Glencoe 1/87 Thor 'White Sands'

KIT #: 08904
PRICE: $29.98 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Perhaps an old Adams kit


Thor was the first operational ballistic missile deployed by the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Named after the Norse god of thunder, it was deployed in the United Kingdom between 1959 and September 1963 as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) with thermonuclear warheads. Thor was 65 feet (20 m) in height and 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter. It was later augmented in the U.S. IRBM arsenal by the Jupiter.

A large family of space launch vehicles—the Thor and Delta rockets—were derived from the Thor design. The Delta II is still in active service as of 2014 and with the retirement of Atlas and Titan in the mid-2000s, is the last surviving "heritage" launch vehicle in the US fleet (being derived from a Cold War-era missile system).


I am unsure of the initial release date of this kit, but it seems very much a '50's design. This will undoubtedly mean a relatively poor fit, at least when compared to mainstream kits of today. Most of the five construction steps are concerned with building the launch pad. In this regard, there are the usual mass of girder supports, fences, stairs and various support plumbing as the Thor used liquid fuels.

The actual rocket itself consists of just eleven parts and though two different nose cones are shown in the markings guide, I see but one in the kit. Typical of the era, the kit comes with four crew figures, including two in what look like hazmat suits, but are probably fire suits of the day. Two of the figures come with bases while the other two are supposed to be attached to the launching pad.

I guess I should mention that all the rocket bits are molded in white and all the pad bits in a dark grey. Many of the parts of the rocket departed the sprue and were loose in the bag. There is flash on some of the parts, but in most cases it is not excessive. Ejector pin marks are also present and those who build for contests will wish to remove them or fill them in as the case may be.

Instructions are very retro and undoubtedly copies of the original. All colors are generic, all parts are numbered and a listing provides names for all the parts. Part numbers are even present on the larger parts. A decal sheet is provided for two rockets. The USAF version has a ton of stripes and logos while the British rocket has simple serials and roundels. If the drawings are correct, the British Thor has no rear stabilizing fins and a blunter nose cap. Decals appear to be nicely done and should cause no issues upon application.


This is the sort of thing that will appeal to the Real Space crowd, especially if they like early rockets. Though of a somewhat odd scale (as if 1/87 isn't as odd as Revell's 1/110), it should build into a very nice model and will go perfectly with one's HO train set!


November 2015


Thanks to a raffle win for the preview kit.

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