Friday, 27 July 2012


Tinkering With a Tonka Toy!

Having Purchased a Tonka toy, a demolition crane unit, I thought it would be far more interesting as some kind of futuristic transportation vehicle. Overcoming the tamper=proof screws holding it all together was quite a challenge. Once apart, I removed the wheels, hydraulic jacks and silver side panels, leaving just the body shell. The opaque windows remained as they covered the wiring for the flashing roof beacons, a feature of the toy that I liked the look of.

For inspiration, I referred to a photo of a missile carrier from the puppet series, “Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons”, which featured a truss-like framework on wheels. For my own version, I rummaged through a toy box and located a cheap construction crane from a child’s play set. I pulled it apart, reversed the two halves, trimmed a little and it fitted perfectly to the truck’s body. The missile itself was created from an old, plastic table leg, two halves of a cheap plastic rocket and a few kit parts.

Detail was added to both the transporter and its truss cradle using sheet styrene, kit parts and various household items. When all was glued and dry, grey primer blended all the various colours and differing sections together. Wattle Yellow was used on the truss cradle, Marinello Red for some Evergreen insert sections on the truck, while Cyan was used for the basic truck colour.

Marinello Red was also used for the missile itself. I added brass channel bracing for each pair of wheels, increased the axle depth and added pieces of rubber foam to act as shock absorbers for the vehicle. I’m glad to say that this simple technique, used by Derek Meddings for many original miniatures from Gerry Anderson productions, works well and gives independent suspension to an ordinary toy.

More layers of detailing followed - decal numbers and letters, as well as many narrow sections of car pinstriping tape, especially for the missile. Being a very basic cylindrical shape, the missile needed far more tape and decals added just to give it some semblance of reality. A jewellery chain, dyed bronze, was the final detail, along with drybrushing and weathering with an airbrush.

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