Monthly Archives: January 2014

An original Mk1 1977 Raleigh Grifter

An original Mk1 1977 Raleigh Grifter in metallic blue. Mint. Un-restored. Rare. The bike that as kids, lots of us wanted but never had.  So I relieve it from Richard’s collection. Then drive it up to Blackburn to Tyson’s. Henry gets some accurate dimensions from the bike frame and some scales from a small X-wing model to create some realistic proportions, making a Solidworks cut schedule for fabrication.


First flight

In the dark, but not so satanic mill that is HQ at M1 Studios, Ben, my design intern from Salford University, helps me bring some form and life to the initial ideas.  We look for some BMX and racer frame models in 3Ds Max and some light sabre imagery.  We take a few of days to dimension them out to make visual test models. Some scaling, pushing and pulling needs doing, but they’re really promising.  He Photoshop’s them up in a dogfight inside Petal HQ.  They look cool. I circulate them and yes – they’ve got to be made.

Xwing 2

First design stage – sketches

I get to work late that night, rough sketching out the ideas for what becomes the X-wing and Tie fighter (later to become an Interceptor) on the back of a piece of cardboard packaging that I’d received a vinyl album in through the post. Oddly enough, most of the final forms are in there – re-instating Raleigh badges, using cogs for engines, the bike frames, tubing, lasers etc, but its still tatty. You can vaguely make out the words ‘Skywalker’ and ‘Vader’ in my six-year olds’ handwriting. I call my mate Richard the next day – a BMX collector and walking encyclopaedia on anything with wheels on. I ask him which are the most available BMX frames to buy to make a sculpture. He hits the nail on the head. ‘Grifters, Vin. You’ve got to use Grifters. They should be affordable and they came out around the same time as the original film’ The pre-cursor to the modern BMX. Nice one – I owe you.


The rain falls hard…

Andy calls me to wish me a happy new year. Neither of us are anything but. Post-festive downers have kicked in on the first day back in work. He’s in a traffic jam near Blackburn and it’s pissing down. I’ve left my home in Middlewich and am stuck in a similar jam in Stockport. And it’s pissing down. After several minutes of sympathetic moaning as the traffic crawls along the A6, he mentions that a guy he knows has asked us to do something for the SPIN LDN cycling expo in London in March. A few ideas are kicked around – then it comes to me. I start disjointedly blabbing at 100mph, which is 99mph quicker than the traffic is flowing. “Bike frames – got to weld a load together – some sort of mad spaceship thing – like a Funkadelic Mothership or something Star Wars-ish – something off its head like that” The idea clicks together quickly but isn’t quite there yet. The downpour stops and a huge rainbow arcs across the leaden skies of Levenshulme.  A divine sign?