Over the years there have been many model kits produced based on the Thunderbirds television series. Perhaps surprisingly, most of the kits are Japanese. Many of these Japanese kits require some modifications in order to make them less toy-like. This is because companies such as Imai tended to add rocket launchers' and over sized wheels. However with some careful filling and a few scratchbuilt modifications many of these kits make up into fine models.
Here are some of the Thunderbirds model kits that we've made up and painted.

Imai Thunderbird 5

Thunderbird 5

International Rescue's orbiting space station. Manned by John Tracy. This is where most rescue calls are first picked up. Thunderbird 5 is constantly scanning for distress calls, on any radio frequency.
This model is an Imai kit - possibly one of their best. Nothing toyish about this one - no wheels or spring powered rockets. Superb detail - and very fragile. The only modification we made was to replace the thick plastic rods for the twin antenna with fuse wire. The kit includes a model of Thunderbird 3 to the same scale.

Imai Thunderbird 2

Thunderbird 2

Thunderbird 2 is probably the star of the show. It carries the vital rescue equipment to the danger zone. Its pilot is Virgil Tracy. The main bulk of this craft is the huge central 'Pod'. This is an interchangeble unit which can contain a seeming unending array of rescue vehicles.
This is one of the largest of Imai's many Thunderbird 2 kits.

Imai Fab1


The famous six wheeled Rolls Royce of Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward. Elegant, armed to the teeth and virtually indestructible. Her car is quite something too.
This is an Imai model kit. It had the usual rocket launchers - this time instead of two of the six headlights. We replaced the 'rockets' with our own from the bits box. The wheels are poseable, as with most Imai cars. Chrome wheels, mirrors and bumpers are supplied. There isn't much interior detail, but heads of Lady P and Parker, her man at the wheel, are included. There is a steering wheel and the detail on the dashboard appears correct. A nice touch is the machine gun protruding from the radiator grille.

Aoshima Thunderbird 1 Kit

Aoshima 1/144 Scale Thunderbird 1

We review Aoshima's 10" long plastic kit of Thunderbird 1.
Click here.