ZERO-X by Aoshima

Mike Pigott looks at another one Gerry Anderson’s TV-21 models… a spectacular model of the interplanetary spacecraft seen in the feature film Thunderbirds Are Go!, produced by Aoshima of Japan.

The 1966 film Thunderbirds Are Go was a feature-length spin-off from the popular TV series Thunderbirds. However, the real star of the movie was not one of the Tracy brothers or a Thunderbird craft, but an interplanetary spaceship with the code-name Zero-X.

Many years later, in 2006, Japanese hobby company Aoshima released an incredible diecast model of Zero-X that could perform most of the functions of the ‘real’ craft!

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Thunderbirds by Corgi

Mike Pigott looks at Corgi’s models from 2003 and 2016 that were based on Gerry Anderson’s classic Thunderbirds series.During the 1960s, Corgi Toys was the leader in TV-related diecast vehicles. In 1965 Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds was the top-rating children’s TV show, and Corgi was so confident of obtaining the franchise that a working prototype of FAB-1 was developed even before a contract was signed. In a surprise move, the Thunderbirds franchise was awarded to rival Dinky Toys of Liverpool, a company that had no history of licensed products. It wasn’t until 2003 when Corgi finally acquired the Thunderbirds license, with two models produced that year and a further two after quite a long gap, in 2016.

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Jurassic World by Jada

Mike Pigott continues his series on the Jurassic Park franchise as we look at Jada’s small range of models based on the 2015 film Jurassic World.Jeep WranglerJurassic World, the fourth instalment in the Jurassic Park series of films, was released in 2015, 22 years after the original movie. As with the previous episodes, there were diecast toys produced to tie in with the film, although this time the license was given to two different companies. Matchbox produced a large selection of 1/64-ish vehicles which had very little to do with anything actually seen in the film. A small range of larger scale models was made by American company Jada Toys, which were (mostly) more authentic to the film.

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UFO Commander 7 by Shinsei

Mike Pigott looks at this high-quality but bizarre range from Japan that consisted of futuristic construction vehicles, flying saucers and robots!UFO Commander 7 Packaging view 2An extremely popular entertainment types in Japan is ‘Mecha’, a science fiction genre involving giant robots, and thousands of comics, TV shows and films have been based on their adventures. Many toy companies produced licensed versions of these robots, which were massively popular in Japan during the 1970s and ’80s. Shinsei, a hobby company best known for diecast construction vehicles, jumped on the bandwagon with a line of diecast robots and futuristic construction vehicles that looked like they were based on a licensed property – but weren’t!

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Small Soldiers by Hasbro

Mike Pigott looks at a little-known series of diecast vehicles based on the popular film Small Soldiers from 1998.59 (3)Small Soldiers may seem an unlikely movie to spawn a line of diecast vehicles, given that it was about a group of action figures gone bad. However, Hasbro, the makers of the action figures, also produced a small diecast range.

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Jurassic Park III by Hasbro

Mike Pigott returns to Jurassic Park, as he looks at the models made by Hasbro to tie in with the third film in the series, Jurassic Park III.

Capture TransportThe third instalment in the Jurassic Park franchise was Jurassic Park III, released in 2001, this time directed by Joe Johnston and based on an original screenplay. It involved the return of Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who is engaged by wealthy couple Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H. Macy and Tea Leone) to give them a personal aerial tour to see the dinosaurs of Isla Sorna. Unfortunately, Grant is duped; the Kirbys are not rich tourists and intend to land on the island to search for their teenage son who was lost there after a paragliding mishap. The plane is wrecked, and Grant has to lead the party through the dinosaur-overrun island. Although they find the boy, several of the party are killed by a particularly nasty sail-backed predator called Spinosaurus.

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The Lost World: Jurassic Park by Matchbox

Mike Pigott looks at the toy dinosaurs and vehicles produced by Matchbox to tie in with the second film in the Jurassic Park franchise, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.163 (2)To tie in with the first Jurassic Park film, toy company Kenner released a range of collectible miniature dinosaur figures. The license for the second film went to Matchbox, which also produced some well-made dinosaur models, accompanied by some very dubious diecast cars.

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Thunderbirds Are Go by Tomica

Mike Pigott looks at Tomica’s models based on the new CGI-animated Thunderbirds Are Go TV show.

Thunderbird 2

Since it first premiered in 1965, Thunderbirds has remained one of the most popular children’s shows of all time. The adventures of the Tracy family, with their philanthropic International Rescue operation has proved a hit not just in its home market of the UK, but all around the world – and particularly in Japan. Thunderbirds was cancelled in 1966 due to distribution problems in the important USA market, but continued to remain popular in re-runs, most notably when it was replayed in the UK in 1991. There has been more than one attempt to revive Thunderbirds, although in different formats from the original live action ‘Supermarionation’ style which used marionettes and miniature model vehicles. A big-budget American made film from 2003 did not prove to be a financial success, possibly because it deviated from the original too heavily. In 2015, a new computer-generated animated TV show called Thunderbirds are Go made its debut.

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Jurassic Park by Kenner

Mike Pigott looks at a range of diecast dinosaurs made by the once-great toy giant Kenner, released to tie in with the blockbuster 1993 film Jurassic Park.

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One of the most outstanding adventure films of the 1990s, and possibly all-time, has to be Jurassic Park. Directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park was one of the first films to make extensive use of CGI. Unsurprisingly, it proved incredibly popular in terms of merchandising, and a huge number of toys and collectibles was released, including a line of diecast dinosaur figures.

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Classic Thunderbirds by Tomica

Mike Pigott looks at a recent range commemorating the 50th anniversary of the classic Thunderbirds series.Thunderbird 2 (A).Believe it or not, the classic children’s sci-fi series Thunderbirds celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. Thunderbirds was the most popular and successful of Gerry Anderson’s productions, and still remains extremely entertaining when viewed today. A new re-booted version made with CGI animation is currently airing on TV. There were also three new episodes made in the original Supermarionation style; these used the soundtracks from old vinyl EP records with new visuals, and were released direct to DVD. And Japanese company Tomica produced a brand new range of diecast models based on the classic series.

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