Thunderbirds The Mole Mini
Thunderbirds are GO!!!!! For those of my generation, that was a great call tag! For the younger crowd, I am sure they have still heard about International Rescue. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson created one of the greatest series ever to be broadcast! There were only two 50 episode seasons created. However, those two seasons spawned two movies and tons of different merchandising items to include plastic and die-cast models. Bandai, Imex and Aoshima are the ones I can remember. I have seen several others over the years adding their twist to the old classic which just proves the greatness of the original models used in the series.
Aoshima’s website is not super user friendly but as near as I can tell they offer at least 12 different Thunderbird models. Six are part of their MINI series and six in their other line. The mole has currently two different versions in their inventory. One of the kits is in 1/72 and I believe is a copy of the older Imex kit and this other MINI mole.
This one appears to be an oddity. There is not scale included or listed. It is #5 in a series listed as MINI but the sides of my box show 1-3. They actually have a total of six in the MINI category. Thunderbird 2 (Heavy Equipment Hauler) and the others all appear to look more like a Hasegawa “egg plane” than the actual vehicles in the series. The title Mini’s as they are all being called might be an attempt to get children into the modelling realm. The kit only contains 22 parts. The parts are composed of metallic grey, polished aluminum and yellow. There is a small decal sheet and two page fold out instruction booklet. There is a color guide but I think Aoshima wants you to use as less paints as possible. The rotating amber warning light on top could be easily painted amber/red yet the instructions want you to use two decals to color it. I am going to build this as a snap tight model as it appears it was designed. With the few amount of parts and ability to be able to roll, I think this is Aoshima’s attempt. I will not paint any of the call outs as they are already colored in the defined plastic. The one exception is the four wheels underneath. They call out H2 to paint the wheels but there is no H2 color reference. It should be fun to attempt.
Construction was simple and fast. I had all the parts cleaned up and attached in about 30 minutes. I actually cleaned and sanded the parts as I would do any model. Assembly was all snap and it held. The only one that didn’t look right was the two body halves. These two snapped together but there was a noticeable gap. I opted for using liquid glue and a clamp. This I allowed to dry overnight. I did drill out part 10, the drill collar, as it was a very tight fit on the metal connecting shaft. This necessitated using super glue on the shaft end to ensure the drill assembly did not fall off. I applied the decals using the Micro Scale system and all but one went down without a hitch. I caught some slight silvering under the MOLE name but other than that, I think they look great on the bare plastic. The Amber decals are opaque and very non see through. The one issue was the Warning light. The top decal snuggled down great but the ring decal, during it’s contortions, created a slight gap between itself and the top decal. It is noticeable on the rear of the vehicle. I could truly not ask for a more fun, easier build. I will have to see if I can get my Grand Daughter involved in building a TB-2 kit. It is almost like an airplane and she might enjoy it.
If Aoshima’s attempt is to use these minis to try and get kids interested in model building then I am all for it and I greatly appreciate the attempt. I also appreciate the fact that they have re-released the 1/72 mole. That kit turns in to a great model. Thanks to Dragon Models USA for providing the kit. Special thanks to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it. Get out there and pick up one of these kits to build with your child and grab the 1/72 for yourself!