This is the Master Elevator Car that comes with the first two issues of DeAgostini’s UK trail run of the ‘Build Your Own Thunderbird 2’ collection.
It’s more or less exactly the same as the 1/144 scale Takara version with a jointed chassis, although it isn’t weathered, so you’d have to apply that yourself. It also has a darker windscreen for some reason.
Here it is compared to the Hotwheels version which is part of the Aoshima 1/200 scale TB2 pod vehicle collection. The Hotwheels is just slightly smaller than the Konami version.
Some more comparison photos taken by fellow blogger, Will Schwartz.
This is the Takara Master Elevator Car
This photo compares the Takara with the Hotwheels and Konami versions
The Build your own TB2 set has already been released in Japan and has been running for some time, so many collectors are aware of it, and now DeAgostini are testing the market here in the UK. So, regardless of any drawbacks a lot of Gerry Anderson model collectors, including myself are hoping it gets a general release. Even if some don’t want to collect the full set, a nicely detailed pod vehicle can be got over two or three weekly issues.
For anyone subscribing, it promises to be quite a collection, but the biggest drawback, it has to be said, is it will over time work out quite expensive as it is intended to cover one hundred issues which, as the cost of each standard edition is just under £9 per week, it’ll bring the price tag to around £900, over just under two years. (Although, as a few collectors have already pointed out , the average cost of a Takara Thunderbird 2 on its own can be anywhere between £450 and £800, and then you take a chance if it’s a working example as they are prone to electronic problems, plus the additional cost of the pod vehicle sets which were available separately , and these days could add several hundred pounds to the cost. )
So, for anyone who wants to take a punt, what do you get for your money?
The Thunderbird 2 model, its features and the rescue vehicles as I’ve said all appear to be based (with some slight differences) on the discontinued 1/144 scale Takara, which will make it 540mm long and 390mm wide.
Even with the first two issues, clear differences between the Takara and the DeAgostini versions (apart from the colour) can be seen with the cockpit detail and shape.
It features a separate remote control unit which raises and lowers the landing legs. (This is done by turning one of the rear thrusters on the Takara) The detailed cabin has LED lighting, as do the rear thrusters, which also incorporate jet sounds.
There is even a weathering option which is mentioned in the series guide to make the model look more like the filming miniature.
It will have two pods, one for general purpose rescue vehicles, and one which contains a functioning launch ramp for the Thunderbird 4 model. (This was available as a separate accessory with the Takara)
The pods have a removable section to show off the detail inside.
There’s quite a list of rescue vehicles which come with the set, although like the Master Elevator Car they don’t have the heavy weathering, and some lack internal detail as found on the Takara accessories.
According to the series guide there’s all four elevator cars, two recovery vehicles, Fab 1, Thunderbird 4 the Mole, The Domo, The Firefly. The Transmitter Truck, The Excavator, the Mono-brake plus quite a few more. And of course, all are in scale with the Thunderbird.
Plus each issue comes with a magazine containing short features and instructions on how to assemble the models.
So, assuming it gets the full UK launch it will amount to quite a collection, which I for one will enjoy putting together.