Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds Secret Base

My Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds Secret Base – Tracy Island Model Kit by IMAI Models

…Calling International Rescue!

This plastic model of Tracy Island is beautifully detailed. Also included are models of TB1, TB2, TB3, TB4, and TB5!

The whole model is loaded with motorized gimmicks! Little palm trees fold down as TB2 rises from its hanger. TB5 orbits above the island. TB4 can be stored inside the island. TB1, 2 and 3 are all spring-loaded and can be launched with the press of a button. Two gear boxes and a battery-pack/button box control all the action. Includes well illustrated instructions – all Japanese text.

Note: Though the parts are all molded in color, this kit should be painted for accuracy and a more realistic look.

*The provided moulded parts colors look like ‘icing on a cake’ …Yuk!

Please see my Island Model pictures below and notes on my hand detailing and paint finishing of this model in December, 2007:

Note: Click any pic to enlarge it.

As you can see I have completed the whole island. The moulded plastic mountains were pre-finished in a sepia brown with a bright green around the bottom of the mountains representing foliage. As I mentioned above, it was Yuk! So, I mixed some burnt umber with a little Payne’s grey and vigorously brushed the base color over all. When color was dry, I then brushed in some red dirt earth colors (sepia browns) and a touch of earth ochre color. I lightened this to a sandy ochre yellow as I neared the shores. I applied the darker earth colors to the recesses, or the crevices, of the mountain.The model has about a 3/8″ recessed lip of ocean area around, so I painted this in random, ripple effect of dark to aqua tropical sea blues with a coat of gloss clear acrylic over.

I painted the palm trunks and leaf branches next. The palms came in a bright green – very plastic looking. I took a bristle brush and stippled over both sides of the leaves with a medium leaf green. I added when dry, yellow greens and a touch of ochre yellow, using the dry brushing method. Also, before I started to paint the palms I cut some small leaf sections away to give them variety and reality. Rocks around the pool were detailed and I painted the landing runway in a warm sandy grey, and then lightly brushed some dirty oil spots and skid marks over it.

Before putting together the landing base buildings or gluing the palm trees etc. into place, I first turned the model base over,followed the Japanese picture instructions, and assembled all the mechanics, for launching of the Thunderbirds vehicles.


I put together all the building/housing components, landing pads, and pool area pieces. The model’s box illustration and some other pictures I viewed, had the buildings in some pretty bright colors. I decided to complete these post-modern buildings in 1960’s colors, but used colors that blended a little more with the landscape (It is a Secret Base). I spent some time highly detailing the buildings – windows, railings, chimneys etc. so they looked good. (Chimney …must get cold at night!) After placing the many pieces in place I added a little shrub landscaping here and there, using some hobby store artificial foliage. Radar towers and disks were added last.


This is a handy 11 inch turn table tray that I use for small parts. Show are some of the battery mechanical parts and the little Thunderbirds vehicles. They were assembled, primed and painted in the Thunderbird ship/vehicle colors. The jets in the pic are for another model.

Thunderbird Ships/Vehicles

A little Gerry Anderson history:

A highlight from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Gerry Anderson MBE, born 14 April 1929, is a British producer, director and writer, famous for his futuristic television programmes, particularly those involving specially modified marionettes, a process called “Supermarionation“.

His first television production was the 1957 Roberta Leigh children’s series The Adventures of Twizzle. His most famous and successful production in this genre came later: Thunderbirds, which was made in 1965. His production company, originally known as AP Films and later renamed Century 21 Productions, was in collaboration with partners Reg Hill, John Read and his then-wife Sylvia Anderson.

He has also written and produced several feature films, although these did not perform as well as expected at the box office. Following a successful move towards live action productions in the 1970s, his long and highly successful association with Lew Grade‘s ITC (Incorporated Television Company) ended with the second series of Space 1999. After a career lull when a number of new series concepts failed to get off the ground, his career began a new phase in the early 1980s when audience nostalgia for his earlier Supermarionation series (prompted by Saturday morning re-runs in the UK) led to new Anderson productions being commissioned. A number of new projects have resulted including a recent CGI remake of Captain Scarlet entitled Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet.

Various Thunderbirds Playsets:

Information from:

Article by Marc

Thunderbirds Playset. Comansi, Spain 1966. Boxed playset contains plastic models of TB1, TB2, TB3, TB4, and possibly TB5, standing painted figures of Scott, Virgil, Gordon, John, and Allan Tracy in International Rescue uniforms, two International Rescue characters in space suits, Jeff Tracy, Brains, Lady Penelope, Parker, The Hood, and a molded plastic “moonscape” play mat.

Note: Comansi has reissued elements from their Thunderbirds playset in later generic space theme playsets. For example, I have seen the top halves of TB1 and TB3 (chrome plated) and the molded plastic “moonscape” play mat included in a recent “Comansi Boys” space playset.

Thunderbirds Super Spy Set. Popy, Japan about 1969. Window boxed playset which contained small models of TB1 and TB2, a simple wheeled flatbed transporter, and painted figures of Scott and Virgil.

Note: Popy may have done one or more of the above sets. It is almost certain that they did one containing small models of TB3 and TB4 with painted figures of Allan and Gordon.

Tracy Island. Popy, Japan 1978. Small die-cast metal and plastic representation of Tracy Island on rolling wheels. Playset comes with small one-piece plastic models of TB1 – TB4 which can be spring launched from their respective launch sites. A small plastic model of TB5 is mounted on a wire above the island.

Thunderbirds Rescue Command Box. Popy #7311, Japan 1984. Window boxed set contains soft plastic one-piece models of TB1, TB2, TB3, TB4, TB5, and the Jet Mole, an International Rescue character figure, a key chain with TB picture, and a spring loaded pistol that shoots plastic disks.

Thunderbirds Big Base. Popy #73109, Japan 1984. Boxed set contains molded plastic representation of Tracy Island Base with four Thunderbird launch sites as seen on TV. Small plastic models of TB1, TB2, TB3, and TB4 can be spring launched from their respective launch platforms. A small plastic Jet Mole housed in a garage at the top of the island rolls down winding road when released. A small TB5 is mounted above island on long wire.

Tracy Island Electronic Playset. Matchbox/Tyco #TB710, UK 1992. Playset contains molded plastic representation of Tracy Island Base with four launch sites for TB1 – TB4 as seen on TV. Playset is capable of generating several electronic voice and sound effects. Intended as accessory for die-cast Thunderbirds toys.

Note: Bandai of Japan planned to release their own version of a Tracy Island Base playset as an accessory for their Scramble Machine Six set of die cast TB vehicles during 1993. This Bandai item would have been much more detailed than the Matchbox product and would have included good representations of the underground TB launch hangars. This item was canceled for unknown reasons.

Thunderbird 2 Playset. Matchbox/Tyco #TB220, UK 1993. Large representation of TB2 intended as accessory for range of action figures. Cockpit hatch lifts up to reveal seats for two action figures. Landing legs are retractable. Pod is removable and door opens. Pod holds TB4. Playset is capable of generating several electronic voice and sound effects.

Some newer Tracy Island playset toys:

Bandai’s Tracy Island playset is fast becoming one of the more sought after collectibles from the Thunderbirds movie! This set comes with all four pieces that lock together to form the secret launch base of International Rescue. Also included are Thunderbirds 1-4 and the Mole for maximum play value!
This is not the
U.S. version of Tracy Island that Bandai sent to American Toys R Us stores, this is the Japanese release.

Yujin has released a set of trading figures that assemble to make Tracy Island. Each figure includes one piece of Tracy Island and a Thunderbird vehicle (or two). Put them together to make the island, and the best part is that they even include visible launch bays for TB 1, TB2 and TB3! In addition, there’s a Thunderbird 5 figure that includes a miniature Tracy Island base, all the other Thunderbirds and the Thunderbirds logo! Vehicles measure 2-3 inches long each. 

International Rescue’s Secret Island Base Playset This Tracy Island playset was released to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the classic series and has plenty of features. It comes with hydraulic launch pads for TB1 & TB3 with take off and landing sound effects. Launch TB2 from its hangar, the ramp will elevate and the palm trees fall aside. The Tracy lounge has 6 light up pictures on the wall that each say 2 authentic phrases. Requires 3 x AA batteries (not included)

“This is very similar to the model I have just completed, but a newer version.”

I also came across this link while searching for various reference to help me with my Thunderbirds model and vehicle details: link will take you to a flickr site with an incredible selection of vintage photos of Jerry Anderson toys and models. These photos are for you, if you like 1960’s modernism, retro-space, posters, fashion and pop art. A very nice collection!

“I really enjoyed making this little Thunderbirds Playset Diorama; and there was a lot more background history and interesting tidbits to it than I originally thought.”

  1. Anonymous says:

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  2. i have some box of -EL ALUNIZAJE – of comansi….base lunar with figures and vehicles…have original cartoon box…some incomplet
    any have vehicles of spares to sold me ??