Sunday, November 10, 2013

TootsieToy 1978 #1793 Flash Gordon and The Evil Ming Playset - Pt1

Well, it seems as if we just can't get Flash Gordon out of our system! This year's Sci-Fi and Fantasy offerings have been dominated by the cartoon hero, although quite by accident. There were 21 weeks in which we covered Premier Plastics Flash Gordon space ships and their knock-offs, but that only happened as a result of me discovering so many variations when I started photographing them. There's a few more toys on the FG bucket list, like an original Marx tin-litho spaceship from the '30s, and a couple of offerings from a company called Nasta but after that we call it quits.

This is a nice offering from TootsieToy and was made back in 1978 and was the kind of set a young'un would probably have seen in the dimestore like Woolworth's or W.T. Grant's. The 9-piece set offers land based and space based adventure and includes three of the series main characters: Flash, Dale Arden, and Ming the Merciless. We're going to cover this in three parts so let's start breaking this thing down. Enjoy!

The Ships

There are two ships included in the set. One belongs to Flash, the other to Ming. They both share the same die-cast upper fuselage casting. The lower fuselage/wing assembly is made of soft plastic and is a different casting for each ship. As to who flies what ship, well that is differentiated by a really cheap sticker on the wings. The green ship has Ming stickers on the wing, while the blue ship has Flash stickers. While the graphics are nice enough, it is kind of a cop-out instead of designing a different upper fuselage.

'Ming' #10394
My example turned out to be a factory defect. The fuselage halves were not mated properly causing an awkward looking gap between the two. In addition the wheels are wonky and don't sit right in the wheel well causing it to lean drunkenly to one side. On this model, the cockpit windows are solidly cast into the fuselage.

Flash Gordon #10395

This example was assembled properly. The upper fuselage casting differs from Ming's ship in that the cockpit windows have been cut out and translucent plastic windows matching the fuselage color inserted.

TootsieToy also offered these spaceships as separate sale, carded toys. I've seen them with white wings and different colored fuselages and with different stickers. I do not know if other figures were ever offered, though I'm betting they weren't (but ya never know).