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Aoshima Thunderbird 1

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I just can't help myself, its an addiction I tell you!

So stuck in the house unable to use the shed to paint I looked through the stash to find something that would be fun to build. Needless to say, this appeared in my search like a hypersonic vision from the future:


Obligatory Sprue Shot:





I've had this kit for a few months, but during Telford, our esteemed Chairman, Eric came back tot he stand triumphantly carrying a base card depicting London Airport. The wheels turned and an image came to mind, so on the Sunday I collared him into showing me where he bought it - thanks Eric!

This is what he had found:


Superb - can you guess what I'm going to so with it? Anyway, back to the model. Its pretty straightforward construction-wise, moulded is silver/grey plastic with no flash and only a few visible injector pin marks which are easily filled. The basic components are easy to assemble:


Note the main fuselage hasn't been joined together as there is a cunning mechanism to allow the wings to retract or extend in sync. To this end you attach two sets of pivot brackets and a central separator within the main fuselage:


The wings fit in thus:



So taping the upper part of the fuselage on and the rear section you get this:



Mmmmmm, looking good!

So there is a vertical thruster jet nozzle you can attach to the bottom and this was a perfect fit for a 5mm hole to take an acrylic rod and brass sleeve:


This needed a little bit of fettling with the central partition and then the brass sleeve got fixed in using some araldite:


So returning to the base, I used an old wooden plaque that previously held a large ornate coat hook and cut a portion of the London Airport base to size for it:


with a suitably drilled hole, off centre and angled, I can do this:


or even better this:


Now I've left myself in a quandry, I'm almost ready to start painting the main components. I want to do it Alcad Airframe aluminium but that means I have to start visiting the shed again :(

This may mean I'll have to start to build something else... Maybe I should pluck up my courage and make a go at this one...


then again maybe the CY fumes will play havoc with my cough...

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Now I've left myself in a quandry, I'm almost ready to start painting the main components. I want to do it Alcad Airframe aluminium but that means I have to start visiting the shed again :(

This may mean I'll have to start to build something else...

Nah - there's lots of panels you can open up and add tons of scratch detail

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Back to Thunderbird 1 then.

Painting was the next stage, with the rear fuselage/engine section being joined up, fins added and painting undertaken


The blue of the fuselage is Tamiya X-14 with a touch of white added to tone it down. The blue stripes are raw X-14. Silver is Alcad semi-matt alumninium.


Legs have been assembled with the requisite "splay-footed" appearance and painted Alcad semi-matt alumninium.


Nose painted with Tamiya red gloss over Alcad gloss black primer


For the main fuselage I originally painted the wings before joining the two halves together. Initially I tried Alcad airframe aluminium on the wings but that came up way too shiny. it looked nice but not like Thunderbird 1! So in the end it got changed to semi-matt aluminium. So the wings then got fitted back into the fuselage and the two halves glued together.

I tehn spent several days priming, sanding, filling and priming to eliminate the joint in the fuselage. Once I was happy, it then got sprayed semi-matt aluminium:


Yay, looking good! had to rescribe panel lines aroudn the joint but that wasn't too difficult, so now to final assembly:


So now onto weathering... uh oh! This is where things almost went disasterously wrong. Once again I forgot to seal it with Klear before using MiG washes. I added a pin wash using MiG Dark wash and then when dry wiped off the excess using a little bit of thinner on the cloth... which of course immediately stripped the paint back to the plastic in the spots I wiped... sigh, schoolboy error! In the end I had to take most of the alcad off, clean it up, mask the rear fuselage with tape and a plastic bad and then repainted using Tamiya Metallic grey instead of Alcad.

This time around I remembered to seal the paint with Klear and then add the wash, but this time I used Flory Models black wash, which did the trick just fine. Then Decals were added and finally another thin coat of Klear added. I didn't using matt varnish because I want this to be a bit shiny to give it a FAST look )

In the meantime, cotton wool was added to the acrylic rod and base so the end result looks like this:






and here it is on the shelf next to Thunderbird 3:


I suppose I'll have to do Thunderbird 2 soon!!

Edited by Kallisti
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Thanks everyone, glad you like it :)

It looks brilliant.

Are you going to weather it a bit?

The TB's were always so grubby in the series.


It varied - on the way back from a rescue they were often filthy dirty but on first arrival they were pristine. In my mind this is the scenes from Trapped in the Sky, the very first episode where they have to rescue Fireflash - this is TB1 landing at London Airport that very first time...

looks great Kallisti - you're going to have to go fro the full set now!

I've got a TB2 and TB4 in the stash - don't have TB5, the models of that aren't very good. I have plans for the TB2 which include a Martian Probe capsule floating on the surface of the water...

I've got a TB4 kit as well but its not very good and its quite small...

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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 years later...

My lovely wife bought me an Aoshima Thunderbird 1 for our Wedding Anniversary this year. The obvious thing for me then was to watch Trapped in the Sky to see which version of Thunderbird 1 was used as the kit provides both wheels and skids for the undercarriage, which hopefully will be strong enough to support the model. Continuity must have been a nightmare for the model makers and film crew as when TB 1 arrives at the danger zone the gear changes three times during the course of the landing! The kit is basic but there is sufficient detail to make this a very good model. I’m really looking forward to building the kit as despite being 1/144 scale it is impressive in size. It will be good to finish a model!

Edited by avro683
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On 10/14/2017 at 3:29 PM, avro683 said:

Continuity must have been a nightmare for the model makers and film crew as when TB 1 arrives at the danger zone the gear changes three times during the course of the landing!

...and that's not all. Everybody's used to the word "Thunderbird" running along the length of the fuselage -- as depicted on the model that's the subject of this thread -- but shots of TB1 parked in Trapped in the Sky and other episodes have another identical (well, almost) word running along the underside, but in a different font and with the T on the red nose-cone. This is only ever seen in that shot, AFAIK, but then Derek Meddings said that TB1 only really had one good angle to be photographed from -- an opinion which I don't agree with.


Regardless, I'm looking forward to building my Aoshima TB1 (I've even got an idea of how to make the undercarriage configurable -- up or down) and doubly to displaying it next to the De Agostini TB2!

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Look forward to seeing that!


The makers of Thunderbirds were not terribly bothered by continuity or scale for that matter as can be seen during some of the Fireflash episodes where TB2 is shown much to small against Fireflash, that and the fact there were multiple TB2 models all of which had different markings, shapes and colours but where used interchangably within the same sequence :)


I've never worried about it too much, as much as I love it, its a kids TV show from the 60s... I don't expect too much from it.

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