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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.