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WHITTIER : 'Star Ship' Project Awaits Final Touch

January 20, 1994|JOHN POPE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Bernard and Roberta Campbell's neighbors have seen some unusual decorations over the years.

In the 1985 Halloween season there was Snoopy in a British Sopwith fighter, aiming for the Red Baron's German plane above their Whittier home. At Christmas in 1987, there was Norman Rockwell's painting, "Winter Scene," re-created in the Campbells' front yard, where passersby posed in the sled and toboggan for photographs.

And two years later, a dancing robot, spaceship and two "Martians" stood before a green cloud on the roof to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Orson Welles' broadcast, "The War of the Worlds."

Now Bernard Campbell, a 62-year-old artisan and former Hughes Aircraft worker, is looking for a home for his latest creation: a gray, drivable craft of wood, aluminum, steel and plastic he calls the Star Ship.

Campbell began the project in 1988, planning to give the finished ship to a youth organization. He worked about 15 to 20 hours a week for nearly two years, he said, before a heart attack and subsequent surgery forced him to stop before the final touches could be added. He said he hopes to donate the ship to a youth group that can complete the project and use it for recreation.

Campbell fashioned the ship around a three-wheel scooter and a boat hull. Three simulated rocket engines, with red, glowing lights and a vacuum cleaner engine for sound add to the effect. A two-cylinder scooter engine powers the craft, although the vehicle still needs to be licensed for street driving. Headlights, turn signals, interior panels and some additional lights and gadgets still need to be added, he said, and will probably cost between $100 and $200.

Campbell said he will answer written requests from any youth organization or club interested in obtaining the Star Ship. His address: 18015 Arroyo Drive, Whittier 90604.

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