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Thunderbird2

Thunderbird 2, which carries rescue equipment via six interchangeable pods.

Thunderbird 2, from the television series Thunderbirds was designed to carry specialised rescue vehicles and equipment to disaster sites in one of six interchangeable pods. The pod vehicles were stored within Thunderbird 2's cavernous hangar (as seen in the episode "Cry Wolf") or kept on standby within the pods themselves. The only pod never used to contain equipment is Pod 2 (though it was used to transport a boy back home in "Security Hazard"), and the most common pods used are 3 and 5.[1]

Most of the vehicles were designed by Brains for specific rescue situations, though some vehicles were purchased by International Rescue and adapted or upgraded. Many companies have released various kits and models of the vehicles, though none have currently released a full set of vehicles.

Vehicles used

Thunderbird 4

The only pod vehicle to have a set pod assigned to it (pod 4), Thunderbird 4 is the most frequently seen of the pod vehicles. Thunderbird 4 requires a ramp to be extended from its pod into the sea or other body of water to allow launch, with the pod often being dropped from Thunderbird 2 into the danger zone and left there until the mission is complete. However, launch can be enabled directly from Tracy island ("Terror in New York City"). Through the series, there is no footage of the pod being retrieved.

Within its front section are a hydraulic ram, missile tube, laser cutter (built into starboard ram) and a multi headed grappling arm. A halogen light bar located on a movable arm in front provides additional lighting. Thunderbird 4 is the only pod vehicle to also have its sole designated pilot, Gordon Tracy.

The Mole

A high-speed, manned 30 ton tunnelling machine capable of boring through even the hardest rock to rescue individuals trapped underground. A serial number of "56156" can be seen on the top rear port side of the Mole. Due to an inbuilt thermal-imaging system in its drill bit, the Mole can be operated with acute precision to ensure that buried individuals are not endangered from rockfalls caused by drill movement despite the fact that the drill screw rotates in the wrong direction. The Mole is carried to rescue sites on its trolley, then tilts to commence drilling. Caterpillar tracks on both sides enable it to return to the surface.[2] The vehicle is often carried in Pod 5, and is notable for being one of the few pod vehicles to appear in multiple episodes; it also appears in the closing credit sequence with the five main Thunderbirds machines and FAB1. It appears in "Pit of Peril", "City of Fire" and "The Duchess Assignment", and is glimpsed in the pod vehicle bay in "Cry Wolf". It is generally regarded as one of the most popular machines of them all and barring Thunderbird 4, has had more replicas made than any other pod vehicle.[3]

Firefly

One of International Rescue's primary pod vehicles.[4] Firefly is a fire-proof vehicle used for demolition and fire fighting work, fitted with a large Cahelium Extract-X built blade and armed with a nitroglycerin cannon to fire shells to extinguish fires at their source. A rear gun can also be used to extinguish fires using foam or water. Firefly is often carried in Pod 3 or Pod 6. Appears in "City of Fire" and "Terror In New York City" and is glimpsed in the hangar in "Cry Wolf". Like The Mole, Firefly has been issued as a model by many toy manufacturers.

Elevator Cars

The Elevator Cars are built for use at airports to enable stricken aircraft to land safely by way of being manouvred beneath a plane to act as replacement landing gear.[4] The Elevator Cars are capable of matching the speed of most incoming aircraft, with each car having twelve wheels and heavy braking systems. Initially four were built; one master elevator car (with a number one label) and three remote controlled cars (numbered 2-4). However number 3 car was destroyed when it lost control and crashed during the rescue of Fireflash. The Elevator cars were seen in the first episode of Thunderbirds, Trapped in the Sky with their rescue of Fireflash becoming probably the most iconic in the show's history. As such, many models of the cars - though often just the Master Elevator Car - have been issued, though the Konami pod vehicle range included car number 2. The Konami Fireflash model also containing three miniature in scale Elevator Cars (numbered 1,2 and 4 as per "Trapped In The Sky"). Carried in Pod 3.

Recovery Vehicles

The Recovery Vehicles comprise of one manned (#1) and one remote-controlled (#2) vehicles equipped with magnetic grappling lines to haul large weights such as aircraft or trains out of lakes, rivers or pits. They are seen emerging from Pod 5 in the episode "Pit Of Peril" when they are used to haul the Sidewinder army vehicle out of a fiery pit. Although only seen once, most model manufacturers have issued models of them. Like the Elevator Cars, it is often just the master vehicle, though the Konami series did also produce a miniature of the remote controlled car.

DOMO

The DOMO (Demolition and Object Moving Operator) is a restraint vehicle with three suction arms that, by using artificial-gravity fields[5] can restrain or lift unstable structures (up to 50 ton in weight) or clear the disaster zone of heavy objects prior to the use of other pod vehicles. Appears in "The Duchess Assignment". Konami produced two models of the Domo (one in a diaroma set from "The Duchess Assignment") and Bandai also produced a die cast model.

Excavator

The Excavator is a high-powered rock-crushing machine used to clear rough terrain or unblock caves with people trapped inside, often being used for areas affected by landlsides. Similar in design to the DOMO.[6] The Excavator appears in the episode "Martian Invasion" and a diaroma of its use in the episode was re-created by Konami in addition to a standard pod vehicle miniature. Bandai and Takara also issued models of the vehicle.

Monobrake

A low-slung search and recovery utility vehicle capable of either travelling along monorail tunnels or, by using its front mounted telescopic arm, can be attached to an overhead monorail line for greater speed. Due to its low height, the Monobrake can remain in a monorail tunnel and have a train pass over it without incident. The vehicle has seating for two people. The Monobrake appeared in use in the episode "The Perils of Penelope", is glimpsed in the vehicle hangar in "Cry Wolf" and can be seen in Pod 1 in "Security Hazard". Both Konami and Bandai produced models of the vehicle.

Mobile Crane

A six-wheeled 'cherry picker' vehicle used primarily to lift rescue personnel up to 100 feet into tall structures, transmitter masts, trees and even moving structures.[7] The three seat vehicle features in the episode "Path Of Destruction". Thus far, only Bandai have produced a model of it.

Transmitter Truck

The Transmitter Truck is adapted from a heavy-duty commercial vehicle and uses a Jodrell Six multi-use dish that can transmit tractor beams and safety beams in addition to communications and computer data to inaccessible locations. Its traction and high-performance engine allow it to be used in virtually all terrains, as seen in the episode "Sun Probe" when it is used to project a safety beam to the stricken Thunderbird 3. Many models have been made of the truck, though some of them named the truck either 'Jodrell 6' or 'IR3' due to the nameplate above the cabin. The Transmitter Truck can also be glimpsed in the episode "Cry Wolf" in the pod vehicle hangar.

Fire Truck

The Fire Truck is adapted from the same vehicle as the Transmitter Truck. It can fire nitro-glycerine shells to extinguish blazes as well as pumping water and foam onto blazes. Like the Transmitter Truck, the lettering 'IR3' is on a nameplate above the cabin. The Fire Truck appears in the opening sequence of "Security Hazard". Bandai is currently the only company to have manufactured a model of the vehicle.

Laser Cutter Vehicle

The Laser Cutter is a small tracked vehicle with a powerful front-mounted laser that can gain precise and rapid entry to secure buildings such as vaults and bunkers. The laser gun has a number of settings from single beams to pulsed energy bursts[7] as well as an onboard timer and a high powered fan to blow away cuttings. The vehicle is seen in action in the episode "30 Minutes After Noon" but can be seen in the Pod in "Sun Probe". Numerous models of the vehicle exist including Konami and Bandai models.

Thunderiser

The Thunderiser is a small tracked vehicle, similar in deign to the Laser Cutter Vehicle, with a front mounted cannon which can through computer controlled precision, fire steel-cylinder rescue packs to assist people trapped in tall buildings via upper floor windows. The cylinders contain a variety of equipment such as oxygen tanks, anti-gravity jet packs and hand-held fire fighting tools. If need be, explosive projectiles can be fired. The Thunderiser appears in the episode "Edge Of Impact" and can also be glimpsed in the pod vehicle bay in "Cry Wolf". Takara, Konami and Badai have all issued models of the vehicle.

Neutraliser Tractor

The Neutraliser Tractor is a small tracked mobile device used to disable the radio control systems and electronics of explosive devices through the use of sonic waves. It can also be used to disrupt computer systems by overriding the incoming data signals transmitted by the carrier. The Neutraliser Tractor is seen in action in "Move And You're Dead" and can be seen in the pod in "Sun Probe". No manufacturer has yet issued a model of the vehicle.

Jet Air Transporter

The Jet Air Transporter is an air-cushioned vehicle which uses a combination of high-powered vertical turbo fans and anti-gravity technology to allow people jumping from buildings or structures to be caught safely and gently lowered to the ground. A catchment area of 20 feet around the vehicle allows a safety margin for jumpers. The Jet Air Transporter features in the episode "Move And You're Dead". The only model to have been made of this pod vehicle is a miniature model issued by Konami in the pod vehicle range. </br> </br>

Unused vehicles

International Rescue has a number of other pod vehicles that were seen in the Thunderbirds series, but not seen in active rescue missions.

Fire Tender

The Fire Tender is another adapted commercial vehicle which serves as a backup to both the Firefly and the Fire Truck. It was bought by International Rescue from a manufacturer of fire-fighting equipment and upgraded.[4] Like the Firefly, it can fire nitroglycerin. The Fire Tender is only seen in the Tracy Island tour of the pod vehicle bay in "Cry Wolf" and is not seen in action. The original commercial vehicle is seen fighting the blaze in the episode "City Of Fire". No models have been produced of this vehicle.

Yellow Trailer Truck

The Yellow Trailer truck is seen in the pod vehicle hangar in the Tracy Island tour in "Cry Wolf". It is adapted from a commercial vehicle and as it is not a flatbed truck, is presumably used to transport cylindrical heavy objects to and from disaster zones. The original design on which the vehicle is based can be seen in the episode "Day Of Disaster" transporting the rear of the Martian Space Probe to its destination. As seen in the episode, the vehicle appears to be buoyant in water and thus can presumably be used to transport over land and sea. No models have been made of this vehicle.

Red and Black Truck

The Red and Black Truck is a HGV style front truck section vehicle with single front wheels and double back wheels. It can be seen in the pod vehicle bay in the episode "Cry Wolf". Its use is, presumably, to transport or tow materials around danger zones - or within the pod vehicle bay - possibly in conjunction with the Yellow Trailer Truck. Despite it only being glimpsed once on screen, Konami issued a miniature model of the vehicle in its Pod Vehicles collection.[8]

Red Curved Vehicle

The Red Curved Vehicle is a low to the ground tractorless large front windowed vehicle seen in Pod 1 in the episode "Security Hazard". The interior of the vehicle is similar to the monorail car used within Tracy Island. As the vehicle is seen alongside the Monobrake, a vehicle used for monorail rescue, it is highly likely this vehicle is for monorail rescue too. Whereas the Monobrake can only be used on suspended monorail systems or to travel underneath monorail lines, it appears this vehicle can be used on straddle-beam monorail systems and (from the look of the top structure) suspended monorails. No models have been made of this vehicle. </br> </br>

Pod Devices

Diacetyline Cage

The Diacetyline Cage is a piece of equipment that can be mounted in elevator shafts, allowing a small red cage to be lowered or raised to rescue people trapped in elevator shafts. The cage is fireproof and is capable of spraying diacetylene out of side and base panels in case of the shaft being on fire. Attached to the bottom of the cage is a grab which can be used to haul broken lift compartments back up. The Diacetyline Cage is seen in action in the episode "30 Minutes After Noon" but it is not shown how the cage is transported to a lift shaft or how it is suspended. No models have been issued of this vehicle.

Sealant Device

The Sealant Device is an underwater machine capable of sealing cracks in the sea bed or underwater air pockets. The device is initially buoyant but can be submerged and towed underwater by Thunderbird 4 to a disaster zone. Four steel pins are then activated which cement themselves into the ground whilst the central section acts as the sealant. The Sealant Device is seen in the episode "Atlantic Inferno". No models have been produced of this device.

Electromagnetic Grabs

The Electromagnetic grabs are housed in all six pods of Thunderbird 2 and are hydraulically lowered from a hatch in the base of the pod. They are used to grab and lift heavy vehicles out of disaster areas and, as seen in "Brink Of Disaster" are strong enough to tear an individual carriage from a monorail out of the whole train. They are also seen in "End Of The Road". No model manufacturer has yet made a Thunderbird 2 model which incorporates these grabs.

Other Thunderbird 2 Equipment

Thunderbird 2 is used to transport other smaller items of equipment to danger zones such as the mobile computer and Braman in "Sun Probe" and the hoverbikes used in numerous episodes. Pod 5 is seen to have an onboard lab in "Pit Of Peril". Thunderbird 2 also has a front missile launcher on its top (seen in "Alias Mr Hackenbacker" and another version in Thunderbird 6) and base and tranquiliser guns (though the location of them within the craft is unknown "Attack Of The Alligators"). There is also a magnetic winch used to move people from TB 2 to another airborne vehicle seen in Thunderbirds Are Go.

Though not pod vehicles as such, Alan's racing car ("Move And You're Dead") and Brains and TinTin's truck and caravans ("Desperate Intruder") are seen exiting Thunderbird 2s pod. Thunderbird 2 also has at least two large tents in its storage compartment ("The Uninvited").

Thunderbird 2 also has a selection of other electromagnetic grabs in its front section including:

  • A Hauser cable rocket launcher consisting of two electromagnetic grabs used to slow down fast moving objects as seen in "The Cham Cham"
  • A three pronged electromagnetic grab used to move small stationary objects as seen in "Day Of Disaster"
  • A grappler device used to clear debris from a disaster area as seen in "Day Of Disaster"
  • A small circular electromagnetic grab used to move awkwardly shaped objects such as satellite dishes as seen in "Lord Parker's 'Oliday"
  • Small rocket-clamp wire gun and machine guns seen only in Thunderbird 6.

Next to the grabs is a four person heatproof rescue cage[9] as used in the episode "Lord Parker's 'Oliday" and "Operation Crash-Dive". The Takara 1/144 Thunderbird 2 model is the only model to feature all these grabs apart from those from Thunderbird 6.[10]

References

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