Terrahawks - Behind The Scenes Special
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HAWKWING - Concept designs and final SFX model photos
The first line of defence for the Terrahawk organization was the mighty spaceship Spacehawk, which stood constant guard in high Earth orbit. However it would have been a rather boring series if no aliens ever managed to get past it to Earth, so the next line of defence was provided by the craft called Hawkwing.

This was a jet plane comprised of two parts, a small fighter and a flying wing. Launched from a secret underground hangar it could quickly reach the upper edge of the atmosphere, or fly to any point on the planet, to intercept the alien menace.

Left: The very first Hawkwing? Steven Begg's original concept idea in model form - this scene from one of his earlier amateur films.

Tasked with creating designs for the new show Steven Begg revised a concept from one of his own film projects.
Steven: 'The big idea about this design was that the Wing (originally unmanned) took the fighter section to the upper atmosphere, then released it to dive down on whatever Zelda had dispatched to Earth - That's why the fighter section has short stubby variable geometry wings, it wasn't meant to fly long distance. The wing would then drop down and re-link with it for the return to base.
Below left: the penultimate design with all the main components in place...and below right: The final concept artwork
Further revisions followed with a new idea being that the Wing could become a separate remote-controlled flying bomb. This idea was accepted and then used in the very first episode, almost used again in the second, and then seemingly forgotten about for the rest of the series!
Although Steven created these designs he didn't have control over how they were translated into final model form. Producer Gerry Anderson reviewed all the artwork and guided the progress, with the final decision being made by Ian Scoones, the man originally assigned as Special Effects Director, as he was going to be responsible for making it all work on film.
The agreed design plans were drawn out by Art Director Gary Tomkins, these being dated 29th September 1982. Then construction could begin with Peter Tilbe producing the wooden patterns from which the final fibreglass models could be cast.
Steven: The Hawkwing gun on the big model was built using custom made etched-brass parts in the gun intake, as there was a hot quartz light inside. We just used front projection material on the smaller scale version.
*All photographs on this page are of the big model.
Model kit parts were used for detailing; probably the easiest to recognise are the missile rocket tubes in the Wing that come from the 1/24th scale Airfix Harrier. Many others come from Tamiya kits; example above, the two halves of a Chieftain tank gun barrel run vertically over the top centre of the Wing , while the twin front cannons are from Patton tanks.
In some of these pictures you may notice the Grab Arm that holds and launchs the Hawkwing.
Below are Steven's drawings for the launch sequence.
Below: Hawkwing in the launch tube. (From Anderson Entertainment)
Final artworking, panel lines, Letraset, and weathering were applied by John Lee and Steven Woodcock.

My thanks to Steven Begg for providing his preproduction artwork for this article.
Thanks also to Philip D Rae for the use of his 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 update 2020

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