This “Miniature” Version of the Classic 1969 Film Features the Original Dialog and Music
At Avgeekery we’re huge aviation movie fans. We’re sure most of you would agree that one of the best of the genre is the 1969 United Artists release “Battle of Britain.” The movie represents one of the high water marks for warbird fans. Very few models were used in the making of the 1969 film. Most of the aerial combat sequences were made with actual flying warbird fighters- Supermarine Spitfires, Hawker Hurricanes, Messerschmitt Bf 109s (well, not really, but close enough) and Heinkel He 111 bombers (ditto). The Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers were models. There was some special effects trickery utilized for some mass formation shots and damage effects, but very little of either. Here is a portion of the 1969 film uploaded to YouTube by vzok.
Miniaturizing a Classic Aviation Film
When we came across the film “The Battle of Britain in 1.72” there were some very visceral reactions. First, every scene (set to the original movie’s score and using original movie sound no less) was created using 1/72 scale models. Vehicles. Aircraft. Personnel. Ground Equipment. Scenery. Literally everything. And it’s absolutely fascinating! Those of you who have not seen the original 1969 movie may not appreciate this version of the story quite as much as those who have loved the original film for years but it’s still worth a look. So take a look! Here is the “miniature” version of uploaded to YouTube by The Battle of Britain 1.72.
For the Modelers Out There
The scale modelers in the audience (we know there are many!) will likely be able to tell that the models are all accurate to the period (unlike the 1969 film). That’s not a criticism of the original film- the producers sourced flyable aircraft as close to the actual examples that fought the Battle of Britain as possible. But in the “miniature” version early-Mark Spitfires, Hurricanes, and Bf-109 “Emils”- even the Junkers Ju-52 transport from the 1969 opening title sequence, were used along with Boulton-Paul Defiants, Messerschmitt Bf-110s, and Junker Ju-88s that never appeared in the original film but certainly participated in the battle. Of course not every scene in the original film gets the 1/72 scale treatment in the “miniature” version but it’s still awesome!
But What About the Kits Man? The Kits!
The 1/72 scale model aircraft built for the production included three Airfix Spitfires, three Airfix Hurricanes, one Airfix Defiant, three Airfix and one Academy Bf 109s, one Airfix Bf 110, One Airfix and one Hasegawa He 111, two Airfix Ju 87 Stukas, one Hasegawa Ju-88, and one Italerai Junkers JU 52. 1/72 scale Airfix refueling trucks, Academy Kübelwagens and BMW R75/5 motorcycles with sidecars, and a Hasegawa Mercedes Benz G4/W31 also appear in the film. Revell, Hasegawa, and Airfix figures and other details rounded out the plastic and Humbrol paints were used throughout.
Bonus Video 1
The making of the stop motion movie “The Battle of Britain 1.72” comparing it with similar sequences for the film “Battle of Britain” uploaded to YouTube by The Battle of Britain 1.72.
The Details Make the Film Come Alive
The houses, huts and interiors of the houses were all scratchbuilt using primarily cardboard and paper. Propellers were made to appear in motion using clear plastic discs and the aircraft were mounted on clear plastic stalks to facilitate motion- or more accurately, stop motion. The explosions, tracers, smoke effects, and a few other digital enhancements were all created in post production, frame by frame, similar to cartoon effects. The producer utilized a Canon 70D camera to capture the images and edited the piece using Apple Final Cut Pro. On a personal note, as a childhood scale modeler myself, I thought Jerónimo Martínez Molina did a great job with the models. I was also surprised the production dates back some seven years ago.
Bonus Video 2
The trailer for the stop motion film “The Battle of Britain 1.72” using 1/72 scale models built by the author Jerónimo Martínez Molina, based of the original film “Battle of Britain” uploaded to YouTube by The Battle of Britain 1.72.