About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

N is for No Mystery!

The Marx Mystery Space Ship was so well illustrated on the box it was no mystery at all really! But...best toy ever!

Now, this will be the third time I've announced 'Best Toy Ever' on this blog, but if one casts one's mind back to childhood; that's par for the course...the best toy was always the one you were playing with, and I had to play with this yesterday, to get the photo's of it in 'full flight'!

I am actually missing the curved cradle that should go on top of the pink shaft, but these ships are not rare, there are several on FeeBay at the moment, and there are most weeks, when a damaged or box-less one turns up for a reasonable amount I'll grab it, but it's not a priority. I would point out that some of the buy-it-now's on these are ridiculous.

However, missing piece aside, this is a fantastic toy, and once you get it fired-up you have a package of contained kinetic energy that - if you lose control of it - can do a lot of damage to furniture, china ornaments, gerbil cages and anything else of a frangible nature you might find in a 1950's/1960's living-room or bedroom, or anywhere else for that matter!

Along with the main ship you got two spring-loaded rockets and two strange semi-flats that seem to have been included just to 'square-off' the the mould-tool or 'fill the sprue'? The pilots had a plug in their bums and they need it, as once the thing's fired-up they would rattle-about without a decent anchorage!

There are three boxing, the early one with 'groovy' '50's graphics and US and UK versions of the illustrated and more common later type.

When you Google-search them you will read all sorts of nonsense about them (most of which could have been sorted with a quick 'Google'!), one of which is that the US ones where one colour set, the UK ones; another colour set - the inference being that never the twain would meet. In point of fact there are several colours of ship (yellow, primrose and 'aqua') and all the accessories come in three colours which can be interchangeable.

This is due to the fact that the ships came from a third party (Sperry Gyroscope Company of Brentford, Middlesex; the UK branch of, and probably supplied by; Sperry Rand,  Great Neck, New York; a subsidiary of the Rand Corp. in the US) and weren't Marx products at all.

The figure and accessory 'sprues' were Marx, and again you see these being sold as "...'mint' with seven moon-men and two seated astronauts" or (as one 'definitive list' puts it) "9 unique aliens" and 9 astronauts. Other listings will try to fob you off with one colour only, others give one colour of aliens and the other colour of spacemen...

The fact is you get two un-seperated sprues (correctly; runners), one of each colour, they have 6 different aliens and 6 standing astronauts. There are also 2 seated astronauts in each colour, giving four all together, 6 'unique' aliens (12 in total) and 7 unique astronauts (16 in total).

The only rarity with this set is a small run of oxide-red figures which seem to have been sold usually partnered with the orange set.

The aliens are all different [species], with the last one apparently being related to Frankenstein! The figures are scaled down from other Marx figures from the various space-based play-sets and none of the astronauts are armed - only one alien has a hand-gun.

As to best toy ever...once you've got the hang of the winding, and can crank it up to full speed, you can with little practice or effort get the machine to carry-out all sorts of tricks, it will dance on a sixpence, defy gravity, whirl up and down a piece of string and can do "up to 50 tricks", and...despite the potential for damage, is so robust, there are lots of survivors, and you really should try to track one done, especially if you have young kids...they'll love it!


Anonymous said...

Had this as a Kid it was really fantastic people look right too but it was a Long time Ago


Maverick Collecting said...

Cheers Al

I think they're correct, I've handled several of these now in various conditions...there's a question mark over whether the third astronaut from the left should be a 'moon Man' but he has a space suit and helmet/mask, so I assume he was like Spock, an Alien on the 'good' side!


Anonymous said...

the "Frankenstien" is an astronaut, the larger version used to fit in a bell moon suit. Two of the aliens have guns, one has it in his right hand, the other in his left. These are quite similar to the Space Ranger set and are probably recycled from that.
New minted recast of the entire crew are available at toy soldier sites, called "Astronauts and aliens".
Carolis Medianocte

Hugh Walter said...

Doh! they're standing next to each other...well spotted Carolis!

I'll look out for the reissue/new production...cheers for the input.