Knockoffs are a favourite of mine and especially Gerry Anderson ones.
The SOMA Thunderbird 5 is just such a knockoff, which I've blogged about many times including its turn as an ice-crusher.
You know the SOMA TB5: white-coloured plastic and known as the Space Ship X-711.
Its often cited as a knockoff of the JR21 TB5, which I've also discussed before in this origin post.
To remind you here it is courtesy of You Tube Japan.
and again here displaying its amazing non-fall action on a table almost looking like a a living thing! [courtesy of You Tube once more]
Here's the SOMA X711 toy on top
and on the bottom showing the non-fall unit and the long thin battery compartment
and on the battery unit lid is the maker's mark,
a HC inside a circular cog, the number 959 and Made in Hong Kong
The oracle that is Alphadrome has long made it clear that he HC stands for HING CHEONG.
Here's the SOMA HING CHEONG space ship advertised in the Aldens Christmas Catalogue 1978 courtesy of Alphadrome.
So you can imagine how surprised I was to see this on Ebay, an apparently different version of the SOMA spaceship listed by seller Vongold.
It has the same white astronaut in the blister cockpit [just who is he?] but now with the addition of an internal radar or pedestalled screen.
More tellingly the colour has darkened to a sort of dull gold and the livery around the mid point has changed.
Most exciting of all is the change to the maker's mark and the underside generally. Gone are the long thin battery cover and non-fall unit having been replaced by a much wider battery cover and standard tyres.
The maker's mark has E S added to the number 959.
I have no idea what E S might signify, have you?
I am excited though as this does appear to be a SOMA variation and perhas even a stepping stone towards that mystery toy which JR21 are often cited as having recycling to make their own Thunderbird 5.
Why do I think this?
Well, the gold colour of this SOMA toy is more akin to the actual JR21 release than the white SOMA.
JR21 issued a deep gold-brown incarnation of the toy as their Thunderbird 5.
Its interesting to look again at the JR21 TB5 logo itself:
A capital H with a globe, the left half of which appears to be a capital C.
Below this is the number 507.
Compare this to the circular logo of the SOMA variant [and all SOMA X711's]: the HC inside the circular cog.
Could the CH seen on the JR21 be the HC seen on the SOMA, which we know stand for Hing Cheong?
What do you think readers?