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My Thunderbird 3

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Slate
Yes I have fleetingly thought about the graphics during the build and I'll probably get my local graphics company to make them for me as there is no way I could hand make them like some people can. The only thing is the fonts used as there must be 2 or 3 used on the original, the letters down the body and the numbers on the engines is different from those on the body. Do you know the fonts used? Plus which way round do the the numbers on the body go, I was thinking of having a number upright as the model stands, one up right looking from the left side and the opposite for the other side, that way the number 3 is always upright from all angles. My graphics company are used to my unusual requests and I usually give them some photos of the finished product.
As yet I haven't got as far as font size for my model so I'll keep your kind offer in mind.
The weather is so cold at the moment I can only spend about 15 minutes in there before I run back into the warmth.
I'm still working on the engine mounts which are taking ages as they will be bolted onto the main body.
Yes I'm the same, when I start a project I don't think about certain aspects of it as it will just worry me. Thats what happened when I built my UFO Interceptor as I had no idea how I was going to make the landing gear but I still kept on building while the possibility that I would have to stop it kept on growing. However a solution did occur and the model was completed. I wish I had the wide range of skills some builders have on these sites as it would make life a lot easier.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
With the three engine pods shaped and coated in resin, filler and primed umpteen times it was time for the parts that join them to the main body.
I found a piece of wood at work which was about the right width so it was just a matter of cutting to length and shaping the ends using a mixture of electric sander and sand paper. This took ages to get it right on all three and in fact I'm still fine tuning them today.
To fix the engines to the body I decided to use two threaded rods fixed in each pod and continuing through the joiner and into the body where they will be held in place with a nut and glue into the wood supports I earlier fixed inside the body.
The joiner was glued onto the engine and when dry two holes were drilled right into the engine and the rods are glued in place with about an inch left proud. Since doing this all I've done is to sand and fill until the cows come home, though I have also been spraying filler prime on the main body and sanding off, as you know this will help in having a nice smooth surface but it can take many coats.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
I haven't spent much time lately on this as I've had a trip up to Scotland to see the relatives plus its been so cold in the garage I couldn't get the will to start.
However I have spent some time on what seems like forever on the engines yet again. To make them fit neatly against the curved body I used the usual parcel tape & filler method as in the photos. Once dry I sanded them and repeated the process until happy. I drilled some holes into the body and through the internal wood supports and dry fitted the engines into place by using wing nuts. This was the first time I had all three engines in place to see if the rocket will sit level, fortunately it did.
It's beginning to look better though there is still a lot of fine tuning to get everything just right.
 

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Slate Mcleod

Alphans
That's looking great so far! I had real trouble getting the 3 engine pods to sit level, took two or three trys to get it right.
 
Triple whammy.....

They're just beautifully turned and shaped Malcolm - you must have been sweating a bit when drilling all those holes, and even more so when you righted her to see if she was sitting level. I've been thinking about how I would build 3, but I'd be stuck when it came to the engines and the pylons.

You're going to end up with such a wonderful model after all your efforts: looking forward to the next phase. On a related note thanks for posting the picture of the artist at work all those years ago.

How was Scotland? Nice and dry, I'll bet.....

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Patrick
Thanks for the kind comments. Yes it was rather wet up in Scotland, in fact we had to detour a couple of times due to flooding in the Jedburgh/Hawick areas.
Looking at my early photos it does bring back many memories of projects completed and some not completed, the only thing I have left of those days is the small TB1 you can see on the bench and even thats in bits now.
As to the 8mm film I mentioned earlier, I know its up in the loft somewhere and I have no means of looking at. It was mostly just experiments and not very good at that, but it was fun.
After TB3 my next project is one of Ben's TB1 kits.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Time to drill more holes in the model, this time top and bottom of the engines.
I always hate drilling holes in models as there is a big chance something will go wrong. The holes in the top for the stabilizer struts were fairly straight forward and went without a hitch. At this stage I wasn't quite sure what size the struts would be or what material so I used a small drill bit which can always be enlarged if needed later on.
The bottom ones were much bigger as I decided to have a large nozzle instead of a bunch of smaller ones. Originally I was going to use a piece of aluminium tubing for the nozzles but changed to plastic which will be much kinder to any surface the model sits on.
To tidy them up I used tape and filler and once dry sanded the excess off leaving a nice neat hole in the balsa.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Now its time for the three 'stabilisers' which I decided to make completely out of wood simply because it was easier to glue two bits of wood together than using different materials.
I cut and sanded the larger piece and filed out a curve at one end so the doweling would fit nice and snug. After working out the angles I glued them together and to make them stronger I drilled a hole through the dowel into the wood then glued a length of brass rod in, hopefully it will work as this area is one of the weak parts of this model.
Once dry I sanded the join to blend in and then coated the whole thing in resin.
The same method was used on the other two 'stabilisers'.
Later on I'll sand and fill until its nice and smooth. I couldn't resist trying it for size so to speak, it looks ok but there's a long way to go yet.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Before I get any further I had to drill the four small holes at the top of each engine. To tidy up the holes I cut some short lengths of metal tubing and glued them in the holes, this would give a nice neat finish after filling and sanding them level. After spending ages sanding, spraying etc the three stabilisers I thought it was time to actually fix them to the body.
To achieve this I countersunk and glued two metal pins at the main ends and re-drilled the holes at the top of the engines so the dowel rod would fit better.
After a lot of double checking and lining up the end pins on the body I drilled two holes in the body for each stabiliser, as it turned out I had to make the holes a bit bigger than the metal pins so I had some adjustment room.
Oh I nearly forgot, to make them fit better against the curve of the body I used tape and filler to create a matching curve so they should fit more snuggly.
Using a two part adhesive on the top ends and white wood glue on the dowel ends I finally fitted them in place.
 

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boatshewsd2

Alphans
For Our Eyes, Also!

To my thinking, those 3 units are TB3's signature feature - clever, isn't it, that there are three of them? ;) ;) ;)

O, that long-limbed elegance! :)
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
With the three stabilisers in place it now the turn of the little angles bits under the docking collar.
Even with this model being 31" high these parts were still very small and very fiddly. It took ages to get them looking right and even after making them from plasticard I still threw out a few as they were wrong, I probably made abut twice the amount needed before I was happy with them.
They were difficult to glue but eventually they were all in place.
The cooling fins were also made from plasticard and easier to work with. Once cut and sanded I primed them and then sprayed them with Halfords Stone Gray paint. I know others use different paints but it seemed to look ok and I had some on my shelf.
The details on this model are loosely based on the large six foot version which is why I've added a thin strip just under where the fins will be located. There are some more details to add later.
 

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Checking in......

Malcolm, not ignoring you - far from it, marvelling at your handiwork. The pylons must be an absolute nightmare - even getting the thicker top sections all to line up perfectly at the fuselage, with matching angles and vertical spar heights, etc etc, must be a real test.

You are creating something beautiful and, on a day when all Anderson fans are feeling sad, the lady's legacy truly lives on in the wonderful craftsmanship of you and your fellow modellers.

Well done Malcolm - Thunderbirds are Still Go!!!!

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Patrick many thanks for your kind comments.
With Sylvia now gone its definitely the end of an era that was absolutely fantastic and which will live on for a long time to come. Sylvia was the unsung heroine of all the series and her contributions were vastly underrated. Fifty years on people all over the world are still following the adventures and like the members on this site building replicas to remind them of the good times. Its not bad for a small company based on an everyday trading estate in Slough.

Before I get onto the model I need to ask for info on the fonts used on TB3.
I was pointed in the direction of the font thread on this site and although its very helpful it seems people have different opinions as to what the fonts are.
So far I have pencilled in GROTESQUE 9 for the lettering, and COMPACTA for the black '3' on the engine pods. That leaves the large white '3' on the main body. I'd be most grateful if someone could clarify exactly which fonts I need to use.

Now back to the model. With the cooling fins cut and painted it was time for the curved base where Alan & Co enter TB3. I looked around for something cheap to use but to no avail so I ended up buying two discs from EMA. They were expensive but exactly what I needed. (the second one was in case I made a mistake) I got a size that was bigger than needed as I knew the discs had a lip which had to be removed. The plastic is quite thick so I used a saw to get most of the excess off then rounded it off using an electric sander.
I primed it to show any defects then cut out the rectangular central hole. A lot of people just drill a circle but as it seems to be rectangular in the 6' model so that's what I wanted. I drilled some small holes then filed it down.
To create the ribs I used some plastic strips 1mm square, very fiddly and I had to redo some to get it right. I wasn't sure how many ribs were needed but in hindsight I think I've done too many, ah well hay ho.
Once dry I sanded them down and sprayed primer and later on the final coat of Rover Stone Grey. This part will be fitted last as I need to have the base open so I can support the model during its final spray.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
I decided after lots of sanding to spray the whole model with grey primer and have further sanding's. Its getting very close to the final painting so to help a little I sprayed the docking collar white. The little triangular bits make painting awkward so this will make it easier to mask off later.
One thing I forgot to mention was the pipe work on the model, as my model is loosely based on the six foot model I wanted some of those little pipes which I made from evergreen plastic strips.
The final bit of detail to add were the circular rings which are on the small sloping part, I used some rubber washers which can conform to the slope easily and once painted should look all right.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Finally its time for the final painting, this is always my least favourite part of any model as the chances of something going wrong are always high. It could be dust or a fly or worst a run.
After giving the whole model a very good clean with a tack cloth I mounted it on a bit of 4 x 2 and hoped for the best. The paint I used was Halfords Ford Daytona Red as I'd used it on other models and I thought it was about right. However on hind sight I think it is too red and not orange enough but by this time it was too late to change it as I hate redoing a model. Another thing is the colour does change in different light so sometimes it looks too red and others quite orange.
After masking off the entire model using bin liners I sprayed the slope above the cooling fins with Halfords Stone Grey.
Once that was dry I re-masked and sprayed the docking collar white. That more or less completes the main spraying and thankfully nothing went wrong.
Its really looking like TB3 now though there are still things to do. The model is a bit shiny so I will be spraying some matt lacquer later on to tone it down.
 

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Slate Mcleod

Alphans
Wow that looks fantastic Malcolm! The colour really pulls the whole thing together so beautifully! Splendid job mate!!!
 
50 Shades of Red......

.....and it really matters not one jot Malcolm.

1) That's a fine model by anybody's standards
2) That's not a run-of-the-mill construction project - you not only have the have the tubular sections, but also the iconic pylons and engines and the fiddly fins and detailing
3) It's one of the best-known Anderson craft of all time, and you have to make sure she's as close to the screen version as possible

In all respects you've created a beautiful rendition of T3 and you should be rightly proud of your achievements. With regards to the colour (and you probably know what I'm going to type here), the colour she started off in would change over time - the extremes in temperature between the heat of atmospheric re-entries and the absolute zero of outer space would undoubtedly take their toll on paints and ceramics. Revel instead in a job well done, and thanks for letting us view your progress.

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
With the main painting completed it was time to add the other paint details around the engines. This involved loads of masking and bin liners and took a few days to complete as I wanted to make sure the paint was fully dry before using any masking tape. I get a bit worried when using tape/bin liners as paint has an annoying habit of finding the smallest gap.
To make life a bit easier I just hand painted the black rings on the engines, the white bands were sprayed on.
Up till now the model has been sitting on some off cuts of plastic pipe to keep it off the work table but now its time to fit the proper ones. I just used the same plastic pipe and cut off lengths and just pushed them into place. I didn't use glue as they are a tight fit.
This now makes the model a total of 31.5 inches high.
 

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