Backstory is in the third photo. The Alien Invader is feared for its “villainous crew of hideous mutants, hostile aliens, and outcast earthlings who stop at nothing to get what they want.” Mos Eisley with rocket engines and red lightning decals, in other words.
Archive for the 'Model Kits' Category
Read the whole catalog here. I was not smart enough to be on any sort of “Aerospace Team,” and that’s probably for the best. It would have ended in tragedy.
The original model (seen below) was released by Aurora in 1968 and has a long history that you can read here. The Invaders is an influential sci-fi TV show about an alien invasion and one man’s attempt to stop it (think Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Fugitive).
Look at that model kit: it’s a Volkswagen Vanagon! I went all the way to Yosemite in one of those bastards with nothing but Mattel’s Baseball and a few comic books to keep me company.
The ad is from Toy & Hobby World magazine, August, 1982. The text on the lower right of the kit says “Insta-Win Video Game Inside”.
Joseph Dickerson has good taste. Everyone knows by now how much I love the Micronauts line (Ken Kelly box art on the Hornetroid), and that’s The Hulk Rage Cage (Fun Stuff, 1978) in the background of the first shot.
Starcruiser was a series proposed in the late 1970s by Gerry Anderson about “an ultra-modern house where a mother, father, and two kids lived. At the touch of a button the house would literally fold into a spaceship. The family would travel around the universe from planet to planet… ” (See here for source and more background.) The series never made it to the air, obviously, but a comic strip of the same name appeared in UK’s Look-In magazine from 1977 to 1979. The writer and author of the strip was David Jefferis, who was working on Usborne’s World of the Unknown and World of the Future series at the same time. (My interview with Mr. Jefferis will run next month.) Airfix’s gorgeous model (1979) was based on the strip.
Just the front and back covers and a two-page spread from each catalog, but it’s enough to give you an idea of the once proud art of advertising to kids. Beautiful colors, beautiful layouts. Estes was the biggest model rocket company in the ’70s and ’80s. Centuri was second.
(Images via Myndscrape’s Paper Trail)
Sounds of Outer Space is a cardboard record that came with a rocket model resembling the image on the record. I’d love to find out more about the model, but no luck yet. The recording is very weird, with a narrator speaking poetry over futuristic sound effects. I do love the line, “To be afraid and not care that you are afraid is the courage of which astronauts are made.”
The little information I have came from Nightcoaster and The Internet Museum of Flexi/Cardboard/Oddity Records. The video is via homersoddishe/YouTube.
UPDATE: Many thanks to Gordon Peterson, who identified the spaceship model as AMT’s Leif Ericson Galactic Cruiser.
The photo is from Frank Henriquez, who provides a complete history of the model and record on his website. The ship was designed by Matt Jefferies, who designed the original Enterprise for Star Trek. It went through several versions and releases, including a U.F.O. Mystery Ship that glowed in the dark. As for Sounds of Outer Space,
David Penn and Scott Snell did an amazing job of identifying both the source of the music and the spoken words in the record. The lyrics are from a 1967 psychedelic rock record called “Cosmic Sounds” by The Zodiac. The music was originally used in “The Twilight Zone” and was released in “The Twilight Zone: 40th Anniversary Collection” set.
I’m listening to Cosmic Sounds right now. Like, it’s out there, man.