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Mugs914

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When I was a kid, Thunderbirds.

Some of you, being from a similar era to my own, will recognize that not only as a complete sentence, but a complete thought and, indeed, a complete paragraph.

Gerry Anderson's puppet/sci-fi epic changed the way we saw the world. When my brother and I (5 and 7 years old at the time) spoke of "number one" or "number two" there was never even an inkling of any particular bodily function. Those phrases could ONLY ever mean the sleek, swing wing rocket plane or the portly green cargo carrier with swept-forward wings. My Schwinn bicycle magically transformed into Thunderbird 1 as soon as it cleared the garage, and we quickly learned that sliding down the upturned picnic table into the pedal car, like Virgil sliding into Thunderbird 2, was a really quick route to a busted behind.

Then of course there were the toys...

Dinky toys were a rarity where we were, but there was no shortage of companies producing toy vehicles in the Thunderbird idiom. One line was known in the U.S. as "Golden Astronaut" toys (Space X in the rest of the world, I think). These were awesome little plastic vehicles that were sold on a rack in the drugstore and were quite reasonable (cheap), so mum was a bit more inclined to spring for one (As long as we had been behaving ourselves, of course). My brother and I had dozens of Golden Astronaut toys and would spend hours making jet noises as our miniature fleet shot through space on another adventure.

This is a catalog shot of some of the G.A. line up. Do any of you guys remember these things? They were good fun...
1621570711868.png


Of course, out of all of them, we had our particular favorites and one of mine is the inspiration for this build. Here is a shot of some of the parts before assembly. Any guesses as to which one it is going to be???
1621571017494.png


More soon!

Mike
 

Mugs914

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The bird in this build was inspired by this particular Golden Astronaut craft, known as the "Needle Probe". I always thought it looked cool and have been thinking about a flying version for a long time.

1622416698583.png


The toy itself was based on a drawing of a nuclear powered ("atomic" back in the day) high altitude reconnaissance airplane from a Thunderbirds fan magazine.
1622416882446.png


So far I have assembled the fuselage and vertical fin, and started on the t-tail. The fuselage core is BT-50 with the engine area being made from a BT-60 tube with the intake made from a cut Big Bertha plastic nose cone and the tail cone from a Vapor NC. Motor mount is 24mm.

The tail pieces are made from basswood with 1/64" ply cores. The vertical is a two layer ply core with 1/16" bass skins sanded to an airfoil. The T-tail is a single layer ply core with 1/32" bass skins. It has yet to be sanded to an airfoil shape.

Here are some pics of the tail construction. I'll get some pics of the whole thing soon. It's a little over three feet long, but really skinny, so it's kind of hard to get a good overall shot...

Bottom skin with slot for tip of vertical fin.
20210529_225514.jpg

20210529_225648.jpg


Laminating to 1/64" core...
20210529_225836.jpg


Top skin added and the whole thing in place on the fin. No glue yet; with the fin slot in the bottom skin, it just sort of snaps on.
20210529_231944.jpg

20210529_232000.jpg


More soon...

Mike
 

BABAR

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First, I think what you’ve got so far looks great.

Second, not to rain on your parade, but I think the toy looks like something a kid threw together from three different toys, two separate Airplane kits (both modeled in different scales and made out of different plastic colors, possibly even different KINDS of plastic, possible separate Asian countries), and a few sets of wheels off of a truck.

the real world equivalent would be an F-104 star fighter with its rear shoved into a DC-10 tail motor, a C141 tail assembly, and a B-52 undercarriage.

I expect yours is gonna come out much nicer. Gonna need a thicker forward fuselage to get enough room for laundry to support that fat tailed rear end!
 

modeltrains

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This is a catalog shot of some of the G.A. line up. Do any of you guys remember these things? They were good fun...
The 1960s space toys I had were different, don't remember those.
They are pretty cool.
Would probably have painted them with model paint if I'd had them.

There are some late 60s, early 70s, space toys I would like to have again, especially the bag of red/white/blue plastic astronaut figures in various poses in what seemed to be close to 1/48 scale.
It even had some seated guys handy to use in your own cobbled together spaceship models.

Triang is a company I learned of in the 1970s for their model railway products.

I expect yours is gonna come out much nicer. Gonna need a thicker forward fuselage to get enough room for laundry to support that fat tailed rear end!
That brings to mind, didn't Queen get hired to do the Flash Gordon soundtrack because of their success with the song "Fat bottom toys make the rocket world go round"?
 

modeltrains

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Hey, playing in Google just found, http://www.triangspacextoys.info/
Hello there, and welcome to this site!

When we were young, Spacex toys provided hours and days of fun. Space was a hot topic, with Man landing on the Moon and with great expectations of what was to come. With these imaginative and colourful toys, we could stage our own space adventures by launching from the play corner and colonising the dining room table. If anything went wrong, we'd call in International Rescue to save us with their Dinky Toy Thunderbirds, which looked so right together with Spacex. In summer, the whole garden doubled as a giant-sized universe that our toys could explore, and so the fun went on. Little did we know then, that three-four decades later these toys would bring a new source of wonder and enjoyment, and that the whole world would turn into a giant-sized universe to explore for information about them.


What we've learned so far is on these pages, presenting a picture of Triang Spacex (aka Golden Astronauts) based on our current knowledge of these splendid little toys. It's the result of a lot of research by a number of enthusiastic collectors, as well as the kind efforts of quite a few people that helped on one point or another. In the course of time, we made some wonderful discoveries and also met some wonderful people.


The story is far from complete, however. Sadly, most of the companies behind these toys are no longer present, as is the case with the people involved in their production. This, as well as other reasons, means that very few records survive and many questions remain. Indeed, every fact that we discovered would maybe answer a question, but would immediately present us with a handful of new questions as well.


The story (so far) of Spacex toys therefore contains a lot of guesswork. Not unlike an archeological examination, a lot of what's on these pages has started with the artifacts before us: the toys themselves. Through the years we've also discovered documentation that added insights and could constitute proof. However, without the benefit of any eye witnesses, the precise context and who-did-what-and-why will have to remain speculation... Having said all that, what we did find is fascinating to say the least!
 

Mugs914

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First, I think what you’ve got so far looks great.
Thanks!

Second, not to rain on your parade, but I think the toy looks like something a kid threw together from three different toys, two separate Airplane kits (both modeled in different scales and made out of different plastic colors, possibly even different KINDS of plastic, possible separate Asian countries), and a few sets of wheels off of a truck.
My friend, you are just looking at it with the wrong set of eyes! 😵

You need to go get out your Thunderbird-brained six year old kid eyes and have another look! That thing was NEVER a clunky plastic toy to those eyes; it was a sleek titanium multi-sonic dagger that could streak through the upper atmosphere at a speed that left EVERYTHING else floundering in it's shock wave... Awesome.

Now, when I look with my current set of eyes (a little squinting often required...) I know exactly what you are saying. The reality is that they were just cheap little plastic toys. But to a little boy like me, they were magic.

I expect yours is gonna come out much nicer. Gonna need a thicker forward fuselage to get enough room for laundry to support that fat tailed rear end!
The toy really is an inspiration rather than an upscale subject. Though the configuration is the same, the proportions of my version are, I hope, a bit more pleasing to the eye and more in keeping with the one I flew as a six year old.

😉
 

Mugs914

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The 1960s space toys I had were different, don't remember those.
They are pretty cool.
Would probably have painted them with model paint if I'd had them.

There are some late 60s, early 70s, space toys I would like to have again, especially the bag of red/white/blue plastic astronaut figures in various poses in what seemed to be close to 1/48 scale.
It even had some seated guys handy to use in your own cobbled together spaceship models.

Triang is a company I learned of in the 1970s for their model railway products.
I didn't know they did model railway stuff. That explains why all of their spaceships had train wheels!🤣

That brings to mind, didn't Queen get hired to do the Flash Gordon soundtrack because of their success with the song "Fat bottom toys make the rocket world go round"?
Yeah, I reckon this thing will forever be asking "Does this engine make my butt look big?"

😜
 

Mugs914

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Psst, @Mugs914 , don't show anyone...

View attachment 466784

Okay, I'll stop hijacking your thread now...
That is brilliant! When I was a pup, we got Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet on TV, but I didn't see Joe 90 until much later. I don't remember that particular ship, but it sure is worthy of a model! Gonna make it glide??? ;)

Of course a build thread will be expected!
 

Cape Byron

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That is brilliant! When I was a pup, we got Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet on TV, but I didn't see Joe 90 until much later. I don't remember that particular ship, but it sure is worthy of a model! Gonna make it glide??? ;)

Of course a build thread will be expected!
I've worked up a hybrid wing/tube fin design and started working on a jig to get it all aligned. It isn't a copy so much as an homage. :)

When I was much younger I built a PMC of Stingray. My understanding of CP and CG was pretty much RS, so it flew as well as expected. We got the grass fire out pretty quickly. 🤣
 

Mugs914

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I got the T-tail airfoil all sanded and it looks a lot less clunky than it did in the pics above. I also managed to get a few pcs of the whole thing that are somewhat respectable.

Still have to make the wings. They won't be nearly as far forward as they are on the toy, just a little in front of the intake. I'm thinking they will be the same bass/ply laminate as the tail.

Pics so far...

20210601_222935.jpg

20210601_222951.jpg

20210601_223022.jpg

20210601_223007.jpg

20210601_223037.jpg

20210601_223101.jpg
 

icyclops

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When I was a kid, Thunderbirds.

Some of you, being from a similar era to my own, will recognize that not only as a complete sentence, but a complete thought and, indeed, a complete paragraph.

Gerry Anderson's puppet/sci-fi epic changed the way we saw the world. When my brother and I (5 and 7 years old at the time) spoke of "number one" or "number two" there was never even an inkling of any particular bodily function. Those phrases could ONLY ever mean the sleek, swing wing rocket plane or the portly green cargo carrier with swept-forward wings. My Schwinn bicycle magically transformed into Thunderbird 1 as soon as it cleared the garage, and we quickly learned that sliding down the upturned picnic table into the pedal car, like Virgil sliding into Thunderbird 2, was a really quick route to a busted behind.

Then of course there were the toys...

Dinky toys were a rarity where we were, but there was no shortage of companies producing toy vehicles in the Thunderbird idiom. One line was known in the U.S. as "Golden Astronaut" toys (Space X in the rest of the world, I think). These were awesome little plastic vehicles that were sold on a rack in the drugstore and were quite reasonable (cheap), so mum was a bit more inclined to spring for one (As long as we had been behaving ourselves, of course). My brother and I had dozens of Golden Astronaut toys and would spend hours making jet noises as our miniature fleet shot through space on another adventure.

This is a catalog shot of some of the G.A. line up. Do any of you guys remember these things? They were good fun...
View attachment 465287

Of course, out of all of them, we had our particular favorites and one of mine is the inspiration for this build. Here is a shot of some of the parts before assembly. Any guesses as to which one it is going to be???
View attachment 465288

More soon!

Mike
Yup....those were the days...puppet sci-fi, who knew any better back then that animation would replace it. Fireball XL5 was another puppet theater....we can look back fondly, but kids today would say ”what is this crap” Ha ha. :)
 

Joekeyo

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I thought it was just me who didn't remember those particular space toys. I don't think I had any space toys other than Estes and plastic (static) rockets. On the other hand, Thunderbirds are go! Your rocket is a wonderful rendition of the type combined with a creative imagination. Nice concept and execution.
 

modeltrains

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Yup....those were the days...puppet sci-fi, who knew any better back then that animation would replace it. Fireball XL5 was another puppet theater....we can look back fondly, but kids today would say ”what is this crap” Ha ha. :)
I don't know who they are but someone in UK is having contemporary fun with the concept,
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMQv_O7i_iXMFBSbtolnpjA/about
The work of Century 21 Films spans drama to documentary, miniature effects to puppet shows. Clients include BBC, ITV, Mammoth Screen, Halifax and others. Their latest project, 'Nebula-75', is a Supermarionation puppet drama produced during lockdown.
 

Mugs914

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Well, the wings are sanded and glued on. In fact, the construction is complete except for the canopy/cockpit up front. Still haven't decided on a final design for it yet, but I'm thinking something like this:

Douglas 7.png


Anyway, here it is with the wings. Also added the launch lug to the bottom in a balsa fairing so it looks like a cooling intake and maybe a drag chute housing or something.

Pics:
20210618_214854.jpg

20210618_214915.jpg

20210618_214925.jpg

20210618_214944.jpg


Launch lug...
20210618_211723.jpg

20210618_211757.jpg


Got to do the fillets and sort out the cockpit then we're off to primer.

Mike
 

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Mugs914

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I was looking at drawings and models from the old 60s era SST programs to find ideas and inspiration for the canopy shape. I was leaning toward something along these lines:
Douglas SST 01.jpg

Douglas (SST-Entwurf mit T-Leitwerk).JPG.jpg

Boeing-SST-2.jpg


It has that Thunderbirds look to it, and I'm still leaning toward something like it, but then I came across this:
SSTswingwing.jpg


And this:
Convair SST.jpg

Whoa! The dual canopy thing is kinda cool! I might have to do both and see which I like better. (BTW - Wouldn't that last one make an awesome rocket glider? Maybe next time!)
 

Cape Byron

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Those large swing-wing concepts are amazing; like an F-111 on steroids.

BTW, who remembers the F-111 was known as the Aardvark (and the Flying Pig)?
 

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BTW, who remembers the F-111 was known as the Aardvark (and the Flying Pig)?
I do because of a plastic model kit a friend had. Browsing the model kit aisle of toy and hobby stores is how you learned important things back then.
 

Cape Byron

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I do because of a plastic model kit a friend had. Browsing the model kit aisle of toy and hobby stores is how you learned important things back then.
The Flying Pig is an interesting one, too. Far from derogatory, it was given the name for its ability to 'hunt at night with its nose on the ground'. Contour following at very high speed was one of its greatest strengths.
 

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