Terrahawks - Behind The Scenes Special
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BATTLEHAWK - Concept designs and final SFX model photos
The primary vehicle in the Terrahawk organization was the heavy lift transporter Battlehawk. This was the 'Thunderbird 2' of the series, but more so as it was actually three vehicles in one.
This is because the craft is actually controlled from the flight deck of the Terrahawk scout craft, which sits securely on it's back, and can detach and fly off at the danger zone.

Also the ground combat vehicle Battletank is carried within, and can be quickly deployed on site by opening the lower clam-like belly section, and dropping it straight into the action.

Picture below: Steven Begg came up with a number of key designs for the series, including some that didn't make it.
Steven: This is a Battlehawk concept that I did while I was still in Edinburgh, before I came
down to Bray Studios, but Gerry rejected as he said it looked too much like TB2.
Below the final Battlehawk design takes shape, and has a slight similarity to the X-Bomber from 'Star Fleet'.
Steven: The Battlehawk was a one off design that I came up with, which was loosely based on a Ron Cobb idea for the Nostromo called a broken-neck design.The Bandai guys came over to see the models and referred to the X-Bomber but said they preferred the Battlehawk. I didn't know what they were talking about at the time but then 'Star Fleet' came out 6 months into the production of 'Terrahawks' and I was able to see it. I assure you that I was not influenced by that design in any way, in fact I didn't like it as I'm not a fan of Japanese Mecha at all. It all looks like over-engineered nonsense to me. Give me Derek Meddings, Mike Trim, Ron Cobb, any time.
Below: The big model in action - approx 39 inches long.
Above & Below: these are images of the smaller version used for most flying scenes, all the long distance shots,
and also often seen launching from out of the top of the White House (see below).
Below: Terrahawk - the command vehicle that controls the Battlehawk, it can detach and fly off to scout the local area.
Below: The Terrahawk organizations base -'Hawknest'. The Battlehawk resides at a secret underground facility,
hidden beneath 'The White House', at a remote un-named location in South America.
The hangar was built to scale with the big model, while the launch tunnel above it was built for the small version.
The original idea was to outfit the model with working rockets to get real flames for the lift-off sequence, as a result the hangar was made using metal sheeting to withstand the heat, however this idea was finally abandoned in favour of the safer option of using gas and light effects.
The idea for the launch sequence came from Gerry Anderson, who was clearly trying to outdo his previous television shows. For the Battlehawk to take to the air it has to rise vertically up a narrow tunnel and then exit though a large house (the White House), which has to split apart and pivot out of the way first.
Modelmaker Steven Woodcock: The White House was the first model that John and I worked on. It was basically a clear Perspex shell sitting on a blockboard base with a hole cut in it, we just detailed and finished it. The hydraulic rams, which operated the folding walls, were made from brass by Nick Finlayson. The Perspex shell of the house itself was made by Bernard Carr, who also turned the Corinthian columns from acrylic rod.
Below left: The small Battlehawk miniature is pulled up on wires from the open roof section. Below right: Peter Farr works on the recently built White House model, whilst original SFX Director Ian Scoones looks on.
Below: Producer Gerry Anderson visits the model shop to inspect the Battlehawk. Originally unimpressed with the finish of the main craft he instructed modelmakers John Lee and Steven Woodcock to strip the vehicles and re-artwork and weather them - hence the abundance of Letraset markings.
Photo courtesy Jamie Anderson - at
'Facebook - Official Gerry Anderson'

My thanks to Steven Begg for providing his preproduction artwork for this article.
Thanks also to Philip D Rae & Gary Tomkins for the use of their photographs.
Other photographs by Anderson Burr Pictures Ltd & Anderson Entertainment.
'Terrahawks' is copyright by Christopher Burr
No infringement of copyright is intended - non-profit fan interest site only.

'Terrahawks' is a Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr Production.

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Article David Sisson 2013 updated 2020

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