Thunderbirds 'The Mole' - Aoshima

It was a fun build but very rewarding with a lot of firsts for me.
I did not want an over weathered look, I can imagine that brains is a bit of sticker for well maintained vehicles but I wanted to show it was not its first outing either.
WIP can be seen below.

Hope you enjoy.







07/0713 The Beginning

This will be a kit of first's.
My first Thunderbirds kit.
My first build on the new workbench.
My first build started on
My first 'SiG' Although I have done contests and group builds in other places.
My first tracked model, everything else has had wheels, wings or feet :-)
My first 'weathered' build. I have used a lil dust and dirt for accents this will be the first muddy/chipped/dented build I have done.

And i'm off.

1st surprise, this kit is motorised and lit. well kinda. it has 1 led and you have to buy a motor but the rest of the stuff you need is included.

Lets start with the unboxing. Lots of pieces to build the tracks, they really could have taken the lead of some armour kits out there.

The body of the transporter/base etc

These parts make up most of the actual Mole, not a huge amount of detial but thats understandable considering the purpose of this vehicle.

And the drill, which will move, providing i setup the motor and wiring correctly.

There are more of these parts than there are actual parts for the model.

09/07/13 Update

So I started with the tracks as they looked like a lot of repetitive work which is all i felt like doing.

They got a coat of Vallejo primer mainly because I wanted to try it and so far I have no complaints.

As olive drab is not the ideal colour for tracks they then got a coat of VMA Steel

The individual track were attached to some tape to hit the ends with that were sanded after being removed from the sprue.

I then gave them a light spray with Vallejo wash Dark Rust to take the pop out of the steel.

Then it was onto the wiring, these are all required to hold the guts of the mole together (not literally guts or a mole)

And after some fiddling and head scratching at the 98% Japanese instructions I have this.

Next job is to get a motor.

14/07/13 Update

The 'guts' of the mole semi mocked up and test fitted. The motor I had is not correct but lets me know the wiring is correct  :)

The blue piece in the middle is a small cam that will cause the led to flash which kinda seems over engineered considering how easy flasher circuits are these days, but is very cool.

That's as far as I can go with the mole for now so i separated all the parts for that

And attached everything i can.

Hopefully the motors arrive in the next couple of days while im out of town so i can get back into this next weekend.

Onto the 'crawler' part. Cool little track tensioner.

Again im surprised by the detail in this kit with the hydraulic cylinder and the electronics.

The metal pins you see sit inside the ramp frame with a spring between to pass the power from the mole to the base which does not have its own battery source.

Vallejo Olive Drab primer on (and still wet) to darken up the blue plastic this was moulded in.
First time i have used the Vallejo primer on a kit and I'm going to be ordering some more colours next week, im that impressed with the coverage and the ease of clean-up.

The Vallejo primers also make great base for the Vallejo Model Air paints (something wrong if they didn't).

Tried a couple of colours but settled on the Dark Sea Blue which is a vast improvement on the original plastic colour.

Ill probably be darkening/weathering/muddying this up but I'm happy with the current 'showroom' colour.

Right, so what is left that I can do on this kit.

The drill (or whatever you call it) has some awful chrome and moulding lines on it.

Scraped those back with the handy hobby knife.

I was not worried about a clean job as this is the business end of the mole so I expect it to not be in perfect condition so i chipped and scratched it up a but.

This will also help the de-chroming process if there are some holes in it.

And that's it for this weekend. So everything nicely back in the box till next weekend so I can keep the workbench tidy.

Except for the chrome parts which are currently going through the simple green/ultrasonic cleaner de-chroming bath.

01/08/13 Update

The motors arrived so the guts of the mole have been fitted.
Here you see all the wires being held in place as the gorilla glue sets them well away from any of the moving parts.

Here are all the guts in their final location, all greased up and ready for closure

I also got the gears into the 'crawler' and fitted the wheels onto their pins which were a nice tight fit so I found i could gently force them in easier by using the clamp

Also made fitting the drive wheels easier

All the guts of the crawler are wired and in, much easier than the actual mole parts.
The connectors mentioned previously that connect the base to the mole sit on the metal plates when the mole is lowered and my turning the little switch at the back the mole will drive forwards or backwards.

The ramp (for lack of a better term) can be raised or lowered and locks in those positions thanks to moulded in recesses below the hinge

Back to the mole that unforunatley I tried to close up under the influence of cold medication and while trying to get the LED down to a decent height managed to shatter it completley

So I attached a new one which thankfully sits better and is a brighter flash.

With the mole tacked together and the LED and tracks masked off I started with a coat of Vallejo German Red Brown Primer

The drill also got a coat of the Vallejo Verde Olive US primer

The mole now has a layer of VMA Gold Yellow which the primer helped give a darker 'mustard' colour which im happy with.

The last little panels etc were applied to cover up the screw holes etc and any any bits of mole that had been missed (there are lits of little nooks and crannies under this) were hit with the VMA Gold Yellow.

There were still some seam lines on the drill standing out to me so i took them back and went over those spots with VMA Gun Grey

The VMA Gun Grey then got a light coat (look heavier in the pics) over the rest of the drill parts

Then randomly I applied a small amount of Army Painter Warpaints Quickshade Soft Tone to see what effect that had, which was random experimentation as this will be painted over again soon.

The mole than got a coat of Vallejo Chipping Medium which as you will see later I applied too heavily.

While that dried some of the Dark Sea Blue was mixed with Black and sprayed over the bottom of the base, then White was added to the Dark Sea Blue and sprayed from above to give it a bit of shading/modulation to break up the large dark blue surfaces.

Once the Chipping Medium was dry I went over the whole mole with Medium Yellow.

Here you can see the effect of excessive Chipping Medium as it crackled the Medium yellow coat of paint.
As this is going to be worn I was not super concerned about it and will try and minimise the effect later

I then liberally sprayed water over the top and waited a minute or so for the top coat to soften up and started chipping with both ends of a paint brush, trying to stay in the direction the mole would be moving when in use and around protruding areas

Some washes etc should bring the effect out even more

Next i tried to darken up some of the panel lies but the cracking took the wash and spread it in an unfortunate way, luckily it cleans up easily when still wet.

So after doing a little work on the panels i hit it with a layer of Klear (closest thing to future I have been able to lay my hands on)

While that dried for a couple of days it was back to the drill which got a coat of the Chipping Medium (much lighter this time) and a topcoat of Steel

Once dry I was able to chip away the Steel to reveal the darker colours underneath

The drill is pretty much done now.

I remembered from some reference pics that there was a rocket engine in the back of the mole so the tip of that got some weathering with Tamiya Weathering Master powders.
First some Gun Metal 

Then Burnt Blue and Burnt Red to get a slightly more heat stained look.

Once the Klear was fully dried it was onto the decals. There are a fewq and they seem to be focused on one side of the mole.

Once they are on they really help break up the yellow.

Unfortunately the decal that goes over the round external part broke going over (don't think it would have gone out without breaking to be honest) but im not sad as it adds to the worn effect

Here you see how few decals are on the other side, and that was me moving one to this side that was supposed to be on the other.

Modellers best friends when it comes to decals has to be Micro Set and Micro Sol
Here they helped the decals conform to the panel lines and chips in the mole.

I tried some chrome powder to add a little depth to the drill but this stuff really does not like to shine unless its over a gloss back base so it went back in the drawers.

The drill got a light wash with Flory Models Concrete to add some lil chunks and shading.
It then had Vallejo Gloss Varnish applied before being attached to the Mole which has the final details brush painted on in VMA Gun Grey and VMA Steel before a coat of Vallejo Satin Varnish which really knocked back the shine from the Klear and brought the final look together.

The final result is something im very happy with, obviously its not perfect but 'completion over perfection' should always apply.

The yellow over-spray on the tracks needs to be cleaned up but for now its done.

Time for a quick spin to check all the electronics survived paint process.

Now it needs something to live on so back to the base which gets its decals.

Once again one side has more decals but not as bad as the mole. Now its ready for a clear-coat

Once the clear had fully dried it was onto some weathering, starting with some mud slashes with MIG Mud Splash Wash (the first enamel product on this kit).
It goes on a lot clearer and darker than but dries to a great looking dirt effect.

I just loaded up a larger brush and flicked that at the kit trying to focus on the parts where mud is most likely to splatter but also giving it an all over dirty. Any excess will be cleaned with MIG thinners once its dried fully and the effect is revealed.

And now back to the job I have kinda been putting off, the tracks, not because of any reason other than I wanted some time I knew I would not be interrupted doing them.

The Mr Hobby CA applicator set is one of my favourite purchases, just look for Mr Glue on sites like and you will find them.
Really easy to use and clean-up afterwards.

Once the tracks were done they were slipped on and the parts came together for the first time.

Obviously some last little touch-up bits needed bits 100% but at 9pm on a Sunday night i am happy for now.

Coming soon will be the completed kit photos.

No comments:

Post a Comment