I bought this Imai kit of SKY 1 from the UFO TV series for the princely sum of £5.99 from Model World in Liverpool, sometime during the nineties, and although I assembled at the time, it got put to one side, and I’ve only just recently got round to painting it.
As with many Imai kits, it’s a cross between a model and a toy, so it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that it isn’t particularly accurate. For starters it’s designed to run around on wheels, which means an added section at the base to accommodate the rear wheels. There’s an opening back panel to store small models of a Mobile and Ed Straker’s car inside. The main body which has the same detail either side, isn’t quite the right shape; The tail fin is too far forward and doesn’t have a flat surface at the back edge; The nose is the wrong shape and too wide plus there’s a lack of detail in the intake ; The missile tubes under the wings are too long and as the tips are supposed to be spring – loaded and fired, these look a little different to the screen model.
I’ve seen a few examples on line were modellers have tried to make a more accurate model, but I reckon there’s so much to alter that it’s never going to look exactly right. I think it’s easier to work with what’s there. Although, I certainly didn’t want it to look like a toy, so any gaps left by the gimmicks and the holes for the wheels were filled.
One thing that Imai don’t provide is a pilot, so I did have to rummage through the bits box for that. Also, some of the decals are not good. The ‘rescue’ decal s for each side aren’t handed so only one would look something like, and ‘ejector seat’ triangles have no proper detail, so it was back to the bits box to find some suitable spare decals from something else.
The ‘SKY’ decal uses a similar font but, again isn’t quite right, but once each letter is carefully cut out I don’t think it looks too bad.
The main hull colour should be Ford Oyster Gold, but I settled for Ford Champagne Gold which is slightly lighter.
As the model is only around five inches long, I didn’t want to overdo the weathering so i just used a little matt black and graphite, before giving it a final coat of satin sealer.
Affordable commercially available SKY 1 models are a bit thin on the ground (unless you count expensive resin kits) so I’m happy enough with this, until Round 2 or some other kit company come up with a better more accurate version like their recent Eagle Transporter.
As to the history of the Imai SKY 1 kit, as far as I'm aware, it was apparently originally released in 1988, and is a slightly larger version of an earlier Imai kit of SKY 1 which was cast in blue and red plastic. The 1988 kit had a main body cast in green plastic, with smaller parts in white.
The same kit was repackaged by Imai in 2001, but this time it was all in white plastic, and with the facility to make it battery operated remote controlled, although you still have to buy a separate electric motor.
Aoshima also released another updated version of the same kit, with a more accurate nose section.