Friday, 29 October 2010

The Fabulous One by Jim Lewis

With the Dinky release number 100 the FAB 1 die-cast was always going to be an important toy for both the company themselves and kids across the country at the time of release in 1967 as well as for adult THUNDERBIRDS collectors today. There really is little to fault this amazing piece of precision craftsmanship forty-something years down the line!
Joe Fowlman designed the toy to incorporate all sorts of launching and firing facilities with no sign of an ugly button and the toy retains the smooth look of Derek Meddings'original vision for Lady Penelope's roadster. The whole thing worked on a clever suspension system discreetly tucked away in the chassis. The interior, although gold for some reason, is a very reasonable approximation of the Bob Bell created set in the show itself and of course how can a toy fail with children when there are tiny people in there too? A clear sliding canopy allows some access to this area although the figures themselves are pretty much stuck in position so they aren't truly removable. Jewelled headlights give a little hint of 'class' which the vehicle deserves of course and the livery is almost perfection and far surpasses some of the bizarre efforts of Dinky for later Anderson toys they produced. On the top of the grill there is even a tiny 'nodule' of metal to suggest the Spirit Of Ecstasy figurine the actual miniature in the show had. Although again like the JR21 toy no mention is made of the car being a Rolls Royce!
This particular example came into my hands 25 years back from a die-cast dealer who himself had found it in an old toy shop unsold from the 1960s. However the popularity of the toy and of course THUNDERBIRDS itself meant it was almost continually issued for the better part of a decade. The various Dinky catalogues during this period featured the toy extensively either in artwork form and latterly in photographs. The packaging too changed from the one we see here to bubble packs as the 1970s crashed upon us.
MECCANO MAGAZINE featured the toy and it received a glowing commentary so it's inclusion here is worth a look. It goes to show that it really isn't just a bunch of middle-aged guys or children at the time who rave about this. A toy from the 1960s many will have memories of, along with the Corgi Batmobile and 007 Aston Martin and Dinky's own SPV from 'CAPTAIN SCARLET', the FAB 1 die-cast toy is one any THUNDERBIRDS fan will be pleased to own. I know I am.
Jim Lewis

5 comments:

  1. "and of course how can a toy fail with children when there are tiny people in there too?" ...

    Have to agree. The car is just lovely beyond words, but those lil figures make it so much more a toy to capture the imagination. Forget the hinged radiator grill and the lil missiles firing from the rear, it was the seated figure of Lady P herself that made it for me!

    Felt much the same with the figures seated in the glorious Chevrolet Astra 1 Experimental car!!!

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  2. Excellent toy. Far better than the Corgi one of just a few years ago. Dinky had some great designers.

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  3. Chevy Astro from Corgi was indeed a big one for me as a kid. It looked like it should have been from a TV show or something and the little bloke looked like James Bond to me so i loved it.
    Jim Lewis

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  4. Yeah, that lil guy does bear a striking resemblance to Bond, James Bond. But in my imagination as a child it was the girl who owned and drove the car. James was just a passenger.

    I bought the toy for myself a year or so ago very cheaply, somewhat scratched, but with both figures inside. Still love it - still one of my all-time favourites.

    ReplyDelete
  5. And I have a vague idea the Astra 1 appeared in one story of the Look-in Partridge Family comic strip. Maybe Shaqui could say whether or not that is so.

    ReplyDelete

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