Friday, June 21, 2013

Battlestar Galactica 1980 - Flying Motorcycles aka Turbines aka Turbocycles

Dork Note: When I saw this as a kid I thought the flying motorcycles were the coolest thing ever! Sadly they never made any toys for Battlestar Galactica 1980 so we never got a flying motorcycle with figure.


Building the Turbocycle: The Model Shop was on such a tight schedule, they were designing, building, and painting the three motorcycles at the same time. Patterns for some parts were being carved in foam while other finished parts were being painted. The model crew was working on a half motorcycle when time ran out and the effects crew simply cut a finished motorcycle in half. Production waits for no one. The bikes are modified from the Yamaha MX 175 bicycles; there were only two of these machines modified. It was bought from North Hollywood Yamaha by Richard Bennett in 1979. A third was being produced as a functional dummy but was chopped in half in order for it to have been suspended from a helicopter, thereby creating the realistic lift-off effect for "Galactica Discovers Earth, Part I".

History: Turbines, also known as flying motorcycles and turbocycles due to their similarity to the Earth bike, help Warriors like Troy and Dillon to get around quickly, and escape quickly if necessary. The motorcycles appear normal and are usually operated as wheeled ground vehicles, but can also be used as aircraft if the situation requires it. They can also be rendered invisible by pressing a hidden switch located between the left handle and the seat, in order to avoid detection when parked. Additionally, the motorcycles are outfitted with forward mounted laser guns. At several points during the Galactica 1980 television series, Troy and Dillon are forced to engage the flying mode of the turbines in full view of civilian Earth people who have never seen the technology. 

Fun Fact:  The turbines make an appearance in the fourth issue of the re-imagined Galactica 1980 comic book release by Dynamite Entertainment. 

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