British BBC The Clangers Iron Chicken

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Dudleywigley

New Member
Hello all, it's been a while since I've been active on the forum but I thought I'd share my latest project as it makes a change from Sci-Fi instruments of death.

A few years ago I posted pictures of my replica of the character "Professor Yaffle", a carved wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker from the 70s British TV show, "Bagpuss" - This provoked an immediate flow of kiddie nostalgia from members here in the UK and went down very well.

Anyway, the show was made by just two blokes in a cowshed in Kent - Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin were very much like us at the RPF. They made lots of kid's TV from the late 1950s to the 1980s and are very much part of the British national identity (Bagpuss has rightly been voted by the public as the best kid's TV show of all time)

Pre-Bagpuss, beginning in 1969 (my birth year) was "The Clangers", or just "Clangers" to be perfectly correct - tales of a family of pink mice-like aliens living on their own tiny moon. It was wonderfully psychedelic and a bit subversive due to the folky, hippy types who made it. These creatures had two best friends, the Soup Dragon and the Iron Chicken.

I'd fancied having a go at the chicken but it always had looked a bit complex. Last year an archive book of all things Smallfilms (Oliver & Peter's company) came out with great reference pictures so I could finally start. I did run up against one problem - how were her legs attached? there is no pictures of her underpinnings anywhere as far as I knew. I found Peter Firmin's mail address - he made the original in 1968 and is 86 years old! I asked him for pointers and he came back immediately with pictures of her underside for my eyes only. He's since mailed kind words about the finished project - obviously a big thrill for someone brought up on his creations.

She is fully articulated like the original so, in theory I could make my own stop-frame animations - unlike Oliver, I don't have that level of patience.

Anyway - here she is...

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KevinD

Well-Known Member
That is absolutely superb. I am impressed, I intend to do a replica of the Iron Chicken myself, and am collecting Meccano parts for it. Your's is excellent. I am a big fan of Clangers, here is my replica of the Music boat that I made recently, I plan to display my Iron Chicken on it eventually.



 

Dudleywigley

New Member
Thanks for the kind words - Your music boat is fantastic Kevin - have you got a copy of "The art of Smallfilms"? the pictures are fascinating - the white cylinder on the original looks like carved polystyrene! The chicken took some working out but once you realise the Meccano boiler sleeve goes on the OUTSIDE, it all clicks into place. She bolted together with glue only being used to secure her comb. Hardest components to find were large enough ball-joints. In the very first episode featuring the original Iron Chicken, she's shot down by the Clangers and handily for us falls down in bits - look at those for a decent starting point... to keep the vintage British feel, I cut her body feathers from Coleman's mustard tins!
 

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