Supermarionation
– Recycled models
Marc J. Frattasio

during the Supercar – Fireball XL5 era, Supermarionation production standards were such that common objects such as plastic squeeze bottles could be transformed into acceptable miniature vehicles with a minimum of effort. These early shows were produced in black and white and geared to a young audience unlikely to be concerned about trivial miniature details. With Stingray, however, quality improved to the extent that the time and effort required to produce suitable models increased. One result was that it became practical and economically advantageous to re-use minor or 'guest' studio miniatures, not only from one episode to another, but also from one series to another and later, from TV to motion picture.

Generally, such recycled models would receive modifications, additional detail, or at least a new coat of paint. This was not always the result of a desire to provide a fresh look to hide the fact that the vehicle had been seen on screen before. Guest models often bore the brunt of the explosions and crashes that were characteristic of the Anderson series and many required extensive repair before they could be re-used.

Special effects master Derek Meddings would often subcontract model, prop, and set construction work to an outside company called Master Models, later named Space Models. Space Models was also frequently called upon to perform modifications and repairs to existing models. It has been reported that during tight production schedules, such tasks were often performed by Space Models on a 'while you wait' basis with the Anderson people hanging around the shop until the work got done. The quality of Space Models work must have varied to a great degree depending upon the frequency of these rush jobs and the amount of time allocated for rework. Frequent repairs may also explain why there were so many visible changes in finish and markings on principal studio miniatures from time to time.

Over the years, this writer has noticed the following recycled 'guest' models in various Anderson productions. This is by no means an all inclusive listing as no attempt has been made to catalog the frequent appearances of principal studio miniatures like Stingray or the Thunderbird machines.

Also, separate appearances of the same model in the same function (e.g. the Fireflash, Firefly, heli-jets or ground vehicles) as opposed to a reworked or repainted one, are considered to be a matter of continuity and have therefore been omitted.

Supercar

Supercar's cockpit canopy was later re-used on the 'Hepcat' submarine featured in the Stingray episode Raptures of the Deep.
The Monogram Piper Tripacer kit based light aircraft flown by Bill Gibson in Rescue was used at least one more time (flown by Masterspy and friend Zarin to the Black Rock Canyon base) in a later Supercar episode. Following that appearance it was given a new tail unit for use as the Hood's getaway vehicle in the Thunderbirds episode Martian Invasion. This miniature later became the radio controlled scale model used by Mysteron agent Dr. Carney for ECM purposes in the Captain Scarlet episode Codename Europa.

Fireball XL5

The Subterranean suicide spaceship model featured in Planet 46 was also used as a Platonian space fighter in Planet of Platonia.
The 'Warrior J17' anti-asteroid missile featured in The Sun Temple was also used in Flight to Danger as Lieutenant Ninety's training rocket and became the 'Warrior 7' cargo rocket used in The Firefighters.
The 'Mayflower 2' spaceship model featured in The Space Immigrants was destroyed near the end of A Day in the Life of a Space General.
Graff and Snaff's experimental nuclear rocket featured in The Triads was also used as the 'Trooper 2' cargo vehicle seen in The Firefighters.
The Light Patrol Craft flown by Master Astronaut Kelly in Sabotage may have been re-used as Commander Shore's WSP guard submarine in the Stingray episode Ghost of the Sea.
A puppet-sized version and smaller miniatures of Steve Zodiac's yellow and blue jet mobile appeared with and without added wheels in several episodes of Stingray. For example, the jet mobile was used in unmodified condition by surface agent X20 to abduct Duke Dexter in Titan Goes Pop while it was fitted with wheels for use in episodes Invisible Enemy and Tune of Danger.
The small tractor seen hauling Vesuvium 9 explosives to Fireball XL5 in Dangerous Cargo was later used to carry the Stingray submarine over a river dam in In Search of the Tajmanon.
One of the Lindberg B-58 kit based 'SL6' supersonic airliner models featured in Space City Special was later destroyed by a flaming ball of space gas in the episode The Firefighters.

Stingray

The alien submarine galleon miniature featured in The Ghost Ship was also used in Set Sail for Danger.
A small yellow and black submarine was used by different underwater aliens in The Ghost of the Sea and Invisible Enemy. This alien submarine model and the 'Hepcat' from Raptures of the Deep may have shared the same wooden body.
The gray racing car toy or kit based World Navy WN27 submarine featured in The Man from the Navy was repainted bright orange and redetailed for use in the Thunderbirds episode The Man From MI5.
The experimental World Navy underwater missile design seen in The Man from the Navy was later re-used as the Centralious underwater city defense system in Deep Heat.
The WASP courier's yellow hover scooter seen in Titan Goes Pop was re-used in Thunderbirds as a mobile fog generating machine in Martian Invasion.
The dark gray Aurora 727 kit based 'Supersonic 101' transport jet featured in The Lighthouse Dwellers was also seen as a file photograph displayed on a video monitor at Marineville Tower in Eastern Eclipse. This model was later used in episodes of both Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet as an airport background aircraft.
Two round buildings were located in front of the Marineville control tower; Vault of Death.
Parts of the Marineville power plant pod conveyor belt. Other parts of this Stingray miniature were incorporated into the Thunderbird 2 servicing equipment seen in Terror in New York City.
The Revell B-58 kit based WASP Spearhead aircraft was re-used in Thunderbirds. One can be seen in the background at London International Airport in Trapped in the Sky while others were positioned at the military airfield featured in Edge of Impact. Another three of these miniatures were positioned inside the hangars destroyed by Red Arrow 1 in the same episode.
The Aurora F-5 based WASP Arrowhead fighter jet also made guest appearances in Thunderbirds. At least one of the models was provided with a large underbody fuel tank from a B-58 kit and painted in a simple blue and white 'UN' paint scheme for use as a background aircraft in The Duchess Assignment. The jet is barely visible on the right side of the TV screen in the scene where the carrier aircraft flies by the tower just prior to landing. Another apparently unmodified 'Arrowhead' can be seen overflying the camera in The Imposters as it is launched from a World Navy aircraft carrier. WASP fighter miniatures also turn up in Cry Wolf and Security Hazard as toy airplanes in the kid's bedrooms.
The Aurora 707 kit based 'Vertical Takeoff Jetmaster' seen as a file photograph displayed on a video monitor at Marineville tower in Eastern Eclipse was also used as a background aircraft in several Thunderbirds episodes. This gray model is most easily seen behind Thunderbird 2 as it lands at London Airport in Trapped in the Sky. Middle Eastern despot El Hudat's 'Wadi' gunboat was featured in Eastern Eclipse. This model was later used as a background miniature for port scenes in several episodes of Stingray, Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet.

Thunderbirds

Stock footage of identical airport rescue vehicle miniatures appeared in Trapped in the Sky and Alias Mr. Hackenbacker. The same stock was later used in the Captain Scarlet episode Flight 104.
A yellow tracked vehicle seen at the Dover missile base in the feature film Thunderbird Six was also used as Captain Scarlet's lunar tank in Crater 101. This model utilized a Japanese motorized tank toy as its basis.
'Copter Watchdog', the twin-rotor U.S. Army helicopter model seen in Pit of Peril, was later destroyed during a still photography session for a TV21 Stingray story.
International Rescue's blue radio beam transmitter truck Sunprobe was later reworked and given a new coat of red paint for use as Eddie Houseman's explosives truck for End of the Road.
The 'Sunprobe' rocket gantry was re-used in Terror in New York City as part of the machine that attempted to move the Empire State Building. Parts of this miniature also appear in this episode as scaffolding surrounding Thunderbird 2.
The 'Sunprobe' space vehicle from the episode of the same name also appeared in stock film footage as an experimental seawater fueled rocket in The Perils of Penelope. Note: Still photographs of this model were taken on top of the Mole's tracked transport trolley for use in TV21 magazine.
The Zombite's red monorail transport from The Uninvited was later seen on Tracy Island in Give or Take a Million.
The Martian Invasion drilling and crushing excavator pod vehicle had its drilling rig and track guards removed for use as the Domo heavy restraining vehicle in The Duchess Assignment. This model was later re-used in the Captain Scarlet episode Renegade Rocket as a missile tractor seen at Base Concord.
The monorail train featured in Brink of Disaster later appeared as the 'Anderbad Express' in The Perils of Penelope. As the 'Anderbad Express', the locomotive unit was provided with a new red and white paint scheme. The 'Anderbad Express' train appeared once again as stock footage at the end of the Joe 90 episode Three's a Crowd.
The Hood's 'North Pole' laundry van seen in Edge of Impact later became Ned Cook's TV camera truck for Terror in New York City. This same miniature also appears in Alias Mr. Hackenbacker as an airport rescue vehicle.
The yellow Mars Space Probe rocket transporter vehicle was featured in Day of Disaster. This model later appears along with its rocket trailer at Tracy Island in Cry Wolf. The miniature was reworked into a fire vehicle for City of Fire and later appears in this configuration in the Captain Scarlet episode Seek and Destroy.
A silver and blue World TV heli-jet appeared at the beginning of The Imposters. The same miniature was later shot down by FAB1 30 Minutes After Noon. This miniature was re-used in Captain Scarlet as the craft which took Colonel White to a World Navy submarine in White as Snow. The miniature was repainted into a blue and white Navy paint scheme for the Joe 90 episode The Big Fish.
Several blue and white UN Navy fighter jets were launched from an aircraft carrier in The Imposters. I suspect that these F-104 kit based Navy jet models were reworked into the yellow air sea rescue (ASR) aircraft seen in that same episode as well as in Operation Crashdive. The simultaneous appearance of both miniature versions in The Imposters is clearly due to the use of stock film footage. The two miniature aircraft designs differ only in paint scheme and vertical stabilizer configuration. The ASR version has a fin extension which the UN Navy jet does not have. If you look closely at the ASR jets, you can see that the workmanship of the fin extensions does not match the rest of the model. To me, this appears to be an obvious retrofit.
The hydrofoil rescue boat model seen in Operation Crash Dive was repainted for use as a harbor patrol vessel in The Man from MI5. This model may have been reworked for later use as the boat seen in the Captain Scarlet episode Renegade Rocket.
The World Air Force fighter jet carrier aircraft seen at the London airshow in The Duchess Assignment was also featured in a series of TV21 still photographs with Stingray. One of these photos was used as the boxtop illustration for one of Midori's Japanese Stingray plastic model kits.
USAF 'RTL2' rocket transporter jet featured in Cham Cham was also used as a background aircraft at the military airfield featured in Edge of Impact. This model can also be seen behind the Air Sea Rescue helicopters at Glen Field in the feature film Thunderbirds Are Go!. The 'RTL2' was repainted for use as a commercial airliner in the Captain Scarlet episode The Place of the Angels. Later, the model was severely redetailed for use as a World Air Force bomber in Flight to Atlantica. This aircraft may have also seen service in a few episodes of Joe 90. Note: the 'RTL2' model in its original form appeared with Stingray in several still photographs shot for use in TV21 magazine during the production of Thunderbirds.
The World Navy 'Clam' class submarine miniature 'Reaper' featured in Atlantic Inferno was later used in the Captain Scarlet episodes White as Snow and Flight to Atlantica. This model was extensively reworked for an appearance in the Joe 90 episode Splash Down.
The archaeologists' half-track truck seen in The Uninvited was later fitted with conventional rear wheels for use by the Hood in Cry Wolf. This miniature vehicle also appeared in Path of Destruction and Desperate Intruder.
The 'Telsat' rocket gantry featured at the beginning of Ricochet was re-used in the Joe 90 episode Most Special Astronaut. This miniature is visible through a window during a scene at the rocket base control center. I suspect that the convex rocket launch pad base was also re-used as part of a surface to air missile launcher platform seen in Most Special Agent and Business Holiday.
The large 'Blue Whale' VTOL aircraft used by the Fireflash Operation Crash Dive was relettered 'International Rescue' across its nose for use as a mock Thunderbird rescue machine in The Imposters.
The Zero-X MEV vehicle from the feature film Thunderbirds Are Go! was later lettered 'Martian Exploration Center' and re-used in the Captain Scarlet pilot episode. Although the Zero-X was referenced several times during Captain Scarlet, the main ship never appeared in this series. Apparently only one Zero-X main ship model was made and this was completely destroyed at the end of Thunderbirds Are Go!.
The Hood's mini-sub seen in Desperate Intruder may have resurfaced as the safe-cracker's craft used in the Captain Scarlet episode Heart of New York.
The 'Crablogger' processed wood pulp pick up trucks from Path of Destruction were later used on the Dover missile base set in Thunderbird Six. Afterwards, at least one of these miniatures was repainted a greenish-yellow color and fitted with a cylindrical gasoline tank for use as the Spectrum VIP transport truck as seen in the Captain Scarlet episodes Winged Assassin and Dangerous Rendezvous.
The yellow 'Crablogger' control vehicle seen in Path of Destruction was reworked and painted white for use as an ambulance in the Captain Scarlet episodes Winged Assassin and Treble Cross.
Several military transport truck models seen in The Imposters were later used at the Dover missile base set in the feature film Thunderbird Six. Some of these miniatures were later destroyed by the Unitron tank in the Captain Scarlet episode Point 783. Other miniatures appeared in the Joe 90 episode Business Holiday.
The red mobile crane from Path of Destruction was also used as a fire truck in the Captain Scarlet episode Seek and Destroy.
The red Gray-Houseman road building machine featured in End of the Road was repainted yellow and redetailed for use in Atlantic Inferno. This model was later recycled for use as the 'Crablogger' production plant section for Path of Destruction. Note: this miniature's running gear came from a battery operated tank toy made by the Remco company.
Several different versions of the Tigermoth models made for Thunderbird Six were later re-used in an episode of The Secret Service (perhaps Recall to Service?).
The yellow UN rescue helicopters reappeared in the Captain Scarlet episode Place of the Angels).
Two of the enemy jet fighters seen in Cham Cham were later repainted with Soviet Air Force style markings for use in the Joe 90 episode King for a Day.
USAF Colonel Casey's yellow VIP jet from Edge of Impact was given a new tail and red color scheme for use as Eddie Houseman's executive aircraft for End of the Road. This model also appears under Tracy family ownership in Give or Take a Million and as an executive aircraft at a small airport in Martian Invasion.
One of the automobiles seen driving along a road at the Dover missile base in the film Thunderbird Six later became Sam Loover's car for Joe 90.
The yellow twin rotor Air Sea Rescue helicopter models seen in Thunderbirds Are Go! were later used in the Captain Scarlet episode Place of the Angels. These models were also photographed for use in a Stingray TV21 magazine story.
Two of the three F-104 kit based enemy jets featured in Cham Cham were later repainted with Soviet Air Force style markings for use in the Joe 90 episode King for a Day.
The red 'Crablogger' production plant Superon fuel tenders featured in Path of Destruction were also used as fire trucks in Alias Mr. Hackenbacker and in the Captain Scarlet episode Seek and Destroy.
The three aircraft hangars that Red Arrow 1 crashed into in Edge of Impact were reworked into monorail train stations which were seen in The Perils of Penelope, Brink of Disaster and Joe 90's Three's a Crowd.
One of the USAF rocket models carried by the 'RTL2' transport jet in Cham Cham is later seen at Base Concord in the Captain Scarlet episode Renegade Rocket.

Captain Scarlet

One of the United Asian Republic transport jet models from Winged Assassin was later used in the background at airfield sets in The Launching and several Joe 90 episodes including King for a Day.
The nuclear demolition device transport truck model seen in Big Ben Chimes Again was slightly reworked for similar use in Expo 2068.
The Unitron tank featured in Point 783 was later used by the Borodan military in the Joe 90 episode Business Holiday. Note: This model was based upon a battery operated toy tank made by the Remco company.
At least three Angel jet models were painted light gray for use as Mysteronized craft in Seek and Destroy. Later, several Angel jets were extensively reworked into Russian Mig 242 aircraft for the Joe 90 episode Most Special Agent.
The top portion of the Phobos camera spacecraft lander model from Shadow of Fear was used as a lunar building in Lunarville 7.
The moon hopper model initially used in Lunarville 7 later had a small cargo pod attached to its underside for use in Crater 101. A lot of stock film footage of this vehicle was used in this episode since the moon hopper looses its cargo pod at random!
The jet airliner model featured in Flight 104 later took Joe90 and his father to Moscow in Most Special Agent and to Boroda in Business Holiday.
The white HAWK Kaman Husky kit based medical helicopter used in Place of the Angels was given a red and silver paint scheme for use in Model Spy. It was also provided with a light gray World Navy paint scheme for use in a Flight to Atlantica still photography session. The helicopter model in this configuration may have been used in an episode of Joe 90.
One of Cloudbase's Expo 2068. I haven't been able to pick this out on TV but I have seen this part in at least one still photograph taken on the Expo Center construction site set.
The half-track staff car featured in Point 783 was later used in the Joe 90 episode Business Holiday.
The London airport control tower miniature from Winged Assassin was later re-used as a background building at the Fairfield jet engine plant in Seek and Destroy.

Joe90

Mario Coletti's boat from Splash Down was also used in Double Agent and Project 90.
The executive transport jet used by the disguised Joe 90 in King for a Day was repainted for use as a Swiss Mountain Rescue Service aircraft in Project 90.
One of the 'Colonel Maclain' explosive truck models was used in The Race to block the progress of Mac's car. At least one of these models was repainted a copper color for use as a Canadian police vehicle in Breakout.
The experimental F-116 jet featured in Talk Down had its engine pods removed and a new paint scheme applied for use as the 'hypersonic C-418' passenger aircraft seen in The Fortress. Note: the jet that lands at the Patagia airfield is not the F-116 model, it is the different World Air Force bomber model featured in Arctic Adventure!
As stated above, the World Air Force bomber featured in Arctic Adventure was seen again during a brief scene in The Fortress. This scene is a continuity error!

Odds and ends

Recycling was not limited to miniature vehicles. An exhaustive accounting could be made of the numerous miniature props, puppet characters, and even musical pieces which were carried from one series to the next by the Anderson people. Such an accounting is far beyond the scope of this page but this writer will provide just a few examples in closing...
In Thunderbirds, Jeff Tracy had an ashtray on his office desk which flipped over to reveal a concealed microphone. This prop was first used on the desk of Commander Shore's unseen superior in Stingray's Marineville Traitor.
The Mike Mercury puppet character featured in Supercar was later used in Stingray. The re-used puppet can be seen as Troy Tempest's waiter in Deep Heat.
The incidental music featured in the Stingray episode, Secret of the Giant Oyster was later re-used again in several Thunderbirds episodes including Day of Disaster and The Imposters. This music appears to have had its origins in the robot tank theme featured in the Fireball XL5 episode The Granatoid Tanks.
This page published originally at the Supermarionation sfx WebSite
text ©1996 Marc J. Frattasio; not for reproduction for profit without his express permission
Edited and limited to Supermarionation