“Where You Look, Is Where You Hit…”



In the very same week where, 33 years ago, BLUE THUNDER made its debut on Prime-Time TV, the best website online resource for the helicopter in all media makes its comeback with an all-new look and plenty of new content –

While posts were fewer than anticipated in 2017, the site pages (SPECIAL BASE) have been regularly updated – there you will find constant additions to the gallery and a revised page on the elusive Casio AA-85 Digital Watch as worn by Roy Scheider in the 1983 movie.  The collection has also continued to expand with the addition of some original artefacts from the TV show that will be showcased soon..!

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the fans who have been in touch and left comments since the site began, your contributions continue to be incredibly valuable and often lead to great things, a great example of which is below courtesy of Thomas Dozier.  Please enjoy the feature on his incredible one-of-a-kind Helmet project and standby for more to come…!

“Gentlemen, this is your Harrison Fire Control Helmet. This baby…is the heart of your system.”

“This was built from the same model HGU Series Dual Visor Flight Helmet used as the actual prop in the movie. I added the rear control box that, in fiction, is supposed to be part of the Heads-Up Display (HUD) system. There is a VCR type jack in the back along with a removable cable so it could be displayed it with or without it.
The boom mic was quite the adventure. After months of searching I realised there are no three section boom mics and the filmmakers custom made them for the film. Both the Blue Thunder helmet as well as the regular flight helmets in the film have these custom made boom mics. The first two sections are original vintage parts that match the film’s helmet exactly, and then like the prop makers, I had to scratch build the front section. I was able to locate the exact vintage microphone as was used in the film.

The helmet has a new old stock original chin strap, not the new lesser quality ones, as well as a new old stock vintage leather roll also. It also features new old stock earphones. Both the earphones and boom mic work so this is an actual working flight helmet.

The color is a dead-on match which I was worried about as it’s not a common blue.  Needless to say it does not have any targeting features…”

A Full Loop…

THE SPECIAL presents an exclusive bulletin from the halls of the San Hose Convention Centre where the above images of a familiar r/c model were captured by keen-eyed exhibitor Jason Beckwith (of Never Static Pictures.com). 

Indeed, those who attended the Silicone Valley Comic-Con this past weekend were treated to a unique pop-up museum of vintage prop vehicles, featuring everything from a 1:1 scale Spinner car from Blade Runner to a filming miniature of the 1989 Batmobile.

Appearing at a glance to be a clutter of dusty broken kit parts dumped in a glass case, the stunt helicopter fuselage from Blue Thunder appeared from nowhere in, incredibly, exactly the same state as it was discovered in storage in 2004.  Identified as ‘The only R/C Helicopter to successfully perform a 360 loop onscreen’ the prop still endures (even if the pilot figure is MIA) and can obviously attest to being in original condition –

But what of this?  is it an unspoiled piece of movie history or a model in desperate need of cleaning and restoration?  Spare canopy parts permitting there appears to be 90% of a complete representation of the helicopter as seen on screen and could be repaired with minimal intervention.  THE SPECIAL is currently in the process of trying to track down the current owner for comment but if anybody has any leads or more images from the exhibition please feel free to get in touch by email (airbuster02@gmail.com) and let’s see what else can be revealed about this iconic prop…


20160611_141035-00120160611_14111920160611_14024920160611_14015220160611_140436JapThunderFrontJapThunderRearThis latest addition to the vault of THE SPECIAL represents the end of a 20+ year pursuit to secure this most rare of true vintage Blue Thunder collectables.

Kit No 500 would appear to be the Big Brother(!) of the mini kit from South Korea showcased on the site previously, where thanks to followers of the site we understand the number relates to price (Korean Won) rather than an indication of scale.

This boxed, complete example has survived remarkably well given its fragility with all parts and sticker sheet contained within a clear plastic envelope.  Presented in a bright, full colour box with instructions printed on the rear in Korean, the kit itself is inexplicably molded in dark green with a clear canopy and bizarre metallic silver sticker sheet.

At approx 7″ long, the main fuselage is well-detailed with accurate modifications and the interior exhibits remarkable detail for the scale.  As the sticker sheet is simplistic and somewhat inaccurate It would probably detract from the finish were it to be used but as an overall package, this far-east 80’s throwback is as good as it gets…

Catch you later..!

Made For 2016..!

‘THE SPECIAL’  belatedly welcomes you to 2016!!

During the site’s hiatus I have been busy compiling new material and scanning plenty of articles, images and photographing vintage pieces from the archive all to be presented here!  These will include;

* An all new image gallery featuring everything from press stills to vintage ads and review cuttings –

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* Pictorial reviews of the 1983 Monogram model kit and its variations, the Organic Die-Cast Model and the MultiToys Corp. Playset among others –


* A page devoted to the Casio AA-85 wristwatch prop, featuring pics and the original instruction manual –

AA-852(Image: Kung-Fusion)

* The long-promised Blue Thunder TV Series Companion will also make its debut this year

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But first, please read this fantastic new article by Senior Entertainment writer Mike Ryan for Upprox about just why Blue Thunder is – somewhat unnervingly – more relevant now than ever…

“Pull up, Pull up..!”


THE SPECIAL is honoured to present this unique account shared by the son of one of the unsung heroes of Blue Thunder and a significant contributor to its nail-biting aerial authenticity.

Veteran Helicopter pilot Karl Wickman (above) performed a number of stunts on the show, flying everything from the camera ship to the Police Jetrangers to doubling Malcolm McDowell for the climactic dogfight between Murphy and Colonel Cochrane.

Karl’s son Kurt contacted THE SPECIAL with his incredible recollections having spent time on the set with his father.  With photographs culled from the Gary Mason archive and screencaps from the Special Edition re-release of the film on DVD, this courageous and gifted pilot can finally be given the recognition and credit he deserves for making the stunt flying in this 1983 film the standard by which all others are judged over thirty years later. Kurt takes the story from here –

“Blue Thunder was a joy to watch being shot, my dad had multiple flight duties on this picture, he flew the police helicopter (tail no. N250CA) this was one of the two Bell jet rangers that Jim had I his company Cinema Air, the other was a maroon Long Ranger, (N230CA) which usually was used as the camera ship. He also flew the Hughes 500C with Malcolm McDowell, whom, by the way, was terrified of flying – 


During the rehearsal of one of the chase scenes, through and around LA, the turbine wheel separated in the 500.  Its very surreal seeing puffs of smoke coming from the exhaust and it (the 500) immediately pitch forward and straight down. It looked like it had the glide slope angle of a set of keys! The camera followed him down as far as he could articulate because it was shooting from the top of a building with 2 – 3 foot high false wall so it didn’t catch the landing, and even if it had, the camera man put his hand over the lens as if he didn’t want to see the end results.  This is captured on tape and was later given to my dad.

He also flew the police helicopter that chased Blue Thunder. During the sequence that has the story ship evading the police and trying to (and succeeding) lead the police into a bridge spot, just prior to the collision, there are two quick shots of the front of the helicopter and it’s occupants, the gentleman with the cyclic occupying the left side is my pop (below)

PDVD_058  He worked closely with Ross, Jim, and Frank (Holgate), when he flew for Cinema Air Corp. back in the 80’s. My dad was later asked to fly the story ship in the up and coming series, and did so until it was cancelled…”


Karl under the direction of John Badham and on the far right as second unit director Jim Gavin discuss the battle above the streets of LA with John Badham and (second pic) far right again joined by Ross Reynolds (left) doubling Roy Scheider (note the olive jacket with bloodstained sleeve)

PDVD_108karl, (left) in Astro Division flightsuit, relaxing between takes at Parker Center with colleagues Ross Reynolds and Frank Holgate…


DSC_3272DSC_3245DSC_3246DSC_3247DSC_3251DSC_3252DSC_3253DSC_3257THE SPECIAL is proud to present the end result of a diligent decades-long search – the super-rare diecast Blue Thunder helicopter from UK company Toyway.

Approx 6″ long and released as part of the ‘Sky Birds’ collector series, this unlicensed replica (mounted anonymously on a backing card with Apache artwork) is one of two versions made (the other an unlikely US Coastguard red).

Apart from the unwelcome fourth rotor blade and stubby cannon (presumably to meet safety standards) this tooling is reasonably accurate for the scale, with plenty of detail captured in the plastic parts (canopy/tail) and even featuring the correct decals.

This mint example found mounted on card with only partially opened blister (top pic) was snapped up by THE SPECIAL only moments after it became available and is now a vital part of the ongoing collection…

The R/C Scrapbook…

RCHVol4-1RCHVol1-3aRCHVol1-4bRCHVol1-1RCHVol1-3bRCHVol1-4aEnjoy these random snippets from various vintage Radio Control helicopter magazines rescued from the Google ether.

The article by Diane Cameron-Tough is particularly interesting as it claims Hollywood remote flying supremo John Simone Jr. (third pic) performed the famous climatic loop over forty times before making a suitable take.  Between this and often flying blind through miniature street sets its a minor miracle any of his four handmade models survived the shoot to this day.

Not so lucky, however, were the original molds of the scale chopper which were destroyed before the mass market replica’s (5th & 6th pics) could be produced, forever depriving enthusiasts of what would now be considered a genuine replica prop…

Shared Wings…


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This latest addition to the collection of THE SPECIAL is this metal US Airforce Wings pin as worn by Roy Scheider as Frank Murphy.  Although many variations of this pin exist (having been in circulation since WWII) this one (officially branded as the USAF Pilot’s badge) does seem to be a 100% match to the type used in the production (see pics below)

Murphy's_LawMurphy's_Law1As was the case with many of the movie’s props and costumes, this pin was also migrated to to the TV Series where it would adorn James Farentino’s flightsuit as Frank Chaney (shown below on location with the backup helicopter). With nothing going to waste from the movie’s wardrobe dept. Scheider’s Astro Division uniform (above) was also redressed with Blue Thunder patches for use by Dana Carvey’s JAFO…


Kit. No. 100…

DSC_3130DSC_3131DSC_3133DSC_3137BT_Kit1BT_Kit2‘THE SPECIAL’ is pleased to add this latest vintage rarity to the collection – surely the smallest model kit of the helicopter ever produced to date.

Measuring in at a mere 9cm long, this vending-machine style toy is no bigger than a deck of cards.  Made in Korea and packaged in a fantastic colour box featuring a still from the movie and simple set of instructions on the back this package is complete and in mint condition for its age.

The kit itself possesses an extraordinary amount of detail and accuracy for the scale with very clean sharp lines.  Should anybody know who the manufacturer is or have any further info on this kit feel free to add a comment below.

Meantime, ignore all this current Movie remake nonsense and head over to the ‘TV CONVERSIONS’ tab on the left for all-new content about the further appearances of the one and ONLY original Airbuster…

“When Terror Rains Down…”

BT_TV_Box_CoverBT_TV_Box_RearBT_TV_DiscsBT_TV_InsertBT_TV_Disc3BT_TV_Discs_Insert…Blue Thunder Will Always Follow.”

The source of reference for the upcoming digital companion as well as a finely packaged collection in its own right, The Complete Blue Thunder Series finally saw official release on DVD in 2006.

Not re-run as of 1993 in the US (and shown intermittently throughout the 90’s on BRAVO in the UK) this boxset from Sony Pictures released in semi-conjunction with the Blue Thunder Movie Special Edition DVD consigned the VHS releases of limited (only four from eleven) episodes to history while bringing the series to a new format fit for future generations.

Superbly presented on three discs with great packaging art (sporting a more contemporary logo) the short-lived series is collected in its entirety in standard definition but nonetheless looking better than ever.  While a set of extras are sorely lacking (new interviews with cast & crew alongside a ‘Making of’ special would’ve been a welcome treat) there is still 529 minutes of amazing ’80’s airborne action to be revisited and enjoyed…