The Pan-Am Space Clipper, which briefly appeared in the early scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, has always been my favorite spacecraft. There is something about its elegant lines that speaks to me.
Long ago, when I was a teenager, I built a scale model of the Clipper which likely met its end in a garbage can when I packed up my life at seventeen and joined the Armed Forces. Over the years, I’ve often wondered whether I would ever come across another example. Then, a few weeks ago, as I was wandering through my local hobby store, there it was — a reissue of the Space Clipper by kit maker Moebius in 1:160 scale, bigger and better made than the original. I grabbed a box without looking at the price tag.
Last week, I finally began building it but found the decal sheet didn’t include the famous Pan-Am logo, likely for trademark reasons. And that gave me an idea. In my latest novel, Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night, a shuttle built on Lyonesse makes a few appearances, and the Pan-Am Clipper was a perfect match for what I had in my imagination. Since I’m equipped to produce decals, I re-purposed the model as the Republic of Lyonesse Phoenix Clipper “City of Lannion” (tail number DFS-003) built by Hecht Aerospace and operated by the Lyonesse Defense Force.
I’m not entirely happy with the outcome, because I had a few self-inflicted spray-painting issues and then problematic decals, mostly those that came with the kit. But the resulting model still looks decent enough to fire the imagination. You be the judge. I might buy another one and take more precautions. We’ll see. It’s not a particularly expensive or hard to build kit.
As for Ashes of Empire: Imperial Night, I’m 80% done, but with so many distractions right now, progress is far from brilliant, though I still expect a May publication date.
Stay healthy, fellow humans.