Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thunderbirds

I’m currently spending a week of holidays in London. The weather is rather wet and windy but I’m really having a nice time. I love London.

Yesterday, on the 11th of January 2011, Royal Mail has issued a set of stamps that particularly triggered by interest. The set contains six stamps and a mini sheet of four additional stamps and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the series from Gerry Anderson. These series were in fact elaborated puppet shows that were first shown on TV during the 60’s. These types of production were baptized by their author as “supermarionation”. I was a big fan of one of these when I was a young kid (and by the way I still am ;-) ).

The stamps pictures scene from the following series (in chronological order):

- Supercar (broadcasted in 1961-1962 on British TV)

- Fireball x25 (1962-1963)

- Stingray (1964-1965)

- Thunderbirds (1965-1966)

- Captain scarlet (1967-1968)

- Joe 90 (1968-1969)

“Thunderbirds” is probably the most famous one and this is the one I know very well because it has been broadcasted several times on French TV. The principle of each series was the same, using puppets looking like real human and special effects. The puppets have evolved the time of the series and have become more and more sophisticated. Some of the puppets were inspired from actual actors like Sean Connery!

“Thunderbirds” is the subject of the mini sheet that represents also a first for Royal mail.


It is not visible on the picture but the stamps of the mini sheets are using the now famous lenticular process, meaning that they are “moving” stamps. When you move the sheet, you can see the each vehicule moving, you can even see the earth rotating in the background of the sheet. The idea was to re-create the 5-4-3-2-1 opening sequence of the show that you for sure know if you have seen the series on TV. You can not forget it!

I read on some British newspaper that this set was already highly debated among stamp collectors. Did we really need ten stamps for such a topic? Also 2011 is the 50th anniversary of Supercar which is the less famous shows. May be that this set could have waited… The “moving” effect of the mini sheet seems to be appreciated anyway and I must admit that this is the most accomplished one that I have seen using this effect.

The presentation pack sold by Royal Mail contains some explanation on how the lenticular effect is done (they call it “motionstamps”).

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