Stingray is Launched

Marc J. Frattasio
Seaprobe submarine
Here is the ill-fated World Aquanaut Security Patrol submarine Seaprobe. This miniature appears to be an Aurora, Revell, or Monogram USS Nautilus class submarine kit with no apparent modifications. This scene was filmed on a dry set with a thin fish tank positioned between the set, model and camera to simulate an underwater environment. Note the small live tropical fish in the tank, the green tint of the dyed water and the column of air bubbles rising from a concealed air hose buried in the bottom of the tank.
underwater missile
Here we have a small underwater missile made from an external fuel tank from a plastic jet aircraft model kit which is being rapidly pulled across the seabed set on a wire. The column of smoke trailing the missile was caused by a liberal application of Titanium Tetra Chloride, a very noxious chemical which smokes spontaneously upon contact with the air. Note the undersea plant life made from colored bath sponge and model railway lichen.
underwater explosion
This simulated underwater nuclear explosion was filmed at the high speed of 120 frames per second to slow down the action when run at normal speed and create the appearance of a realistic Bikini Atoll style 'base surge'.
Marineville Base was essentially built from artists board, balsa wood, and plastic model kit parts. The two round buildings in the foreground would later represent airport structures in still photos shot for TV21 comic and Annual book Thunderbirds stories.
Stingray seats
Phones and Troy are actually stationary. The background is a rear projection which simulates the movement of the seats down the Injector Tubes. One or both of these Stingray seats was later used in Thunderbirds. One seat can be seen in The Impostors being used by a puppet character working on a map in the military command center coordinating the hunt for International Rescue. The same seat, or perhaps the other one, was put to use on the Thunderbird 5 interior set.
Stingray pen
The Stingray Pen set utilized a large number of model kit components to dress up the walls. Visible are Airfix HO/OO scale model railway bridge parts, bits of kit sprue, and some model ship fittings. Several different sized models of Stingray were built. Legend has it that this particular model used a transparent plastic bath tap to make its 'Contra Rotating Eddy Damper'!
Stingray pen
This shot illustrates an interesting mixture of techniques. First of all, the Stingray model shown here is being filmed dry as there is a thin tank of water positioned between the miniature set and the camera. Above the set, however, is a piece of rippled glass to simulate the surface of the water.
Stingray launch
The famous shot of Stingray emerging from the Ocean Door in a cloud of bubbles was also filmed using the dry method. To accomplish the bubble effect, an air line was run along an interior wall of the thin fish tank with its aperture positioned so that in the camera's line of sight it appeared to be on the right side of the Ocean Door. Once the air line was positioned properly, the glass around it was painted to match the 'rock' face and hide the air line. The red line drawn across this screen shot shows the border between the painted glass and the actual miniature set.
seabottom SFX shot
Another dry filmed sequence. Stingray is hit by a missile and falls to the ocean floor. When ordered to do so by the director, the wires were cut and the Stingray model crashed to the floor of the set. At the same time as the model hit the floor, a cloud of bubbles was released from the bottom of the fish tank positioned between the camera and the set. Also at the same time, a blast of air was directed through a tube loaded with Fuller's Earth, a very fine powder, to create a cloud of dust to simulate silt thrown up from the sea bed at the impact point. As you can see, a scene like this required a great deal of coordination between several people.
Spearhead jets
A pair of wasp Spearhead jets made from Revell B-58 Hustler kits fly over Marineville Tower.
Marineville car control
The automobile on the left entering the Marineville Car Control is some kind of 1/24th scale AMT model car kit with many bits and pieces stuck on it to camoflage what it actually is. Probably the most dramatic modification made by the APF modelmaker is the fact that what should be the back of the car is now the front!
Marineville power plant
The Marineville Power Plant is revealed to be little more than a collection of Kibri and Vollmer HO/OO scale model railway chemical refinery and water tank kits.
The Marineville Base set was actually two sets in one. An underground shelter set was built directly below the main exterior 'tabletop' set. What we see in this photograph are the main buildings being lowered from the main exterior set into the underground shelter set. Actual hydraulic rams were used for this purpose to provide a smooth appearance as the buildings slid under ground.
Hydromic missiles
The wasp Hydromic Missiles were made from balsa wood. The launch gantries, however, are from the old Monogram (or Revell?) Redstone Missile kit.
Terror fish
A plaster and cardboard Terror Fish leaves a plastic tube docking arm above what appears to be an old chamber pot! The 'head' of this model was made from plaster and just about everything else was made from cardboard. The cardboard body was made from a series of articulated segments connected together by pins to permit a 'fishy' motion of the tail, something which the technicians operating the Terror Fish never perfected.
Interceptor missiles
The wasp Underwater Interceptor Missiles seen here are actually made from Airfix 'Bloodhound' Missile kits.
This page published originally at the Supermarionation sfx WebSite
text ©1996 Marc J. Frattasio; not for reproduction for profit without his express permission