Thursday, 28 March 2019

DID YOU HAVE A JR21 THUNDERBIRD 2? (UPDATED)...



Regular readers of this blog may be forgiven for labouring under the impression that I was a spoiled child in my younger years.  After all, I've previously related a few reminiscences about looking into shop windows and asking my mother to buy me a particular toy, only for her to acquiesce to my earnest pleas.  However, this is a totally false impression, as the number of times I was refused far outweighs the few times I got a result.  On two separate occasions a couple of years apart, my entreaties to my parents to buy me a CECIL COLEMAN SUPERCAR were rebuffed in no uncertain terms (as were my requests for various other things in between).  I'd first spied the toy on an end-of-aisle display in my local SAFEWAY, but my mother was resolute and declined to buy it for me.

The second time I laid eyes on it was in Glasgow's famous BARRAS market and, despite costing less than its Safeway doppelganger, the answer was still a resounding no.  When I eventually managed to obtain one decades later, it cost me a whopping £350.  So rest assured, I didn't always (or even nearly always) get what I wanted whenever I asked, it's just that, in relating these tales from childhood, I've chosen the few-and-far-between instances when the answer was yes, but taken out of context, it looks like "yes" was the answer a disproportionate number of times.

Which brings me to a day trip to Ayr with my family in 1967 or '68.  We were sitting on a bench in a park near the seafront, when I spotted a fellow youth running over the neatly-kept lawned areas on either side of the pathway, holding aloft an actual THUNDERBIRD 2.  I immediately coveted it and drew my mother's attention to the wondrous toy.  Maybe she was feeling guilty about all the things my brother got  and decided to redress the balance by purchasing a toy for me.  (Now he was spoiled; cycles, cycle accessories, all sorts of stuff, you name it - if he wanted it, it seems, in the distant caverns of memory, that he got it.)  She asked the boy where he had obtained the TB2 and he pointed to a shop across the road, and faster than a fart from The FLASH, I was the proud owner of a JR21 Thunderbird 2.  It was a magnificent toy to someone of my age, and I have many happy memories of it.  I even took it in to school one day and the teacher put it on display on top of a shelf next to the blackboard, as I looked on proudly at the apple of my eye.


I remember playing with it in bed (right, any more of that, you lot, and you'll be ejected), and it was probably my favourite toy - at least until another favourite toy came along.  It was fragile though, and one of the 'pegs' which kept the pod door in place eventually broke, and I had to fashion a replacement peg out of cardboard in order to maintain the door's functionality.  Eventually, TB2 must have been sent to the place where all the other discarded toys of my childhood went to (toy heaven), where they doubtless sat around moaning about what a careless, fickle, cruel and heartless owner I'd been.

Anyway, today I received a long-overdue replacement for that JR21 TB2.  If you had one of these as a kid, you may remember a slight sense of disappointment when you opened the box and found an out-of-scale plastic jeep in place of an actual Thunderbirds vehicle.  (That's the one I had also.)  However, take a look at the photo above and seethe with jealousy.  What you're looking at is one of the rarer versions that contained a TB4, which makes it immensely rare, hugely collectable and ridiculously expensive.  There were only a few hundred ever produced with the TB4 and I've got one.  Or at least I would have if I wasn't lying through my teeth in order to induce feelings of envy, frustration, and lust in your heavily-palpitating breasts.  Yes, that's right, I'm kidding - the TB4 is one that came free with packets of KELLOGG'S SUGAR SMACKS back in the '60s.  (Had you going there for a moment, eh?)  Looks the part though, doesn't it?  This is the way the toy should've been issued back then, instead of with a poxy little jeep, don't you agree?

And yet... and yet... that wee jeep was part of my childhood and I'd like to own it again.  My newly-arrived TB2 came in its original box but sans jeep and I won't be completely (but temporarily) fulfilled until I can once more place it in its pod where it belongs.  If I'd been prepared to spend around £120 more, I could have bought one with a jeep, but it's not quite worth that (or anywhere near it) - not in my view anyway.  So, dear readers, do any of you have a spare JR21 jeep you'd be prepared to sell me at a reasonable price?  If so, get in touch via the comments section and help me reunite my TB2 with its little green (or was it brown?) vehicle.  Then we can all live happily ever after.  (Wouldn't that be nice?)




And, in answer to PS's request (see comments section), below is someone else's TB2 along with the original jeep.  Shame its wings are on backwards, eh?  (The TB2, not the jeep.)


Update:  And below, in a photo taken nearly 50 years after the event, is the very classroom in which my TB2 was displayed back in the '60s.  In my day, it had more traditional desks (ones with lids and inkwells) and wooden seats, and my toy sat on the left (as we look at it) of the blackboard, on top of the shelf.  Can't quite recall if that smaller, narrow bookcase just under the clock was there in my day, but it could well have been - in which case (and if there was space) my TB2 would've sat in front of it.  I do remember books on top of the shelf though (one of which was MARY POPPINS), so they may have sat in that bookcase.

I took this photo, amongst many others, towards the end of 2013, and the school was demolished at the beginning of 2014.  I wish I'd obtained my replacement toy back then, as you can bet your boots I'd have placed it on the shelf before taking the photo, just to re-create the moment.  Never mind, at least the two images co-exist in the same post, which is the next best thing. 

13 comments:

AirPiratePress said...

I've got a Dinky one (Thunderbird 2, ye mad mental, ye) ...

Alan

Kid said...

Phew! Thank goodness you were talking about a TB2, Al. This isn't the Jeremy Kyle show you know. Talking of Dinky TB2s - I've got four. Always was a greedy buggah, me.

Phil S said...

I absolutely had TB2! Alas I don’t recall a Jeep. Have you got a pic?

Kid said...

I've got a pic somewhere in my files, PS. I'll add it shortly. This is a large plastic toy of TB2, not the Dinky diecast that Al mentioned.

WOODSY said...

You're a full on vintage toy collector Kid! Supercar and now a JR21 TB2! Superb! Its a gorgeous toy and I love the depth of your memories about it. You really have got a clear memory generally of your childhood, which I'd love to have but sadly I'm all fogged up. I had the JR21 TB2 as well but that's all I can say on the matter. I did a post about a collectors rare sweet filled JR21 TB2 years ago. I think it was Somportex that teamed up with JR21 for a few models. As for the Jeep [is it a Land Rover?] I've come across the red one more often than the green but I shall keep my eyes peeled and alert the Tracy brothers should I locate one. Congrats on an ace toy and enjoy the second childhood!

Kid said...

I think it's a Land Rover, Woodsy, but I wouldn't know one vehicle from another (not counting Bubble Cars, Batmobiles, AM DB5s, Chitty, and such like). I've seen it referred to as a Land Rover so it probably is. I think I saw the post you mention. That's when manufacture of the TB2 was switched from Hong Kong (Empire Made, which is the one I've got) to Britain. The theory is that the moulds for the friction-drive part weren't shipped with the rest of the moulds, so the toy was issued without it for a while, with sweets instead. A sticker was placed over the box where it said 'Friction-Drive'. Or maybe it isn't a theory, but actual fact. Incidentally, it's not my second childhood, I just never left my first one.

Lionel Hancock said...

I'm like everybody else and have the Dinky version. I thought that was best of all...Looking at the photos you have posted a JR21TB2 looks great. Was it the same size or larger. I do have a terrific plastic Thunderbird 3 though which is about 18 inches high

Kid said...

The JR21 TB2 is 10 inches long, LH, and is a more accurate representation of the overall shape of the craft. The pod is slightly shorter than it should be, but it needs to be to allow for the friction-drive motor at the back of the base of TB2. (The pod's visually divided into five 'slices' rather than six.) I was actually quite surprised at just how good it actually is, looks-wise, and it compares favourably to more recent models (as in over the last 25-odd years) of Thunderbird 2.

Incidentally, you'll probably know this, but there was more than one version of the Dinky version. There was the first green one, then a metallic blue one (as well as the early ones being riveted, and later ones held together by screws), then there was a larger metallic blue one in the '70s, which was initially all diecast metal (apart from the exhausts). Then Dinky changed the base to plastic, which came in black and also white. I'm not 100% sure, but perhaps there was also a plastic base in metallic blue to match the upper chassis.

I've got two small green ones, one small blue one, and one larger blue one (with metal base). I'm not really interested in the plastic-base ones. The Matchbox version from the early '90s is a more accurate shape, and Corgi based their version on the Matchbox one, but with very minor revisions as to detailing.

Kid said...

Oh, also meant to say, if that large TB3 of yours is the Vivid Imagination one, I've got it too, as well as their TB1 and TB2. Matchbox also did a large TB2 'playset' in the early '90s which is very nice.

Lionel Hancock said...

Yep its the Vivid Imagination one

Kid said...

If I recall correctly, I got mine from Woolworths in Rutherglen sometime in the late '90s or early '00s. A nice reminder of childhood and a much-missed shop.

Lionel Hancock said...

I bought mine off Ebay around 2005

Kid said...

The TB1 is very nice, LH. One to add to your collection perhaps?

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