|The Thunderbird Machines|
Whilst International Rescue relies on the bravery and skill of its members, it is the fantastic Thunderbird craft that provide them with the technology and power to carry out their seemingly impossible missions. From the high speed TB1, the versatile TB2 and its Pod Vehicles, TB3 the spacecraft, the submarine TB4, TB5 the Space Station and the sleek and deadly FAB1, Brain's amazing machines are undoubtedly years ahead of their time.
Located in the Pacific Ocean on the remote base, Tracy Island, the Thunderbirds are ready to launch from their hidden launch bays just moments after the Space Station Thunderbird 5 has intercepted an emergency call. Thunderbird 1 is first on the scene and is backed up Thunderbird 2 and the rescue craft it carries. Thunderbird 3 provides rescue capabilities in outer space whilst on the ground the pink Rolls-Royce FAB1 carries its passengers to their tasks under the guise of luxury and prestige.
Created by Special Effects Supervisor Derek Meddings, the Thunderbird craft have captured the imaginations of generations. Working from the craft descriptions in the script for the first episode, Derek was able to dream up the futuristic designs that led to the success of the TV series, two full feature movies, numerous comics and annuals and spawned hundreds of toys and models that were part of the huge Thunderbirds merchandising success story.
Thunderbird 2 has proved to be the favourite of both fans and Gerry Anderson alike. From it's launch sequence with the folding palm trees, to the pod vehicles it carries, the design has withstood the test of time better than the other craft. In his biography Gerry Anderson talks about TB2 and the other craft. "It (TB2) was the only craft that did anything for me, to be honest Thunderbird One was not detailed enough, and time has shown it's not a believable vehicle. Thunderbird Three seemed okay then, but today I think it's a joke. Thunderbird Four I was frankly disappointed with. And Five ... well, the less said about that the better. Which is not to say I didn't think they were all good at the time."
There is one other craft that was loved by the public - the shocking pink, 6 wheeled Rolls Royce, FAB1. "It was born out of necessity to provide Lady Penelope with transport that reflected her adventurous lifestyle. It needed to be glamorous, but practical and tough at the same time. 'Bearing in mind her personality, and the role she played in International Rescue, it could only be a Rolls Royce'." As part of the design process Gerry visited a factory that manufactured amoured protection for cars to get an understanding of their design and to confirm that FAB1 was a car of the future.