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TB1 Kit

Aoshima 1/144 Thunderbird 1 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2007 Manufacturer Aoshima
Subject Thunderbird 1 Scale 1/144
Kit Number 3869 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice detail in this scale Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (Yen) ¥2800 (about $23.50 USD)

First Look

TB1 Kit
TB1 Kit
TB1 Kit
TB1 Kit

Over 40 years ago, a man by the name of Gerry Anderson created a number of television series depicting different possibilities in our future. What was especially different about each of these series was that none of the stars of these shows were human. They were all puppets. Supermarionation was the term coined for the concept.

When these episodes were more recently released on DVD, I enjoyed watching them in sequential order for a change and seeing a few episodes that I invariably missed along the way. While my wife, who had never seen any of Gerry Anderson's work, was skeptical about this series and especially the concept of puppets as actors, it didn't take long for her to get engrossed in the stories and forget that she was watching puppets.

I enjoyed watching these episodes on television when I was growing up, and I especially enjoyed a series called the 'Thunderbirds'. In this world, veteran American astronaut Jeff Tracy retires and moved to a remote Pacific island with his sons and creates an organization called 'International Rescue'. The chief scientist, called 'Brains' developed a variety of technologies that would:

  1. Detect disasters and calls for help - this was the space station Thunderbird 5 usually crewed by John Tracy
  2. Dispatch a first-responder to take command on-scene and decide what special equipments were needed to affect the rescue. The first responder was the hypersonic aircraft Thunderbird 1 flown by Scott Tracy
  3. Transport the required rescue equipment to the scene of the disaster, the transport was Thunderbird 2 flown by Virgil Tracy
  4. Affect underwater rescues using a special submarine - this was Thunderbird 4 operated by Gordon Tracy
  5. Affect rescues within close proximity to Earth and to transfer crew members between Tracy Island and the orbital Thunderbird 5 - this was Thunderbird 3 flown by Alan Tracy

In Anderson's world of the Thunderbirds, Jeff Tracy operated International Rescue outside of the jurisdiction of any government, recognizing then that some things in the future will not be different from the present.

These kits have been around for a while, but the molds do not appear to be worse for wear. This is Thunderbird 1, the hypersonic first-responder that launches out of Tracy Island like a rocket, then lands and departs the rescue scene like a Harrier.

The kit is molded in silver styrene and presented on three parts trees. The kit features movable wings to allow you to display the model in its vertical launch position or in flight. The lower wing has a landing gear strut well that will also allow you to pose Thunderbird 1 on its landing gear. Two lower tailplanes are provided for this - one that looks like the other three for in-flight/vertical display, the other that has an extended skid for sitting the aircraft on its gear.

The model will take little time to build, but will take a little longer to prepare if you're going to give it a representative paint job. The hypersonic nose cone is red, while the mid-fuselage, parts of the engine pod, and wingtips were light blue. The wings and forward fuselage were silver whilst the remainder of the engine pod was light gray.

Decals are provided to replicate Thunderbird 1 as it was seen in earlier episodes. At some point in the production, the vertical Thunderbird 1 script was added to the underside of the aircraft as well.

I am happy to see this kit still around and even to see an occasional episode on TV. If you're a Thunderbirds fan, you'll want to add this kit to your stash.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!