Introduction ......................................... Back to INDEX
If you are interested in Sci-Fi model making, the programs of Gerry Anderson, or you've just pressed the wrong button on your computer, then welcome to my website.

You might possibly have recognised my name from the numerous magazine articles that I've written over the years, or model displays that I've helped to run at various SF Conventions. So as you can see I'm still breathing glue and paint fumes; I've not moved onto other hobbies, 'Got a life' or died!

For those that have never heard of me here's a brief history. I was born in '62' and spent most of my early life watching Gerry Anderson television shows. This was because I loved the models and explosions - but also because my local television station broadcast them constantly.The turning point for me was one Thursday night in 1975 when I remember seeing what I thought was the greatest TV show that had ever been made - it was 'Breakaway' the first episode of 'Space: 1999' - and it was then that I turned from a normal viewer into that dreaded word a 'FAN' and my life was never the same again.

As someone who built Airfix kits as a hobby I quickly converted from World War Two aircraft to futuristic spaceships. I bought the Airfix Eagle more times than I care to remember and super-detailed each one in turn, believing at the time that I had done a great job. That was until I went to a science fiction convention in London and came face to face with the original 44-inch studio model and spent an hour staring at it. Unlike my plastic kit models this rugged beauty was crafted from Brass, Perspex and Aluminium and had a substantial sturdy feel to it. Upon returning home to look at my flimsy, dust covered, and now inadequate Airfix kits I had the urge to throw them all straight into the rubbish bin as I now realised what models could and should look like.

From that point on I set out to build myself an exact 44-inch Eagle copy. However I had a problem, as I had only ever spent my time building plastic kits I didn't really have a clue how to actually build a complete model from scratch. So I decided to start with something much easier; and as Thunderbirds was being broadcast on television Thunderbird 1 seemed to be the ideal choice. From a single decent publicity photograph a good blueprint could be drawn up, and then the model built using Balsawood, Plasticard and Milliput filler. This turned out to be reasonable for my first attempt and I continued onto other Gerry Anderson vehicles, learning new techniques, finding new materials and generally improving bit by bit until one day I was able to build that big Eagle I had always wanted.

In the meantime I had become known for my skills and was asked to write for a magazine called Model Art in Japan, this was quickly followed by a lot more articles in the Australian fan magazine Science Fiction Modeller made by a very nice chap called Greg Martin.
Many of these were rewritten for the British magazine
Sci-Fi & Fantasy Models that managed to run for over fifty issues thanks to the talents of overworked creators Mike Reccia and David Openshaw. (The magazine is now back in the shops - see links page)

During the last 20 years I have displayed my models at many conventions, several museums, schools and even a shopping centre. I've been on the television four times and also the radio four - although I've never seen the point of that as you can't actually see my models on the radio! The highlight of these years was obviously when Gerry Anderson approached me and asked if he could borrow a model for filming purposes. He said that it could possibly be damaged - my answer was
'I don't care if you blow it up as long as you film it!'
The model in question was Fab 1; and luckily they didn't blow it up and it was actually improved quite a lot in the process. The model starred in two 'Thunderbirds' television commercials for Swinton Car Insurance - 'Parkers Day Off' and 'Brains'.

Over the years I have also repaired and collected a few original studio items. Most notably repairing the 5-foot Overlander SFX vehicle, from the television series 'Terrahawks', and acquiring a spacesuit and, most importantly, the first 44-inch Eagle Special FX model from 'Space: 1999'. This last item was a bit of a two-edged-sword as my model making passion had always been driven by my ambition to build the most perfect Eagle replica that I could, therefore actually having the real thing made that aim somewhat pointless!

However I have also been very disappointed by the fact that I can't visit a museum to see the original models from earlier Gerry Anderson television series - as they have mostly been lost or destroyed. (Most episodes do tend to feature exploding models) As a result my aim these days is to try and build the best replicas of those craft - usually trying to use the same materials and/or building them to the same size.

Much of this has only been possible thanks to the collecting talents of model maker Phil Rae - who I would like to thank for his efforts over the years.

On this site you will find articles on how I made many of my replicas or restored original items. Some of these will be rewrites of articles that have previously been published, others will be new ones that you have never seen before - I hope you find them of interest.

I would like to point out that I am not a professional model maker and that my techniques can often appear crude - but they work for me and you might find something that helps you to build your models.

People say that my models are very 'accurate' but I don't really like that word. Unless you have direct access to the originals they will never be completely accurate and of course the originals kept changing appearance anyway. Also we all interpret photographs differently and there is always that urge to build your models the way you think they should look - instead of how they actually looked! So my attitude is that all replicas are wrong and you should simply attempt to make them as 'less wrong' as possible.

If after looking at this website you find yourself thinking 'How does he do all these good models' then here's the real answer. Firstly you are only seeing what I think are my best models, made over the course of the last 25 years or so, and photos of all the poor ones are safely hidden away or destroyed! Luckily I don't seem to make bad ones these days - but if they don't actually turn out right then I simply strip them down and begin again!
Many of these models also happen to benefit from being the 2nd, 3rd, 4th or in two cases the 6th version - so if they don't look good now they never will.

However I'm not just trying to build a good model, a toy or a nice replica. My wish is to 'have' the actual models I watched on TV during my childhood, so I'm really attempting to capture the look of those original creations and I've found that's rather a difficult and elusive thing to do.

I hope you think I'm achieving it.


David Sisson

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Photographs by David Sisson, Martin Gainsford, Mike Reccia and Chris Rogerson