Original Full-Size Viper Mark II
The Viper Mark II is 40 years old before the first war against the Cylons. Armed with two machine guns and several air to air missiles, the Viper Mark II is very maneuverable and able to fly not only in space but also in the atmosphere.
The Viper Mark II was removed from active service, but after the return of the Cylons it was reintegreted in the coloinial fleet.
The design of the 2003 Viper Mark II is very similar to the one made in 1978. Richard Hudolin, the production designer for the miniseries, has stated that "The only things that we wanted to carry through (from the original film and series) were the Mark II ships. We reinvented everything. We got rid of the Egyptian references and stuff like that. We just kind of elongated it a little more and made it a little more slick".
The Colonial Viper underwent numerous changes from its original concept to its final design. Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept was so different from the final Viper that it was reused as the "Thunder Fighter", the Earth Directorate Starfighter used in Glen Larson’s other space series, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
The final Viper's design also featured simple to build shapes that helped keep construction budgets down. The starfighter of the Archives is full size prop (30-feet long), and is one of two spaceship that can be seen on the series' set.
The Viper Mk II is constructed of closed-cell extruded polystyrene foam (EPS) — a.k.a. Styrofoam — over a steel armature. Both of the Viper Mk II’s were sculpted by hand in a rented warehouse in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, build, John “Johnny Bones” Lavell. The warehouse was near North Shore studios (formerly Lions Gate Studios) where the MiniSeries first filmed. It took three and a half months to make the Vipers and Raptor. We were on what used to be a Thomas Special Effects warehouse and there were about 25 construction members on the team. If you add paint, set dec, effects we were over 50 people on some days, especially as the deadline loomed. All the metal work was done by Vern Winn who makes magic with metal. The carved and assembled pieces were “poly urea hard coated” to create a durable shell over the soft foam. This hard shell coating is similar in method to how surfboards are constructed. Simple bucks were made to cradle the hull of the Viper Mk II while it was being shaped. A great advantage of having these large pieces constructed of EPS is their light weight which makes them easy to move around on set. The colours used on the Viper Mk II were the same colours used on other parts of the Galactica sets. According to the original colour chips used by set-dec all of the paints were from Benjamin Moore. Fuselage: BM – feather gray 2127-60 (Note: this is also the colour used on the Galactica’s interior walls. i.e. Adama’s quarters for instance.) ; Stripes: BM – classic burgundy, Exterior ready-mixed (Note: this is also the colour used on the Galactica’s hanger bay. i.e. Red stripes on the deck and the Cylon Resurrection tubs.). The rough texture of the poly urea hard coat under the burgundy and light gray paint in this close-up.
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