Thunderbirds "The Mole" WIP.


Active Member
Hi fellow model addicts.

Thought I'd start on another Gerry Anderson model which is the Aoshima 1/72 Thunderbirds "The Mole" and one of my fave marionette TV series as a kid and also my fave rescue vehicle from the show.

Started off with removing the seam lines and injector pin marks from the drill piece, this was a mish due to the curvature and shape of the piece.

mole 01.jpg

The drill section of the model is nicely detailed but the tractor piece is a little bare, so I rummaged through my loose parts bin to pick out some donor parts then bathed them in a small glass of simple green degreaser to strip off the paint.

mole 02.jpg

I then mapped out where I was to put them being aware of where the decal placement was on the instruction sheet, I left those spaces bare and I also kept the detailing to a minimum.

mole 03.jpg

Looking at my reference photo's, I noticed that the inner section of the tractor had wall panelling on both sides, so using some styrene sheet, I measured and cut out panels for each side but after taking a step back to look at it from all angles, I decided it was a missed opportunity to see the hydraulics on the inside because the panels blocked the view so I removed them.

Upon removing the panels, I had to conjure up some detail, my idea was to replace the wall panels with something in the same shape of the rocket shape part, so I found an old plastic ball point pen casing, cut it to the length of the rocket detailing then split it in half which left me with two pieces, one for each side.

I then cut the tip off of the tapered end to the correct size so it matched the kit detail being aware I had to leave a gap for the mounting brackets.

I cupped the front ends off with a piece of styrene tube (dunno why, I just thought it looked incomplete with nothing there), and sliced the leftover threaded piece (the screw together bit) of the pen casing in half and glued it to the opposite end of the rocket for added detail with more styrene tube.

mole 05.jpg

A couple of more tiny details added and that's the tractor done.

mole 06.jpg

I'm not going to motorise this model but I started installing some of the gearing that holds the drill in place as they also support the tension of the tracks that are mounted on the sides of the drill section.

mole 04.jpg

mole 07.jpg

Removed the wiring for the caution light as I wont be lighting it, I also added a greeblie to hide the hole where the on/off switch was meant to mount, glued the remaining parts of the drill section on then a bit of masking and it's time to do some priming.

mole 08.jpg

Primed and sitting there drying out... also gave both my Tie Fighters a second coat of base color which is Archive-X Stormy Sea Grey (has a tinge of blue) and apparently matched to the hero Tie.

mole 09.jpg

I think the added details turned out okay.

mole 10.jpg

More to come...

EDIT: Unsure of why photos aren't displaying in the post, might be my image host.
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Active Member
Awesome .

The photos are showing at this end . Maybe just a temporary glitch .

I think it was a glitch with my browser (Opera) so I just chose the upload option rather than linking.

Awesome! So the motorized version had a spinning drill? Did the treads operate too?

Yes, it has a spinning drill and the side treads operated simultaneous with the drill, the treads for the tractor section can be motorised too.

Sadly the electric motors aren't included in the kit and you have to purchase them separately, I chose not too since this will only be a display piece.

I only installed the drill shaft and it's gearing so I'd have the option to turn it manually for posing purposes and as extra support to hold it securely in place, the side treads would also have a bit of tension with the gearing installed because they're a bit floppy without them. I suppose I could've glued the drill bit in place but then it'll be stuck in one position.

Looks like you're headed in a good direction with this one
Thank you.

It's turning out pretty good so far.

Small update:

Managed to lay a base coat down on the main sections which is the entire drill section and the tractor body.

I must admit, the decision to completely open up the inner section of the tractor and keep the added detail to a minimum was a good choice, I think too much would've made it look cluttered.

Pleased with how the paint for the drill pieces turned out, the silver chrome worked out really well with only 3 coats, the yellow for the main section is okay, a bit of clean up required all thanks to my airbrush clogging and splattering on it's 4th coat but not too noticeable unless you look real close with your nose touching the model close :D

Next up are the individual tracks, all 88 pieces of them of which I have to cut from the sprue, clean up, paint then glue each one to the rubber tracks, after that mission is the final detailing pieces for the drill section and brace sections for the tractor.

Edit: You'll probably notice my Tie Fighter has black primer on it again, I tried a pearl coat for the cockpit window using a glossy aluminium base then a coat of transparent red, I didn't like the look so stripped it off, will try another approach.
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Active Member
Pretty cool.

Thank you.

Nice progress. Looks like you have been blessed with some accommodating weather for painting lately.
Yes, I thought ahead and laid out the paints ready for quick load into my airbrush as soon as the sun showed any signs of coming out from hiding :D it rained yesterday halfway through painting all the tracks but cleared up later in the afternoon so I was lucky I had some sunshine to dry my paint work.

A bit of progress as the sun came out yesterday, I completed the task of cutting, cleaning, and painting all 88 pieces of the tracks as well as some other bits n pieces of detail that attach to both the tractor and drill section, I also did one final coat of yellow on the drill section then gave all the parts a gloss coat ready for decals.

Today I started the tedious job of attaching all the individual tracks to the rubber treads with gorilla super glue, out of the 88 tracks there were 4 spare as each tread only took 42 tracks to fully complete.

All completed :)

Detailing the inner part of the tractor worked out pretty well, I like that it kind of lines up with the parts of the outer details and adds a 3 dimensional look to it, one thing it would've lacked if I had just covered the inside area with a wall panel like the studio model.

Applied all the tractor decals and started stage one of the weathering process, I'm looking at dirtying this up quite a bit as I've seen some builds that in my opinion look fantastic but too clean for a machine that drills down into the earth, I'm going to dust her up and add some hardened mud in certain places.

To be continued...


Well-Known Member
Hey , man , are you familiar with that Russian , nuclear-powered " mole " that supposedly would actually exist ?
Cold War stuff .


Active Member
Hey , man , are you familiar with that Russian , nuclear-powered " mole " that supposedly would actually exist ?
Cold War stuff .
I'm not familiar with that no, I wonder if the Mole was based off of that?

Love the hardened mud.
Thank you, I'm thinking of adding a lighter batch of mud for the inner area to represent old dried up stuff, looking at reference photo's, Virgil and team didn't really clean her much if at all.

Another update:

Took advantage of today's sun rays and did some minor touch ups, also applied all the decals to the drill section which lay down quite nicely for an old kit, I'm glad they didn't deteriorate whilst I was handling them. I also glued on the remaining details.

Had to put my thinking cap on to how I was going to paint the chromed details on the side of the drill section, the details are narrow and look as if they'd take a while to paint by hand with a detail brush which I don't have the time nor patience to attempt, so after racking my brain cells, I come up with an idea to how I was going to achieve this which was pretty basic really and I don't know why I was stressing out about it for.

I masked off above and below the detail, then cut the end off of one of my sanding sponges, stabbed a cocktail stick in there and viola, a home made stamp. I figured since the sanding sponge's surface is coarse but cushiony it would be ideal candidate to hold the right amount of paint and not be too sloppy that it would squish everywhere when I dabbed it onto the details raised surface.

And it worked... it actually come out pretty clean... I'd still have to use a brush to tidy up the very ends but at least I wont have to paint the whole thing.

One side has more decals than the other so I might add some suitable one's from left over decal sheets.


Well-Known Member
Looking fantastic !
cool trick with the paint-stamp :cool:

" I'm not familiar with that no, I wonder if the Mole was based off of that? " :D haha , probably not , that thing was insane .
Pretty sure this wouldn't work :



Active Member
Looks to be coming along very nicely
Thank you.

Another model headed for the finish line, weathered the drill section and gave it and the tractor section a bit of splatter effect plus another pass of dusting and mud, I wanted the drill end of it to be clean but still have a used look to it, not following any reference photo's but merely having fun with the weathering. I'm happy how she turned out with the grungy look of it.

Gave both sections a clear semi gloss to seal in my work which looks really shiny :D... waiting for the weather to give me some sun rays so I can finally give it a flat clear coat and call it done.



Active Member
Fantastic! Cool kit, great work
Thank you.

Calling this model done, can't think of anything else to do to it other than find the tiny plug that hides the screw on the tractor which was kidnapped by the carpet monster last night :oops:

Was a fun project with no fit issues at all, shame about all the spare gearing left over but I'm sure I'll make use of them perhaps detailing another kit

I may invest in a decent camera so I can take better photo's as you can hardly make out the weathering details in the photo as good as in person.

Cheers :cool:

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