Visual Guide Addendum: Pin-Ups
Last week, we released a visual guide to propaganda posters in the Wing Commander movie which included a great deal of information. But readers were quick to point out one thing it did not include: the various pin-ups that also decorate the pilot's mess' walls. For this addendum, we've identified as many as possible and have also provided some history behind why they were included in the first place!
- There are two shirtless men to the left and a woman in a swimsuit with boxing gloves to the right as Blair and Maniac first enter the mess.
- On the pillar to Blair's left facing away from where he and Maniac enter. This one seems to be cutout of a woman in a red swimsuit.
- A collage of too-small-to-be-identified photos next to the "BE PREPARED" photo.
- A collection of rectangular photographs and a collage of photos that have been formed into a larger figure near the dart board. These are not seen clearly.
- An unspecified poster near the pinball machine. This one only appears in a few blurry frames during the quick pan before the jump; it may be a repeat of the boxing photo at the mess entrance.
- A cutout of a woman in a red swimsuit on a cabinet at the back of the room, best visible during the jump sequence (maybe he the same photo as the one on the pillar.)
- A black and white photo of a woman's butt which is visible in back of Maniac during the jump sequence time-slice.
The images themselves (at least those that are clearly visible) are most likely stock photographs from a license-free library available to the film's art department. It's quite possible that we will eventually be able to locate, for instance, the original photograph of the lady boxer. In fact, we've already found one! The rectangular butt photo visible in Maniac's is an art piece by the film's set photographer as found on his defunct MySpace gallery. In addition to maintaining continuity on the movie, Mr. Braun is a Luxembourg-based fetish photographer whose work has appeared regularly in galleries.
But why does the script specify including pin-ups in the first place? Like many small touches in the film, these pin-ups are a reference to the original Wing Commander. As the game's players began to examine what made the game especially immersive, seemingly minor details like the leaky pipe and the locker pin-ups in the Tiger's Claw's barracks gameflow screen were frequently identified. When Secret Missions 2 shipped in 1991 with an updated executable, programmers added the option to "check poster out" which loaded a larger image of the posters:
Perhaps in response to outcry on early bulletin board systems that adding cheesecake to the game was offensive, Strike Commander opted to offer both male and female pin-ups which could be selected from the Wildcats' headquarters.
Strike Commander's RealSpace engine follow-up, Pacific Strike, modified the system slightly and provided the pin-up as a player reward. If you are flying well, your crew chief will slip a small girly photo on your fighter's dashboard. Taking place during World War 2, there was less room for players to cry foul (or perhaps no one noticed over Pacific Strike's cacophony of other issues).
By 1994, sexy photos were out but the system was still being iterated upon. Wing Commander III featured a recurring gump in which clicking on Blair's locker triggered a video sequence. Depending on when in the game the locker was explored it could play a holographic message or cause Blair to reminisce about his vacation photos. These are the source photos digitized for the Premiere Edition calendar if you'd like to print your own!
Of course while Colonel Blair grew up in fifteen years of battling space cats, Maniac Marshall absolutely did not. He has a whole stack of pornographic magazines in his locker as seen in a famous Wing Commander III cutscene. You can read all about where it came from here!
Privateer may censor in-game copies of PlayThing(tm)... but artist Paul Steed (better known for his pioneering 3D texture work) was notorious for drawing pin-up girls in places they weren't wanted… like these Privateer storyboards intended to flesh out the designs for the game's different bases and ship modification screens!
Privateer 2: The Darkening features an AI pilot said to be a pin-up: Skecis Mk II wingman Vicksen Aureola's CCN biography reads, in part: "Pilot, Pin-Up and Philanderer, Aureola is a favourite with traders both in and out of the cockpit. Whereas her buxom charms have generated her a healthy income and wide-spread recognition across the Tri-System, it is as pilot of the fighter Bathukolpian that she chooses to devote her time." The game itself also brought in real life pin-up star Dani Behr to provide the voice of the player's ship AI. You can read more of her story here.
Finally, do you want a Wing Commander pin-up of your very own? We've got you covered: the March 1999 issue of Sci-Fi Teen magazine includes one of Blair in his marine armor! Copies are readily available on eBay.
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