Of all the wonderful exhibitions and displays at Andercon 2014, perhaps the one which captured my imagination the most was the spectacular LEGO display provided by The Brickish Association. From the towering model of Thunderbird 3 to the intricately detailed Moonbase Alpha set, the whole spectacle struck a chord with a dream I’d had since childhood. I wanted build my own set of LEGO Thunderbirds.
Along with my long-time creative collaborator, Andrew Clements, we began to design our dream models of the five Thunderbird craft, as well as a few other vehicles from the series. A piece of software called LEGO Digital Designer gave us access to a palette of every LEGO brick under the sun and enabled us to create models in whatever size we wanted. Unfortunately, due to practical restrictions and budgetary limitations we were unable to create the craft to the same scale as those seen at Andercon. After several attempts, we were eventually able to design models which were not only affordable to build but also retained the key details of the craft as seen in the original television series.
Armed with a list of all the different bricks required to build the five Thunderbirds, it was time to start buying some LEGO. Along with parts from my existing collection, common bricks were sourced from the official LEGO Shop, rarer bricks from the LEGO Customer Services department, and discontinued bricks from the unofficial LEGO marketplace, Brick Link. This was all an attempt to get the best and most affordable bricks possible. Designs were altered slightly along the way depending on whether certain bricks were available or not. As bricks started to arrive from sellers all over Europe, the models began to take shape and within two weeks, they were finished. Childhood dream achieved.
It wasn’t without a few struggles along the way of course. Green LEGO doesn’t come in as many varietiesas one might have hoped so Thunderbird 2 had to undergo a number of alterations to make use of what was actually available. LEGO also doesn’t work in triangles very easily so attaching the three thrusters to Thunderbird 3 relied entirely the lucky discovery of a propeller piece that was just right for the job. Thunderbird 5 stands out as my favourite model from this set. It’s unique shape certainly didn’t appear to be very LEGO-friendly at first, but with some well-chosen bricks International Rescue’s communications satellite began to materialise as a very interesting model to see come together. I am, however, proud of all five of these LEGO Thunderbirds and the finished results ended up being better than I could have imagined.
But what next? Once these models have had lettering and extra details added, Andrew and I have more designs in the pipeline including FAB 1 (start donating your pink LEGO brinks now!) and various pod vehicles from International Rescue’s arsenal. And as we are a couple of film makers, who knows how these models might be put to use in the future…
Here is a final bonus for you all. Who recognises this unseen Anderson vehicle?