DINKY THUNDERBIRD 2 (1967 -1973):
Dinky 101 and 106 Thunderbird 2 models were amongst the most popular Dinky models made. Licensed from Century 21, Gerry Anderson’s TV company who produced the extremely popular supermarionation TV series Thunderbirds, they were produced between 1967 and 1980 and were an accurate depiction, apart from the 106 colour scheme, of the TV vehicle with great play value.
Thunderbird 4 was also provided and sat in the detachable pod.
The 101 version lasted 6 years and was green, the colour of the model in the TV series but it had a key design flaw with its easily breakable legs. The 106 version was larger and had a more sturdy under carriage but was released in primarily metallic blue.
DINKY 101 THUNDERBIRD 2:
The first # 101 models were produced in a reasonably accurate gloss green colour, though this changed to metallic sea green later.
The legs on the very first models were easily broken and because the body was riveted, repairs were very difficult. Within 6 months the rivets were replaced with screws. The legs issue was addressed with the new 106 casting which were thicker and sturdier.
The key feature of the model was a pod that detached from the main body and contained a miniature Thunderbird 4 a mini submarine. The main body’s legs could also drop down and be retracted.
The pod door of the gloss green version was green plastic.
In the TV series, International Rescue’s Thunderbird 2 was used as a transporter, carrying fantastic and slightly improbable machines to help rescue and save the trapped, the foolish and the occasionally incompetent. Dinky provided Thunderbird 4, a mini submarine in its pod.
Century 21 Tech Talk: Thunderbird 2
The very latest incarnation of Thunderbird 2 was built for the 2016 DVD episodes of Thunderbirds 65.
TV PROP v DINKY MODELS:
The Thunderbird models were accurate replicas although there were a significant number of different props, around 20, produced during the series as models got damaged of additional vehicles were needed to allow parallel filming.
Note though when looking at the image below that the green 101 version is a smaller model than the blue 106 model which has been scaled to provide a comparison with one of the TV series props.
There were a significant number of different props, around 20, produced during the series as models got damaged of additional vehicles were needed to allow parallel filming.
The second variant of the 101 was released in metallic green paint finish. The legs were a more orangey yellow that the green version.
The early version of the metallic green variant had green pod doors which were then changed to black.
Also later on, the text on the pod bottom omitted the ‘made under licence for CENTURY 21 TOYS LTD’
The first box for the 101 Thunderbird was a beautifully illustrated all cardboard construct with an illustrated inner tray worthy of a Turner Prize..
There was a plain white inner packing piece provided to stop the model moving during transit.
There were two versions of this box, the first was labelled as ‘Straight from Thunderbirds’ and a later version with Straight from Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds. The text was also changed on the black side panel.
On the second version additional text was also added to the front image, ‘Colour of model may differ from illustration’
Also included in the box was French explanation of the Thunderbirds TV series including a promotion for the 100 L FAB1, the ‘L’ being a French catalogue number designation and also operating instructions for Thunderbird 2 numbered as 101 L.
The second box type was the bubble box, and this had a blue base or the rarer white one. The font size came in two versions for each box type.
ODDITIES AND RARITIES:
A matt green version was sold at auction in Aug 2019. According to the seller the variant was purchased in New York in 1967, you can see the FAO Schwartz price sticker on the box.
This is paint finish variation of the first issue 101 which had rivets on the base and was only available for about a year so it makes this colour variant very unusual.
The matt green version on the left compared to the normal gloss green on the right
Thunderbird 2 made the Dinky consumer catalogue from its introduction to the range in 1967 until 1974 when it was superseded by the 106 version. Curiously T2 never made the front cover of any catalogue.
16 thoughts on “101: Thunderbird 2”
First of all, congratulations with your website.
I have a rather unusual question :
I’m busy to write a blog article for QDT about Aston Martin DB’s (like I wrote in the past about the Vollvo P1800.)
QDT says on their website that the reverse side of the 1967 trade fair leaflet with Lady Penelope’s FAB and Thunderbird 2 & 4 shows an Aston Martin DB6. But QDT doesn’t have a picture of this reverse side. Can you help me ?
Thanks in advance and kind regards,
Thank you! I only have an image of the front of this leaflet sorry! I’ve had a look at my sources and the only leaflet I can find that may be the same or similar is on the DCTA website on this thread: http://dtcawebsite.com/node/7117.
Hi Luc, I can validate that the Dinky 153 DB6 in blue is on the back of the 1967 trade flyer as I have one. When scanner is back on line I will be happy to send you a copy as I recently found this item in Australia in very good condition. I have some photo’s available for your for reference if need.
Re: Thunderbird 2 # 106 color change to blue; I don’t know if I buy the into the explanation given to Gerry Anderson that ” children didn’t like green toys”. If that was the case, then why paint the UFO Interceptor and Eagle Transporter toys green? The rationale given at that point was that children found white colored toys boring. I think the truth lies closer to a theory given in an article about Gerry Anderson Dinky Toys I read in SCI-FI And Fantasy Modeling magazine some years ago. It said that in order to cut down on costs, Dinky would use whatever color paints they had the most of at the time. I think that could also be why the Eagle Freighter turned blue at around the same time that the Klingon Battle Cruiser was released. With those two and Thunderbird 2 being the same color, they could buy the one color in bulk.
The quote came from Gerry Anderson’s official autobiography so I think its probably correct. Also by the time the 106 blue version came out in 1974, Thunderbirds had long gone from the TV screens, apart from occasional repeats, and I suspect children were unfamiliar with the toy’s history so the colour was probably not that important. I agree that Dinky probably did use up old paint stock when they could and certainly towards to last years of operation so your suggestion above is also possible.
Fantastic resource and so much info. Question on the TB2; I have a TB2 in green but the pod falls out and wont stay in place. How is the pod held in? Another question while I have your attention :-). I want to repaint it as it has been very loved, do you know if anyone has found a colour that comes close?
Hi Mark, Thanks for the kind comment. The 101 T2 pods are fixed by friction, i.e. they are a tight fit and hence why most have paint damage because the surfaces rub against each other. Not sure why yours is loose unless there is a dent or structural issue. Re your paint question Model Supplies do a Shamrock Green #61 which matches the green 101 Thunderbird 2. http://www.model-supplies.co.uk/computer_matched_paints.htm and the Dinky Club also have a selection https://dinkyclub.com/dinky-toys-computer-matched-brush-paint-50ml-paints-453-c.asp. It’s also worth going to sites like Talk Model Toys for help and advice.
Thanks KO, I do surf the internet quite a bit and did find the reference to shamrock green so thanks. I also solved the issue I was have (i think anyway), the model doent have a door on the pod and a restore vid I looked at last night indicated that the studs on the door hold it in position. So thanks heaps. Thanks for the pointers to the paints on the dinkyclub web site. I had found the steve flowers site but I was chasing a rattle can solution as my air brush is very ill. Looks like Park Green Tamiya is very close though, just have to find a local supplier.
I eventually opted for brooklands green for my restoration as I would not accept Dinkys laziness in shifting its metallic blue paint stock on my 101 .I revealed some slightly sloppy red paint from the original manufacturing process at Dinky, only minor but got passed quality inspection., but reassembling the spring loaded legs needed two pairs of hands!. Enjoyable restoration.
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What an awesome website. I must admit though that I am now confused as to which Thunderbird 2 I have bought from Ebay which needs a repaint job doing, however, it is blue in colour but has yellow legs. On the underside of the pod, it states ‘MADE IN ENGLAND’ ‘THUNDERBIRD 2’ and ‘Dinky TOYS’ and that’s it. So which one do I have and why is it in blue and not the Shamrock Green?
The re-released Thunderbird 2 now numbered 106 was produced in blue and was slightly larger than the original green version 101, hopefully you can find the section on the former version on the site which explains why it was blue. Cheers Kevin
Great resource, thanks for all the research – after many years of collecting all of the Dinky Gerry Anderson toys, I’ve finally bought the one I was missing, a Thunderbird 2 in green. It needs some restoring, all pretty straight forward, but it’s missing the springs – any guidance on the specification and where to buy them would be very helpful, thanks
Hi Harvey, Thank you for your kind comments. There are two well known Dinky parts suppliers that I have used Steve Flowers: http://model-supplies.co.uk/ and Acme 3000 https://www.ebay.co.uk/str/acme3000modelrestorations. The other way is to buy ‘wreck’ on eBay that has the bits you need and swap them over! Cheers Kevin