Here’s a lovely thing. Reader Jon Kearey recently got in touch to tell us about his visit to the BBC Visual Effects workshop in late 1997. Jon was doing on a project on Red Dwarf‘s model and effects work for his Design A-Level, and was invited along to take a look by the late, great Peter Wragg. This would have been at the time when the team were working on models for Re-Mastered, which would turn out to be their last major contribution to Red Dwarf for the best part of twenty years, by which time they’d gone freelance and set up The Model Unit.
On his visit, Jon was fortunate enough to meet Mike Tucker and Alan “Rocky” Marshall, who showed him not only their collection of Red Dwarf models and props from across the years, but also their work-in-progress new builds of Red Dwarf and Blue Midget for Re-Mastered. And he was allowed to take photos. Our deepest gratitude to Jon for sharing those photos with us, so that we could share them with you.
Left to right: Io House and Justice World. Note also what looks to be a cardboard model of the Dwarf in the background.
Mike Tucker models the original tiny little Blue Midget.
And now Mike shows off Starbug’s lovely rear engines.
Oh boy. Here’s the Re-Mastered Dwarf model – still used today in massively modified form – in all its constituent parts: nose-cone, rear booster, asteroids, two body sections, and the prongs of the ram-scoop neatly arranged in a nearby bin.
On the top shelf, the GELF ship from Ouroboros, one of their most recent creations at the time. Below, one of the larger Starbug models. Behind that, arranged around a big wheel, are what appear to be moulds of Starbug’s various sections.
EDIT: A correction from Mike Tucker himself:
One quick correction – the ‘moulds’ of the Starbug are in fact the unused model of the splitting ‘Starbug from ‘Tikka to Ride’. The ‘Bug was never constructed via a ‘mould and cast’ method, it was always a direct build.
A display of miscellaneous treats, including the SS Centauri from Beyond A Joke, a snoozing Kryten, and the remnants of a Red Dwarf nameplate pinned to the noticeboard.
The label below says “white boiler suits”, but it to me it looks more like a scorched and legless Starbug. RIP.
Mike Tucker demonstrates his glove puppet version of Ace Rimmer’s ship. On the table behind him, the rear boosters of the new Blue Midget, and what appears to be a Pot Noodle.
Barely seen on-screen, Rimmer’s Self-Loathing Beast from Terrorform.
A dismantled bazookoid protects a vice.
Alan Brannan (I think) works on the Re-Mastered Blue Midget. Its retracted legs can be seen perching on a toolbox to the left. On the work surface, various model kit components and glue, to provide ready-made detail.
Another Series VII model – White Midget, glimpsed briefly in Ouroboros four series after it was mistakenly reference in Bodyswap.
Our thanks again to Jon Kearey for his marvellous photos.