Matchbox has ten 3-3/4" Thunderbirds figures that are jointed at legs, shoulders, and heads. The faces of the five pilots are not 100% accurate, but they are close enough to be identifiable. The Scott figure has a "Thunderstun" rifle that never appeared on the show. The pilots are accurately molded in full uniform. All have molded-in guns in holsters attached to the right leg.
I like all the figures, except for Lady Penelope. She is garbed in a tacky pink pants suit. She wears pearls and sandals and has a traveling bag. Her face is not remotely similar to the puppet. But Parker, her chauffeur, looks wonderful. "Brains" is charming with his big glasses and delightfully inappropriate green jacket with orange pants (he was never a snappy dresser). My personal favorite is The Hood, clad in full ceremonial garb. A really collectible piece, this is the nicest of the ten figures. Matchbox plans to release a Fab 1 action toy. Also rumored to be in the works is a TB2 Playset, similar to the Enterprise Bridge Playset.
Bandai has released a set of the five Thunderbirds pilots. Five inches tall, these figures swivel at the waist, head, and shoulder. The faces are accurate and the uniforms are correct. They are only available as a set. Bandai also produces a set of 9" vinyl Thunderbirds dolls that are jointed very much like a GI Joe doll. These 9" figures have cloth uniforms and are fantastically detailed. Rumors abound that five more dolls, including Lady Penelope, will shortly be released.(Pictures: 5-inch Virgil Tracy figure from Bandai)
"Stingray" fans take heart! Four "Stringray" figures out now, with more to be released. Matchbox also plans a Stingray and Terrorfish die-cast and a Marineville Playset. More Anderson-related toys are coming from Matchbox.
Other companies are producing Anderson stuff some of it of dubious quality. Theres a real corny Thunderbird 2 that is striped all over the place and has big, gaudy-colored lettering on it. When you press a button an enormous gun comes out of the cockpit and sticks out over the windshield. Its hysterical. There are more die-cast and plastic versions than even I care to talk about.
(Following information added by Editor in December 2002, not a part of original article...)
The Irwin Toy Company has produced a series of 11.5 inch talking action figures for Thunderbirds, as well as several accessory sets.