Mat Irvine: So far only the missile sections of these launchers have been test shot, and this review is based on the Thor missile itself, not the launch platform. The Thor is a simple structure, consisting of two missile halves, fins, engine plate and bell, and the nose cone.
New decals (big sheet below) compared to the original sheet above it. Note the RAF roundels on the new sheet.
Contents of the original Adams Thor kit (below). The printed instructions will probably be changed somewhat.
The new kit box will use elements of the same artwork as the original Adams box, shown below.
The completed Thor, standing on the supplied launch pad support (below) with supplied figures. I added the rectangular base for this review. The rounded nose cone was probably used only for the first two launches; later versions used a flattened shape.
Closeup (below) of the four figures: an officer, a climbing workman, and two in protective suits. Given that the figures were originally tooled in 1958, the details have survived remarkably well.
Glencoe Models Thor IRBM
Parts: 12 (rocket only) plus four crew figures
Assembled height: 265 mm (10.5 in)
Mr J note: As a boy in Cold War days, I was lucky enough to be given private flights by a rich uncle, who used a Piper Tri-Pacer to fly between his factories. The airfield we used was not far from a Thor missile base, and after takeoff we could clearly see a single missile in the distance, pointing to the sky like a white pencil.
In principle, a Thor could have been launched within 15 minutes, but that assumed a high state of readiness. In the event of a surprise Soviet attack though, it’s debatable whether there would have been enough time to fuel, prep, and launch before being pulverised. Even so, at least one ground crew had worked out a post-launch action plan. One ex-airman I talked to in later years reckoned they could have launched as ordered, with just enough time left to make it off the base to a nearby village pub, where they would have downed a quick pint of beer before nuclear armageddon.