Back in the summer of ’82 my family went out to the movies together. The selection of movies ended up dividing the family, with my mom taking my sister to watch Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2 and my dad taking me to see what would turn out to be one of my all time favorite movies, Blade Runner. I’m pretty sure that my dad did dishes for a week or found some other way to make it up to my mom.
Blade Runner changed the way I thought about the future. Dreams of light sabers and warp drives still had their place in my head alongside dragons and wizards. The future I saw in Blade Runner felt real. I believe the future is going to be a gritty mish mash of cultures where the rich have either moved off planet or live in isolated city/states. I believe the future has police that have to deal with rogue artificial beings. Most importantly, I believe in flying cars.
Director, Ridley Scott, had the foresight to enlist the talented futurist, Syd Mead, to help with breathing life into the movie. A quick search of the internet will return a large number of images showing Syd’s influence on the final movie. There are lots of sketches with cars in them and some fairly detailed sketches of what would become known as the Spinner.
Spinner is the fictional manufacturer of the flying car driven by Gaff in the movie as he transported Deckard around the future Los Angeles. Gaff’s car was numbered 44 with a second car being used in the background numbered 54 (a fun nod to Car 54, Where Are You?). The other flying car seen in the movie has been stated to be an Alfa-Romeo based loosely on a 1976 concept car designed by Bertone. Comparing the two cars, it’s easy to see the resemblance.
After filming was completed, Ridley Scott requested the prop vehicles be destroyed so they couldn’t be used in other movies. Of course, not all of them fell to the axe and one of them was even painted black and re-used in Back to the Future 2. Two or three of the prop vehicles have changed hands a few times over the years with the value of the car increasing with each transaction. Bryan Ebenhoch over at Blade Zone has done a fantastic job of tracking ownership of the original models over the years.
This week saw the release of the 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray Ultimate Collectors Edition of Blade Runner. It has most of the same video footage that was released in the 2007 Ultimate Collectors Edition and a really nice digital transfer of the movie. Sadly, I missed out on the 2007 collection so I don’t have the 1/35 model of the Spinner from the movie but I do have the new release which includes a 1/35 model of Syd Mead’s concept Spinner. This sits perfectly on the shelf with Kaneda’s bike from Akira, my various Batmobiles and cars from Speed Racer.
I’m thinking about grabbing one of the Fujimi model kits of the Spinner or the fully assembled model from Medicom. I should probably content myself with one of the 1/64 diecast cars that Ertl produced when the movie came out. Of course, I could just build one of the paper models myself to really enjoy all the detail that went into this classic movie car. But would I build the simple but nice model by Ron Kemp or do I believe that I have the perseverance required to complete the beautifully complex model by Doumier Smith?