The period of time after the first film in 1977 was an especially fertile one for folks building and emulating what they saw on the screen. It was an open house at the GM Tech Center in Warren, MI where I saw the model shop’s rendition of one of Ralph McQuarrie’s most iconic designs. The experience caused a synaptic connection between what my dad and his colleagues designed and manufactured in Detroit with the work Ralph McQuarrie and George Lucas were doing in California. (Of course) Star Wars wasn’t the first film to launch the imaginations of the masses. From all indications, however, it appeared to be a creative slap-in-the-face that energized people to cut through that thick, late-seventies malaise. Was the movie a clarion call (from a narrow-tubed war trumpet) that restored the faith in our resourcefulness? Our freedom to vac-form and kit-bash at will .. to glue Estes model rocket engines to anything not bolted down? DIY!


GM Design Staff folks in the dome at the Tech Center.


The GM R2 had Hot Wheels glued at the base of his dome; their wheels in a track enabling spin.


Nothing says 1970’s like a scratch-built R2 D2 and shag carpeting.

3 Responses to “DIY”

  1. rob Says:

    Saw this today… I am an Industrial Designer today because of RM. The Star Wars sketch book anybody?

    cheers, r

  2. Nicolas J. Russo Says:

    Mr Shuster
    My name is Nicolas Russo, I´m a Freshman in Industry Design here in ORT in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I started this course after 12 years of working in films and tv as an editor. I´ll still work on this,
    because I love it, but I wanted to do something related but different
    at the same time. I´m contacting you because I´m doing an ESSAY about Industry design in Movies, and I would love to make some questions via email

    Hope to hear from you

    • shublog Says:

      I’m very late in responding to your comment. Apologies. If you still have an interest in this subject please let me know .. thanks!

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