Pierre Drolet Sci Fi Museum

Pierre Drolet Sci-Fi Museum

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VIPER MARK II

back story

The Viper Mark II probably has the most interesting story.
Sometime in 2002 EdenFx got the contract to do the animation cut scenes for the upcoming Battlestar Galactica video game. I used to watch the original series when I was young and it was a big deal for me when they asked me to build the Viper Mark II. The client gave us a very boxy low-res polygon as reference. The game was obviously in a very early design stage and that played in my favor to come up with a new design. I wanted to be respectful for the great Ralph McQuarrie original design by not going to far out. For instance, you can recognize the iconic lines of the Porsche 911 from 1970 and also in the new 911 from 2013. I had only one week to design, build and texture the new Viper Mark II. Fortunately for me the client liked it and they ended up using a low res version of it also for the game play.

About a year later I received a phone call from the Visual Effects Supervisor Gary Hutzel of the upcoming Battlestar Galactica TV series. If I remember well, he was not happy with the concept his art department came up with for the new look of the Viper Mark II. He heard about the model I did for the video game, and he asked me if I can send him some images of it. He liked it and bought it from EdenFX. So from my CG model, they built two real full size Viper Mark II. My CG model was pretty big and when they built the real full size model, they sized down about twenty five percent and rounded up the front engine intake. This is why the cockpit canopy looks too big for the mainframe. Those were the most noticeable changes compared from the Viper of the video game. I have never asked why they did that, but I figured it would have been too big for the set or maybe just because... you pick one, your guess is as good as mine!

The reason why I did not rebuild the Viper Mark II for the BSG TV series from the real size model is because at that time I was working on Star Trek Enterprise, and that would have created a conflict of interest with EdenFX.

A few years later, I was laid off from EdenFX for a few weeks due to a lack of work (it is quite common in this industry). Fortunately for me Gary Hutzel was looking for a full time modeler at the Universal Studios office. I have to say that working with Gary's team at Universal was the best four years of my life. Talk about the A team.

During the end of the season of Caprica, the rumor about BSG Blood and Chrome next project was going forward. Gary Hutzel was up for a big challenge to shoot the whole show with green screen. I then knew that they would not use the real size model of the Viper Mark II anymore because someone bought it at an auction a few years earlier. So, I asked Gary if I could rebuild the Viper one more time the way I would like to see it for Blood and Chrome and he let me do it. There is something you have to know about Gary Hutzel, he is the coolest and most hard working guy I have ever worked for.