What wondered me is that they made the effort of Airwolf dodging missiles or using decoys to get rid of them. We see the missile head flying in the background or the missile itself hunting Airwolf. This depiction is at least realistic, the missile looks normal and moves with discernible speed.

But firing them is a whole different story. Every time you see only literally glowing balls of fire with a pow, pow noise when Airwolf or enemy aircraft are launching missiles. This really was a suspension of belief even as child. Were the special effects team simply lazy? I cannot imagine that it would have not be possible to overlay real missile starts with an Airwolf background or use dummy rockets with water and/or dry ice and use blue screen with a moving background. Why those ridiculous plasma balls?

Given that Airwolf had a relatively high budget for a TV series, I do not believe it would have not been possible to set up a more realistic mockup. What are the reasons for the missile start setup and did the SF team at least tried to get it more realistic?

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    Im sure the high budget did not mean an overly high SFX budget. From the video youtube.com/watch?v=pF6gpDypqMY it looks like they had to reuse the machine gun and missile clips. And the missile firing are split second shots. Why waste money on unneeded SFX that will only be seen for a half second? – cde Oct 29 '15 at 9:15
  • @cde Something like creator's pride ? The missile firing are split second shots because of the "photon torpedo" missiles. I simply doubt that if the explosives SFX had always their field day money and time for better effects was missing. The Wizard of Oz tornado e.g. was really good made with very primitive tools. – Thorsten S. Oct 29 '15 at 23:13
  • the wizard of Oz was a silver screen release. Air wolf was a run of the mill tv show where they have to scrape every dollar they can. – cde Oct 30 '15 at 1:04

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