Spectrum HQ Cloudbase – LEGO MOC

One day I was surveying my collection of Gerry Anderson themed LEGO models and I realised that I had yet to build anything from Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons. I love the sleek design of the vehicles from Captain Scarlet, but they don’t necessarily lend themselves easily to the more blocky look of LEGO without the use of specialised parts. A better builder than I with a more expansive parts inventory would probably make an easy job of building a LEGO Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle or a Spectrum Passenger Jet, but each vehicle presents a unique challenge either because of its shape or its colour.

I was still determined, however, to add a Captain Scarlet MOC to my collection.  Quickly scanning through my parts I guesstimated that I would just about have enough grey bricks and plates to create a sizeable version of Cloudbase, headquarters of the Spectrum organisation. Go big or go home, right?

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For reference I relied heavily on the Vivid Imaginations Soundtech Cloudbase toy from the early 2000’s – the exact one I’ve had since my 8th birthday. It is, quite simply, one of the best toys ever produced based on a Gerry Anderson series. In addition I studied shots from the series itself and Graham Bleathman’s cutaway artwork.

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The starting point was to put together a tiny Angel Interceptor to sit on the flight deck. As with all micro scale builds, it was important to try to capture as much detail as possible with as few bricks as possible. I desperately tried to limit the width of the aircraft to just four studs, theoretically allowing two of them to sit side by side, on an eight-stud-wide plate.

With the approximate scale figured out, it was then just a question of putting bricks together until I had the shape of the Angel Interceptor flight deck. Then came the tricky part. Cloudbase is essentially one giant rectangle with the Angel flight deck, the engines, and the Command Centre stuck on the sides. In order to support the weight of all these elements, the core structure had to be incredibly strong, which is difficult when the shape of the body is large and flat. The internal structure of the main body is therefore a maze of bricks and plates overlapping each other and then covered in as many grey plates as I could get my hands on. Deeply buried in each corner for maximum strength is one of the four engine units that keep Cloudbase hovering at 40,000 feet in the air. As an additional touch, I also created a simple hinge mechanism for the “Spectra-fan” at one end, which supposedly tilts upright to slow aircraft down as they land.

I experimented multiple times with ways to add markings to the deck of this Cloudbase build, but as of right now I don’t have the parts to create a smooth, detailed surface. For the moment, therefore, the studs remain exposed. Although I would certainly like to finish this aspect of the build more in the future, maximum accuracy and perfect polish was never my goal when putting this together. I just wanted a big model of Cloudbase that clearly looked like Cloudbase.

The Cloudbase Command Centre is probably one of the least LEGO-friendly shapes I have ever attempted. I started with the circular base which was constructed by connecting a ring of 1×2 swivel/hinge plates together. Then, using a combination of SNOT construction and carefully selected slope bricks I managed to piece together the approximate shape of the building. Inside, bricks were once again used to reinforce the many elements which had to come together in all sorts of awkward ways. Some creativity had to be used at times as my inventory of grey plates had almost completely run out during construction of the main body.

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When the building was completed and full of all that structural reinforcement it was a mighty heavy block. The next challenge was therefore figuring out how to connect the Command Centre to the engines via only two pieces of support stanchion on either side. At first, I used some old fork-ended hinge pieces to achieve the correct angle. Alas, they were far from capable of carrying the weight. I therefore switched to the more modern ratcheted hinges. Although this limited my options for angling the stanchion, this actually worked in my favour because once a section was in place it remained unable to move. Further reinforcement of the two load-bearing engines was needed by further building up the support on the inside of the main body. Finally, the Command Centre was able to sit above and between the two engines without collapsing under its own weight.

The underside of Cloudbase is hardly ever glimpsed at on screen. The only really important detail seemed to be making sure the circular Amber Room was positioned beneath the Angel Interceptor flight deck. The rest of the detail on Cloudbase’s belly was only roughly detailed using black bricks, slopes, and a couple of satellite dishes to represent hover turbines.

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The finished model is a beast which displays beautifully on top of some transparent bricks to simulate flight. One day I intend to add detail to the runway, and construct a whole fleet of Angel Interceptors to remain on standby. For now though, I am very glad to have this addition to my collection. S.I.G.!

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Lady Penelope’s Yacht, FAB 2 – LEGO MOC

Sometimes, when I’m trying to come up with my next Anderson-themed LEGO build, I spend hours trying to think up an impressive crowd-pleaser. Other times I want to diversify my collection in order to represent a machine from every series. In the case of FAB 2, I really just wanted to get back to basics and build something fun and a bit different.

Only seen in the classic episode, The Man From MI.5, and later in Introducing Thunderbirds, FAB 2 is hardly the most memorable vehicle in the International Rescue fleet. Its function is to get Penelope, Parker, and FAB 1 from A to B in comfort and style. Fortunately, publications and merchandise over the years have played a part in making this simple pleasure cruiser appear to hold more significance than was probably ever intended.

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FAB 2 as seen in ‘The Man From MI.5’

Graham Bleathman’s cutaway drawings have enabled us to get a closer look at this elegant creation which only appeared in a handful of wide shots during its outing in The Man From MI.5. The original model was repurposed later to appear in Lord Parker’s ‘Oliday but those shots don’t show us very much either. Yet there was something about FAB 2’s obscurity while still holding the designation of ‘FAB’ which made it appealing for me to work on in LEGO and add to my collection.

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As with all of my LEGO creations so far, there was no prior planning or digital construction before I started putting bricks together. For reference I had a few shots from The Man From MI.5 to work with and Graham Bleathman’s cutaway artwork from the Haynes Agent’s Technical Manual and the earlier World of Thunderbirds book. I decided to make this model to the approximate scale of my micro FAB 1 build which is just four LEGO studs long. I try not to get too bogged down in concerns about scale when I’m building. I’m usually more interested in achieving the correct shapes with the pieces I have, rather than trying to make sure something is exactly the right height, length or width compared to something else in my collection.

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I began construction on the bow of the boat, which is by far the most challenging shape to re-create. LEGO produces many large pieces which can easily form the front of a ship, but my own parts inventory only extended to a few of these and none of them were the right colour. I therefore had to to try and sculpt an approximation of the bow using only bricks and angled plates. This technique produces a distinctly LEGO-ey look and perhaps could be refined considering this model is relatively small, but I was limited by the parts I had available (having just finished an enormous model of Cloudbase in grey which I will show you later!).

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Next I started constructing the hull and a garage to contain FAB 1. It would have been all too easy to make the body of the boat completely solid in order to easily build the deck above. However, I felt that creating a space to park FAB 1 was an important feature and decided to leave the necessary space, and added a hinged plate to simulate the rear door.

When working on such a small build with relatively limited parts, certain details can only be suggested. Space on the promenade deck was severely restricted, and trying and build up all of the rooms and pillars which are visible on the original model would have been impossible. It takes a certain artistic vision, or perhaps just some imagination, to study basic LEGO bricks and think about how they could be used to represent entire structures and sit comfortably in the build as a whole. There’s only so much you can get away with before the whole model becomes unrecognisable. I think having 1 x 2 slopes blocking the lower port and starboard decks to form pillars for the upper deck just about works. When you’re looking at the MOC from a distance you probably wouldn’t question it. It’s only when you get a closer look and start to overthink it, that you realise there is no possible way for anyone to access the lounge and bar at the front of the yacht. It’s nothing that a little bit of acceptance and imagination can’t fix though.

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Fortunately, I had the perfect windscreen pieces for the lounge and the bridge, which really pulls the whole thing together for me. The rest of the upper deck was built relatively easily with details like the search-light, antenna, and even the suggestion of some lifeboats being added at the end. When I was finished, the only modification I made was adding the gangway on the port side which is simply represented by a 1 x 6 tile attached to a 1 x 1 modified brick, allowing it to move up and down.

As I looked at the finished model something didn’t quite look right about the shape. It didn’t appear to be long enough compared its height. It then occured to me that the red hull is normally seen sitting in the water, thus reducing the overall height of what we see on screen. I therefore decided it would be best to display FAB 2 “in water” by building up blue bricks and 1 x 1 translucent blue studs around her. Using clear studs I attempted to simulate the boat’s wake, as if it were travelling at speed. As a final touch, I added my micro FAB 1 and Thunderbird 4 builds to cruise alongside, thus creating a small diorama of International Rescue’s entire ocean-going fleet setting sail for another adventure.

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If you enjoy hearing about my LEGO creations based on the worlds of Gerry Anderson, you can subscribe to the blog here or follow Security Hazard on Facebook and Twitter.

Security Hazard Live! Tune in on Monday, March 23rd

For Gerry Anderson fans who are stuck indoors and looking for a little bit of extra entertainment and chat about their favourite TV shows, I’m trying something new. With no plan or agenda, Jack Knoll (one half of the Operation Anderthon podcast, and some Thunderbirds reviews that go on a bit) will be streaming live on the Security Hazard Facebook page on Monday, March 23rd at 5:00 pm GMT for the first time.

There may well be technical hiccups along the way, but if you’re prepared to take a chance on me, you could be a witness to part of history… or at least, you can pass a bit of time listening to some twerp witter on about Thunderbirds and such like things.

Interested? Follow Security Hazard on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog and standby for action!

 

Ep 23 – Season 1 Finale

It’s time for Jack and Katherine to reflect on their exciting adventure watching the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series. Standby for revelations, games, and a look into the future…

To try The AnderTag for yourself visit www.securityhazard.net/the-andertag

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Thanks to Andrew Clements, Jamie Anderson, Richard James, and all of our listeners.

Operation Anderthon will return!

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Ep 22 – Space Precinct

Jack and Katherine take a trip to Demeter City and watch the Space Precinct episode Double Duty to round off their journey through the Gerry Anderson universe and their mission to view the first episode of every series. But is this really the end of their Anderthon?

Watch Mark Simpson Wedge’s Gerry Anderson Panel Game here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1T3q-F_tLA

Space Precinct, loosely based on the Space Police pilot from 1986, was one of the most ambitious and expensive television series ever produced when it debuted in 1994. The series was a mixture of police procedural and science fiction and followed the work and family life of Lieutenant Patrick Brogan, a New York cop who transferred to the Demeter City police force on the planet Altor. Along with his human, Creon, Tarn, and robotic colleagues, Brogan enforces the law in Demeter City tackling everything from drug-dealing to acts of terrorism. All this while getting to grips with family life on an alien planet. With complex animatronics and special effects, the series is a visual feast with a number of special guest stars making appearances throughout. But are Jack and Katherine are ready to patrol the streets of Demeter City?

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

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Ep 21 – Terrahawks

Special Agent Chloe – the dog – is called in to select this week’s adventure for Jack and Katherine. Chloe chooses Terrahawks, and Katherine is left to make her judgement on Expect The Unexpected, the opening story to one of Gerry Anderson’s most bizarre television series.

Returning to the world of puppetry, Gerry Anderson and Christopher Burr’s Terrahawks debuted in 1983 with a cast of bizarre characters filmed in Supermacromation, using hand puppets rather than marionettes. The Terrahawks are an elite fighting force tasked with defending the Earth from the evil alien android Zelda and her wicked family of fiendish villains. Led by Doctor Tiger Ninestein, a prickly clone with no time for nonsense, the Terrahawks use their fleet of vehicles and an army of spherical Zeroid robots to fight off attacks from Zelda and her gang of monsters. As the series progressed, the humour which formed the core of the series became wilder and more surreal. The question is, what did Jack and Katherine make of this series?

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://securityhazard.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/securityhazard/

Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

Ep 20 – Joe 90

Katherine and Jack take their final outing into Supermarionation this week with Joe 90. What will Katherine make of Professor McClaine’s attempts to brainwash his young son, Joe, and sending him off on missions to single-handedly take down the most powerful criminals in the world?

Nine-year-old secret agent Joe 90 is the most special agent of the World Intelligence Network. Joe 90 follows the daring adventures of Joe McClaine, a young boy who is sent on dangerous spy missions thanks to his father’s invention, the BIG RAT – the Brain Impulse Galvanoscope Record And Transfer. Professor Ian McClaine shows no hesitation about experimenting on his son’s brain, and only puts up a fight when his best friend Sam Loover, and his boss Shane Weston, want to send Joe on dangerous missions to bring down the biggest names in international espionage. One week he’s an ace pilot, the next an expert aquanaut – Joe 90 can learn just about any skills to get the job done while avoiding all suspicion from the world’s military and criminal organisations. First broadcast in 1968, Joe 90 maintains a special place in television history for continuing the Supermarionation tradition, but with stories that were more character-driven than hardware focused. But what did Jack and Katherine make of this new approach?

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://securityhazard.net

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Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

Ep 19 – Space: 1999 (Year 2)

Why is Jack making Katherine watch Space: 1999 all over again this week? Maybe the all new sets, characters, music and tone introduced in The Metamorph will be enough to convince Katherine that Year 2 is a completely new approach to the show that she witnessed being introduced in Breakaway a couple of weeks ago. The question is, will Katherine prefer Year 1 or Year 2?

The second series of Space: 1999 follows the continuing adventures of the Moonbase Alpha team, but with many very notable changes to the first series. In an attempt to give the show more appeal in the United States, Fred Freiberger took over as producer following Sylvia Anderson’s departure and changes to the stories, the tone, and even the cast were made for better or worse. Familiar faces such as Victor Bergman and Paul Morrow were replaced by Maya and Tony Verdeschi. Derek Wadsworth became the series’ composer. Main Mission became the more compact Command Center. The Moonbase Alpha team are less serious and more relaxed about their doomed odyssey through the universe and share a laugh and a smile every now and again. The stories are more focused on action and adventure with alien monsters rampaging through Moonbase Alpha on a regular basis. Year 2 of Space: 1999 began broadcasting in 1976 and is generally considered to be the less successful of the two series, but will Jack and Katherine agree with this criticism?

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://securityhazard.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/securityhazard/

Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

Ep 18 – Dick Spanner, P.I.

Plunge into the Big Pear with this week’s podcast as Katherine and Jack explore Dick Spanner’s first mysterious adventure. Will the whacky humour win over Katherine or has Jack made another dumb move by showing her this series?

Using stop motion animation, Dick Spanner, P.I. was brought to life in 1986. The robotic private detective, Dick Spanner was on the case for twenty-two six minute adventures narrated by Shane Rimmer. These episodes were later compiled into two stories, The Case of the Human Cannonball, and The Case of the Maltese Parrot. Gerry Anderson produced the series which was created by Terrahawks effects technician, Terry Adlam. Featuring tongue-in-cheek humour and visual gags, Dick Spanner is by far the most comedy focussed and risque of the Anderson series. Created on a shoestring budget, the series was broadcast as part of Channel 4’s Network 7 Sunday morning programme. Jack and Katherine have completed their viewing of the episode and are ready to give their report…

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://securityhazard.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/securityhazard/

Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

Ep 17 – Space: 1999 (Year 1)

Katherine has been dreading watching Space: 1999. As far as she’s concerned its just too long and too boring. But as the crew of Moonbase Alpha face an apocalyptic nuclear disaster, maybe the drama and tension of this incredible piece of television will be enough to make Katherine change her mind…

A catastrophic nuclear accident blows the Earth’s moon out of orbit. The inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha are transported through space on an unending voyage to strange new worlds. This is Space: 1999. First broadcast in 1975, the series stars Martin Landau and Barbara Bain as Commander John Koenig and Doctor Helena Russell. The first series, produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, was an epic and dramatic saga which saw the Alphans struggle for survival, unprepared for their journey across the universe, meeting advanced alien civilisations and encountering strange, intelligent space phenomena which challenged their understanding of life as they knew it. The series was the Andersons’ biggest production yet, but what will Jack and Katherine have to say about Year 1 of Space: 1999?

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://securityhazard.net

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/securityhazard/

Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com