At just over 120 pages, the Captain Scarlet Agents’ Manual is a paperback Haynes Manual, and has been produced to mark the show’s fiftieth anniversary, and in time to make the Christmas stockings of its fans.
The cover features the familiar shape of the grey SPV (Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle), but the book starts by explaining the world of 2068, before moving on to introduce both Cloudbase and the main Spectrum agents, including, of course, Captain Scarlet himself.
As you might hope from a Haynes Manual, the bulk of the book focuses on vehicles, and these are grouped by land, air, space and then everything else, and we mean everything else. Not only is the Zero X space ship (seen in both the Thunderbirds movie and Captain Scarlet) explained, but so is (as far as we can tell) every vehicle used in the TV show, including lesser scene specimens such as the Yellow Fox Transporter (used for moving VIPSs). As these are presented, more Spectrum Agents are introduced, such as Captain Ochre (born in Detroit and left school at 16 we learn).
As anyone who ever bought the Airfix model would hope, the Angel Interceptor takes pride of place across eight pages, along with the potted bios of the Angels themselves. Finally, we can find out which Angel was recruited by none other than Lady Penelope! More important, there are plenty of details about the jet fighters themselves.
Other entries include various military non-Spectrum vehicles, bases and the home of the Mysterons. The book ends with quick coverage of various missions alongside stills from the relevant TV episodes.
Writer Sam Denham has put a lot of effort into the Agents’ Manual, and alongside the usual great Haynes illustrations from Graham Bleatham, it’s a great reminder of the show, and feels as fresh as the original adventures did in the 1960s. For anyone who even partly remembers the original show this will make a great nostalgic gift.
CAPTAIN SCARLET AGENTS’ MANUAL / AUTHOR: SAM DENHAM / ILLUSTRATIONS: GRAHAM BLEATHMAN / PUBLISHER: HAYNES PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW