Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds are the craft used by International Rescue in the year 2026. I.R. is a secret organisation headed and funded by American billionaire Jeff Tracy. Based on a Pacific island, the Thunderbirds are concealed in disguised hangars. Each of the craft, numbered 1 to 5, is piloted by one of Jeff Tracy's sons - Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John.

Security is vital - and this is usually handled by I.R.'s London based special agent, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward.

There have been many toys based on the Thunderbirds TV series. We'll show you our favourite Thunderbirds toys, from the 1960s up to the present day.

In the 1960s Dinky Toys manufactured nice diecast models of Fab 1, Thunderbird 2 and Thunderbird 4. In the 1990s, Matchbox produced further diecast toys based on the show. During the early 2000s, Japanese toy company Konami produced what we believe are the best ever replicas of the vehicles featured in the Thunderbirds TV series. Also in Japan, Takara produced a superb collection of plastic Thunderbirds toys in 1:144 scale, many of them motorised. Another Japanese company, Aoshima, released some excellent metal diecast Thunderbirds toys. During the same period, Corgi produced a Fab 1, Thunderbird 2 and Thunderbird 4, which resembled their much earlier Dinky counterparts.

Most of the Thunderbirds model kits we have in our collection were produced by Imai. Imai kits have their faults... They specialised in rocket launchers and oversized wheels. However, as you will see from the photos, once these problems are fixed, some of the models are pretty good. Probably the best ever plastic Thunderbirds kit is Aoshima's 1/144 scale Thunderbird 1 kit.

We have also produced our own 3D computer models of some of the Thunderbirds craft. Whilst creating these models, it became clear to us that many different studio props were used to represent a particular vehicle, therefore it is often a case of personal taste as to whether a toy or model is "accurate".

We hope you enjoy looking at these pictures of Thunderbirds models in our personal collection.

Imai Thunderbird 5 5

THUNDERBIRD 5

International Rescue's space station. John Tracy keeps a watch on the world from this vantage point in Earth orbit. Thunderbird 5 monitors all radio broadcasts listening out for rescue calls or situations that may require I.R. to render assistance. International Rescue can be contacted on any frequency and John Tracy will answer the call.

Konami Thunderbird 4 4

THUNDERBIRD 4

Thunderbird 4 is a submarine, and by far the smallest Thunderbird craft. It's piloted by Gordon Tracy. Thunderbird 4 is often carried to the site of a rescue in one of Thunderbird 2's huge cargo pods.

Aoshima diecast Thunderbird 3 3

THUNDERBIRD 3

This is International Rescue's spaceship, piloted by Alan Tracy. Thunderbird 3 is mainly used as a ferry between Tracy Island and Thunderbird 5.
In 2026 there doesn't seem to be much happening in space and this Thunderbird is rarely used in rescue operations. This ship has more in common with current day rockets than interstellar ships like Fireball XL5. It's more or less a 'space shuttle' in terms of capability and function.

Aoshima Thunderbird 2 DX 2

THUNDERBIRD 2

This Thunderbird is used in most rescue operations. It's the aircraft used to transport equipment anywhere in the world. Virgil Tracy is the pilot and he also tends to operate the machinery the craft carries. Cargo is transported in huge 'pods' that form the main body of the aircraft.

Our 3d computer model of Thunderbird 1 1

THUNDERBIRD 1

Thunderbird 1 is flown by Scott Tracy. It's a high speed sub-orbital scout craft. Thunderbird 1 is normally first on the scene at a rescue. Scott can then report back to base first hand and advise on the situation. The craft leaves Tracy Island like a rocket, rapidly climbing to a high altitude after which it changes to horizontal flight. At slower speeds TB1 employs swing wings for stability.

THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO!

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