Marc J. Frattasio
Here is 'Pirate' radio broadcasting space station KLA in orbit. Looks like this thing was a simple turned wooden shape to which various plastic model kit parts and other things were attached.
This is a view of the TELSAT-4 communications satellite launch area at Sentinel Base. Look at the incredible level of detail that was incorporated into this miniature set. The plume of white smoke between the rocket and the gantry is probably Titanium Tetrachloride, a chemical which smokes spontaneously in contact with air.
Here is the TELSAT-4 rocket in flight in front of the rolling sky backdrop. This is probably a wooden model. Note how the flame and smoke from the pyrotechnic rocket motors is going straight 'down'. In later episodes of
like this one, rocket models were often filmed upside down so that the flames and smoke (which tend to rise) would appear to shoot straight down in the finished shot.
The International Space Control headquarters is a typical highly detailed Thunderbirds
building. It was made of wood, artist's board, and transparent acetate sheet. Check out the miniature trees on the left which were made from colored lichen and natural twigs.
Here is the KLA radio station model showing the effects of damage sustained by the detonation of the TELSAT-4 third stage. The KLA's 'damage' appears to be little more than a few charcoal smears on the paintwork and some bent wire.
Here is the
spacecraft undocking from the
space station. Note the many plastic kit details incorporated into the Thunderbird 5 model. Those red pipes appear to be made from plastic kit part sprues or 'trees'.
Here is Thunderbird 3 firing its Schermuly pyrotechnic rocket motors after undocking from Thunderbird 5. Schermuly produce emergency flares and other similar devices. During the 1960s, they made special no-thrust black powder rocket engines for the Andersons.
This is the International Rescue space station, Thunderbird 5. Most students of Supermarionation believe that only one model of TB5 was ever made. This model was reworked a number of times and on each occasion some details were changed.
Here is the Cliff House on Tracy Island. The rock face under the Cliff House slides down to reveal
The various Tracy Island Base sets were built using methods that would be familiar to anyone who is involved with model railroading. Rocks were made from natural stones, plaster, paper mache, lumps of coal, and other such things. Trees and vegetation were made from colored lichen, sponge, twigs, and small plants. Dirt was made from sand or colored sawdust. Structures were made from wood, artist's board (a type of stiff card), and other such things.
Here is a view of the Thunderbird 2 heavy cargo craft emerging from its hidden hangar under the Tracy Island Base Cliff House. Notice how the palm trees on either side of the runway are hinged to tilt back to provide Thunderbird 2 with additional clearance.
A launch pad for Thunderbird 2 is located on the end of the Tracy Island runway. Normally stored horizontally, the launch pad is elevated after Thunderbird 2 has moved into launch position. Sharp eyed Thunderbirds viewers may note the rod which the technicians attached to the back of the launch pad to keep Thunderbird 2 from slipping backwards whenever the launch pad is raised!
Here is one of the smaller models of Thunderbird 3 next to one of the KLA space satellite models. It was standard practice to make a number of different
of each main Supermarionation vehicle. Models were made in different sizes and with different levels of detail as required for long shots or near shots.
Here is a small astronaut figure which is being manipulated on a thin wire next to what is probably the largest (or one of the largest) models of Thunderbird 3. Small human figures such as this were often made from painted plasticine clay. Note the high level of detail incorporated into this version of Thunderbird 3. This was probably the model used in the huge TB3
The KLA space satellite is falling in a trajectory that will cause it to hit this oil refinery unless something can be done. Most of the structures you see here were made from Vollmer and Kibri HO/OO scale plastic model railroad kits.
Here is another view of the desert refinery that the KLA is going to hit unless
finds a way to alter its trajectory. It looks like many of these miniature structures came from the Australian nuclear power plant set from
This small yellow vehicle appears to have been some kind of die cast toy truck. Does anybody out there have any idea what this thing is? The wheels look like the kind used on Matchbox products during the early 1960s.
Here is one of the smaller models of Thunderbird 2 attempting to push the falling KLA satellite out of the way of the oil refinery. Both models are suspended on thin metal wires in front of the rolling sky backdrop.
[Note that the camera is tilted left so the Thunderbird 2 and the KLA satellite model (and the rolling sky backdrop) seem to dive down – JLN2nd]
Here is a close up of TB2 pushing against the KLA satellite. Notice how clean this model of the KLA space radio station is in this shot. What happened to all that charcoal 'damage'?
Thunderbird 2 has the KLA satellite balanced on its starboard wing and is carrying it over the oil refinery. These spherical structures were probably used in The Mighty Atom
. Note the kit details at the base of these structures and the painted on panel line details on the spheres.
Thunderbird 2 is about to drop the KLA space station away from the oil refinery. Notice that all that charcoal 'damage' somehow came back! SFX shots were not always filmed in sequence.
This page published originally at
the Supermarionation sfx WebSite
Marc J. Frattasio;
not for reproduction for profit without his express permission