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Restoring The London

The restored LONDON Spacecraft 2019

Top Photograph by Mark Dunlop - Starfield background edit by Bob Zimmerman.

Bottom photo : Simon Atkinson

Filming the model in 1977 - Image courtesy of Mat Irvine

Originally built by Simon Atkinson for the BBC TV series BLAKE'S 7 over 45 years ago, The London spacecraft featured in the first two episodes and in subsequent episodes, although altered to represent other vehicles. Over the following years the model deteriorated and in 2018 Simon and the London were reunited at Mat Irvine's 'Smallspace' event in Hanslope, UK.

The restoration was finally completed in September 2019 and the model returned to Mat at the Blakes 7 Cygnus Alpha event in 2019.

Here is the story of the restoration.

BBC Portrait Image 1978 : Collection of Andy Spencer

Simon is reunited with the remains of the model he had built 41 years before as an apprentice at Space Models Ltd in 1977.

The model is first fully documented and measured to enable accurate recreation of missing elements. Drawing underway on Coreldraw.

Drawing progress 08/11/2018

The completed full size studio scale drawings are now available as a signed limited edition print release. Formore details on how to order click here

The Restoration begins....

With drawings completed the refurbishment is underway. The first stage has been to assess the various parts to see which elements will need to be replaced to return the model to original condition.

The rear section of the LONDON has been severely damaged and repaired over the years and many panels cracked. The main replacement required is the port rear wing which has cracked following a fall and had been reglued.

Paint applied over styrene detail sections is lifting and will need to be removed prior to reassembly.

Working on the rear section. Several original panels are cracked beyond repair. The others have had surface detail carefully removed and stored ready for re application once the main structure is reassembled. The first stage has been to create a new interior support structure in Acrylic. The interior has been blanked off with black vinyl.

The hunt for missing kit details continues, the original parts used for the landing gear have been tracked down to these Triang Bridge parts. Several of the block sections are also used throughout the model.

The re-application of details now underway. Existing paint is flaking from the styrene surface so cleaning up the various parts is a relatively fast process. Some pieces have been replaced where distortion or damage is too extensive to repair. The lower rear panel is a recreation as this section was lost.

The Rear panel is now complete, details having been scaled from photographs. Panel details on this rear section are now complete.

Rebuilding the rear tower section - reusing all of the original panels - additions are rear panel and internal bracing, a new section added to the front of the shelf with restored travelling crane track hole ( the original front having been badly damaged)

Missing from the model for many years, the side cylinders are rebuilt useing EMA tubing and 1/35 scale Tamiya M41 Tank roadwheels. These are drilled and pinned before fixing, unlike the originals which were just glued on to the main body.

Restoring The London is  Continued here !

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