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Thunderbird 4 is International Rescue's go-to vehicle for underwater rescue - a yellow mini-submarine, piloted by aquanaut Gordon Tracy.

Unlike Thunderbirds 1, 2 and 3 - all of which are capable of travelling to danger zones under their own power - TB4 fits comfortably within its own specialized pod - Pod 4 - aboard Thunderbird 2, which then transports it to where it is needed.

Sometimes TB4 must utilize other means, to get from place to place - in a different pod (eg Pod 6, in Attack of the Alligators!); via direct launching, from Tracy Island's runway; or via assistance from other transportation - notably by the World Navy's USN Sentinel (Terror in New York City), after TB2 had been incapacitated and needed to undergo a complete rebuild.

TB4 is equipped with a versatile arsenal of sophisticated gadgetry - including a missile launcher, a searchlight, a battering ram and a laser, all of which are located in the nose of the sub. It is capable of travelling on surface water (hover mode) or underwater. Its small interior is equipped with an airlock for access and exit while underwater.

Gordon at the controls of Thunderbird 4

Technical Data[]

  • Emergency launch jets: 4 vertical-thrust hover jets and 2 x 25 liquid fuel mini-rockets
  • Emergency launch speed: 30mph
  • Forward and reverse drive: 6 electrically driven reversible axial-flow turbine impellers
  • Length: 30 feet
  • Main turbo drive: 2 axial-flow turbines providing forward thrust only
  • Maximum speed (underwater): 160 knots
  • Maximum operating depth: 30,000 feet
  • Power source: twin atomic fusion reactors
  • Surface cruising speed: 40 knots
  • Underwater speed: 160 knots
  • Weight: 16 tons
  • Width: 11 feet


Entry/Exit Hatch[]

Located at the back of the cockpit, an airlock allows Gordon access outside the craft while underwater.


Halogen Lighting Bar[]

Hydraulic Rams With Electro-magnetic Clamp[]

Hydraulic rams incorporating electromagnetic pads.


Main article: Paralysing A Mini-Sub

A "paralyser" featured in The Man From MI.5.

Laser beam Cutter[]

Used in Atlantic Inferno, Operation Crash-Dive and Day of Disaster.


Thunderbird 4 is also equipped with forward-firing missiles, used in Day of Disaster (to blow away debris from the river-mud-embedded Martian Space Probe); and in Desperate Intruder (to return fire from an attack by the Hood's own mini-submarine).


Underwater Sealing Unit[]

Primarily used to contain natural-gas eruptions on the seabed, the underwater sealing unit (also known as the "sealing device") is first towed by Thunderbird 4 from Pod 4 onto the sea-surface. Both craft then submerge, to reach the danger zone. Once in position, it is then lowered over the site of the eruption. Four ballast valves are then driven deep into the seabed, to hold the unit down tight.

This equipment was used in Atlantic Inferno to seal off a natural-gas eruption.

Launch Sequence[]

Main article: Thunderbird 4/Launch Sequence


Rescues And Missions[]

Main article: Thunderbird 4/Missions

See also:

Security Hazard[]

In Security Hazard, Chip Morrison sneaks into Thunderbird 2's pod and is taken back to Tracy Island, creating a breach of security. TB4 appears only in flashback footage, from the episode Day of Disaster.

Puppet-size Model[]

  • Thunderbird 4's puppet-sized model was redressed for the subsequent series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. In Lunarville 7, it appears as the interior of the moon mobile, and in Crater 101, it appears as the interior of the moon tractor.

Cutaway Drawings[]

Main article: History of the Cutaway Drawings (Classic Thunderbirds)

Several different cutaway drawings of Thunderbird 4 have featured in a number of books, annuals, and comics over the past 50 or so years...


A massive range of merchandise featuring Thunderbird 4, has been produced over the years. Below is a list:

Toy Models[]

  • JR 21 Toys (J.Rosenthal) released a plastic, friction driven version in 1965.
  • Dinky Toys included a small metal TB4, with its Thunderbird 2 model released in several versions between 1967 and 1975.
  • Lincoln Toys produced a construction kit, released in 1967.
  • Bandai Toys (of Japan) issued a motorised version that could be floated in water.This company original release was in 1967, repackaged 1968 and 1971. A small plastic TB4 was released as part of a vehicle set in 1993, and a pull-back action toys was sold in Japan in 1992.
  • Hot Wheels (Bandai): Released a small plastic model as part of its "Classic Thunderbirds" range in 2003.
  • Eidai-Grip (of Japan) Released several versions of a TB4, including a "Green version" in 1974.
  • Yot Toys (of Taiwan) released two unlicensed versions in 1979, one blue and silver!! and another one in bright orange.
  • Popy Die-cast (of Japan) also released unlicensed versions, the fist in 1974 in yellow. followed by another bright orange version in 1979.
  • Matchbox Toys (of U.K) released a small metal version as part of its Thunderbird 2. A larger plastic version was released along with a "super size" Thunderbird 2 play set. The "Bandai" version, was released in 1993 under licence.
  • Yujin (of Japan) released vending machine toys in 1999, as part of its "mini collection" and produced a excellent likeness of a TB4. Re-released in 2000 as part of a "mini box" collection. Another vending machine toy was released in 2000, a Thunderbird 4 "motorised base". A small pod could be opened by a spring release, that contained a thunderbird 4 inside.
  • Vivid Imaginations released a TB4 with its "super size" Thunderbird 2, the submarine could be opened and a small Gordon figure could be place inside. Originally on sale in 1999, was repackaged in 2005 as part of the 40th anniversary. Also in 1999 a smaller range of craft were released as accessories to the Tracy Island play set. TB4 (as usual) came packaged with a Thunderbird 2. A small "turbo pull-n-go" was released in 1999 under licence from Takara of Japan.
  • Takara (of Japan) released the "Vivid Imaginations" range in 2003, also a larger motorised version that could be placed in water. A mini model was released for sale in Japan in 2000, under the "Chor Q" label. released and repackaged in 2005 in a gloss finish.
  • Corgi (of the UK) released a TB4 as part of its 40th anniversary Thunderbird 2 set in 2004, repacked and sold again in 2015.
  • Imai (of Japan) released a stubby version of TB4 under its "CD Boy" lable in 1992. A very small TB4 was part of a vending machine range in 1999, under the "Gacha capsules" range.
  • Taito (of Japan) released a remote controlled version in 2003, designed to run along the floor, and not in water.