Leif Ericson model kit (1968)
Designer Matt Jefferies worked on Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek (creating
the iconic Starship Enterprise) bur when he came to design the Pegasus for
George Pal's War Of The Worlds television series, he seems to have turned
for inspiration to another of his projects that has since become something
of a legend in model making circles.
In 1968, model kit company AMT hired Jefferies to create a series of kits
which were to exist in the shared universe of the "Strategic Space Command."
It looks like it was an attempt of sorts to create a background story to
which a whole series of models could be attached, but in the event only the
Lief Ericson was produced.
Apparently the Lief Ericson model was also tenuously connected
to Star Trek. Trek designer Mike Okuda has indicated that while the
Ericson never made it into an episode, the ship did show up in storyboards
for the Filmation animated Star Trek series that aired in 1973/74.
When in 1975, Jefferies was hired by George Pal to work on his proposed
War Of The Worlds TV series, he looks to again have dusted
down the design for the Leif Ericson. Below you can see the box illustration
for the Leif Ericson constrasted with a pre-production sketch for the "Hyperspace Carrier Pegasus" from the
TV show. As you can see, they bear a striking resemblance to each other, the main
difference being that the Pegasus has been flipped from the orientation that was used for the
Lief Ericson kit. (Image below of the Pegasus has been flipped back to
The story does not quite end there, for the design got a further lease of
life from the pens of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, when it was re-imagined
as the INSS MacArthur for their collaborative novel The Mote In Gods Eye.
You can find more images from the War Of The Worlds TV series in the Film and TV Gallery