The new season of Thunderbirds Are Go kicked off on Saturday and we celebrated by road-testing (or should that be space-testing?) the new super-sized Thunderbird 3 from Vivid Toys.
We had previously invested in the four-vehicle set containing Thunderbirds 1 to 4, which have given the kids hours of fun, but whereas that set’s TB3 was 17.5cm long this new version of the Tracys’ spacecraft measures in at a gigantic 48.5cm, allowing for even bigger adventures.
It’s not just the vehicle’s size that is impressive, though. It is visibly a faithful reproduction – or at least it is once you have
carelessly carefully applied the enclosed sheet of stickers – as it includes a host of other features as seen on the programme itself.
Open up the cockpit and you can insert mini-figures of Alan and Kayo. Deploy the three extendable grasping arms and you can stand the craft upside down and use the rotating drill concealed within its nose. And once you have inserted three AAA batteries you can access a variety of voice and sound effects, including a launch countdown which is accompanied by light and smoke effects from the base of the rocket. Very cool indeed, although you will need a screwdriver to access and fill the water reservoir needed to produce the smoke, which is a bit of a faff when you have three impatient children demanding a proper rocket launch.
The toy is suitable for ages three and over. Although it’s not overly heavy, smaller children may find it a bit big to manipulate easily and the individual elements of the grasping arms, which need to be extended and unfolded with a modicum of care, may prove a bit fiddly for smaller hands. If there’s one point where the toy may be particularly susceptible to breakage, it’s here – although I have to say the overall build quality of our model seemed pretty good and it has held up well to a week’s worth of heavy-duty search-and-rescue missions so far.
The kids have loved it. As die-hard fans of the show, they have been busy re-enacting their favourite Thunderbird 3 episodes and the toy’s size means it plays a much more interactive role in their adventures.
At a recommended retail price of £49.99, it’s by no means a cheap addition to your child’s toy collection but there is something a bit special about this vehicle’s size and features which make it well worth considering compared to standard mini-replicas. Shop around: at the time of writing, Amazon are listing it at under £40, which tips the balance significantly in terms of affordability, and you are bound to be able to find it priced competitively in the run-up to Christmas.
Not surprisingly, our kids think their new supersize Thunderbird 3 is F.A.B. Although now they want equivalent versions of Thunderbirds 1 and 2 and a similarly supersize Tracy Island …
If you haven’t watched the show yet, here’s a taster of what’s in store in season two, which airs on ITV1 and CITV.
Disclosure: I was provided with this product for review purposes. However, all opinions are my own.