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How To Build The Mole (Thunderbirds)

paul gray

Forum Supporter
Hi folks
Welcome to the short version of how to build a mole!

I have been chatting to Mark ,the master of this superb web site and forum and he asked if I would do a quick piece on the mole as a taster to the full version in the new issue of Sci-fi & Fantasy Modeller , having spent what seems like an age getting my web site up and getting my next article written - like a mug I said sure, no problem. So here we go.

Grab a hand full of girder bridge kits, one everything is go atlas rocket kit, one big scale aurora b58 hustler, a faller round restaurant kit, a footbridge kit and a Vickers vigor tractor toy, wave your magic wand and there you have it.

Oh I wish it had been that simple. A quick thank you here to a well known member of this site - Chris Trice - for pointing me in the direction of the Aurora kit. When I tracked one down on ebay and opened the box it was amazing how many bits had been used on the mole. If you want to add all the little detail bits, this kit is a must...

As you probably know, the base for a lot of the Thunderbird models was the Vickers vigor tractor toy and the top was detailed with the girder bridge kit from Airfix (used as the support for the main body). Wide wheel arches were added and detail from the hustler kit was added on top of these, along with half an atlas rocket on the main structure and a few more hustler parts to busy it all up.

As I am writing this I feel a bit embarrassed at telling a group of brilliant and knowledgeable modellers how to build a mole in such a quick manner as I have read so many pages of this site and learnt so much, I feel I am telling you nothing you don’t already know. If that is the case – sorry.

Obviously in the full article I have gone into more detail on sizes and placement of kit bits and also time constraints (I can only type with one finger!).

The main body is a piece of drainage tube with two long holes cut out for the side tracks and then the rear is sealed in with bits from the faller kit (as shado mobile modellers will now know they used this range of kits all over the place). Side detailing includes more hustler parts, faller parts and one piece from the airfix foot bridge kit. Some detailing I couldn’t find and had an engineer make parts for me, not the perfect answer but the end result is almost the same.

The trickiest bit was making the drill section. A wood master was made and then moulded and cast and to the resin version a series of ever decreasing rings were added to get the screw effect. The nose tip was originally from aeroplane but I had mine turned in wood and moulded and cast in resin and then the bottom detailing was a series of plastic squares stuck to a circle and bent upwards to give the serrated edge look.

Once the model has been painted, a lot of the lettering comes from the atlas kit (most notably-hard hats required) and the large mole lettering was made from peel off vinyl at my local sign shop. Then weather to your own taste and hey presto a nice replica model. There are a few photos here including the kit bits from the hustler (this one is not in the full write up as I acquired the kit after the book went to print and did anyone spot what could be the roof fin for the spv?)

I hope this little spot proved a little bit informative and wants to make you go and order vol 4 of s+f modeller to read the full article or even order a mole kit from me. :)

Lastly on a begging note, anyone got a Vickers tractor toy I could borrow?

Cheers Paul :)
 













 
 

DX-SFX

Alphans
Lastly on a begging note, anyone got a Vickers tractor toy I could borrow?

With mint examples going at auction for £1500+, It would be a very trusting friend who lent you one. They are incredibly rare and there's a voracious group of Victory Toys collectors out there.
 

Dave

Alphans
Nice model. 8)
I'm always on the look out for those darned Vigor Tractors.

I think the phrase is rarer than rocking horse poo.
;)

I'd been on the look out for B52 Hustler kits for ages and then got 2 fairly cheaply within a week (Hustler bits turn up on lots of Thunderbirds Pod vehicles).

Did you notice the decals from the Aurora Freedom Fighter on the Mole?
 

paul gray

Forum Supporter
build a mole

thanks for the nice comments on my first modelling contribution to this brilliant site.I didn't know about the Freedom fighter lettering,I will have to look out for one of those. You guys really know your stuff and how to sniff out a bargain ,I paid too much for my Hustler and would love another one. And yes those vigor tractors are rarer than .........
cheers Paul
 

Dave

Alphans
I picked up the Hustlers for about £10 each and picked up the Freedom Fighter for another £10 - most of the decals from this are used on the Mole, including the numbers on the back and the red stripes.

The beacon on the top is the capsule from the Atlas booster.

Ok, here's a question for you.

Just how much would you be prepared to pay for a Vickers Vigor model?

Seriously. Because I might know where there is one... ;)
 

paul gray

Forum Supporter
wow-you know where one might be!!!!!
i wish i could say i have lots of dosh to buy one,but i would be very happy to mould the wheels and just look at one.let me know how much they would like to buy it,or possibly to cast the wheels.
cheers
 

paul gray

Forum Supporter
thanks for the heads up. the trouble with this type of auction there is such a high premium to be paid on top of winning bid,but i will be keeping a close watch on this.i have got this on my favourite search on ebay but it didn't come up.
cheers Paul
 

astrocat

Alphans
The last time one was up (about six months ago I think) it went for £1800 and one a few years previously went for £1200, if my memory serves....

Those were mint examples though, and this has a tiny amount of damage, but still.... there's a lot of folk out there wanting to own one!
 

Dave

Alphans
The one that went for £1800 appears to be this same one.

If you go to google and type in Vickers Vigor and go to the Vectis auction site, it's there.
 

DX-SFX

Alphans


They probably still had these decals kicking around as it's the Aurora Freedom Fighter that's the basis of the WASP's Arrowhead jet.
 

paul gray

Forum Supporter
i am on the look out for the aurora freedom fighter so i can get this sheet,if anyone sees one please let me know.
many thanks Paul
 

paul gray

Forum Supporter
well i put my bid in for the vickers vigor tractor toy and it was certainly not enough-it went for £800.if anyone here won the auction let me know
cheers Paul

with some big help from Mike i now have in my possession the correct round bits ( or port holes)for the mole.now all i need for a completely accurate mole is a vickers vigor. apologies for the poor photo, my flash is far too strong.
cheers Paul
 

Mike Delamar

Alphans
no worries :thumbup:

the proprietor of reade models, said that his dad used to supply these parts to ripmax in the 60s, there was some more things, like the helijet window which they dont do anymore sadly, but there is parts still in the range that where used in Thunderbirds.
The two tone horn looks to be from the firefly,and the square "waffle" shape pieces look familiar.

they used quite a lot of the porthole windows on the sidewinder too if someone fancies a big project :D


has anyone got any shots and info on the faller restaurant kit?

cheers

Mike
 
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