Today we're featuring a really neat toy from the '60s, the Space Explorer. There are several variations of the basic design whose original was made by LP of Hong Kong. The guys over at Moonbase Central have already done a pretty good job at covering the origins: Space Explorer. Even though our toy is made in Hong Kong like the original LP version, and shares the same artwork on the card as is seen on LP boxes, it is most probably a knock-off.
The design itself is a classic take on the space car cum spaceship theme so popular in the '50s and '60s and may even have been influenced by real world designs. To me, there is a similarity in lines to Craig Breedlove's Spirit of America:
The toy, while having classic lines, has a couple of issues. The antenna simply slips into a hole in the top of the fuselage and is designed to mesh with gears on the friction motor but the fit is sloppy and there's so much play the action doesn't work well. Additionally, the fit of the separate molded vertical stabilizer is horrible! There are guide rails on the stabilizer which are used to slide it into a channel on the fuselage. The alignment of channel to rails is so poor the stabilizer sits wonky on the fuselage. I filed the channel down somewhat but it will need a lot more work.
The spaceship measures 6" (15.2cm) L x 2" (5.1cm) W x 1 3/4" (4.4cm) H and comes packed partially disassembled on a blister card which has some really great graphics. The clear plastic blister is stapled onto the card making it easy to remove and get to the toys while still preserving the artwork. The set includes 4 figures. The figures measure 1 7/8" (1.8cm) H - about 45mm scale, but definitely shorter than 54mm figures. They have flat bases w/no markings. The card measures 7 3/8" (18.7cm) W x 8 1/2" (21.6cm) L. Enjoy!
The wonky tail is very apparent in this shot
The itsy, bitsy, teenie, weenie pilot. Maybe he's just and android head - Talking Heads in Space!
A shot of the instrument panel
Astronaut with Pistol (Flare Gun?) raised
Astronaut Holding Canister on Shoulder
Astronaut Pointing Upwards
Astronaut Holding Scientific Gear
The card with blister removed showing the assembly instructions
The card worked over and turned into hi-res space art