Thermonuclear Rodeo



Back in the early 60’s, nuclear annihilation via mutually assured destruction, loomed over the world. This fear was reflected in the literature of the time in books like On the Beach, Fail Safe, Bedford Incident and Red Alert as well as movies based on these. The first three of these became films of the same name and had varied success. The last book was picked up by Stanley Kubrick who renamed it Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Of these movies, Dr S has been ti e one to stand the test of time despite tepid reviews upon release. The New York Times’ reviewer said it was “beyond any question the most shattering sick joke I've ever come across.”The movie was popupated with a host of film stars, including George C. Scott whose Gen. Buck Turgidson presages his performance in Patton and Peter Sellers in three roles, the uptight British captain Lionel Mandrake, the dumbfounded POTUS Merkin Muffley (yes, character names do carry a serious double entendre) and the title character, wheelchair bound German refugee, the titular Dr. Strangelove. One of the many iconic scenes in the movie is that of B-52 pilot, Stetson wearing Maj. T.J.“King” Kong, portrayed by Slim Pickens. It is his plane that evades Russian, or given the context of the film, “Rooskie” defenses to reach its target. Of course, as we all know, the Major will ride the bomb into oblivion after he has to manually unhook it.

This classic shot of Slim Pickens riding the bomb like a bucking bronco, waving his hat and shouting,”Yeee-Haaww!” is the subject of this 90 mm resin kit from Squadron.

The kit is produced by “Government Issue,” which appears to be a part of Squadron, given the labeling and copyright information. The kit is well packed in a sturdy cardboard box with a slip cover framing a single image of the completed kit. . It consists of a full figure of Major Kong (7 parts: body, parachute pack, hat, head, left arm and right arm) a bomb section, tool kit, base and acrylic rod. Unusually for us figure guys, the kit also includes an instruction sheet and painting guide, as well as two decal sheets, one of letters to form USAF on the side of the bomb and another with the checkerboard pattern for the bomb and patches for the figure’s uniform. Except for the rod, all parts are cast in creamy white resin. Folds are well done, casting was clean and dry fitting the parts shows the need for attention only at the right shoulder and wrist. Cleaning out the areas and adding a bit of metal rod will cure this: nothing we haven’t done many times before. In general, clean up was easy and there are no air bubbles evident in the resin. The only troublesome area was the pour plug between the figure’s legs. It completely fills the space between the legs from heel to heel and is quite thick. While cutting this back, the right foot broke off. Fortunately, the break was easily superglued back into place. Retail is about $50 but discounts are readily available from various sources.