The Thunderbirds: The Ultimate Guide To Toys & The Characters

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Here you will find the most important videos and information about the Thunderbirds. Both information and videos from the new Tunderbirds series as the antique original movie and TV series below. Have fun watching and reading!

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What we discuss in this comprehensive post:

Thunderbirds toys: The best vehicles and action figures

Thunderbirds The Movie 1966: Thunderbirds Are Go!

Thunderbirds is a British television show from the mid-1960s, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and created by AP Films using a form of puppetry called "Supermarionation".

The series followed the adventures of International Rescue, an organization created to help people in serious danger with technically advanced equipment and machinery.

The series focused on the head of the organization, ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy, and his five sons who piloted the “Thunderbird” machines.

A popular show, the series is still shown today and has inspired a number of successive television shows and movies.

Thunderbirds vehicles toys

At the moment there are by the renewed series on TV made a lot of Thunderbirds toys again. For example, there is this Thunderbird 1:

Thunderbird 1

Thunderbird 1 toy

Built by Brains and piloted by Scott Tracy, Thunderbird 1 is a variable geometry VTOL missile plane from International Rescue.

Like Thunderbird 2, it is used for Earth rescue missions, operating at a maximum altitude of 150.000 feet.

Thunderbird 1 is capable of up to 15.000 miles per hour, making it one of the fastest aircraft in the world, if not the fastest.

The only known ship that could surpass it in speed was the prototype TV-21, Jeff Tracy's first ship prior to the formation of International Rescue.

Thunderbird 1's primary role is often to simply get to the danger zone and explore around so that a rescue operation can be planned before the necessary equipment arrives via Thunderbird 2, but it will often play a supporting role alongside the merry green giant with his own equipment and special abilities, making it the only Thunderbird needed for the job at times.

With a sharp red nose cone, a cylindrical silver body and a powerful blue engine, the TB1 is built for pure speed and can reach anywhere in the world in under an hour, evidenced by the fact that it only takes the most number of thrusters of any thunderbird. has.

TB1 takes off vertically from Tracy Island, but switches into level flight shortly afterwards. TB1 has a high speed mode and a slow / landing speed mode.

During the first, in which it is launched, the small sweep wings are completely tucked away and the cross-shaped bottom is positioned in the manner of a plus sign.

When landing or just flying slower and more steadily, the wings extend and the rear turns into an X. The wings should always be extended when landing horizontally, because the landing legs are there.

TB1 only lands vertically when returning to Tracy Island.

TB1 has a clear bottom and top when flying horizontally, the bottom has four VTOL jets, a large glass window for the pilot and canopy doors in the center section, while the top simply has “THUNDERBIRD” written on the top, supplemented with the “1” painted on both sides of the blue colored part.

The interior moves from the nose cone to the wings. The pilot's seat is in the front (near the nose cone) where the windows are.

There are no forward-facing windows where the aerodynamic nose cone covers the entire front.

Thunderbird 1 flies almost entirely through instruments of the forward holographic display. The windows below can be opened and the chair can be carried out via a robotic arm for quick entry and exit.

The doors at the bottom lead to the rest of the interior, where the ceiling contains an elongated electromagnetic cable that can have various attachments at the end, such as clips, and ladders for quick access.

Despite being designed as a first responder and reconnaissance vehicle, it has occasionally been enough to make her the only Thunderbird needed for a mission, as seen in Runaway.

It also has a rescue capsule used to transport an individual seen in Brains vs Brawn, but it is unknown how many capsules can be stored in Thunderbird 1.

Thunderbird 2

Thunderbird 2 is International Rescue's heavy equipment transporter, mainly used for missions specifically related to Earth's atmosphere.

It is the transport vehicle for several smaller rescue vehicles kept in pods, although the heavy lifting capability in itself is useful during many rescues.

The craft's lead pilot is Virgil Tracy, who is sometimes accompanied by some backup crew members including Gordon, Alan, Brains and even John.

It appears in all episodes of the Thunderbirds TV series, (with The Impostors being the one exception), as well as in every movie, making it one of the most iconic Thunderbirds machines.

Thunderbird 2 consists of two parts: a framed superstructure and a pod.

The Thunderbird 2 frame contains the cockpit, wings and fuel tank near the front of the vehicle, and at the rear the engines and tailplane, which serve to aid lift and stability.

Two stilts are each located at the front and rear of the vessel to hydraulically lift the vessel up, allowing the pod to be released.

The center is hollow to fully accommodate one of the six pods required for the mission.

Each pod is equipped with a landing gear for a smooth landing in front of the ship and contains a massive capacity for storing the rescue vehicle needed.

However, the craft is fully capable of vertical take-off and landing without the pod, but has less integrity this way.

Thunderbird 3

Thunderbird 3 is International Rescue's single-stage-to-orbit (SSTO) space vehicle designed for space rescue and maintenance of Thunderbird 5's systems and crew.

Like all Thunderbird machines, it was designed by Brains. The main pilot is Alan Tracy, with his brother Scott, who usually acts as a co-pilot.

Thunderbird 3 uses chemical rockets for launch and boost, ion propulsion for space propulsion, and chemical retro rockets for reverse thrust in space.

It could travel from Earth to within range of the sun within 65 hours.

There are a number of levels within Thunderbird 3 that can be accessed by a single lift.

The primary cockpit is located on the upper level and contains the primary control console, seating for two and access to the lock.

A second room contains rescue equipment, including a long-range transmission control console, such as a safety jet that can be used to trigger retros from distant spaceships.

The primary pilot is referred to as Alan Tracy, although John is believed to pilot Thunderbird 3 during space rescue operations when Alan is on satellite service. (Both stock their respective uniforms on board, depending on who is “on call” at the moment; although John is never actually seen there.)

Virgil has also been seen piloting Thunderbird 3 on a maintenance mission to Thunderbird 5 in Ricochet.

The Thunderbird 3 interior was originally decorated in beige, red and light gray colors. However, like all Thunderbirds, it underwent a redesign and adjustment to a darker color scheme and more comfortable and safe seating.

Thunderbird 4

Thunderbird 4 toy

Thunderbird 4 is International Rescue's underwater rescue vehicle - a yellow mini-submarine piloted by aquanaut Gordon Tracy.

Unlike Thunderbirds 1, 2 and 3 - all of which are capable of traveling to danger zones on their own - TB4 fits comfortably in its own specialized pod - Pod 4 - aboard Thunderbird 2, which then transports it to where it's needed is.

Sometimes TB4 has to use other means to get from place to place, in a different pod (eg Pod 6, in Attack of the Alligators!); via direct launch, from Tracy Island runway; or through the help of other transportation - most notably by World Navy's USN Sentinel (Terror in New York City), after TB2 was shut down and had to undergo a full rebuild.

TB4 is equipped with a versatile arsenal of advanced gadgets - including a missile launcher, searchlight, battering ram and laser, all located in the nose of the sub.

It can travel on surface water (float mode) or underwater. The small interior is equipped with an airlock for entry and exit underwater.

At the rear of the cockpit, an airlock provides Gordon access outside the craft while underwater.

Thunderbird 4 is also equipped with forward-firing missiles, used in Day Of Disaster (to blow debris from the Martian Space Probe embedded in the river mud); and in Desperate Intruder (to fire back after an attack by The Hood's own mini-submarine).

The underwater sealing unit is mainly used to stop natural gas eruptions on the sea bed, the Underwater Sealing Unit (also known as the “sealing device”) is first towed by Thunderbird 4 from Pod 4 to the sea surface.

Both vessels then submerge to reach the danger zone.

Once in position, it is then lowered over the site of the eruption. Four ballast valves are then driven deep into the seabed to keep the unit taut.

Thunderbird 5

Thunderbird 5 - International Rescue's geostationary satellite - monitors radio frequencies for distress signals 24/7.

It is usually thought of as manned by John Tracy's primary space monitor; although we are informed in the series that John takes turns taking turns with his younger brother, Alan - and sometimes even his older brother, Scott - for a month aboard the station.

Brains is a frequent visitor, to ensure that TB5 remains in perfect working order; and even Virgil and Gordon have occasionally visited!

With its antennas and numerous advanced listening devices, TB5 is a world of its own - unique even among its sister Thunderbird ships.

Its mission is paramount to the existence of International Rescue… Step into the spacious control room - and be greeted by a spectacular view of the Earth, through a long observation window of thick unbreakable glass.

Elsewhere, along an entire wall, numerous radios (picking up most frequencies) and speakers ensure that everyone using the monitor listens to incoming signals in all languages.

This sensitive equipment (capable of transmitting and receiving both audio and video) detects, amplifies and (if necessary) translates calls for help, help that IR alone can provide.

Which are then forwarded to IR Headquarters on Tracy Island for action; and again, Thunderbirds are GO!

While well shielded and otherwise protected, the TB5's main control room is further supported by a purpose-built dual control facility should an emergency arise.

All monitoring functions are automatically transferred; computer systems are powered independently from the adjacent solar panels, and all data is duplicated from the primary systems to ensure that TB5 remains in continuous service.

Thunderbird 3 provides transportation to and from Thunderbird 5 - docking with the space station via its custom-designed docking lock and airlock - as well as fresh supply storage and monitor personnel transfers.

Just outside the control room are sleeping quarters where the crew can rest when off duty.

Because rescue calls detected by the station's computers are broadcast throughout TB5, John can easily access this communication from anywhere on the station, at any time.

The Haynes Thunderbirds manual describes additional amenities (eg Quarters for more crew members as needed), along with other amenities such as most notably (and spectacularly), the John Telescope, housed in a protective astrodome atop the station, making it his passion for astronomy can live it out during down-time between emergency calls.

Thunderbirds FAB 1 car Rolls Royce

FAB 1 was a pink Rolls-Royce sedan car owned by Lady Penelope and driven by her servant Parker.

It was made for the Creighton-Ward family and was Lady Penelope's preferred mode of transportation.

It had been modified by Brains and the Rolls-Royce company. Some of the adjustments were:

  • machine guns front and rear
  • harpoon cables behind
  • two laser cannons behind
  • a rear view TV camera
  • bulletproof tires with retractable studs
  • a modified gas turbine engine
  • skis for snow use
  • and hydrofoils for travel on water

FAB 1 was supposedly destroyed when Skyship One crashed in the movie Thunderbird 6.

The grille-mounted machine gun can fire in non-auto and auto mode and can be loaded with explosive rounds.

Two non-automatic headlight machine guns that can act as sniper rifles - one stored behind the three headlights on either side of the vehicle.

The smoke release could give off thick smoke to lose pursuers and oil could be poured onto the road from the back of FAB 1 in an attempt to avoid being tracked. Used in Brink of Disaster while being chased by crooks.

The harpoons, with the cable attached, can be used to move heavy objects or pull down a door. Without the cable, they could be used as a weapon.

In The Perils of Penelope, Lady Penelope and Sir Jeremy Hodge are trapped in a full throttle cellar, Parker fires FAB 1's rear-mounted harpoons into the locked door so he can pull it out of its hinges, allowing them to escape.

In the comic strip Mr Steelman (which was his first ever appearance), FAB 1 had a lift in the trunk. This particular gadget has never been seen on the show, but it also appears in at least one exploded view and received a mention in the book Thunderbirds Manual.

Thunderbirds Island

Tracy Island is so iconic and has so much to say about it have dedicated a separate article to this Thunderbirds island here.

Thunderbirds action figures

But many of the loose action figures also come around the corner:

Virgil Tracy action figure

Lees meer: specific toys from Thunderbird Brains

LEGO Thunderbirds sets

Lego Thunderbirds sets

An idea is currently doing the rounds on the Lego Ideas portal, where Lego and Thunderbirds fan Andrew Clark hopes his stunning recreation of Thunderbird 2 will reach the 10.000 supporter level needed to get it before the Lego jury.

There is no doubt that this crossover for adults and children could be the big Christmas wish of the year 20XX, if only year it succeeds.

Should it reach its goal of 10K supporters and the Lego folks resolve the licensing issues associated with making money off someone else's heavily protected product, a deal may be negotiable.

Considering Thunderbirds is currently enjoying one of its many revivals as a CG adventure on ITV, that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

The great Thunderbird 2 is everyone's favorite of the five machines the brave pilots use to combat the week's evil plans and / or natural disasters.

In a recent update to the project, the initial model design was slightly altered to sit better between the curved 60s original and the chunkier, more angular vessel seen in the modern CG shows, but it would all come back tinkered with by official Lego designers before being released.

Thunderbirds Costume

Smiffy is a company that has been making costumes and fancy dress out of various iconic characters for years. Now it's the turn of the Thunderbirds.

This costume is for adults, I haven't found one for kids yet.

Thunderbirds toys over the years

Several companies, including Matchbox and Dinky Toys, were licensed to produce die-cast metal and plastic toys based on the Thunderbird vehicles.

They proved hugely popular and were one of the best-selling merchandising lines of the decade. Original Thunderbirds toys are now expensive and highly sought after collectables.

Many toys were created by Matchbox in the 1990s to coincide with a revival of the TV series, including this playset from Tracy Island and also the new movie, although they were generally marketed outside the US and Canada.

The Tracy Island set was especially popular in the UK as it was the top selling toy at Christmas and there was such high demand the year of its release that the BBC children's TV show Blue Peter commissioned viewers to build their own version of household material.

Remarkably, the free 'fact sheet' detailing this process was also so sought after that it also became difficult to obtain.

Toy company Bandai produced toys to coincide with the release of the 2004 UK live action movie.

As of 2007, Japanese companies such as Aoshima, Konami and Takara were still producing new Thunderbirds toys based on the original series of vehicles, including Takara's very expensive Thunderbird 2 model with lights and working motorized legs that lift the fuselage, exposing the cargo pod is becoming.

Thunderbirds even toys in a museum

Thunderbirds are ready at Simon Wood's house.

The South Launceston collector has so much merchandise from the television series that he will be displaying it at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in May 2016.

Thunderbirds toys in a museum

The program, which is remembered and often characterized by the use of puppets, has remained in the popular imagination since it hit TV screens in the XNUMXs.

Set in the 2060s, the British science fiction show follows the adventures of International Rescue, a secret organization dedicated to saving lives.

The show's Tracy family resides on the high-tech, futuristic and remote Tracy Island in the South Pacific. They foil the plots of villains including the "Hood".

“It's funny watching the future be envisioned well into the 60s,” said Wood.

But despite his collection, he didn't grow up watching the show, which he couldn't access on regional NSW television.

His fascination with the series' merchandise goes back to childhood when he saw his sister's friend come to school with a Thunderbirds toy.

"I just thought," wow, what a great toy, "and that sort of thing was on my mind."

When he went to buy toys for his oldest son when he was four years old in 2002, he saw Thunderbirds merchandise that reminded him of his own childhood.

He bought it, and the collection of toys he grew gradually became his own.

The collection grew as he scoured eBay for new additions.

Ebay is still a very good source of vintage toys, although Ebay is not that big in the Netherlands.

In America and also Germany you can find much more.

The joy of collecting lay in sharing his merchandise with others for Mr Wood.

It became a family hobby that he loved to do with his four children.

Mr Wood believed Thunderbirds was a positive TV series for his children.

“I thought there were good news. It was all about rescue rather than a superhero fighting a lot. “

Soon the collection grew large enough that he could no longer fit it into his house and he went into boxes under the house. As Mr Wood puts it, Thunderbirds has become iconic in its character.


This is the original Thunderbirds movie from 1966. The movie was very exciting and gave a nice glimpse into the future, according to the makers' vision.

The first mission to Mars (in the Zero-X) just got underway in 2065, but The Hood gets his foot in the trim while trying to plant a bomb.

The Zero X falls from the sky and crashes into the ocean. Everyone on board survived.

Here you can watch the whole movie:

How's the Thunderbirds movie going again?

Two years pass and the mission is retried, but with International Rescue as security to make the mission a success.

The return flight goes well, until a malfunction in the flight unit circuit forces International Rescue into action, charged with rescuing the Zero-X crew.

In 2065, the Zero-X spacecraft will launch from Glenn Field Spaceport as the first attempt at a manned mission to Mars.

What Captain Paul Travers and his crew of two astronauts and two scientists don't know is that criminal brain The Hood infiltrated the ship to photograph Zero-X's wing mechanism.

When his foot accidentally gets stuck in the hydraulics, The Hood inadvertently causes a major system error and Zero-X loses control.

While the villain manages to remove his bloodied foot and parachute from the undercarriage, Travers and his crew shoot out in an escape pod and Zero-X crashes and explodes in flames in the ocean before leaving Earth's atmosphere.

At the end of an investigation into the loss of Zero-X, the Space Exploration Center Research Council reaches a sabotage in 2067.

Meanwhile, a second Mars mission is planned. Days before the launch of the new Zero-X, International Rescue agrees to a request to organize security in view of the possibility of a new sabotage threat.

Jeff Tracy sends Scott to Glenn Field in Thunderbird 1, while Virgil in Thunderbird 2 and Alan in Thunderbird 3 are assigned to escort Zero-X when it leaves the atmosphere.

Lady Penelope, posing as a reporter at the pre-launch press conference, arranges for Travers and the other four crewmembers to deliver St. Christopher brooches.

Ostensibly for luck, these are basically homing devices that allow Lady Penelope to track them anywhere. The next day, searching for Dr. Tony Grant nothing.

Scott unmasks the man waiting to be launched aboard Zero-X as The Hood in a different disguise. The saboteur flees Glenn Field in a car, which Penelope and Parker chase him in FAB 1.

The chase continues in a speedboat and then a helicopter piloted by an accomplice, The Hood is apparently killed when Parker shoots down the plane with the Rolls-Royce's built-in machine gun.

Meanwhile, the real Grant is returned to Zero-X and the spacecraft launches without further incident.

Mission accomplished, Penelope invites Scott and Virgil to join her in “The Swinging Star,” a trendy nightclub.

Back on Tracy Island, after mentoring Zero-X, Alan feels unappreciated when Jeff insists that he stay on standby at the base while his brothers spend the night partying, and even more frustrated when Tin-Tin isn't with can take him to the mainland.

In bed, Alan experiences a surreal dream in which Parker 'flies' him and Penelope in FAB1 to a version of The Swinging Star in space.

Present in the interstellar nightclub are “Cliff Richard Jr.” and The Shadows, who will perform a song entitled “Shooting Star” and an instrumental “Lady Penelope”.

The dream sequence ends abruptly when Alan from The Swinging Star falls back to Earth and wakes up to find he has fallen out of bed.

After a six-week flight, the Zero-X Martian Exploration Vehicle lands successfully on Mars on July 22. While investigating the arid surface, the crew is amazed to encounter strange rock formations arranged in coils.

Space Captain Greg Martin shoots one of the buildings with the MEV cannon and Dr. Ray Pierce prepares to leave the vehicle to collect samples.

However, the other formations move and reveal themselves as one-eyed “Rock Snakes”. Under attack from the aliens, who are able to shoot fireballs from their "mouths", the Zero-X explorers are forced to effect a premature departure from the Martian surface.

The astronauts, who dock with the orbit module controlled by Space Navigator Brad Newman, begin the flight back to Earth.

As Zero-X reenters Earth's atmosphere on September 2, a lifting body deployed to support the controlled descent cannot communicate, damaging the flight unit circuit (EUC).

With Zero-X locked in descent and impact on Craigsville, population 4.800, Virginia, Jeff Scott and Brains sends out in Thunderbird 1 and Virgil, Alan and Gordon in Thunderbird 2.

Winched into Zero-X's undercarriage, Alan must risk being trapped and board the spaceship while Brains advises him to reroute the damaged escape circuit.

With Craigsville evacuated, Alan is left for seconds to unplug his cable, and Travers and the others cast just in time, moments before Zero-X crashes spectacularly in Craigsville.

Collected by Penelope and Parker in FAB1, Alan is driven to the real Swinging Star and Penelope, accompanied by the Tracy family, Brains and Tin-Tin, all disguised to hide their identities, propose a toast to Alan as the “hero of the day".

The Making of Thunderbirds are Go: The Original Movie

Here's how the movie with the puppets and special effects was made.

There is a cult surrounding Gerry Anderson. A great fascination for Anderson's series were the models, their beautifully imaginative designs and functionality and the pseudo-techno talk that was very popular at the time.

Some people like the bizarre puppet moves, you never experienced life until you were at a convention with a whole hall of people marching like Anderson puppets and rousing the Thunderbirds technical dialogue as if they had steered for the voice actor role ..

Thunderbirds Are Go was the first of two feature films the Andersons finished during the height of the Thunderbirds mania.

While now cult following, the first movie had no success at the time, because after seeing two or three episodes of the TV series (or any other Anderson series for that matter), the endless scenes of puppets with countdown do get a little predictable.

The movie feels like it's better off the small screen than the big one.

This was something that the second film, Thunderbird 6 (1968), transcended much more successfully. The sequel was dramatically much better sustained, but here the tension is sporadic and the central story erratic.

The Thunderbirds are not very well connected to the Zero X story and the story gets somewhat out of shape due to having to introduce series regulars like The Hood and Lady Penelope, which they lose a lot of time in the plot.

The Hood isn't much of a threat, and it's never particularly clear why he's trying to sabotage the Zero X, with a contrived chase sequence set in the middle with the sole purpose of introducing Lady Penelope, Parker and the pink Rolls-Royce.

The stars of the show are basically the models, the Tracy Brothers' introduction to the opening titles being each preceded by the models they control.

The Zero X scenes show what the Andersons did best: create and blow up models.

The opening scene with the Zero X unveiling, with all its detailed modular parts coming together and overshadowing the other small models at the airport, is fantastic and is one part where the movie takes maximum advantage of the big screen.

On the other hand, there are also some inconclusive effects. The Pink Rolls taking to the sea and Alan's wire frame swinging away at the Zero X's climax.

Zero-X model-in-Thunderbirsd-are-go
The Zero X takes off from Glenn Field - an example of the Anderson's stunning modeling effects (

The film never takes itself too seriously. The ending credits are shown against The Royal Marines Marching Band doing a performance of the Thunderbirds theme then moving in formation to spell 'The End'.

The credits also thank the controllers of the film's fictional Glenn Field for the collaboration, noting that “Mars sequences filmed by Century 21 Space Location Unit” and point out that “none of the characters appearing in this photo shoot incidentally resemble persons who are alive or dead ... because they do not yet exist.

Funny addition.

Thunderbirds Are Go was a flop at the box office, nevertheless the Anderson produced a slightly better sequel, Thunderbird 6 (1968).

There is some confusion about the Thunderbirds movies, as in the 1980s many episodes of several Anderson series, including Thunderbirds, were edited together as movies and shown on TV under the umbrella title Supermarionation Sci-Fi Theater.

The Thunderbirds revised TV movies include Countdown to Disaster (1981), Thunderbirds in Outer Space (1981), and Thunderbirds to the Rescue (1981).

Thunderbirds (2004) was a big screen remake of the series with actors instead of puppets. The Thunderbirds were later revived in a CGI animated TV series Thunderbirds Are Go (2015–).

The Real Thunderbirds USA Air Force

The name Thunderbirds is due to the US airforce Thunderbirds.

The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron (“Thunderbirds”) is the air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force (USAF).

The Thunderbirds are assigned to the 57th Wing and are based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Founded more than 60 years ago in 1953, the USAF Thunderbirds are the third oldest formal flying aerobatic team (under the same name) in the world, after the French Air Force Patrouille de France was formed in 1931 and the United States Navy Blue Angels in 1946.

The Thunderbirds Squadron still tours the United States and much of the world, performing aerobatic formation, and flying solo in specially marked aircraft.

The squadron's name is taken from the legendary creature found in the mythologies of various Native North American cultures.

The Story & History Behind The The Thunderbirds TV Animation Series

The story behind the Thunderbirds Tv Series

The Thunderbirds is originally a Japanese animated series based on Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds.

The original translation is in English: Scientific Rescue Team and it was made because of the success that was known in Japan at that time. Animators began working on the series in 1963, and the series first appeared on television in 1965.

A total of 32 episodes were signed and published. Normally, the series should resemble Gerry Anderson's original version, but a lot of fans don't share this opinion because Gerry was not involved in the production.

The idea behind The Thunderbirds

The creator Gerry Anderson came up with the idea of ​​drawing on a series that would save people within an hour of a mining disaster in Germany.

In 1963 a number of workers in the mine became trapped underground. The devices needed to get these people up safely were on their way, but it took no less than 8 hours for everything to be on site from Bremen.

Gerry followed the entire rescue mission, and during the review, he got ideas about a valid organization that could be on site with the right equipment within the hour.

The name Thunderbirds is due to Gerry's older brother who was a fighter pilot and who flew the plane called Thunderbird Field.

Inventing and making the series

Normally, Gerry Anderson's original idea was to write a series that featured real actors.

However, completely unexpectedly, after he had handed the script to various television stations, he kept getting comments from directors that the series would cost too much money because too many technical gadgets were involved.

Because Gerry wanted to continue with the series, he had to replace real voice actors with puppets. It was not immediately the first production Gerry would perform with dolls, as he had already made Four Feather Falls and Supercar with lifelike dolls in the past.

Because the technique was a bit more refined with The Thunderbirds, they were able to create an effect that made the whole look less tight.

The sets and the special effects played a big part in making the series appealing not only to children, but also to parents and older people.

In the 90s, the series reached its peak and worldwide success.

super marionation

Gerry Anderson actually preferred working with real actors to puppets. He didn't like to work with straight-faced puppets.

To avoid this, he used a new technique that he renamed supermarination.

The puppets were still moved with strings, but had a mechanism in their heads that caused their eyes and mouth to move with the spoken text that the voice actor spoke.

Gerry Anderson tried at the time to make the strings of the puppets stand out as little as possible by painting them in the colors of the decor.

Of course this almost always went well, but if you started filming close-up, you can still see the strings very well in a fraction of a second.

Voice actors

Most of the voice actors who voiced Gerry Anderson were all experienced actors who had worked with Gerry for years.

David Holliday was the only American to ever speak, the rest of the team were all from Great Britain, Australia and Canada.

Ray Barrett, Australian actor, voiced John Tracy and The Hood. The best part was that he could perfectly imitate an American without anyone realizing that he was actually from Australia.

Shane Rimmer, an experienced Canadian actor, spoke other productions with Gerry in addition to voices for Gerry.

Broadcasts in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands the first episode was broadcast in 1965. Then it was the case that one episode a month was broadcast on television.

The series played on Dutch television until 1968 and later in the summer of 1968 the AVRO repeated three episodes.

The first 10 episodes were broadcast in black and white and were provided with Dutch voices.

From 1967 the series came on television in color and an episode was broadcast without subtitles. Afterwards they used the original voices with Dutch subtitles.

New series from The Thunderbirds

Someone who follows The Thunderbirds closely has probably already read on the internet that new images of the popular puppet series have surfaced.

Because the series celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it will be celebrated with new episodes. It is certain that the series will return, but it is not yet known when it will be broadcast.

It is certain that The Thunderbrids will come under an extended name and that will be: The Thunderbirds Are Going!

This will appear on a commercial English channel ITV and new images have already been released on Youtube.

Same character as in the 60s

The Thunderbirds Are Go has the same character as the puppet series of the 60s and still revolves around the International Rescue in which vehicles, vessels and machines come to the rescue of disasters.

A total of 32 episodes and 3 full-length films have been made.

The first episode came on television in 1965 and the series has built a fine reputation over 50 years from which the new series will benefit nicely.

Jeff Tracy Thunderbirds: Everything You Wanted to Know


Source photo:

Jeff Tracy is the founder and chief executive of International Rescue.

Jeff's signature color on his IR uniform is gold.

The eldest of three sons (see note below), Jeff was born in Kansas to a wheat farmer, Grant Tracy, and his wife (aka Grandma Tracy).

At a young age, he became a colonel in the United States Air Force before transferring to the Space Agency - where he considers himself one of the first astronauts to land on the moon, during the colony's beginnings.

He married Lucille (Lucy), and they had five sons - Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan - each named after one of the famous Mercury 7 American astronauts (Carpenter, Glenn, Grissom, Cooper, and Shepard, respectively).

After Grant and Lucille's tragic death, Jeff left his space career to raise his sons, with the skillful help of his mother.

He also continued to build and diversify his family's agricultural business combinations; and his talents of civil and construction engineering made him one of the richest men in the world.

After reading a news report of a tragic plane crash in which XNUMX people died, the main cause of which was insufficient rescue equipment and manpower, he was again reminded of the tragedy of his own family.

Hence, he decided to use his wealth to establish the International Rescue Agency, which he managed to do within two years.

Personality & Traits

Jeff's military experience and business acumen, built up over the years, are reflected in his personality.

In essence, he is an intelligent and friendly person, with a good sense of humor.

That said, he runs a sleek shop, all the more so because he knows that any misstep can mean the difference between life and death for those in need of salvation.

He also wants to guarantee the security of his secret organization. Nevertheless, he is always willing to compromise if the situation calls for it.

He does this because, as he puts it in Thunderbirds Are Go, "rules are made to be broken!"

Tasks in the Thunderbirds

As Chief International Rescue Officer, Jeff is the first to receive calls for help through Thunderbird 5 and initiate the mission immediately.

He communicates with his sons and other fellow IR agents from the Tracy Island headquarters. He is so committed to his duties that he rarely takes time off because he knows there is always someone who needs to be saved.

Lees meer: Thunderbirds toys, on sale now and over the years

Performances and adventures

Jeff appears in all 32 television episodes. He also appears in both feature films, Thunderbirds are Go and Thunderbird 6.

He also appears in all 3 episodes of Thunderbirds 1965.

Jeff's facial features are based on actor Lorne Greene.

Actuer Lorne Greene as the face of Jeff Tracy

It was sculpted by John F. Brown, who also did Virgil Tracy and The Hood.

While Jeff never appears on the show in uniform, the signature color on his IR uniform is known to be gold.

Despite several sources saying he is the eldest of three brothers, the Haynes Thunderbirds Manual says Jeff was Grant and Grandma's only son.

Additionally, some sources differ on the birth order of Jeff's sons. Some say the order

  1. Scott
  2. Virgil
  3. John
  4. Gordon
  5. and Alan was

Which accurately reflects their assigned Thunderbirds vehicles (when Alan is in Thunderbird 5).

However, other sources say that John was the second son and Virgil the third (probably reflected in the character introductory section of the opening titles).

Uit the new series has left out Jeff Tracy, according to the creators to give the rest of the crew more freedom and maturity, but he returns later in season 3:

Famous Thunderbirds quotes from Jeff Tracy

  • Kyrano, what's wrong? Kyrano! ” - Trapped in the Sky
  • Well, boys, I guess you all did a swell job. I'm proud of you. ” - Atlantic Inferno
  • “All right, Gordon, you're next. You go to your room. Either you or Virgil has eaten the transmitter. ” - Day Of Disaster
  • "OK. Go and dip your hot heads in the pool. I want to read my book. ” - Danger At Ocean Deep
  • "You're going where !?" - Thunderbirds Are Go
  • "Oh shut up!" - Brink or Disaster

Also read: this is everything you wanted to know about Thunderbird's character Brains

Thunderbirds The Hood


Source photo:

Feared as the world's most dangerous man, The Hood (so named because of his many disguises) is Kyrano's half-brother and Tin-Tin's uncle.

He has an uncanny supernatural power over his brother. Unlike him, he is of enormous stature and his main goal in life is to gain wealth, regardless of justice and ethics.

His primary target is International Rescue, as the plans of their amazing high-tech vehicles and machines could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams.

Operating from his hidden temple deep in the heart of the Malaysian jungle, the Hood has successfully escaped the world's security forces for many years.

Cruel and incomprehensibly calculating, he employs mystical powers infused with voodoo and black magic, leaving nothing in the way of his evil goals.

He was actually always beaten:

The temple hideout

The exact origin of the Hood is unknown. While he is known to be Kyrano's half-brother, the exact details of their relationship, such as which parent they share, or which of them is the oldest, remain a mystery.

Just like the origin of its mysterious hypnotic powers.

His real name is a mystery in itself. He was only called 'Agent Seven-Nine' once during the original TV series, when he was in contact with the equally mysterious 'General X'.

Even his nom de guerre, “The Hood”, is never used in the TV series - it was only revealed in spin-off media (notably the audio story Introducing Thunderbirds), promotional materials, etc.

What is definitely known about the Hood?

He has an important reputation among the less ethical groups of the world.

This is because he has been shown to have been contacted by spy agencies, or by military generals seeking information or seeking to eliminate a target (as in Edge Of Impact, when he was hired by a general to sabotage the Red Arrow program because it poses a threat to his ambitions was).

He regularly spends time in an ornate, remote temple somewhere in the Malaysian jungle.

A secret world of his own creation, which hides a variety of high-tech equipment he uses to track his enemies and prepare his plans.

And there is a statue of Kyrano, which he regularly stands in front of as he conjures up his mysterious telepathic bond with his brother.

However, his main goal is to discover the secrets of the Thunderbirds machines and use those secrets for his own purposes.

Hence, he has been known to trigger several disasters in an attempt to photograph their machines in action, such as sabotaging the Fireflash's maiden flight by planting a bomb.

As a result, actors were trapped in a cave for a movie. Or he even tries to hide a miniature camera, in the shape of a mouse, in Thunderbird 2.

But his plans invariably failed, either through direct intervention on the part of International Rescue and their agents or through his own mistakes.

For example, when he sent the mouse-like camera known as the Mighty Atom to photograph TB2, his own program caused it to photograph the screaming Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward instead of TB2's controls.

On another occasion, he even tried to eliminate International Rescue when he tried to steal hidden treasures hidden in an underwater temple, and Gordon tried to destroy Tracy in Thunderbird 4 with his submarine.

This too failed, although the hood was able to escape before a TB4 torpedo destroyed the submarine.

Although he was able to come up with sophisticated plans, the Hood was generally shown to have a short temper and was very bad at improvisation when his schedules didn't work out as he planned.

Once he managed to get footage of Thunderbirds 1 and 2 in action, the ensuing chase by Scott and Virgil (after hearing that someone filmed them) culminated in the hood stealing a plane, he had no idea how to flying - and with engine failure, to boot.

Thus, this incident reflected his inability to consider alternative plans if his original failed.

Another notable handicap is his arrogance: When he tried to escape after his sabotage from the Red Arrow project was exposed, he crashed through a roadblock, assuming it was created to stop him.

Only to realize it was really there to keep people from driving over a damaged bridge.

While the Hood and the IR team never made it face-to-face on the TV series - except when he hypnotized and tortured Brains to learn the location of a lost treasure, in Desperate Intruder - the Tracy brothers were nevertheless aware of its existence.

Virgil had thwarted his plans in Martian Invasion, noting that he was convinced that `` Mr. Stutt '- the Hood's alias at the time - was the same person who had been chasing them since they first started the rescue company.

Scott agreed to that assessment, but remained convinced that they would catch him one day.

That day finally came when he was unmasked by Scott in the feature film Thunderbirds Are Go: the Hood (which appeared last) as he attempted to infiltrate the crew of the new Zero X spaceship and inadvertently had the original two years earlier. sabotaged while trying to photograph it.

During his next escape attempt, his helicopter was shot down by Lady Penelope and Parker in FAB 1 and he was seemingly killed, although many fans note that the Hood had experienced similar death situations before and always survived.

Powers and skills

The hood uses its powers to make contact with his half-brother Kyrano (Trapped in the Sky). Throughout the series, the Hood was shown as a master of disguise.

Using different masks to try to discover the secrets of the Thunderbirds machines and complete different missions.

He also possessed strange hypnotic powers of unknown origin, although these capabilities were apparently limited to the execution of simple commands by humans, such as following him or putting him to sleep.

He was apparently also unable to use these powers to gather information.

On one occasion, he tried to force Brains to tell him the location of a lost treasure by burying it up to the neck in sand and sunlight and taking water from him.

This rather than simply hypnotizing him to learn the answer, suggesting that he cannot force people to give him information.

The only exception to this ability was when he hypnotized Kyrano, as he could have Kyrano tell him information such as when International Rescue would be ready to operate or where the organization's headquarters were located.

These abilities were apparently helped by a statue of Kyrano he had in his temple, as he was always there when connecting with his brother.

He was also able to implant post-hypnotic suggestions to make Kyrano perform certain actions, such as when he had Kyrano turn off the automatic camera detectors prior to the Martian Invasion rescue.

While these hypnotic attacks always have a significant effect on Kyrano, collapsing him to the ground in pain before finally being forced to reveal the information the Hood is looking for, it seems Kyrano is unaware of these attacks.

As he always describes them as mere 'dizzy spells' after passing on information, despite his otherwise unquestionable loyalty to Jeff Tracy.

The Hood appeared in just six episodes, all from Season 1 - namely, Trapped in the Sky, The Mighty Atom, Martian Invasion, Edge of Impact, Desperate Intruder, and Cry Wolf.

The Hood in the comics

During his appearances in TV21's comics, the Hood's designs on International Rescue became even more daring.

In The Atlantic Tunnel, Kyrano's Hood learns that International Rescue plans to search for deposits of the metal mozatinum in the Atlantic Tunnel.

Pretending to be Mr. Sheldon, he hires a team of geologists led by Brains' friend Vincent Baker before delivering explosives in the tunnel that traps Alan, Brains and several workers.

Thunderbirds 1 and 2 are called to the rescue and the Hood leaves the building, stopped only by a policeman who confiscates his camera and sends him back inside.

However, he returns, knocking the officer out and taking his place. Then he photographs Thunderbird 1, but on his escape, the guard returns and attacks the Hood who shoots him and makes his escape in his private jet.

In Tracy Island Exposed, he attempted to uncover International Rescue's location by bombing Thunderbird 2's hangar.

For example, Virgil was forced to move the craft to the runway where he took pictures of the craft and then released them publicly.

Jeff comes up with a comprehensive cover-up plan: Tracy Island will also be made public, as a regular theme park, based on International Rescue as heroes' honor.

Elsewhere, Lady Penelope and Parker organize a rescue with the intention of the Thunderbirds to arrive on the scene and thus confirm that they had not come from Tracy Island (in fact, they were sent into space with Thunderbird 5).

As holiday crowds poured into the island, the Hood managed to infiltrate the inner stronghold of the Tracys, almost hypnotizing Gordon and Brains, when disturbed by his half-brother Kyrano!

Gordon gets the moment of opportunity he needs, and with a heavy blow he knocks out the villain.

Jeff and Brains use Jeff's personal jet, the JT1 Condor, and then move him to the mainland after wiping the last week of his memory to keep the secrets of the Tracy family.

In The Vanishing Ray, the Hood discovers from an unknown source that the wealthy British heiress Lady Penelope is possessed of powerful invisible rays.

He decides to steal it because he sees it as the perfect cover without using his disguises to learn the secrets of the world.

He tries several attempts to get the beam and even tries to kill the heir for it, but they all fail and he is sent back to Malaysia by the authorities.

In Brains is Dead, the Hood faked Brains's death using a powerful electric chair that only rendered him unconscious.

His men brought him back to his hideout in the temple, and with his skills he made Brains reveal the secrets of Tracy Island and planned a full-scale attack on the previously secret IR base.

However, the plan failed; and again the Hood's memory was erased, without any recollection of what he had discovered about the organization.

The Hood's last appearance in TV21 is The Zoo Ship: Under the guise of the elderly professor Auldyn Beresford, the owner of a Zoo Ship, he comes to Tracy Island to search for a rare sand mouse.

However, tigers break free on the ship, killing a keeper, resulting in a frenzy where controls are disabled and the boat sinking.

Since Beresford has been invited to stay on the island, Scott takes him to search for the sand mouse so that the Thunderbirds can jump into action without detection.

However, Beresford attacks Scott before revealing himself as the Hood, who then proceeds to the Thunderbird 2 hangar and knocks out Virgil before photographing the secrets of International Rescue.

However, he is then distracted by a call from Brains and Gordon to need the plane. So to save time he sets it to start automatically.

However, Alan spots an error and, looking at the video link, Jeff sees the ship unmanned!

He runs to the launch pad to keep Thunderbird 2 from getting out of control and is confronted by the Hood shooting him, but Alan arrives to save his father.

Alan and Jeff then try to disable the controls, but the craft flies up the slope and back into the ground in flames.

Still, they get the burning wreckage under control.

In the distraction, the Hood steals a Helijet and escapes with his photos presumably intact. Ultimately, the Zoo Ship was saved.

In his last TV21 appearance, the Hood seems to (finally) win. Even at the end of the story, the Tracys don't think about the consequences of his victory for them.

The Hood also appeared in a Stingray comic called A Trip to England, where Titan hires the criminal to pose as a TV reporter to cause trouble on the submarine during a trip to England to commemorate the millennial anniversary of The Battle of Hastings .

Thunderbirds Brains: everything you want to know from the old & new series

Thunderbirds-Brains Character

“Brains” is International Rescue's technical support, scientific advisor and, most recognizable, responsible for the design and development of most Thunderbirds ships.

Brains toys

Many toys from Brains have been released over time, what you can still find today are often the dolls and some of the later series of toys.

Original 1993 Matchbox Brains action figure

Vivid Brains with Robot

Brains with his robot

As the inventor of all the vehicles and equipment Rescue uses internationally, Brains knows that thanks to the wetenschap nothing is impossible.

The mobile Brains figure (9,5 cm) contains his helper robot MAX, which can help him with all scientific matters. the mobile robot (here also programmable robots for kids) Max is 7cm tall.

Funko Pop Brains Thunderbirds figure

Funko has pops of all your favorite movie heroes and action figures, and now it's the turn of Brains from The Thunderbirds. How could this iconic hero also fail?

Read here everything about Thunderbirds toys

About Brains

The History of Brains

Born on November 14, 2040, Brains was orphaned after a hurricane hit his home.

At the age of twelve, he was adopted by a Cambridge University professor who recognized his great intelligence and encouraged his phenomenal learning ability.

Brains the character from The Thunderbirds

He first met Jeff Tracy when he was lecturing in a cultural hall in Paris, while Jeff was looking for a brilliant scientist to help realize his plans for International Rescue.

After realizing that Jeff was someone who wanted to use his knowledge and money for the benefit of others, Brains agreed to Jeff's offer.

He was immediately transported to Tracy Island and immediately started designing amazing high-tech machines for International Rescue including all Thunderbirds and all pod vehicles.

His real name is unknown, but he uses the alias “Hiram K Hackenbacker” and “Mr. X” to protect his identity from the outside world while discovering new machines and airplanes develops for other companies, such as the Skythrust.

Brains is an extremely bright, highly focused and intense person, who spends most of his time inventing.

Despite Brains's timid and stammering manner, he is an accomplished diver and highly skilled marksman.

He enjoys studying trigonometry and thermodynamics in his spare time, and has a fondness for chess. An extreme perfectionist who is never satisfied with his inventions, he continuously tries to improve them.

Lees meer: this is the playing island of The Thunderbirds

Performances, missions and adventures

Brains appears in 28 episodes (exceptions: Martian Invasion, The Perils of Penelope, The Impostors and The Duchess Assignment). In End Of The Road he only appears in a non-speaking role.

Brains also appears and plays major roles in both feature films.

In addition, he appears in the episodes of Thunderbirds 1965, but can actually only be heard in one (Introducing Thunderbirds).

What does Brains do for the team?

Brains is one of the most valuable members of International Rescue; because he was the creator of several Thunderbird machines.

When called to fly Thunderbird 6 (Alan's restored Tiger Moth biplane), his signature IR color is brown.

As a chief engineer on Tracy Island, he does everything he can to help the organization, such as adding new functions and making repairs.

Homage to Brains:

Brains resembles

Brains' facial features are based on those of actor Anthony Perkins.


Perkins is best known for his role as Norman Bates in Psycho.

In the TV Century 21 Spring Extra edition of 1967, Brains is given the birth name 'Horatio Hackenbacker'.

It is a name that would be adopted for the Thunderbirds comic, revealed in Seeking Disaster.

Brains appeared with Virgil, Lady Penelope, FAB 1 and Parker in British comedian Peter Kay's “Animated All Star Band” for BBC Children In Need 2009.

Old and new brains from Thunderbirds

Well-known quotes from Brains

  • “We must try to think what Mr. Tracy would do. ” - Ricochet
  • “What I'm gonna ask you to do will sound crazy, but I have a hunch it'll work… Just trust Mr. Hackenbacker. ” - Alias ​​Mr. Hackenbacker
  • “I - I tell you, I've simply (got) to get through, Lady Penelope! I couldn't face the fellas back at the base, if I hadn't tried to do something! ” - Day Of Disaster
  • “Bedtime at home, breakfast-time in Monte Bianco. Sometimes, even I get confused! ” Lord Parker's' Oliday
  • “Oh, I know what you're going to say, Mr. Tracy. That you haven't approved the plans, how could it have been built anyway? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But nevertheless, I present to you, Thunderbird 6. Built, tested and approved! ” - Thunderbird 6
  • "Fu-fu-nno way"

Frequently asked questions about Brains from the Thunderbirds

Here are some more frequently asked questions about Brains:

What was Brains's real name on the series?

The character's birth name is not revealed in the series, while working on external projects, Brains uses a pseudonym to protect his identity. For example, he uses the alias “Hiram K. Hackenbacker” while working on the Skythrust project, and the board commissioning Skyship One only knows him as “Mr X”.

So we will never know.

Who does the voice of Brains in The Thunderbirds?

D does the voice of Brains in the original Thunderbirds pop series and movies, the new Thunderbirds are Go has a new voice actor for Brains, namely Kayvan novak.


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Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.