Friday, 29 August 2014


With exactly two weeks to go before the Alpha: 2014 convention I felt the urge to begin a run of posts  putting up a few photos of some of my Eagle models and toys to get me in the mood. Don't worry if you're not going, I'm duty bound to give a full report of the event for the blog.

To begin with I thought I'd re-post a couple of photos I took last year of a slightly distressed Dinky Eagle Transporter which  I picked up at a  Dinky mart, Bill , Paul and I went to in Bolton.

More Eagle photos to follow.

Thursday, 28 August 2014


Heartened by the recent success with capturing the Nuclear Pulse launch, I thought i'd have a go at something a little more dramatic. The Topper/Deluxe Reading Cape Canaveral Rocket Base has been a staple toy for me since I was about seven. One excited Xmas morning I got the set laid out, primed one of the 10" rockets in the spring powered launcher... and Bam! Off it went, a perfect parabolic orbit across the room and crashed into the tree, fusing all the xmas lights. Needless to say, my name was mud for the next few days.

Since that epic launch in the sixties, that set has long gone, but with Woodsy's help, Ive now got an almost complete second set. So, thinking I could record the dramatic launch of a rocket with my camera, I laid it out on the conservatory floor, found a long aluminium rod, primed the camera and...

..Nothing. No amount of pushing or nudging would make it go. A quick spray of WD40, though and it was away - but unfortunately, too fast for my old shutter finger.
  But perseverance is the name of the game, so some 300 frames later, I cracked it. Unfortunately, the launch took 1/30th of a second, so it was a very brief shoot!
The big stick effect also pushes the base around, but the considerable recoil from the rocket (which sailed 8' into the air and landed on my head) slams down shaking the launcher.

On to Phase 2... see the pilot on the extreme left faint dead away at the thought of being sent into space!

Expect more potentially damaging camera hijinks soon..


Although there's a while to go before, hopefully a whole new generation of Thunderbird fans will come into being when we get to see the brand new rebooted Thunderbirds are Go TV series.

Slowly but surely, little snippets of info are being leaked onto the web to wet our appetite and provoke many a debate from fans, myself and blog friend, Will Schwartz included.

Personally, my interest will be in what merchandise we'll be treated to, die cast toys, plastic models, I can't wait.

We've now seen plenty of images of the new Thunderbird 1, including this rather tidy looking large model. That would look very nice in my display cabinet.

We've also seen these 3D renderings of the craft ,which are all over the web, so they may as well be here as well.

This is what I think of what I've seen - what do you lot think?

Thunderbird 1 is too much like the original for me and there's been changes for changes sake. I'm not sure I like those stubby wings, but I can see me getting used to them.

The rendering of the new  Thunderbird 2 looks like the wings fold up, and what is that circular thing behind the intake? I'll be honest  this design is really growing on me. There's enough of the original design to make it recognisable, but now it's taken on a more muscular look.

I must admit I'm having trouble with Thunderbird 3. The rocket motors look like they've been inspired by Lego. I'm hoping it'll look better on the show.

Thunderbird 4 doesn't look a lot different to the original, but unlike the changes in Thunderbird 1, I reckon this looks a lot sleeker and more realistic.

As to Thunderbird 5, the 3D rendering I've seen looks totally different to the original one we're used to.
To see it along with the other click on the link which shows the 3D renderings.

Generation SPACEX - Outer Space Travel

 Outer Space Travel
The final installment of our look at Spacex Stage One is the only series without a larger model. Instead it features a flight of four smaller toys.
This last series of models are all spacefaring vehicles, but with the notable inclusion of a pleasure cruiser, Triang clearly thinking ahead to a period when the everyman could take jaunts into space. Nova 1 again features in Arthur C Clarke's book along with the MEV and Sword Booster Rocket and the elegant Space Patrol 1 or Space Command Ship from the US line, is a direct lift from Ron Turner's 'Guardian' ship in his TV21 Dalek strip. The Nuclear Freighter has more than a touch of Thunderbird 2 styling as well.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at some of my most treasured toys and a look at Woodsy's personal SPACEX fleet. A multitude of style and colour variations exist, some of which can be seen here: 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Prospector on the Moon

Master builder Kevin Davies has sent us a fine photograph of his recent Prospector build, coursing over the moon surface. Wonderful.

Generation SPACEX - Moon Base

The Triang Stage One series Moon Base series includes the single most complex toy of the fleet, the eponymous base itself. Based on a NASA concept for an advance base, the toy has four modular capsules, each sitting on four tiny detachable legs. Inside three of the four units are tiny scaled items of furniture and equipment, including a computer array, recreation hall with cinema and dormitory with pool table and bunk beds! The fourth module is the garage unit with opening hatch and the four units are connected by a cross shaped tunnel unit.
The Moon Base series is possibly the closest that SPACEX comes to Project SWORD in one sitting. Featuring a central base, the almost identical Prospector and Moon Bus lookalike, parallels between the series begin here and radiate outward.
The MEV design can be found in Arthur C Clarke's 'Man in Space' book and the Cricket P1 appears in many other toy lines, most notably in Remco's Hamilton Invaders line.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Nuclear Pulse in Action

The Spacex Nuclear Pulse is a fabulously unique design and besides its unusual look, it has two action features to extend playability and interest. In the central bay is a small ejectable space plane, spring mounted and almost guaranteed to speed off into the depths of space (or far corner of the living room) at the slightest touch.

Fortunately, the Pulse comes equipped with a second feature, twin satellite launchers! In the sixties, flying saucer guns were frequently found with wind up launching saucers and Triang have taken this concept, made it smaller and added a pair of neat launchers to the model. With a few turns and the flick of a hidden lever, the satellites launch into the air, spinning furiously. Until recently, the whole effect happened so fast it was hard to enjoy, but while on location at Moonbase, I managed to grab two sequences at 30 frames per second of a launch. Here they are, as animated gifs!

A few brisk turns and the saucer satellite is ready to fly, twirling a good foot into the air. As with any vintage toy, caution is always advised, but as usual the Pulse performed beautifully!


While blogging and social media are always a good place to converse with like - minded folk, to my mind nothing beats meeting people in real life and mingling in the convention environment.

Obviously, for some people this is just not their thing, and of course its not always possible for some people to attend these events for all sorts of reasons, even though they'd love to. But, in my experience (my first con was Fanderson '81)  for those who do attend it can be a super and memorable experience.

This year I've been lucky enough to attend the mega Andercon convention and the 2nd excellent Cosford Anderson Expo. My next outing will be next month at Alpha: 2014, which proposes to be one of the biggest Space 1999 conventions to date here in Britain .

According to this flyer there's certainly a large number of guests attending, one or two I've not seen before.

There also promises be the usual excellent model display exhibited by those talented chaps belonging to All Sections Alpha.

Will the future be fantastic?

I'll let you know next month!

Generation SPACEX - Space Station


Spacex Stage One - Space Station was the second part of the Triang fleet, featuring one Major vehicle, the amazing Nuclear Pulse and four standard vehicles. The Pulse remains my favourite Spacex ship throughout the available series, to date.
The Hawk example here has taken a beating, but after decades worth of play, its hardly surprising this fragile and delicate ship appears in one piece. The swing wing mechanism is often damaged and the twin canard fins and thin nose are usually first to go. The R2 is shown with a common colour variation, which usually appears in the american Golden Astronaut line.

Monday, 25 August 2014

From Little Acorns

At this point, I think its worth reflecting back to a time before the blog, in the late 90's, when my first tentative steps on the internet were primarily to discover more about my favourite toys; Spacex and Project SWORD. In the first few hours of being online, I discovered a tantalisingly comprehensive page covering everything I was looking to discover. Most importantly, it gave me the name of a fellow enthusiast, Mr P Woods.

Although Woodsys early checklist was spartan in the extreme (no pictures!!) it did help me get an idea of the full extent of both the Spacex and SWORD lines. Shortly after discovering the page, I made contact with Woodsy and the rest as they say is history.

But for now, take a look at Woodsys original magnum opus (although not the very first edition, its the only surviving example) and see the roots from which the blog eventually sprung.

(Incidentally, any contact addresses and emails are now defunct - some of the values are a little off the mark too..)

the definitive guide to vintage thunderbirds toys - steve's thunderbirds vintage toys

BLOG EXCLUSIVES ARCHIVE: CUrrently out of order

Spacex Mobile Launch Pad Instruction sheet courtesy of reader Mike Burrows

Spacex Nuclear Pulse Instruction sheet courtesy of reader Mike Burrows

Tarheel Moon Prospector Instruction sheet courtesy of Woodsy

Snow Train and Hover Tank Make a Model Book Century 21 courtesy of Woodsy

Scout 3 Box copy to print out and make up by Woodsy and Wotan


Courtesy of Graeme Walker

Blog exclusive 3 - tarheel moon prospector instruction sheet - print-out a4 and keep!


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