5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
This countdown started each episodes of the British Supermarionation show Thunderbirds. I remember watching this and other Gerry Anderson shows when I was a wee lad. I, of course, watched them for the very cool models.
Thunderbird 1 was always first on the scene to check out what rescue equipment Thunderbird 2 would need to haul in. It was piloted by Scott Tracy. The launch sequence for TB 1 was my favorite, blasting off from its underground hanger through the pool area.
Aoshima has rereleased their 1/144th scale kit and it is probably the best rendition of this machine on the market. It is not one of the many “toy” versions with the pull back wheels but an actual scale model consisting of 50 silver plastic parts and 6 plastic bars which the instructions have you glue 4 of in the bottom of the rocket, probably to help it sit when on its spindly landing gear.
The kit builds up easily into 3 sections which makes painting easier. It includes swing wings which are geared, but until you get the main body section glued to the middle fuselage, they have a tendency to lose their grip. But in the end, I have moving wings on mine.
The kit comes with optional landing gear. In the first episode it appeared with wheels, but these were quickly changed to skids in the second episode and stayed that way for the rest (if I recall correctly). The landing gear is long and stalky and one of the few things in the design I never liked, so I built mine gear-up like it was in flight or on its launching platform. Not only do you get the optional gear, you get an optional tail fin to accommodate the gear being down, the landing rocket which deploys from the middle of the fuselage, and the under nose cannon used in some episodes. I left all those off on my build.
I did use a little putty along the front fuselage in front of the swing wings but that could have been as much me trying to line the parts up and keep the swing wings working as the kit.
The kit includes blue decal stripes for around the base piece but they looked too dark to me and would be hard to match for the other blue areas, so I picked a rattle can color that looked right and did some masking to get the scheme down. Decals went on well and that was that.
Now I am looking for the Thunderbird 2 kit with the hanger set.
I would like to thank Dragon USA for the sample and IPMS/USA for sending it to me for review.