Celebrating 10 Years of The Model Unit


August 1st  marks exactly ten years since The Model Unit was registered at Companies House. Twenty years of working in-house at the BBC had finished, ending one chapter of my life, and starting a totally new one.

It would be easy to fall victim to the reality television cliché of saying that ‘it has been the most extraordinary journey’, but the truth is that the last ten years really have been extraordinary.

From the point that we arrived at Ealing Studios and set up shop, my crew and I have had the pleasure of working on some of the most exciting effects projects that anyone in my profession could hope for. We’ve built spacecraft and dinosaurs, we’ve destroyed buildings and crashed aircraft, we’ve recreated volcanoes, hurricanes, tornados and tidal waves, we’ve provided effects for shows that had inspired us when we were children, we’ve been involved one of the most successful British films for decades, and we’ve worked alongside some incredibly talented companies and individuals.

That work has taken us to the USA, Canada, and Norway, it has garnered us a Primetime Emmy nomination, multiple RTS and BAFTA nominations, and two BAFTA Craft Award wins, and I am incredibly proud of every single shot that we have been involved with.

Nothing that The Model Unit has created would have been possible without the hard work, skill, dedication and good humour of the amazing group of people that have worked with me over the last ten years – either in the workshop, in the studio, or supporting me behind the scenes – and so to all of you I say simply this:  Thank you.

Everything that we have achieved since 2005 is down to you, and I hope that the next ten years will offer us as much fun, excitement, satisfaction and laughter as the last ten have.

Mike Tucker
Director and Effects Supervisor, The Model Unit
August 2015


With The Model Unit nominated for an RTS Craft Award, here are some images from our projects which were nominated in previous years…

RTS Craft Award Nomination for The Day of the Doctor

The Model Unit is very proud to announce that it has been nominated, alongside Real SFX, for an RTS Craft & Design Award for the practical effects work seen in the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor.

For miniature effects supervisor Mike Tucker this is the fifth time he has been nominated in this category, having previously been put forward for individual awards for 999 International – Missing in Action, The Brighton Bomb, and Horizon: Last Flight of the Columbia, and under the Model Unit banner for Human Body – Pushing the Limits.

“Having won the BAFTA earlier in the year, its fantastic for the team to now get a second nomination, and I’m delighted that it’s for a show that really showcased how well practical effects can work within a modern drama production.”

– Mike Tucker, Visual Effects Supervisor

For more information about the Model Unit’s work on this episode please contact Mike Tucker.


The Model Unit joins Firestorm team

The shows of Gerry Anderson – including Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, UFO and Space: 1999 – have been benchmarks in the creation of stunning models and miniature effects, and the Model Unit is very proud to announce its involvement with Firestorm, a brand new science fiction series from Anderson Entertainment.

Following in the grand tradition of those well-loved series created by his father, producer Jamie Anderson has assembled a team of practical effects designers and technicians, with the goal of recreating the texture and feel of those ground-breaking shows, but using the very latest materials and cameras to bring those effects bang up to date.

Model Unit Supervisor Mike Tucker explains the appeal of the project:

“There are a huge number of people now in the visual effects industry – myself included – who are only here because of the influence that those Gerry Anderson series had on us. A large number of my regular crew are huge fans of those shows, and in particular of the work of effects designer Derek Meddings, so to get the opportunity to work on a project that puts models and practical effects at the heart of the production is incredibly exciting. I’m extremely grateful to Jamie, and to VFX Supervisor Steve Begg, for inviting us on board.”

The initial plan for Firestorm is to fund a pilot via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, with the hope of then going forward into production of a full series.

More information can be found on the project here: Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Filmed in Ultramarionation by Jamie Anderson


The Model Unit returns to Ealing Studios

Following the recent announcement that Wimbledon Studios Ltd has gone into administration, the Model Unit is pleased to announce its return to the historic Ealing Film Studios in West London.

Model Unit Supervisor Mike Tucker explains:

“The move to a bigger space at Wimbledon allowed us to handle two huge projects for Doctor Who that would have been very difficult at our Ealing facility. However, given the unfortunate situation that has arisen at Wimbledon, it makes perfect sense for us to return to the studio where we first set up shop in 2005.”

The move is taking place during the last week of August, and the Model Unit will resume normal service from September 1st.

For more information please contact Mike Tucker on 07973 636518, or at themodelunit@mac.com

Wimbledon Studios Guest Blog | Mike Tucker on The Model Unit

Model Unit Supervisor Mike Tucker was a recent guest blogger for the Wimbledon Studios website, talking about the BAFTA-winning effects work done for Doctor Who – The Day of the Doctor. The article can be read here: Mike Tucker on The Model Unit At Media Village

UPDATE (August 2014): Wimbledon Studios has sadly since gone into administration, and faces an uncertain future. As their website is currently suspended, we have reproduced the content of Mike’s original blog locally.

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