The Century 21 model department usually had a lot of work to do preparing the latest episode of whichever show they were currently making, and sometimes it only made sense to dig into the collection of vehicles that had already been built for previous series to see if any of them could be used again. To list the return appearances of every Anderson vehicle across every show would be an immense task, so for this list we’re looking exclusively at return appearances in other shows by vehicles that first appeared in either the Thunderbirds television series or its two feature films.
Specifically we’re focusing exclusively on newly shot material featuring models originally used in Thunderbirds, which means we won’t be counting any appearances made via stock footage! This list is by no means a complete guide to absolutely every reused model but will hopefully inspire you to keep your eyes peeled for more that are no doubt out there!
Let’s start with an obvious one; the model of the Zero-X Mk II’s Martian Excursion Vehicle from the movie Thunderbirds are Go reappeared in the very first episode of Captain Scarlet under the command of Captain Black, now rechristened the Martian Exploration Vehicle (with the name now clearly visible on the model), and was the vehicle that launched the war with the Mysterons. Although the destruction of the Zero-X Mk II would make this the MEV from the Zero-X Mk III or possibly later, it is clearly meant to be a descendant of the vehicle seen in the film.
Repainted slightly to hide their International Rescue markings the miniature model and puppet scale version of the Thunderbird 6 Tiger Moth reappeared in More Haste Less Speed, the final episode of The Secret Service.
Base Concord missile transporter
Three for the price of one here! This shot from the Captain Scarlet episode Renegade Rocket demonstrates how several Thunderbirds vehicles (or sections of vehicles) could be combined to create an entirely new one. The cab section is a bulldozer from Atlantic Inferno,
the missile is from The Cham-Cham,
and the trailer at the rear originally appeared on the Martian Probe Rocket transporter in Day of Disaster.
Nitrogen Hexachlorophene truck
Lady Penelope and Parker get held up behind this Nitrogen Hexachlorophene truck in 30 Minutes After Noon, which can later be seen parked at Los Angeles airport in the Captain Scarlet episode Place of Angels.
The Leader’s helijet
The helijet belonging to the mysterious ‘Leader’ in 30 Minutes After Noon later carried Captain Scarlet‘s Colonel White to his submarine rendezvous in White as Snow,
and also appeared as a navy helijet in the Joe 90 episode Big Fish.
This air-sea rescue boat first appeared in Operation Crash-Dive and returned as the coastal patrol boat in The Man from MI.5. Post-Thunderbirds it was the boat carrying Major Reeves to Base Concord in the Captain Scarlet episode Renegade Rocket,
and after some more modifications was Anton’s speedboat Dolphin in Joe 90‘s Splashdown.
International Rescue’s red six-wheeled mobile crane from Path of Destruction was later seen among the firefighting vehicles in the Captain Scarlet episode Seek and Destroy.
Crablogger support vehicles
The Crablogger’s Superon tanker and wood pulp transporter from Path of Destruction made several return appearances in later series. Since the bases of both vehicles are so similar it’s unclear whether the same models were used as both tankers and transporters (we never see more than two of either kind together at any one time in the episode). The Superon tanker variants appeared in the very next episode of Thunderbirds as fire engines in Alias Mr Hackenbacker, before one chassis was modified with a new tank and repainted gold to become the Yellow Fox tanker in the Captain Scarlet episodes Winged Assassin, Renegade Rocket and Dangerous Rendezvous.
The other tanker made return appearances at the Dover missile base in Thunderbird 6 and as a fire engine in the Captain Scarlet episode Seek and Destroy (see above) before also being repainted gold for appearances in the Joe 90 episode Trial at Sea and The Secret Service episode Recall to Service, where it is once again seen alongside the Yellow Fox tanker.
The Hood’s plane
The small plane stolen by the Hood in Martian Invasion returns in the Captain Scarlet episode Codename Europa, now as a radio controlled model plane operated by the Mysteron Professor Carney.
Pre-Thunderbirds this model had originally appeared as Bill Gibson’s plane in the first episode of Supercar.
The RTL2 transporter from The Cham-Cham reappeared twice in Captain Scarlet, albeit with minor modifications. It was a passenger jet in Place of Angels,
but was more prominently featured (after several modifications) in Flight to Atlantica as Blue and Ochre’s V-17 bomber.
Enemy fighter jets
Two of the three mysterious enemy fighter jets from The Cham-Cham were later observed through binoculars by Ben Shazar in the Joe 90 episode King for a Day.
Atom Sub Reaper
The Atom Sub Reaper submarine from Atlantic Inferno re-appeared as the submarine Colonel White hides out on in the Captain Scarlet episode White as Snow, and is also seen around Atlantica Base in Flight to Atlantica.
After some minor modifications this model also played the Swordfish submarine in the Joe 90 episode Splashdown.
Crablogger base control
The yellow Crablogger base control vehicle from Path of Destruction was heavily modified and repainted white to appear as an ambulance in the Captain Scarlet episodes Winged Assassin and Treble Cross, although the distinctive shape of the chassis gives away its original identity.
The revolutionary Skythrust jet from Alias Mr Hackenbacker can be seen parked at Slaton airbase in the Captain Scarlet episode Treble Cross – although it’s hard to spot since it has the same colour scheme as the building behind it!
The prison lorry that Light Fingered Fred stows away on in Vault of Death reappeared outside the SPV collection point seen in the Captain Scarlet episode Special Assignment – in fact the SPV is hidden directly underneath it!
United Nations rescue helijets
These U.N. rescue helijets from the Thunderbirds are Go feature film reappeared in the Captain Scarlet episode Place of Angels spraying biological de-contaminant over the site of Judy Chapman’s car crash.
Jet air transporter
A rather creepy one to end on; the miniature model of the jet air transporter pod vehicle Virgil Tracy used to rescue Alan and Grandma in the episode Move – And You’re Dead can be seen on a construction site in the Joe 90 episode Colonel McClaine, still sporting its original colours and International Rescue markings. Ghoulishly, the stumps of Virgil’s legs are still attached…
And that’s only the tip of a very large iceberg! There are many many more examples of re-used models out there, both Thunderbirds vehicles and ones from other shows. Did we miss any notable ones here, and what’s been your own personal favourite spot? Let us know in the comments below!