Sunday 8 August 2021


 The Fireflash atonic airliner appeared in the very first Thunderbirds episode "Trapped in the Sky", which is still one of the best, as well as one or two others.

One of Derek Meddings's usual striking designs, it's a fine looking machine with some unusual touches, such as the passenger lounges built into the wings, and the cockpit set way back in the tail. As always, there's something that needs to go wrong, so in the case of Fireflash it's an atomic reactor which needs servicing after every few hours of flight, or everyone dies. Obviously not the ideal configuration in the case of a diversion to Luton or Stanstead. Please stow your trays, put your seat backs into the upright position and be prepared to be exposed to lethal amounts of radiation. Thank you for flying Air Terrainean. We realise you had a choice of carriers and you're probably wishing you went with one of the others.

The kit is the Aoshima 1/350th model, which builds into a compact but bijou Fireflash with a simple assembly and nice, clean parts, There are some variations in the kit to enable gear up or gear down configurations, including folded wing tips, and the kit comes with the International Rescue elevator platforms used to save Fireflash at the end of its maiden voyage. I think it comes with four but I only made three of them. I used Revell and Humbrol paints which seemed to give a reasoable approximation to the colours of the stuodio models. 

All decals and white markings are included, and go on well.

I think it would be nice to have a larger Fireflash but the kit is perfectly nice as it stands.

This and other Aoshima Thunderbirds are kits are now available in the UK under the Adventures in Plastic range, via Bachmann:


  1. Thanks for the link. I just spent far too much time perusing said products. ;-)

  2. Do you have a display space for your built models (if so photos)? I usually buy from Hobby Link Japan or Mandarake (great for secondary market and their stores in Tokyo (especially Akihabara) are a treat)

  3. I got a glass cabinet for my office a year or two ago which is just large enough for the Eagle. I'll take some photos. I also built a large model of the USS Nimitz which needed a custom-ordered display case which was well worth the money.

  4. Nice job on the build, AR. Did that model require paint as well? Also, I'd love to see how your Nimitz build came together.

    Making model kits is a hobby I discovered as an adult, and I find it really relaxing. I'm no expert, but I enjoyed building the battlestars Galactica and Pegasus from the 2003 BSG reboot, and learning how to paint battle damage and wear on the hulls.

  5. Hi Nik, yes it needed painting. The bare plastic is a sort of mid-blue colour. I brush painted it with enamels. I used Tamiya masking tape around the colour separations but there are white decals to sit over those areas anyway so it ends up looking ok whatever you do.

    The Nimitz was a big undertaking. Perhaps I could get away with some pictures of it here as it did technically undergo time travel in The Final Countdown, so qualifies as an SF subject.

    1. The paint job looks great, especially around those clear window sections.

      Man, I forgot about The Final Countdown. That's 103 minutes of pure recruiting video for the navy, but still pretty awesome for those of us who appreciate huge, awe-inspiring machines.

      If you haven't been yet, the USS Intrepid here in New York is a great place to visit.

      Happy Inhibitor Phase Day!

  6. Hi Nik - yes, I re-watched it quite recently. As you say, very much done with the cooperation of the navy, and there's that impressive dogfighting sequence between the Tomcats and Zeros (actually Harvards) in which one of the Tomcats comes close to hitting the water.

    I have been on the Intrepid, indeed, and also Nimitz itself.