The Gerry Anderson universe is brimming with classic vehicles that everybody remembers and loves, but alongside these is a contingent of smaller single-occupant devices that could be used to reach areas these larger vehicles couldn’t; basically we’re thinking of any method of transportation primarily designed to be used by one person and which doesn’t feature wheels. Not quite a star vehicle but more than a simple machine, here are five of our favorite personal transportation devices from the Gerry Anderson universe!
#5 – Skyriders
The CGI Spectrum Captains frequently used these short-range flying bikes while on their missions – useful for high-speed aerial chases through cities! They’re also possibly the only vehicle in the entire Gerry Anderson universe that can rival Space:1999’s Eagle for crashes, since almost every appearance of a Skyrider ends with it smashing into a building, or into the sea, or into a volcano on Mars. It’s also worth mentioning that similar machines were evidently available to the officers on Space Precinct, since we see a hover bike parked in the cruiser hangar, but they never bothered to use it.
#4 – Seabugs
Stingray came equipped with several secondary transportation devices. The lesser-used of these were the Aquasprites, a pair of single-occupant bubble-like craft located on either side of her hull, but more use was made of the Seabugs. These were designed for use by swimmers to propel them quickly over long distances, and were even fast enough to escape the giant Gargan! Unfortunately there’s nothing much to keep the user attached to their Seabug besides a strong grip on the controls, so be sure to hold on tight!
#3 – Thruster pack/SPV power pack
It’s a tie here between Fireball XL5 and Captain Scarlet for the title of best jet pack! Although jet packs were occasionally seen in other Anderson series (Thunderbirds, Joe 90) nowhere were they used as often as in these two shows. The XL5 crew used their thruster packs while operating in the vacuum of space, although we were never clear if the frantic kicking of their legs was an integral element in making the pack work or not. Spectrum Pursuit Vehicles, meanwhile, each carried a jet pack that could be powered by removing the SPV’s power pack. The power pack could also be used in conjunction with various other portable devices the SPV carried such as a powerful drill, but we only ever got to see the jet pack in action!
#2 – Jetmobile/hoverbike
Another tie, this time between Fireball XL5 and Thunderbirds! Although the Stingray crew also had hovering one-seater monocopters they were rarely used and weren’t much more than a chair with a jet attached, but XL5 and Thunderbirds more than make up for that. XL5’s jetmobiles have a sleek retro look that certainly makes them more visually appealing than the bulkier Thunderbirds hoverbikes, but International Rescue’s bikes seem far more practical for rescue situations. It’s an impossible choice so they get the tie vote – we love them both!
#1 – Commander Shore’s hoverchair
The only single-person transport on this list that really was designed with one specific person in mind, Stingray’s Commander Shore received this specially-built hoverchair after the accident that crippled him. It appears to operate similarly to Stingray’s monocopters and is even able to travel over water, but we never really learn much more about what else it can do. If it has any hidden features or weaponry – and this being Commander Shore we’d be surprised if it didn’t have one or two tucked away somewhere – they shall forever remain a mystery. The hoverchair doesn’t earn the top spot for what it is, but rather for its role in one of Stingray’s more unsung accomplishments; the subtle yet skillful inclusion of a disabled character in a family show.
All of these devices have helped our puppet heroes on more than one occasion, but which one do you think would be the most fun to ride? Let us know in the comments below!