Terrahawks - Behind The Scenes Special
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The ZEAF - Zelda Earth Atmosphere Fighter
In the early episodes of 'Terrahawks' the villian Zelda attacked Mars, and then the Earth, using a fleet of large space cruisers that could interlock with a central hub to form her base of operations. These ships moved through space at a fairly slow speed, in a similar manner to the effects shots in the earlier series 'Space: 1999' that had been modelled on the more realistic look of the film '2001'. However further stories called for smaller, more nimble, craft - and so the ZEAF was created.
Designed and built by
John Lee, it was constructed around a hollow tube that slotted over a rotating rod on stage. This, in conjunction with the camera tracking quickly towards, or away from it, gave the impression of great speed. This model gave Special Effects director Steven Begg the opportunity to inject more energy into his SFX work and get a more 'Star Wars' feel to the show.
This agile fighter quickly became Zelda's primary attack and defence craft, and began to feature heavily as the series started creating some very ambitious space battle sequences, such as in the episodes 'A Christmas Miracle', 'The Ultimate Menace', and 'First Strike'.
John built two versions, the primary model featured here, and a tiny one measuring about 2” long. Kit-bashing is used for detail - the disc on the rear tail plane (see below) coming from an Airfix 1/24th scale Harrier and having a diameter of 26mm means that this model is around 13 & 1/2 inches long.
Below: Courtesy of Garry Warren we finally have photographs of the bottom of the ZEAF model, something that we haven't been able to see for nearly 40 years!! This model (and others) have recently turned up and will apparently be offered for sale shortly (info as at Aug 2020).
Below: Two ZEAF craft in the model shop - one 'a little bit worse for wear'. Originally an unmanned craft later episodes would call for it to carry various characters to Earth, so a cockpit was added.

Thanks to Garry Warren and Phil D Rae for the use of their photographs.
Other photographs by Anderson Burr Pictures Ltd.
'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 2013 - update David Sisson 2020

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