By 1995, Matchbox was no longer producing Thunderbirds for the mass market. It was also at this point that Matchbox had been bought out by Tyco Toys. One of the last things they ever released for the Thunderbirds collector was a gold plated Collectors Set, limited to only 7500 worldwide and only available through mail order.
The front of the box is plain black. There's a gold leaf border around the edge of the box. In the middle there's a gold Thunderbirds logo and "are go...." in cursive font. Very plain, yet also classy.
The back of the box is equally as plain, only really containing the copyright information and a warning not to give it to children. Oddly, in the bottom left, it reads TB54321, not sure what this is to signify, if anything at all.
Taking the lid off, we can see all the craft inside a foam tray and it also comes with a letter of authenticity.
Gone is the rubber on Thunderbird 1 and 3, replaced by silver nosecones. The main body of Thunderbird 1 is gold plated, with the wings, nose and tail fins being in silver. On Thunderbird 3, ut's the main body, collar and arms that are silver plated, the rest being in gold. Both are exactly the same as their standard releases.
Thunderbird 2 and the pod is mostly gold plated, with the legs and the boosters being silver plated. Thunderbird 4 is pretty much gold plated too. Both are exactly the same as their main Matchbox releases.
The last pieces in the set are gold plated FAB 1 with the grille and canopy being gold plated. The International Rescue pin badge, also being in gold plate and the letter from Brain A. James, director of authorisation confirming this set to be authentic.
This set is aimed exclusively at the collectors market. Whereas the die-cast versions were meant to be used and abused, they were sold abundantly and at a price where they could be replaced IF they became damaged. This set, isn't and is designed to be displayed in a collectors case or kept boxed. Examples do find their way onto the secondary market from time to time and vary in price from £70-£150.