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Headscratchers / Thunderbirds

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  • What are the blue and yellow tubes on the IR uniform holsters for? Extra ammo for the sidearm? Radio? Breath mints? The only occasion I can think of when it could have been explained is in “The Uninvited”, when Scott goes into the pyramid, he has a handheld radio, perhaps a collapsible one from the holster, even though he still appeared to have both tubes after the radio was destroyed?
    • Yeah I always thought one was the radio to but it turned out they’re spare barrels for the guns that shoot different ammo. The idea was that instead of switching clips you put a different barrel on the gun. The blue barrel was stun gas and the yellow was ‘needle dart’. One of the tie in novels definitely confirmed it and I think so did certain action figures.
  • So in it’s hanger, we often see Thunderbird 2 selecting one of the six pods by having them slide from left to right underneath itself. However, whenever we see TB 2 release the pod at the danger zone, it’s raising legs are at the sides of the pod, meaning there wouldn’t be enough room between the front and rear legs for the pods to slide sideways between in the hanger.
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  • Thunderbird 5 has “International Rescue” written in giant letters over the main control room window. But why is written so as to be readable only from the inside? So John doesn’t forget who he works for? Surely it wouldn’t matter to have it readable from outside, or there wouldn’t be signage outside saying “Thunderbird 5” to begin with.
  • The Automatic Camera Dectector seems to cause more problems than it solves. Why is it an issue if people take pictures of the outside of the Thunderbirds? It's not like there's a big sign on the back of TB1 going "Look! Secret technology here =>". Further, if people had been able to take pictures of the Thunderbirds, the entire problem highlighted in "The Impostors" never would have come up - it's clearly not a Thunderbird the bank robbers are flying around in. FURTHER! In "The Uninvited", the two Saharan explorers drive by a crashed TB1. One of them goes, "Look, the markings! It's a Thunderbird!" How did he know what the Thunderbird looked like since there are no photographs, ever. Grr.
    • In regards to that last bit, they do all have 'Thunderbird [Number]' or just TBx written on them, like they said, they saw the markings on it, and that's presumably what they meant (and from the angle it was lying at they probably only saw the TB1 markings and correctly concluded that it meant Thunderbird 1).
      • Presumably there have been descriptions in news articles of the day (hence how they'd know what to look for) and people can recognise technology (or the general idea) from photographs.
      • Artist's impressions perhaps?
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    • I always figured it was to prevent video cameras from filming the direction in which the Thunderbird aircrafts were flying in which would give them a rough idea of where their base is.
  • A classic Artistic License – Physics moment in both the series and Thunderbirds Are Go is the sonic boom at Mach 1 — and only at Mach 1. Fireflash or Zero X is accelerating to supersonic speed and the captain announces, "Mach 1", at which point there's a dull boom — which can be heard in the cockpit — and then nothing. No more boom as the air/spacecraft goes on up to Mach 6 or escape velocity. Okay, you can argue that the thing is way, way up in the air by that time, but that bang at Mach 1 is annoying.
    • This is more a case of The Coconut Effect. Most people don't know how sonic booms work, they assume it's something that you hear in the plane as you cross the sound barrier. When actually, you don't hear or feel anything in the plane, and the sonic boom is actually a shock wave trailed behind the plane once it does go faster than mach 1.
  • Can anyone explain how Thunderbirds 1 & 2 and Fireflash are supposed to move? They are explicitly stated to be atomic powered. Thing is, nuclear reactors aren't much good for propulsion unless said propulsion is an electric motor (see: submarines and ships). How the heck does a nuclear reactor power what are clearly rockets? More to the point, if your nuclear reactor is behaving like a rocket then something is very very badly wrong indeed.
    • It can be done. But not, perhaps, something you really want on a vehicle that's meant to rescue people at its destination. Kill them, sure...
    • Less harmful plans were made in the 60s but they were nothing like as fast as the Thunderbirds, and the projects never really got off the ground, due to the potential radiation - not unlike Fireflash in the pilot, oddly enough.
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    • It's supposed to operate under a dual power system. Atomic reactor drives the turbines to make it move in the air, while the rockets are there to get it to a safe operating altitude. That's why the rockets aren't constantly firing. One of my cutaway books shows fuel tanks.
  • And Another Thing..., paraphrased from somewhere else but I can't remember where I put it: Fireflash can travel at Mach 6, approximately 4,500mph. It is a super-aerodynamic plane. Thunderbird 2 can travel at at least 5,000mph. It is a freaking brick.
  • A practical issue. I have no idea whether to file this show under "Western Animation" or "Live Action TV". It seems a bit of a hassle to add the "Puppet Show" tab every time.
    • I personally consider it live-action, since it's filmed in real-time with puppets rather than being animated in stop-motion.
  • While I thought that "Danger at Ocean Deep" was a great episode, there was one. Huge. Plot. Hole that annoyed me, how is that Jeff couldn't communicate with his sons and yet he could communicate with Penny?
    • By that time Thunderbird 5 had moved away from the interference? Or she was using public communication channels. A bigger issue is why nobody noticed the OD 60 in the Med before if it interferes with every satellite that passes overhead. And creates a perpetual cloud of mist.
  • How does the Hood know about International Rescue before the Fireflash incident, their first ever rescue? And if he found out about it through his mental link with Kyrano, how does he not know about Tracy Island?
    • It's possible that Kyrano has built up resistance to the Hood's mental link, able to keep the really important secrets away from him.
  • Whenever Thunderbird 2 takes off from Tracy Island, it does so at an angle with the large rockets on the back of it. But whenever it lands and takes off from a rescue site it uses the vertical jets. So why doesn't it use the vertical jets to take off from Tracy Island (aside from Rule of Cool)?
    • If it was conventionally fuelled I'd chalk it up to a weight issue, for the same reason that Harrier Jump Jets in the Royal Navy never took off from carriers vertically. But since it's not, then it is a very good question why.
      • Possibly because those vertical jets would tear up a runway if used over and over in the same spot. Also possibly a speed thing, surely the large rockets would get them up to altitude a lot quicker than the puny little jets.
      • This. Thunderbird 1 leaving home is on a very tight schedule with lives on the line; Thunderbird 1 returning home is on a casual schedule for lunch.
  • Just how the hell has nobody ever happened to be a few miles off Tracy Island in a ship or aircraft when one of the Thunderbirds is taking off? TB 3 in particular would be pretty difficult to miss, and it can't be all that far off the beaten track because Alan and Tin-Tin have been known to take a light aircraft to the mainland for a Christmas shopping jaunt.
  • I love Thunderbirds but my goodness do they have some headscratchery moments:
    • Firstly, City of Fire. The building is described as half a mile wide and two miles deep. That makes it four times as tall as it is (very) wide, but the model we see is a typical thin skyscraper.
    • Secondly, also City of Fire: Brains explains that the reason Scott and Virgil didn't pass out from using the new cutting torch gas is that "the heat in the tunnels caused the gas to evaporate". Caused the GAS to EVAPORATE. They were lucky the heat in the tunnels didn't cause the (cutting torch fuel, remember?) gas to, well, explode.
    • Thirdly, 30 Minutes After Noon. IR descends to help someone at the bottom of a lift shaft after the top of the building blew up and caught fire (long story). The rescue-cage-lift-thing apparently has "diacetylene sprinklers" to protect from the fire. Diacetylene? Highly Flammable diacetylene? Remind me why we let these guys save people again?
  • Back to the subject of photography: How exactly are photos of the Thunderbird vehicles useful to the Hood? Wouldn't he get more mileage out of schematics or blueprints instead of photographs?
    • Most likely schematics or blueprints would be utterly impossible to get, because Jeff would have them either safe or destroyed. At least with photographs, there's a chance of getting away with it. And the kind of people he seems to want to sell to, like "General X", probably have experts who could at least make educated guesses from photographic evidence.
  • For all the emphasis placed on secrecy, why don't International Rescue's uniforms include masks and why do International Rescue personnel operate in the open (often openly collaborating with the legitimate authorities face-to-face)? The team members are all the sons of one of the wealthiest men on the planet, and seem to live glamorous lives of international travel and leisure when not heroing, it's not inconceivable that they'd be at least vaguely famous and recognizable.
    • Hell, it seems like one of the first things they do wherever they go is introduce themselves — we regularly see other people address them as "Mr. Tracy". You'd think someone would put two and two together at some point!
  • So why wasn't FAB 1 a Ford Thunderbird from the very beginning?
    • According to Word of God, the reason why the FAB-1 was a Rolls Royce and not a Ford Thunderbird was because it's obviously a British show, and the classiest British car at the time that everyone drooled over was a Rolls Royce. The only reason why the live-action movie didn't use a Rolls Royce was because BMW (The current owners of Rolls Royce) wouldn't give permission, so Ford jumped in with their "retro" model.
    • International Rescue is a worldwide organization with many agents. First of all I highly doubt the Thunderbirds fleet is the only team in I.R. probably the elite team, as it could be speculated that there are other teams with their own fleet of vehicles. The agents may follow the same rule. If people keep seeing 'Thunderbird' on each I.R. Vehicle or anything too similar, they may connect the dots.
    • International Rescue has many agents? I haven't seen the reboot so maybe it does there, but the original series is Penelope, Parker and maybe Tin Tin on occasion. Other than that it is a small family run operation.
      • In "The Imposters", we learn Jeff has an international network of agents.
  • It takes thousands of people to get a single NASA launch up there. Recoverable tech like the Space Shuttles needs a lot of looking after. Who does the maintenence at Tracey Island? Where are all the ground crews? who keeps all the machinery and moving parts in working order? surely it can't be Brains working as a one-man operation?
    • In "Martian Invasion", we see Tintin doing a routine check of Thunderbird 1. It's likely that as a family, they all do a lot of routine maintenance, probably timetabled, and probably each of the Tracy boys responsible for his own craft; a lot of this would be too boring to show on TV. Admittedly, they are a relatively small crew to be doing this, but perhaps Jeff doesn't want too many people involved, in the interest of secrecy.
  • Given that Scott and his brothers are the sons of an ex-astronaut turned multi-billionaire industrialist, why does no one recognise them when they go on rescue missions?
  • Why do the various Thunderbirds have large signs in their launch bays saying "Thunderbird [X] Launch Bay" or similar? For whose benefit are they there? It's a top-secret organisation and all the people on Tracy Island know exactly what each launch bay is.
  • In The Uninvited, why do Tintin, Scott, Virgil (and presumably Brains, although not seen) camp in the desert, after rescuing Scott after he was shot down? Presumably it's to allow Scott to rest before flying Thunderbird 1 home, but why in the desert, in tents? Would they not be vulnerable to another attack by the Zombites, considering Jeff did not want Tintin to go at all? We can see that the tents are dwarfed by Thunderbird 2; would it not be safer for them to sleep inside Thunderbird 2? There is more than enough room inside.

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