Thunderbird 1 – Another R/C Flying Model
By Al Foot
Photos by Al Foot
Those of you who visit Robin’s Unity City website may have seen my last attempt at a radio-controlled flying model Fireball XL5. Spurred on by that success, and discussions with Robin, lead to my decision to try the same thing with Thunderbird1. Initially I was a bit sceptical, as the vehicle did not appear, to my eye, to have the necessary aerodynamic qualities to fly successfully. I had already decided that any flying model of Thunderbird1 would have to be done with the wings in the fully extended position.
However, never say never, and so I made up a small basic “chuckie” model about 6 inches long and 4 inches wingspan. To my utter amazement, this little model glided really well once the centre of gravity was changed with a few blobs of Bluetack, and much better than the one that I had made for Fireball XL5!!
Suitably enthused, I set about building Thunderbird 1 following the same design and construction techniques that I used for Fireball, based on three-view drawings kindly provided by Pauline. The fuselage and wing parts were basically flat plates, so that the fuselage looked like a cross when you look at it from the front. Whilst looking pretty crude when viewed up close, this method is surprisingly effective at conveying the spirit of the original when the model is airborne, as I hope that you will agree from the movie. I call it “cartoon” scale!!
Like Fireball, I tried to remain as close to the original shape as possible, the only major component that I left off was the lower winglet/finlet, as I thought that this would be too vulnerable to damage during landing. Also, I cheated with the thin fuselage member between the blue cylinder and the aft engine part by judicious use of dark paint!! For the rest of the components I tried to “infer” them with the paint job.
She first flew on 7 November 2005, and I have flown her about 10 times since then (for a change we had decent weather for a whole weekend!!). She is much easier to fly than Fireball and, again, turned a few heads in disbelief at our flying field!!
I hope that you all enjoy my flying model of Thunderbird 1.
What is next, you might ask? Well, I really like the look of the Fireflash airliner from Thunderbirds, and the Angel Interceptor from Captain Scarlet and……. and…..!!!
Here is a movie of the R/C Thunderbird 1 flying. It can be viewed in windows Media Player.