Lit by skinflint: Masters of the Air

Prop Hire

If you’re like us, you’ve been unable to avoid the pull of the big-budget show Masters of the Air, with its impressive cast and even more impressive visuals.

Recounting the story of the 100th Bomb Group, this Spielberg/Hanks creation does not shy away from the realities of the gore witnessed by these war heroes during their harrowing daytime bombing missions and beyond. They were aptly nicknamed the ‘Bloody Hundredth’ for the sheer number of casualties amassed during these missions. 

With the majority of filming done on a sprawling recreation of the 100th’s base in Thorpe Abbotts, it was crucial for this set to preserve and honour the histories of these men closely. A huge effort by the art department and props team ensured that this was done down to the very last detail, including the use of a large number of our vintage lights. 

Lighting the map that plotted the 100th’s missions are our Benjamin substation pendants, their parabolic shades providing the perfect angle to illuminate what might very well be the men’s last missions; their deaths indicated only by red lines on a map.

Also illuminating the base are our British textile mill pendants, hung in the mess hall, interrogation room and various other areas on site. With the original labels, these lights provide true historical authenticity on a set that calls for it. The blue-grey shades and cast galleries emulate the industrial design authentic to an army base in WWII.

Our 1950s Thorlux linear lights were also spotted in the Thorpe Abbotts base, which housed so many of the US Airmen during the war. Their white exteriors and strong downlighting echo the serious nature of the work occurring below (except during a indoor bike race), following along as the bombardiers fly their missions. The vented shade also allows for uplighting, creating dramatic markings on the ceilings like dotted lines along a map.

Lastly, our Japanese naval wall lights were used on a vastly different set, decorating the Dulag corridor in Japan-allied Germany, seen by the POWs in their interrogations before transfer to the Stalag Luft camps. The caged bulkheads are reflective of the POWs trapped in their camps, their ornate brass design providing contrast to the horrors of the war.

Masters of the Air does not hide the brutal history of the Bloody Hundredth, allowing for individual stories of heroism and patriotism to take centre stage, helped along by the authenticity of the sprawling sets, skinflint lighting included.


Distributor: Apple TV+

Products used in this Project

Naval wall lights by Osaka Tokushu (single bar)

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British textile mill pendant lighting (V1)

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Rodded substation pendants by Benjamin

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