Ep 5 – Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons

It’s time for Jack and Katherine to face the wrath of the Mysterons once again! Playing her Thunderbird 1 lifeline, Katherine selects the first episode of the original Captain Scarlet series to sit down and watch. How will it compare to the CGI remake that Jack and Katherine enjoyed a few weeks previously?

The Mysterons from Mars have declared a war of nerves against the Earth, and one man, whom fate has made indestructible, is ready to lead the fight against them, his name: Captain Scarlet. In a series first broadcast in 1967, Captain Scarlet and the Spectrum organisation utilise their global resources and futuristic equipment to prevent devastation from the Mysterons, an alien intelligence taking their revenge against the Earth. The Mysterons have the power to destroy man or machine and rebuild them to carry out their evil threats. This dark tale is told with more advanced Supermarionation puppets than ever before which have been rendered, for the first time, in realistic proportions. Gerry Anderson’s Century 21 team were hungry for further success following phenomenon of Thunderbirds. But what did Jack and Katherine have to say about Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons?

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

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Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

 

Ep 4 – The Secret Service

Katherine plays her first lifeline and, in what could probably be described as the best possible result, the duo sit down to watch the first episode of The Secret Service. It’s a world of espionage, dodgy diplomats, and gobbledygook – so will Katherine enjoy this Supemarionation/live-action hybrid?

Father Stanley Unwin is a country vicar and a secret agent. Matthew Harding is his gardener and also a secret agent. Together they carry out spy missions for BISHOP: British Intelligence Service Headquarters Operation Priest. Using the mysterious minimiser device, Father Unwin can reduce Matthew to one-third human size and carry him around in a briefcase in order to infiltrate enemy territory and stop their evil schemes. The Secret Service, first broadcast to a limited audience in 1969, infamously combined Supermarionation with live action photography using the real Stanley Unwin, a performer famous for his Unwinese gobbledygook language. This strange double talk was utilized by the character on his missions in order to bewilder authorities getting in his way. Unfortunately, financer Lew Grade completely misunderstood this feature of the series and cancelled the show after just 13 episodes, and making this short series the final Supermarionation endeavour undertaken by Century 21. Jack and Katherine are now ready to deliver their thoughts on The Secret Service.

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://securityhazard.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/securityhazard/

Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

Ep 3 – Torchy The Battery Boy

It had to happen eventually… but did it have to be quite so soon? For reasons best left unexplained Katherine has chosen to watch Torchy The Battery Boy this week. Jack is left bewildered by the selection, considering that two other superior options were also on the table. The pair soldier on regardless with 15 minutes of disturbing viewing. Will Pom-Pom And The Toys push Katherine and Jack to the limit?

Often heralded as one of the creepiest puppet shows ever produced for television, Torchy The Battery Boy was AP Films’ second and final commission from the author Roberta Leigh. Torchy, the boy doll powered by a battery, was created by his master, Mr Bumbledrop, to relieve intense loneliness. Torchy proceeds to leave Mr Bumbledrop almost immediately and journeys in a rocket to Topsy Turvy Land to live with a number of other toys that have come to life. Although two series of Torchy were produced, only the first was directed by Gerry Anderson and was broadcast in 1960. Every episode of this vintage series is available for viewing, and sees Torchy and his friends sing terrifying songs, drown in cheese, and live through other nightmare-fuel scenarios…

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://securityhazard.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/securityhazard/

Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

Ep 2 – The Day After Tomorrow

Jack and Katherine’s strange voyage through the Anderson universe continues with… a strange voyage through the universe! The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity presents Katherine with her first taste of a live action project, although it probably isn’t quite what she was expecting!

The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity was a one-off television special produced by Gerry Anderson for broadcast in December 1975. The plot concerns the mission of the lightship Altares and its journey beyond the solar system to seek out Earth-like planets for potential colonisation. Two family units make up the crew, with children David and Jane forming integral parts of the team alongside Brian Blessed as Doctor Tom Bowen, Joanna Dunham as Doctor Anna Bowen, and Nick Tate as Captain Harry Masters. Produced for educational purposes, The Day After Tomorrow discusses many scientific theories, with particular focus on Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Jack and Katherine are on standby to give you their thoughts on this one-off Anderson adventure…

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://securityhazard.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/securityhazard/

Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

Ep 1 – New Captain Scarlet

The Operation Anderthon podcast kicks off with Katherine’s first choice – the 2005 CGI remake of the Supermarionation classic – Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet… that’s right, we’re starting our marathon at the end of Gerry’s career. What is Katherine thinking?!

Based on the original Supermarionation series, Gerry Anderson’s New Captain Scarlet debuted in 2005 and was produced entirely using CGI and motion capture, a technique coined as Hypermarionation. Captain Scarlet stars as the indestructible champion of Spectrum, an organisation which combats an alien menace from the planet Mars known as the Mysterons. New Captain Scarlet was an ambitious and expensive series which developed the characters of the Supermarionation series and upgraded all of the vehicles and technology to more realistically capture the world of tomorrow. The series infamously suffered from poor scheduling and never became the runaway success that it could have been. But what will Jack and Katherine make of it all?

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

Blog: https://www.securityhazard.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unofficialgerryandersonblog/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/securityhazard/

Email: sec.hazard.pod@gmail.com

Operation Anderthon Podcast Trailer

Starting Friday, October 18th, 2019 on the Security Hazard blog, a brand new podcast from Jack and his wife, Katherine, will begin!

Jack’s a massive Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Space: 1999 etc.) fan, and Katherine isn’t. In order to bring about peace in the household, Katherine has agreed to watch the first episode of every Gerry Anderson series in existence.

But there’s a twist! Each week, Katherine has to draw three random series from a jar of possibilities, and then choose just one of those options to sit down and watch. As soon as the episode is over, Jack and Katherine regroup to talk about what they’ve just seen.

But wait, there’s more! When Katherine’s in need of a little international rescue of her own to help choose which show to watch, she can rely on five lifelines based on the amazing Thunderbird machines. Once she’s used them though, that’s it – they’re gone for the rest of the series!

Each week we’ll be getting a fresh perspective from Katherine on a Gerry Anderson series or pilot episode, along with nuggets of expertise from Jack who just can’t keep his opinion to himself…

Tune in every Friday for a new episode. Subscribe or follow for the latest updates!

Dick Spanner P.I. – LEGO MOC

Terry Adlam’s robotic private eye, Dick Spanner, was brought to life by Gerry Anderson’s team at Bray Studios in 1986 using stop motion animation. LEGO and stop motion animation have a long history, and Dick Spanner P.I. is an absolute cracker of a series full of tongue-in-cheek humour, so I thought it was about time I captured the character in LEGO form.

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As ever with my LEGO MOCs, I started with no plan or designs. For reference, I had Robert Harrop’s charming figurine of the character in front of me and I consulted a few clips from the series. The size of the model was dictated by how much functionality I felt needed to be built in. I wanted to be able to adjust the features of the face just like the original puppet with movable pupils, eyebrows, and mouth. The eyes were, therefore, the starting point. Black 1 x 1 tiles were chosen as the pupils to be positioned in the centre, or corners, of the 2 x 2 white plates that formed the rest of eyes, making it possible to capture the sideways looks Dick would often give to the viewer.

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Working out the size of the rest of the face was relatively easy once the eyes were in place, building downwards towards the mouth which was constructed on a simple hinge. The nose, eyes, and eyebrows are all attached using SNOT (Studs Not On Top) construction. The eyebrows are simply two 1 x 2 black tiles which are able to slide around on two 1 x 2 jumper plates underneath. Around these key features I filled in the rest of the face with regular grey bricks, and black bricks forming Dick’s crisp hairline.

 

The top of the head was originally built completely square and flat until I realised that the slight floppiness of Dick’s hat wouldn’t be captured if I sat it straight on top. The back of the head therefore became slightly sloped with a few studs exposed in order to attach the hat which was built in two parts in order to appear suitably flexible.

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A small 2 x 2 turntable piece was then fixed to the base of the neck so that the whole head could turn from side to side on the shoulders. It was at this point that I was confronted with the tragic paucity of my selection of brown LEGO bricks. My hopes of constructing a full body for Mr. Spanner were dashed. Using the few bricks I had remaining I was able to construct a small set of shoulders, and use an angled plate to suggest a collar.

Of course, he does look rather splendid as a simple bust, and I’m absolutely chuffed I was able to fit so much expression into a relatively small build. That said, I am confident Dick’s head will be united with a body to match. Let me know if you feel like donating funds to this oh-so-worthy cause…

As a bonus, and at the request of Andrew Clements (who must still be besides himself with joy that the 2004 Thunderbirds movie is coming to blu-ray), I have produced instructions for this little build so you too can have a Dick head sitting on your shelf…

[DOWNLOAD PDF INSTRUCTIONS HERE]

Supercar – LEGO MOC

When I was about 10 years old I discovered Supercar and went absolutely nuts for it. It was at a time when I was exploring the wider Gerry Anderson universe beyond shows like Thunderbirds, Stingray, and Captain ScarletSupercar‘s charming simplicity, both in terms of format and in the way that it was produced, made it very accessible. The rudimentary specials effects which became more and more sophisticated as the series went on never put me off, and in fact they intrigued me. Being able to actually see the nuts and bolts of how the show was put together was inspiring to me as a young film maker. The back projection and fly-by-wire techniques felt very achievable, even though they remain to be tricks that only seasoned professionals can pull off convincingly. Inspired as I was, and because I was also a young LEGO fan, I built my own models of Supercar, Black Rock Laboratory, and all the characters, and I made an episode all by myself. It wasn’t great by any means, but as a kid it was a pretty magical experience.

Fast forward almost 15 years and I’m still a Supercar fan, and I’m still a LEGO fan, but my collection of LEGO parts is a little bit bigger than it used to be. I thought it was about time I revisited this childhood favourite.

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As with my Space Precinct Police Cruiser, I started building “the marvel of the age” with no plans or designs. For reference I had my model of Supercar from Product Enterprise, a few colour shots of the original models that are readily available online, and some vague memories of what my original LEGO model looked like – although I wasn’t planning on sticking to that design very closely.

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I started by gathering any red curved pieces I had to hand and tried to come up with the best way to construct Supercar’s nose section using SNOT (Studs Not On Top) building techniques to get the right curves in the right places. Fortunately the Product Enterprise model is in roughly the same scale as LEGO’s minifigures so it was relatively easy to mimic the same shape by eye. The width determined for the front of the model would obviously affect the size of the cabin and the back of the model so it was important to try out multiple options to find the right solution.

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Getting the cabin right was quite a challenge. As with the Police Cruiser MOC, I was limited by my selection of windscreen pieces. Perfectly re-creating Supercar’s curved dome-like canopy wasn’t going to be possible with my part selection so I simply had to go with the widest windscreen pieces I had. I’m fairly certainly these exact same pieces were used on the model from my childhood. Often sections from the canopy of the original studio model were removed to allow for camera access or puppet wires, so I decided to leave the model without side or roof panels. In the series, all five members of the Supercar team are shown to (just about) fit in the cabin with the pilot seated at the controls on the port side. I tried to squeeze in as many seats as I could to give the illusion that everyone could climb in, but in reality the seating area is only four studs wide, and LEGO minifigures are just over two studs wide – meaning there is only space for a crew of two. For display purposes, however, only Mike needs to be sitting at the helm. The Mike Mercury minifigure I created uses the exact same pieces as the figure who starred in my childhood LEGO film.

SNOT construction was used along the sides of the car until I reached the rear of the cabin where the wing section started. Getting the shape of the swept wings right was something of an issue and in the end, the angle was so slight that I decided it would be easier to make them completely perpendicular to the car and ignore the sweep of the wings altogether. This presented an exciting possibility. With tile pieces and some carefully placed plates inside the body, I was actually able to make Supercar’s wing retractable, just as they appear in the television series.

I personally think that Supercar looks much more impressive with the wings extended, but it’s nice to have the option to tuck them away for landing. The back of the car was just built up using traditional studs on top construction with some black studs attached at the back to represent the exhausts. A careful selection of curved slopes formed the striking shape of the two rear fins. The blue panels surrounding the antenna couldn’t be made as large as they appear on the original model because of how much space the fins were taking up, but the features are at least hinted at. The antenna itself sits on top of a hinge semi-buried in the main body.

That about wraps up the build process. The whole model managed to come together over the course of an afternoon. She could probably benefit from the addition of a few decals to better match the original model, but for now this is the best rendition of a LEGO Supercar that I could possibly achieve. It’s a massive improvement on my old model, yet every time I look at her I’m transported back to a time when I was a pioneering young film maker dangling my Supercar model over a bathtub ready to re-create the opening titles… maybe history will repeat itself…

Stay tuned for more LEGO Gerry Anderson creations and feel free to add feedback and suggestions in the comments below!

Space Precinct Police Cruiser – LEGO MOC

One of the hobbies that has kept me busy over the past few years is building LEGO versions of vehicles from the worlds of Gerry Anderson. If you follow Security Hazard on Facebook you may have seen a few of these.

 

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The Police Crusier as it sits on my merchy merch merch shelf.

In search of inspiration for a new project, I found myself glancing at my shelves, and at the Space Precinct Police Cruiser beautifully rendered in toy form by Vivid Imaginations. This was very much the flagship of the extensive Space Precinct merchandise range from the mid-1990s. The vehicle seemed like a good shape and size to be produced in LEGO at minifigure scale. I didn’t want to purchase any parts especially for this build and felt reasonably confident that I could achieve a passable finished product with my exisiting collection of LEGO pieces.

I started by recreating the likenesses of Lt. Brogan and Officer Haldane in minifigure form borrowing from my selection of spare heads, wigs, torsos, and legs. The vintage police uniforms felt very appropriate and the fairly basic faces actually captured qualities of the characters very well.

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With the minifigures in place, the first major puzzle to solve was how to recreate the large, sloped windscreen. After trawling through my large box of windows and doors the solution came in the form of two 6 x 3 x 1 transparent slope pieces. Although it would have been nice if the windscreen had been one solid piece, capturing the right overall shape was more important to me. The same ethic was applied to the rest of the build in so far as the overall look had to be right using what I had available, even if certain colors or angles weren’t the neatest  or most accurate choices.

That being said, I worked from four pieces of source material in order to make this model as recognisable as possible. The first was the Vivid Imaginations toy which is possibly one of the most underrated Gerry Anderson toys ever produced. The level of detail, combined with all of its play features, clearly show a lot of time and effort went into making this an impressive artefact for all ages to enjoy. The second source was David Sisson’s model of the craft. His website has a great article about the construction and a gallery of the finished product. Thirdly, I studied Graham Bleathman’s cutaway artwork from the Space Precinct annual. Then, last but not least, I looked at clips from the series itself. This step was important for figuring out the details (or lack thereof) of the interior.

With a windscreen picked out and all of my source material carefully studied, I sat down in front of my drawers full of LEGO pieces and started constructing the front section, by far the more challenging half of the model. Capturing the angle of the hood involved using carefully placed hinge pieces and then using a lot of SNOT (Studs Not On Top) construction to cover it all up. Keep in mind that I hadn’t done any prior design work or planning for this model. I often find building off the cuff makes for the most interesting experience, and develop solutions to problems as they come up.

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One major difference between the Vivid toy and the original craft is the placement of the lights on top due to the way the gull wing doors operate. I was facing a similar plight until I managed to track down some hinged window pieces in my collection which meant I would accurately be able to position the light on top of the cabin, rather than behind. Unfortunately I appear to be lacking the “glass” to go in said windows, but you get the idea!

As I advanced towards the rear of the build, things became a lot simpler. The main body of the craft is basically a block with the engines stuck to the side. The very back of the model tapers somewhat so more sloped pieces and detailing for ventilation became important.

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The boosters are probably the least accurate part of this build. Although the shape is pretty spot on, the colours are a bit mismatched because ultimately I just had to find four identical parts from my collection that would do the job. At least the cones are black rather than bright pink. Some more SNOT construction was needed to produce the smaller emergency rockets attached to the side – a detail that is only vaguely hinted at on the toy but came as a great surprise when studying the actual craft more closely.

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With the main structure now in place I started to added little bits of detail, including roughly recreating the underside of the model – an area that is easy to forget about but definitely needs a little attention on all builds of this size. The final touch was the landing pads which I decided to include since the model would generally be displayed on a tabletop rather than “in-flight”.

Et voilà! This model is rather special to me. Although I’ve had a few pieces of merchandise in my collection for some time now, I’ve only really discovered Space Precinct very recently with the new DVD release from Network. I love the ambition of the show and the exciting, shadowy, diverse version of the future that it paints. The design of the police cruiser represents the overall spirit of the show of being a familiar cop show but with a futuristic sci-fi spin put on it – something to which LEGO easily lends itself.

If you enjoyed this creation, comment below with your thoughts about what I should build next, and follow us on Facebook for the latest updates!

As a bonus, and as requested by artist and actual grown up Chris Thompson, here is a video of me swooshing the model around to the theme music…

Remembering Shane Rimmer (1929-2019)

On March 29th, 2019, the actor Shane Rimmer passed away at the age of 89. As well as providing the unmistakable voice of Scott Tracy in Thunderbirds, Shane had a long and expansive career in film and television as both an actor and a writer.

AC and Jack have recorded a special edition of the Security Hazard Podcast to remember Shane’s work as well as personal experiences of meeting the man himself at a number of events over the years.

Our sincerest condolences go out to Sheila, his widow, and all of Shane’s family and friends.