Sunday, 16 August 2015

Assorted Spectrum Ground Vehicles

The one thing I love above all else, of Gerry Anderson's TV series are the vehicles. All of his shows featured fantastic looking vehicles. Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons was no different and featured a wide variety of vehicles that appeared on land, sea and air. I own models of three of the Spectrum ground vehicles and I'll review them all here.
The Maximum Security Vehicle (MSV) is the most secure vehicle in existence in the year 2068. It is designed to hold four people, usually V.I.P. personnel. It has a top speed of 250 mph and is armed with an electron ray cannon and a laser cannon, both front-mounted behind hidden hatches. Security forbids exposure of its construction.
In the event of an attack, the MSV is hermetically sealed by time-lock, only to open on the ultimate completion of its mission. In such conditions the MSV is air-pressurised, having its own air-filter console beneath the undercarriage. Stand-by motors fitted to the undercarriage are computer-controlled to be brought into operation in an emergency. It has hydraulic suspension independent of all wheels and special anti-heat flare windows.
My MSV is a die-cast model made by Dinky Toys and whilst it is not 28mm scale (its closer to 20mm scale), it still looks good when used alongside 28mm scale figures, like my CDG Captain Scarlet, as shown in all of my photos.
The MSV model measures 5.25" (13cm) in length, by 2.75" (7cm) in width and 2" (5cm) in height. The two side doors with the Spectrum logo open in a gull-wing fashion and a small step folds out. The model comes with a wooden crate containing bars of gold, which is stored inside (see last photo below).
The Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle (SPV) is the main ground combat vehicle used by Spectrum. This three-seater vehicle has a top speed of 200 mph and is armed with an electron ray cannon, laser cannon and ground-to-air rocket launcher, all front-mounted behind hidden hatches. It is fitted with five pairs of wheels on either side (the three over the front, middle and rear axles constituting the main drive), with additional traction for mountainous environments provided by rear-mounted, hydraulically lowered caterpillar tracks.
Within the hermetically-sealed control compartment, the driver, co-driver and a passenger are seated backwards, facing the rear, to reduce the possibility of injury in the event of a crash; the driver is aided by a video monitor displaying (vertically-flipped) forward and rear views. It is equipped with ejector seats and radar. The hydrogenic power unit can be removed and re-assembled as a personal jet pack or other devices of comparable size (additional components for which are stored towards the back of the vehicle).
The SPV that I own is a die-cast model made by Product Enterprises, which I think is a better model than the one made by Dinky Toys. I do own a Dinky Toys SPV but it is buried away deep in a storage cupboard. The Dinky Toys version featured a working rocket launcher, which fired a plastic rocket from where the letters SPV are written on the front of the vehicle. The Product Enterprises version lacks this feature but is much better painted. As with the MSV, this model is closer to 20mm scale than 28mm scale, but that does not bother me unduly.
The SPV model measures 7" (17.5cm) in length by 3" (7.5cm) in width by 2.5" (6cm) in height. The door on the right side of the SPV springs open to reveal a seated Captain Scarlet figure (see previous photo above and the last photo below). The caterpillar tracks at the rear can be lowered.
The Spectrum Saloon Car (SSC) is sometimes known as the Spectrum Pursuit Car. It was designed for high-speed mobility for Spectrum personnel, capable of reaching speeds of 200 mph. It was specially made for Spectrum of the new lightweight metal, fleetonium. It can seat up to four people, has four wheel drive and is powered by a gas turbine located under the rear roof. The SSC is armed with a pair of machine guns, as well as an electron ray cannon and a laser cannon, all fitted behind hidden front-facing hatches.
The car is specially equipped with quartz headlights that permit the driver to see long distances in the dark. The vehicle also features transverse gearing, independent suspension and magnetic drums that provide powerful control braking by means of electromagnetically generated opposing magnetic fields. The road-tyre friction heat at high speeds is countered by wing intakes, while a central housing and rear-mounted fin maintain the vehicle's stability at speed. Safety airbags are fitted as standard.
My SSC vehicle is another die-cast model made by Dinky Toys. Once again, it is slightly under-scaled but not by much. There is a motor in the rear compartment, which, if you pull the car backwards on a flat surface will propel the SSC forward. Sadly, that stopped working years ago but I don't mind.
The SSC model measures 4.75" (12cm) in length by 1.75" (4.5cm) in width by 1.5" (4cm) in height. None of its doors open and its only special feature is the now defunct motor in the rear.
Here are a couple of group shots showing all three vehicles together, alongside Captain Scarlet for scale purposes. The photo below shows one of the open doors of the MSV along with its valuable cargo. The SPV has lowered its caterpillar tracks and its open door shows Captain Scarlet in the driver's seat, facing backwards.
Suffice to say, these models are long out of production but they frequently appear on eBay. Prices and condition does vary considerably. A quick search today showed a badly battered MSV going for 99p, whilst a Dinky Toys SPV with its original packaging is going for £99.99. I'd say £20-£30 is about the norm for any one of them. I have, however, just discovered a cheaper alternative for them. You can now get card models of them from Dave's Designs Star Carz If you want to see a review of them check out Colgar6's excellent review of them here - http://colgar6.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/captain-scarlet-vehicles-in-card.html
I must admit that my passion for Captain Scarlet has been rekindled with these three posts of mine. I am very, very tempted to buy a trio of Angel Interceptor models. I used to own an Airfix 1/72 (or 20mm scale) plastic model of one but I have no idea what happened to it. Incredibly, after all these years, Airfix are still selling this model today. Will I succumb and buy three? Most likely! Watch this space.

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Why thank you, Gordon. Very kind of you to say so.

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  2. This is quite possibly my favourite posting you've done Bryan, as it immediately took me back to my days of playing with my "U.F.O." land vehicle. Its also had me surfing the internet looking for these "Captain Scarlet" vehicles... and I'm bidding on some as a result. I still don't really know what this TV series was all about, but you're really bringing it alive with these postings and the vehicles look outstanding. I also see plenty of people sell replica parts to these 'toys' as well as their decals, so if I do get any I'm sure I'll be repainting mine - which means yet another project ;-)

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    1. Many thanks, Simon. eBay can be a godsend to the dedicated collector. I keep a close eye on most Gerry Anderson sales on eBay as there are still a few models I'd like to add to my collection. Do let me know what you get.

      "UFO" was a HUGE favourite of mine and a few years ago I bought some incredibly detailed die-cast models of three different S.H.A.D.O. mobiles, a Moonbase Interceptor and best of all, a UFO. These came from a local model shop, which has since closed down. I ought to do a review of them soon.

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  3. Gerry Anderson vehicles were Iconic in every Series and whether regular features (as in Thunderbirds) or not. I have been tempted for some years to build a wargames terrain board just for these three. But the reality is I know I never will!

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    1. Thanks, Clint. The beauty of the Captain Scarlet TV series is that the settings were not too dissimilar to a contemporary setting so you don't have to go too futuristic with your scenery. I plan on using my Mayhem City terrain when I get round to running my Captain Scarlet scenario.

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  4. http://www.starshipmodeler.com/other/aw_angel.htm

    If you're feeling flush

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    1. That is gorgeous but way out of my price range, Phil.

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  5. http://www.starshipmodeler.com/other/pv_gerry.htm

    more goodies

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  6. Impressive models! I loved watching the show as a kid - still hold fond memories of it - that and Thunderbirds.

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    1. Thanks, Dean. Thunderbirds was just as much fun as Captain Scarlet.

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  7. Have to agree with you, Bryan, Gerry Anderson vehicles were the best. Was aware of the pursuit car and SPV, but the other one is new to me. Of course, I now want them all and the link you provided to the paper kits may be my way of getting them without declaring bankruptcy - although die cast would be preferable... Regards Jez

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    1. For sure, there was just something about the vehicles from Gerry Anderson's series that made them a cut above and so iconic. I like card models, Jez, but they can never match a die-cast model. It is good to know that cheap alternatives exist.

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  8. Nice collection :-) . If you do indeed get 3 Angel Interceptors as well then the bad guys will be totally outclassed, I think!

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    1. Thanks, Hugh. My willpower wilted and I have ordered three Airfix Angel Interceptors. Spectrum is Green!

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    2. There's always this, of course :-) : http://www.papercraftsquare.com/captain-scarlet-mysterons-angel-interceptor-free-paper-model-download.html

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    3. Very nice, Hugh. Once again, your knowledge of card models trumps my own.

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  9. Very nice models Bryan! Super retro futuristic. I'm sure they'll look good as stars in your batreps. Get your zombie on Dude!

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    1. Cheers, Bob. I will most certainly get my zombie on.

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  10. Brilliant Bryan. Great looking vehicles.A zombie themed game would be super with these.

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    1. Thanks, Simon. I reckon this lot could deal with most zombie threats.

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