50 years of Tracy Island

Anthea Turner pictured with her original Blue Peter Tracy Island model and the new Tracy Island from Vivid for the 50th Anniversary of the showAnthea Turner joined Vivid Toy Group to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Thunderbirds this week by unveiling the original Blue Peter Tracy Island model alongside the new Interactive Tracy Island.

50th anniversary ThunderbirdsThe beloved 1993 home-made creation led to Blue Peter being inundated with requests for an instruction leaflet, which is still available online.

The most popular “how-to” guide in Blue Peter history, Anthea Turner’s demonstration of building a replica Thunderbirds base using papier-mache and toilet paper tubes resulted in over 100,000 factsheet requests. Rumoured to having been offered £100,000 for the model, she claims she would never part with it and now keeps it in her loft!

This year represents the 3rd time Vivid Toy Group have launched Tracy Island as part of their Thundebirds toy range.

Anthea said: “It’s amazing that 50 years on Thunderbirds still has the power to engage with children and adults alike, it’s rich history remastered to a 21st century audience has only strengthened its appeal and place as an iconic British brand.”

Corgi releases new toy range to celebrate Thunderbirds’ 50th birthday

50th anniversary ThunderbirdsToday marks the 50th Anniversary of Thunderbirds and here at Fanderson we have an exclusive for you!

Die-cast model makers Corgi are producing a brand new set of fantastic Thunderbirds toys to mark this special occasion (see below!), and to make things even better we’re offering you the chance to win £50 to spend at Corgi.co.uk. Simply tell us….

Which Thunderbirds character is closest to the age of 50 in the series?

Is it:

A) Lady Penelope?
B) Brains?
C) Parker?

Please email your answer along with your full name to query@fanderson.org.uk, using ‘Corgi Thunderbirds competition’ in the subject line. The closing date is noon on Wednesday 7th October.

New Thunderbirds toys from Corgi

Corgi is proud to present a new range of Thunderbirds models based on the original classic series, for both long-standing enthusiasts and a new generation of fans.

You can check out the toys below and find out more on Corgi’s website

Thunderbird 1 – standing just over 9.5cm, the model also features operational swing wings for added authenticity and play value. Along with Thunderbird 3, TB 1 features all new tooling for 2015.

Thunderbird 2 – measures over 15 cm in length with a wing span of over 10.8cm. Thunderbird 4 fits neatly inside a pod concealed within the spring loaded undercarriage.

Thunderbird 3

FAB 1 – comes complete with Lady Penelope and Parker figures, front-firing missile and rear facing rockets.

Vivid unveils stunning Thunderbirds Are Go! toy range

Fanderson visited Britain’s largest toy trade show today to take a look at Vivid’s exciting new toy range to tie in with Thunderbirds Are Go!

In a sign of the huge interest and secrecy that continues to surround the series, Vivid’s Thunderbirds line was only on display in a separate sealed off room within the company’s main stand.


The star product was undoubtedly the Interactive Tracy Island Playset. The set boasts ‘smart technology’ that enables it to ‘know’ which craft is launching, and play appropriate sound and light effects. But one of the most impressive features of the product is the semi-automated launch sequences. This was demonstrated with Thunderbird 3, and it was fascinating to see the craft being moved up through the roundhouse under its own steam. The set also comes with a wrist controller that activates ‘mission sounds’ from John up in the space station.


Apart from the roundhouse, all the iconic elements have been preserved and updated – there are still collapsible palm trees and Thunderbird 1 still rises out of the swimming pool. In fact, the launch sequences for Thunderbirds 1 and 2 were being shown in the same room on a large 4K(ish?) screen. The combination of CGI and live action model sets was fascinating to watch and had an exciting, slightly surreal video game quality to it. It’s hard to see the series, and the toys, failing to appeal to children this Christmas. The Tracy Island retails at £79.99.

The Thunderbird craft toys that fit with the Tracy Island all come with realistic thruster sound effects and extendable features. Thunderbird 1 has retractable wings and a rotatable thruster to ensure a safe landing. Thunderbird 3  comes with extending legs used for attaching to things when drilling, which are released by a trigger under the craft. There are also realistic engine sounds when the middle shaft is rotated. As you would expect, Thunderbird 2 comes with a mini-Thunderbird 4, and features a  drop-down landing pod, retractable landing gear and TB2 engine sounds. Thunderbird 2 will retail at £14.99, while TBs 1 and 3 will retail at £9.99. There will be a  ‘value’ Vehicle Super Set containing all four craft (TB1, TB2, TB3 and TB4) (RRP £29.99).


Perhaps the most exciting toy for older fans was the larger-scale TB2 Playset which included  folding wings, drop-down entry doors, retractable landing gear (controlled by the wings) and realistic engine sounds. Apparently it also contains an intelligent IC trigger which knows when TB4 is or isn’t in the drop down central pod. As you can see, the TB2 cockpit  accommodates 2 x 1.5” action figures. The Thunderbird 4 craft included in the set also comes with a separate escape pod and opening rear air lock and lower pod door. This one is sure to be top of some people’s lists! (RRP £39.99)


The Tracy brothers action figures were also on show. Measuring 3.75” inches in height, they feature nine points of articulation,and come with their own character accessories and removable helmets. There will also be a Hood action figure…but that was being kept under wraps now. The 6 action figures will retail at £7.99.

Finally, a very fetching blue Thunderbirds uniform will launch later in the year. The unform featured themed graphics and raised sculpting, and is expected to cost £19.99



Clearly the Thunderbirds ‘franchise’ continues to be in the very best of hands at Vivid. The company’s long and faithful association with the series was highlighted by the presence of their original Tracy Island toy at the show. The new Tracy Island is bigger, bolder  and bristles with lights, sound effects and mechanical features.

We expect many 50 year old fans to be buying these ‘for their children’ next Christmas.