Battlestar Galactica model

23 screen-used Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers models can be yours... for $2 million dollars!

Contributed by
Jun 2, 2017, 9:42 AM EDT

Ever want to own a bit of Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers history? Now's the time. A collection of 23 screen-used Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers ship models are going up for auction and all it's going to cost you is $1.5 to $2 million.

The collection, much of which hasn't been seen by the public for over 40 years, comes from Gary Cannavo, who spent over 25 years hunting for filming miniatures from the classic sci-fi adventure shows Battlestar Galatica (1978) and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979). It includes the 6-foot-long, nearly 3-foot-wide Battlestar Galactica ship model with fiber optics (above), which was created by the same model makers that did Star Wars.

The auction will be held by Profiles in History on Wednesday, June 28, at 10:45 a.m. PDT. The estimated value of the collection is between $1.5 and $2 million. You can find out more about the auction here.

Battlestar Galactic Colonial Viper Fighter

Colonial Viper Fighter

Highlights from the Battlestar Galactica part of the collection with “hero” filming models include:

  • - The 6-foot Galactica filming miniature (the heart and soul of the “ragtag fleet”)
  • - Galactica Shuttle
  • - “Hero” Colonial Viper with nitrogen tubes installed to simulate turbo blasts on launch, also used in all publicity photos and close-up special effects shooting
  • - Cylon Basestar
  • - “Hero” Cylon Raider with electronics and lights
  • - Cylon Tanker
  • - Rising Star
  • - Gemini Freighter
  • - Plus others of the ragtag family of ships

Buck Rogers Thunder Fighter

Buck Rogers Thunder Fighter

Highlights from the Buck Rogers part of the collection include:

- Buck’s Star Fighter/Thunder Fighter
- Ranger 3
- The Draconia
- Ardala’s Launch
- The Hawk Ship

The model makers and special effects wizards who created the models include Academy Award winners John Dykstra, Grant McCune and Richard Edlund, plus Dennis Muren, Jonathan Erland, Lorne Peterson, Dave Jones and Sean Casey. The principal spaceship Battlestar Galactica designs were conceived by Ralph McQuarrie, whose Colonial Vipers, Cylon Raiders, and the Galactica are credited with helping to sell the series to the network. Several of the miniatures include fiber optics to illuminate the windows and other openings on the ships.

According to the Profiles in History website, “Without question, this remains as the single most important offering, containing the highest number of iconic, museum quality filming miniatures ever offered at public auction.”

While it's hard to say exactly how much the collection will go for, similar screen-used miniatures that have sold at auction include the Star Trek: The Next Generation Enterprise-D, which sold for $576,000, the Klingon Bird of Prey from Star Trek III, which sold for $307,200 in 2006, and a Star Wars T.I.E. Fighter, which sold for $402,500 in 2008. 

The collection was assembled by Cannavo, a Boston-based DJ, who grew up infatuated with Star Trek, Lost in Space, Space: 1999, Star Wars and, of course, the original Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers. He became especially fascinated by the visual effects and effects miniatures, and as an adult began to build his model collection. 

The models haven't been seen together by the public since they were originally used in filming over 40 years ago. Cannavo hopes the collection finds its way to a museum so the pieces can stay together and be seen by the public.

“If anyone ever told me I would one day own these gorgeous models of my childhood era, I would have never believed it. I would have told them they’re crazy!" stated Cannavo on the Profiles in History website. "So, as I got older and more successful, I embarked on finding these miniatures anywhere I could, never knowing where I would end up. The trek took me to many places where I met many amazing people I can call friends today. Each model has its own unique story of how and where I found them. It took many years, lots of money and thousands of research hours. It was a labor of love for me. These were spread all over the four corners and one-by-one I acquired them to add to this collection you see today. My love of these models has not stopped. I absolutely love each and every one of these guys. They simply do not make them anymore. It’s becoming a lost art and these are what’s left telling us about Sci-Fi movie and television history.  I just feel it’s time to let them go and hope they find a great final resting place to be enjoyed by all.”

To see a PDF of Profiles in History auction catalog with pictures and descriptions, click here.