Original Cylon Schematics

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137th Gebirg
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Original Cylon Schematics

Post by 137th Gebirg » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:34 pm

In the prologue scene of the rare "Experiment in Terra" telemovie, Galactica fandom was shown never-before seen imagery of what an "Original Cylon" looked like before they were destroyed by their robot creations. I never saw this movie growing up and, needless to say, when this lost footage started popping up on YouTube, I was quite intrigued. I always knew the story, particularly as elaborately conveyed in the extended scene in the TOS pilot episode between Apollo and Boxey, but I never thought I would actually "see" what one of these creatures looked like. And then, there it was, in all its low-def glory:
originalcylon.JPG
Around that time, comic publisher Realm Press had an arc within its regular run of Battlestar Galactica books which featured this same enigmatic being, with some pretty bad-@$$ looking artwork:
toscylon1.JPG
toscylon2.JPG
During the course of making my other Colonial Warrior and Cylon Centurion schematics back in 2010, I decided to try my hand at a similar treatment to the Original Cylons. It was difficult to draw, as the source material was highly stylized and artistic, and there really wasn't a well-defined consistency to their design. The result is a composite amalgam of the different versions that have appeared over the years.

The one thing that find somewhat amusing is that, conventional BSG wisdom states that the Imperious Leader is the only remaining Cylon that is supposed to maintain the original visage of the race that created him and his robot minions, and yet he looks absolutely nothing like them. Oh, well...
Original Cylon Clothed v2.jpg
Original Cylon Plain v2.jpg


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Re: Original Cylon Schematics

Post by GoldCylon » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:01 pm

As normal Jim you are able to grasp what you have in hand as a visual aid and recreate a spot on piece of art. Thank you.
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Re: Original Cylon Schematics

Post by 137th Gebirg » Tue Jun 30, 2015 12:55 pm

Thanks very much - most kind! :salute:

I had fun doing this one, especially since nothing on the web has ever come close. I remember being a little concerned about adding the "Thor" cape at the time, as I felt it looked a little too short in the back and out of proportion with the rest of the illustration, but I ultimately left in in to follow the original design as closely as possible. After several years of being away and looking back at it again, I think it was a generally successful attempt. It's strange how such a critical eye is taken to something at the time it's created and then later appears quite different after years of separation. Never figured that out... :smile:
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Re: Original Cylon Schematics

Post by Red Eye » Tue Jun 30, 2015 1:26 pm

It was such a great idea doing these.

But when designing the original artwork used in the telemovie, they really missed the opportunity to make them look like the Imperious Leader we all know today, like you said.
"There can be no survivors. So long as one human remains alive the Alliance is threatened."

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Re: Original Cylon Schematics

Post by 137th Gebirg » Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:34 pm

IIRC, that artwork is a relative late-comer to the production, ostensibly only first-seen for the "Experiment in Terra" tele-movie after the main production of the show ended. It's possible they hired an artist who wasn't familiar with the original Dorleac conceptual designs or the actual production costumes and set pieces. They told him/her to draw a big two-legged lizard and they came up with a sentient snapping turtle without the shell! That's what it looks like to me, anyway... :ugh:
I may appear unoccupied to you, but at the molecular level, I'm really quite busy.

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