social messages, as the series become more popular with children, there always remained an element of the speculative in the journey of the Seaview, and an edge to the program which served as the model for many such programs which followed in later years.
Indeed, it is the second, more action oriented season from which we drawn the Flying Submarine which is the subject of this build review.
A classic, manta ray UFO styled device, this little sub, gave the crew a way to reach out from the Seaview and take the adventure of the series ever further and further.
It is interesting that the lower hull features detail of the landing gear covers, as well as clear evidence of attachment points. This is a hold over from the previous release of the kit, for which Moebius released a trike landing gear set and claw arm.
It is a shame that this kit has either not been released (if it has, I should like to know) or included in the kit as a matter of course.
An interesting design this. The whole floor is molded clear to ensure that the four panels above can be lit, or painted to effect lighting
For such a large kit, with what amounts to only a few parts, this is a very well molded thing indeed. The outer shell is heavily built and self supporting, so that is does not sag once cemented.
The interior detail is, though plain, well defined and accurate to the series – and it is well worth dealing with properly, as the interior is not only visible through the main windows, but through the removable top airlock.
There is more than enough room for lighting and batties, but I do have one gripe: though the lower hull features inner details to represent the landing gear bays opened, the kit does not include the Trike gear which should, be present. A minor niggle, but I’d have liked to have the option of displaying the kit on hard standing.
A real blast from the past.