Friday, June 09, 2023

It Was Copied, Therefore, It Existed

NYTimes  |  WHAT: The Area S4 U.F.O. model. This miniature plastic replica is said by its manufacturer, the Testor Corporation of Rockford, Ill., to be "a scale model kit of the alien craft allegedly hidden in Nevada by the U.S. Government, as described by eyewitness and former Government physicist Bob Lazar." But the original craft is not just any U.F.O. It is nicknamed "the sport model" by Mr. Lazar, who has claimed to have worked in 1988 at a classified air base in central Nevada referred to by some as Area S4. There, he has asserted, he worked as part of a Government team, "reverse-engineering" one of nine alien craft, taking it apart to determine its technology. The model, which retails for $24.95, has been selling out at hobby stores, particularly since the talk-show host Larry King displayed one two months ago during his show about U.F.O.'s, broadcast from just outside the base. "We are selling them as fast as we can make them," said Nancy Rainwater, a company spokeswoman.

THE ORIGINAL: It is described by the company as an "anti-matter reaction, gravity-amplification, interstellar craft," made of an unknown substance. Mr. Lazar has said that the anti-matter reactor bends space-time and is fueled by what he called Element 115 (the latest addition to the terrestrial periodic table is Element 111, announced by German physicists just last month).

THE MODEL: Made of plastic, it is 13 inches in diameter when assembled (compared with 52 feet for the original). It has 23 pieces, including alien figures and a transparent top that offers a view of the anti-matter reactor. Paint and cement are not included; a 16-page full-color book is.

THE DESIGNER: John Andrews has spent years gleaning information about secret United States military aircraft for Testor. "We have a kind of miniature C.I.A. here," said Mr. Andrews, who has made several trips to the perimeter of the base in Nevada. "We collect bits and pieces and put them together in a mosaic." He says he scouts and talks to people who observe activity around Air Force bases to design his models. They include one of the F-117 Stealth fighter, which he made before the Government even acknowledged the Stealth existed; that kit has sold 700,000 units, believed to be the most for any plastic model kit ever. Last year, he turned out a model of the Aurora, the new breed of supersonic spy plane said to be housed at the Nevada base.

SOURCES: Mr. Andrews consulted with Mr. Lazar and Jon Farhat, a computer-graphics designer who is working on a movie about Mr. Lazar. Mr. Lazar has claimed that he saw the saucer fly, though never higher than 40 feet off the ground. His personal credentials have not checked out (he has said that the Government destroyed his educational records, from the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

RELIABILITY: As for the existence of the craft on which the model is based, Testor has carefully said, "We can neither confirm nor deny." And the Government? Well, It has denied that the air base ever existed.

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