Issue: 36

The Spectrum Organisation
by David F Stuckey

Source: Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons by Gerry Anderson TV series, books and annuals.


 [Spectrum logo]

After the unification of most Earth nations during the wars at the turn of the 21st Century and the formation of the cooperative armed forces thereof, a need was seen for a supranational force to act as both an overviewing power above such groups and as a security force to work alongside them to investigate corruption and possible mutiny in these forces. Also, as it turned out fortunately, this group was to act as an intelligence network against outside nations not belonging to the World Community that may constitute a political or military threat. This organisation had to be the acme of security - High ranking members would never be referred to by name - and its members would, by their very nature, be the very best military, espionage and investigative minds available. Recruits would eventually be drawn from various civilian sectors, elite military units and so forth to create an ultimate force of incorruptible sharp-eyed watchdogs.

By the 2060s, the first commander of this force, Admiral Sir Charles Grey, RN/World Navy Europe, had assembled SPECTRUM. The first multinational security force that could operate at all levels of military capacity using upgrades of many servie vehicles and/or designing new equipment as required. Taking the code name Colonel White, Grey set down tne rules of secrecy and security by which SPECTRUM derives its strengths, and so trusted as neutral observers and adjudicators, that a member of the force was sent to ensure cooperation and non-exploitation of resources found on the famed Mars expedition of 2061. By tragic fate, this very mission plunged SPECTRUM into its most trying period - The war of retribution with the arcane entities dwelling upon Mars who refer to themselves as the Mysterons. The SPECTRUM observer on this mission, Captain Black (a decorated English air force officer) panicked when the explorers first encountered a Mysteron complex upon Mars in the Planitia highlands, and used the seismic sounding mortar to destroy a supposed "weapons platform" that appears to have been a sensor array. Although the Mysterons repaired all this damage using a technique of subatomic matter manipulation called by Earth "Retro-Metabolism", they declared a cold but calculating war of nerves against Earth. First of these acts was to control a simulacrum of Captain Black and send him to Earth as an agent in place.

Retro-Metabolism takes several forms; the first is the ability to copy any object living or mechanical down almost to the subatomic structure and to control it remotely. Copying in such a way is detectable, as X-rays do not penetrate the copy though in all other respects the duplicate is perfect. (This leads some to theorise that the Mvsterons are an energy lifeform with possible links to other dimensions of space than the four known. These copies are thus extensions of the actual Mysteron "Body"). Usually in order for this deception to work, the original devices are destroyed during the copying, by sabotage engendered by agents such as Black. More bizarrely, humans can also be duplicated, though the copy is very different to the original. Often of greater strength and endurance and capable of supernatural self-repair: one such is Black, and so too is Captain Scarlet, once known as Sergeant Paul Metcalfe, Royal Marines, before joining SPECTRUM. During an elaborate plot to assassinate the World Senate President, Scarlet was taken, over by the Mysterons who pulled out of control before he was killed in a fail. Scarlet regained his own personality and will, without losing the ability to recover from anything - even fatal injuries will heal given time and nutrient supplies to his body. Only high-voltage electrical discharges would pose a deadly threat to any Mysteronised human including Scarlet. A person so copied will retain all their memories and skills, which will now be used to carry out programmed instructions from the Mysterons as part of greater operations. Such strategies are often complex and subtle, invoicing several independent agents with differing talents to be exploited and objectives to be gained. If necessary, these agents can be literally spirited out of entrapment or danger by dissolving the matter making them up into thin air, or by converting their body into explosives for maximum damage to an area. Since 2061 virtually all SPECTRUM resources have been diverted into the war with the Mysterons by means of protecting declared targets, liaison with communications and monitoring agencies and by security assistance. It is always a taut situation and often SPECTRUM faces defeat, but the battle is never entirely one-sided and perhaps a negotiated peace is possible...

Military Organisation and Equipment

SPECTRUM maintains a standing force of infantry of some size, made up of the best of the World's elite forces. Their uniform is a simple bowl helmet, a flak-jacket tunic and fatigue trousers, with a white webbing belt running from the left shoulder to the right hip. Standard weapon is a 6mm machine rifle. The Captains and Lieutenants of SPECTRUM are, respectively, the same as Majors and Captains in other armies when commanding troops in the field; A large force, perhaps about seventy troopers, would operate under a Captain in defence of a secured bunker for example. Captains have several specialisations, similar to the US Marine Corps and may operate several types of vehicle for transport and or support in combat. Standard weapon for Captains is an automatic pistol and sometimes an electron-discharge rifle specific for killing Mysteronised targets.

SPECTRUM equipment is top-of-the-line, and to ensure security, construction is spread around a number of manufacturers to reduce the risk of sabotage or espionage. Many of these items are derived from earlier battle-proven vehicles perfected to a high degree or modified for new purposes.

Maximum Security Vehicle (MSV)

Large, squat and wide, the MSV is based on an Eastern Alliance APC with significantly thicker armour and no weapon capacity. MSVs are used by SPECTRUM as both secure transport for equipment and personnel and as colossal bluffs for the actual transport of VIPs who are carried in disguised vehicles away from the obvious convoy. Driven by either human or robot drivers, they can be used as troop transports with their virtually heavy tank armour but have only reasonable off-road capability, no amphibious capacity and are only medium sized. Power plant is a direct-drive gas turbine with rear-wheel drive and front wheel steering.


Often underestimated, this 2-door hatchback saloon is a surprising means of transport; not so much for its speed, given its gas turbine engine and four-wheel drive (155 mph), or its off-road capacity, but its pointed snout which hides an automated 25mm mortar firing smart rounds. This, combined with its manoeuvrability and speed, makes it very useful for rapid deployment of agents and fast pursuit when time is short.

SPECTRUM Pursuit Vehicle (SPV)

 [SPECTRUM Pursuit Vehicle]

SPECTRUM's ultimate land vehicle, these are hidden in many disguised bunkers around the globe and held for instant use by Captains and agents. Based on the successful American Alliance Zeus battle tank of the 2040's, this machine resembles an armoured armadillo with buck teeth, bearing as it does a huge ramming bar of composite plastics at the front of a rounded body supported by eight wheels. Powered by a compact cold fusion reactor driving independent electric motors, the SPV has a rear mounted set of lowerable tracks enabling it to climb 85 degree slopes, rear-facing seats to protect the crew from collisions, video camera vision for the driver and is armed with guided missiles fired from a concealed launcher in the front and a 100mm recoilless rifle also concealed in a forward mount. Weighing thirty seven tons, the SPV is still capable of 130 mph on roads and has off road performance at least that of a similar sized tracked vehicle. The heavily armoured monocoque body shell, with geodetic framing for added rigidity gives the occupants enormous protection against explosive shells, collisions and even crashes that could destroy an AFV. Should this or the crew's nerves fail, the SPV is fitted with zero-zero ejector seats.

Angel Interceptor

 [Angle Interceptor]

For air support and air superiority tasks, SPECTRUM uses the Angel Interceptor. A highly modified version of the Asian Confederation built in 2024 to allow longer range, with increased speed and Short Take Off/Vertical Landing (STOVL) facility to allow it to operate from SPECTRUM'S Cloud Base, an airship platform headquarters operating at near stratospheric height and able to go anywhere. Angel aircraft use a combination of turbofan and ramrocket engine for maximum efficiency cruising at Mach 2 combined with bursts of acceleration for combat armament is a nose-mounted 35mm. rocket assisted cannon and side mounted magazines for 45mm unguided armour piercing rockets. To save weight in these aircraft, the pilots are all slightly-built women known also as the Angels. Competent pilots, these flyers have more than earned the respect given to them and their machines.

Other Vehicles

Passenger jets are used by agents to travel where other travel is too .slow, although these six person craft are armed with two air-to-air missiles, they are basically transports and rarely enter combat deliberately.

The Koala hovercraft transport, developed logically enough in Australia, is currently being tested for use by SPECTRUM agents as a means of fast transport across varied terrain where aircraft are impractical.

The SPECTRUM helicopter sees service frequently for covert pursuit of land targets, reconnaissance and patrol duties. A tip-jet tailrotorless design, it has good performance at speed and is armed with a 80mm machine cannon for attack purposes. It can carry four including the pilot.

Figures and Vehicles

In 6mm the most promising for line troops are British WWII paras, as the helmets are ideal and other details aren't as obvious. Angel interceptors from Vivid Imagination are ideal as they come two to a pack, and the passenger jet is also good. For vehicles, one has to use the small ones supplied with the Imai kits of the major figures from the series which are still available; the SPV is the best of these.

Moving up to 15mm the same comment applies for troops, and the white metal kit of the SPV from Comet Miniatures is perfect. Vivid Imaginations model is a little large being almost 25mm sized, but the Patrol Car they produce is excellent. Other items are a bit harder - Airfix's Angel Interceptor is now defunct and Imai's helicopter is a collector's item, but other Imai kits in this range are still available and the two-vehicle packs are near enough in scale.