SPECTRE Bird One Rocket
from "You Only Live Twice" (1967)
About the Design
The James Bond movie series frequently took its inspiration from the U.S./Soviet space rivalry. In the first 007 feature, "Dr. No" (1962), the sinister international crime organization SPECTRE was revealed to behind the failure of America's early space rocket launches. For 1967's "You Only Live Twice," the filmmakers at EON Productions once again returned to space, this time inspired by the aborted flight of Gemini IXA. In that June 1966 mission, NASA astronauts Gene Cernan and Thomas Stafford were supposed to dock with an orbiting Agena target vehicle to test the mechanism intended for use on the Apollo Lunar Module. Instead, the pair found that the protective shroud covering the Agena's docking collar had failed to fully jettison, making the vehicle look like an "angry alligator." Using this as their jumping-off point, the folks at EON envisioned a rogue spacecraft with a beak-like maw that could "swallow" American and Soviet spacecraft in orbit. In the film, SPECTRE, led by the evil Ernst Stavro Blofeld, use this vehicle to stage a series of "false flag" incidents in the hopes of triggering World War III. Only James Bond, Agent 007, can stop Blofeld and prevent nuclear Armageddon.
"Bird One," as it's called in the film, is a two-stage rocket launched from a secret base hidden inside an extinct volcano off the coast of Japan. The upper stage maneuvers with the help of three RCS thrusters stowed inboard for launch and only deployed once the spacecraft is safely outside the Earth's atmosphere. When ready for re-entry, the thrusters are retracted and the vehicle plunges backwards back to Earth. In the upper atmosphere, the heat shield is jettisoned, landing legs are deployed, and chemical rockets provide braking and steering thrust, allowing the rocket to land vertically back at its base.
About the Kit
This Fantastic Plastic kit was released in August 2013. The model was designed in CAD by Scott Lowther, printed by Scicon Technologies and cast by Mana Studios. Decals are by JBOT.
The kit is designed to be built in either its launch configuration or in its orbital "capture" mode. A 1:72 "Sovet Space Capsule," as depicted in the film, is also included for display purposes.
(Note: "You Only Live Twice" was filmed in 1966, about a year before the Soviet Union released photos of its Vostok and Voshkod vehicles. Therefore, the film's designers could only speculate on what Russian manned spacecraft actually looked like.)