Tin Robots and Space Toys
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NIKE SAM-A7 SPACE ROCKET - MASUYA - JAPANWhite plane style in friction rocket with red and yellow detailing This cockpit with litho pilot. Three fins. In the nose is a striker pin which, on impact, releases an arm that enables the rocket to stand up. Marked NIKE SAM-A7 US Army. Masuya Jupiter-Nike rocket.
NIKE SR-7 ROCKET - MASUYA - JAPANWhite and bue plane style in friction rocket with red and yellow detailing This cockpit with litho pilot. Three fins. In the nose is a striker pin which, on impact, releases an arm that enables the rocket to stand up. Marked Nike Space Rocket SR-7. Masuya Jupiter-Nike rocket.
NON STOP MOON EXPLORER - MASUDAYA - JAPANMarked Moon Explorer. A red and white battery operated rocket. Circa 1961. Remote control rocket advances as antenna turns. Red tinplate pilot.

This toy uses the pressing for the bulbous Sonicon rocket ship, but has a non-stop action instead of the sound mechanism. Flashing lights in the tail.

NON STOP MOON EXPLORER X-5 - MASUDAYA - JAPANMarked X-5 Moon Explorer. Cream and silver grey battery operated rocket. Circa 1961. The box depicts a red version and is identical to the box used for the red and white version of the toy. (unless there is a box mismatch here?) Non Stop bump and go action. Red tinplate pilot.

This toy uses the pressing for the bulbous Sonicon rocket ship, but has a non-stop action instead of the sound mechanism. Flashing lights in the tail.
OCEANIC ROCKET - AUTOMATIC TOY CO - USASimple blue and yellow lithographed tin friction space vehicle. Pull back and release. Two wheels, the tail trails on the ground. "To Wind Draw Backwards". USA Tear shape. Automatic Toy Co. of Staten Island, New York. Also sold with "G-Man Pursuit" and "Transcontinental Rocket" litho variations. Probably sold loose as a "bin" toy.
ORIENT COMMANDER ROCKET - OMI - INDIABrightly lithographed tin friction rocket. India. Date? Better picture anyone? Based on the Yoshiya Japanese Commander Rocket.
See also the Oriental Air Rocket. Asia
ORIENTAL AIR ROCKET - HEC - INDIATin friction rocket with bright childlike lithography. Blue plastic nose cone. A variation of the Skymaster rocket. India. Copy of A novelty rocket from India. Designed for the young child is this tin friction rocket. Based on the Yoshiya Commander Rocket. Asia
PLANET EXPLORER - MASUDAYA - JAPANOne of Masudaya's tin battery operated space ships with a non-fall action. An astronaut pilot sits inside a cockpit with a clear plastic cover. Rear tail fin and two red conical engines on the side. A metal rocker in the base detects edges and alters the direction of the rocket.

Disticnctive Features:
Silver and blue with red detailing.
Large square rotating plastic antenna.
Marked Planet Explorer
Triangular tailfin.
This version does not have lights or portholes in either side.
PLANET SPECIAL - WELLS BRIMTOY? - ENGLANDThere are not many English rockets but here's a rather cute early one. This is a very small (10cm) blue, red and yellow tin friction rocket with spark aperture at rear. It has simple litho detailing of a cockpit and portholes with passengers. There's a small red fin on top and a large spark window at the back with a red plastic cover. Crimped tin construction with a slight flare to the center join that looks like a fin surrounding the toy. Marked No 245 Made in Great Britain

The "New Gyro Sparking Motor" mentioned on the box is simply a friction motor. Muted pastel colors. Early 1950s. Manufacturer not confirmed.
PROBE FORCE No 1 - HOVERVery long grey plastic friction drive rocket spaceship just like the Probe Force Flight 1. The box cover is a colour photograph of the ship flying through space past a huge gas cloud. Hover logo. Based on the Project Sword vehicle and carries SWORD logo on tailfin. A virtually identical toy was produced by Tarheel - all the same except for the maker's logo on the box.
PROBE FORCE No 2 - PROJECT SWORD - CENTURY 21Century 21 Toys- This plastic friction space rocket is titled 'Probe Force No.2' on the box. Its plastic, about a foot long and coloured off- white. Has a bit of an XL-5 look to it, but with extra fins. The exhaust area is bright red translucent plastic, as is the cockpit . Has 'made in Hong Kong' on the base.
The box is a one parter of thin card. The 'Star features' on the front and rear are ' Powerful friction drive, realistic siren sound, SWORD insignia.' The Astronaut badge is advertised as being inside with the free Manual. A sheet of thick card came as inner- packaging. 1967
PROBE FORCE No 3 - PROJECT SWORD - CENTURY 21Century 21 - chunky plastic space - plane with friction drive and siren sound. The plastic wings are detachable.
Rectangular one - piece box with great artwork showing the ship , painted, zooming through space. 'Star Features' are 'powerful friction drive', 'realistic siren sound' and 'sword insignia'. It states that it is 'Made in Hong Kong for Century 21 Toys limited'. Unusually, the artwork of the ship only appears on two of the four sides. The other two contain a large Project sword emblem and the above manufacturers details on a largely yellow (with some red) background.
ROCKET - ANANIADES PRIFTIS? - GREECELithographed tinplate space rocket, 20 cms. A bulbous design with two tailfins but no upright tail fin. Large celar red plastic dome in the middle. Blure plastic wheels. Lithographed detailing shows astronauts inside a window. Friction action with spark. Marked Rocket. Greek. Date? Box? The same pressing with different litho was used by Priftis. Pi logo
ROCKET - BING - WEST GERMANYA beautiful and unique rocket. This is a brightly lithographed blue and red rocket that looks just like an airship. There's no name that I am aware of so Bing Raketen or Rocket will have to do.

It is a tinplate wind up rocket with a propellor at the front. The most striking feature is the stylised red and yellow tin representation of the rocket's flame trail. It is hinged for storage. The toy has a spark window with red cover at the back to provide real sparks.

Germany The rocket is intended to hangs from a string in the manner of similar dirigible or airship toys. Zeppelin. The box is a plain card one with a paper label. It has a space scene every bit as charming as the rocket.
ROCKET - HWNOld style tin friction rocket. Germany.
Rocket - Tatrasmalt - CzechTinplate 16 cm rocket, friction action. Rubber nose. Plain metal fins. Market TM on rear fin. Various colors known. The number on the fin can vary: 264, 364, 464 - the reason is unknown. Box?
Possible 1967 CSSR Czech.
ROCKET 54 - SI? - JAPANBlue lithographed tinplate rocket with red and silver detailing. Litho pilot in cockpit details. Lightning flash on sides. 1950s. Long tailfins. Box? Identical in shape to the X-36 Sparkling Space Ranger by SI. Friction action with spark.

Image courtesy of Smith House Auctions.
ROCKET MARS XY - NOMURACragstan logo. Early tin friction rocket. See also the XY Moon Mars and Moon Express versions. (This may be the same rocket as the Moon Mars - the right hand side)
ROCKET METEOR - MARUSAN - JAPANThis space toy is certainly a unique piece in many ways and may be the first battery operated rocket.

This is a silver and white patterned tin rocket with a blue nose and red trim. The litho incorporates lots of rivets. It has three red and silver fins that extend well beyond the exhaust. Along the sides are two rows of four red lights or portholes. There may be a light in the nose. At the back is a rod with a propellor at the end. The rocket can be attached to a string and will fly in circles while the lights flash. Date? 1950s styling. Marked SAN

The box art depicts a slightly different style and color of rocket.

This is the same pressing as used on the HIGH SPEED ROCKET THE MOON ZX-8 and UNIVERSAL ROCKET, THE MOON X-1
ROCKET MISSILE - MASUDAYA? - JAPANSomething of a mystery, this rocket has no obvious manufacturer's logo but it is very close in design to the Masudaya Sparkling Rocket V-1. This is a realistic looking light blue and white tin rocket with a V-2 style. USAF and a US Airforce star logo on the side. Interestingly the box has an error, with USAE wording. Three fins. 13" 33cm. Spark windows at the rear. Rubber nose tip. Friction action with noise and spark. 1950's.
ROCKET RACER 3 - MASUDAYA - JAPANA red and white lithograhed tin friction rocket. Litho details. Pilot head behind windscreen. Masudaya Rocket Racer design.
ROCKET RACER 7 - MASUDAYA - JAPANRed and yellow lithographed tin friction rocket racer with tin pilot head behind a blue tin windshield. Masudaya Rocket Racer design.
ROCKET RACER 8 - MASUDAYA - JAPANA large red and white lithographed tin friction space rocket, Rocket Racer style. Tin pilot head behind windscreen. Box? c1960s
Masudaya Rocket Racer design.
ROCKET RIDER - MAKER?Another version of the popular man-riding-a-rocket theme. A white and red plastic rocket with four wheels. A relatively large boy sits astride the rocket holding a steering wheel. "With Sound Signal Friction Drive". Maker?
ROCKET SHIP - MAKER?Futuristic silver lithographed tin push toy of a space rocket. This tear drop shaped rocket has four porthole windows on each side with litho detailing of two astronauts in each. Three rear fins. Hollow metal wheels. The front has a large litho window at the front with pilot and instrument panel being shown. The front is rounded with a Zeppelin like airship style. Date and maker unknown. Maker? Box?

Image courtesy Bergin Toys
ROCKET SHIP - WYANDOTTEPressed steel rocket. USA Wyandotte "Rocket Racer" (no.319) produced by All Metal Products Company in 1935 and 1936 and sold for 10 cents. There is no evidence of a license affiliation like "Buck Rogers" and it more likely was not really intended to be a space toy but rather a land speed car. They would have been shipped bulk with 3 dozen to a carton. Some of the later models came with black rounded wheels on the front. Various color combinations exist
ROCKET SHIP X-4 "VENUS EXPRESS" - MASUDAYA - JAPANAn early Japanese tinplate friction rocket. A silver tinplate rocket with traditional slender lines, three red tail fins and five cut out portholes in each side. Wheeld. Most unusually for one of these early rockets there is a clear plastic nosecone.

This rocket appears in a Masudaya trade advertisement for 1953.
ROCKET SPACE SHIP - KOKYU JAPANTin friction rocket spaceship. 9cm Brightly lithoed flat 'open' pressing. The rocket is perched high on three wheels.
ROCKET SPACE SHIP 305 - AUTOMATIC TOY CO - USARed and white lithographed tin friction space rocket marked 305 on one wing, Rocket Space Ship on the other. Jet plane swallow shape with swept back wings. Friction action with spark. This rocket has window litho detailing. A much copied design. Similar to 306. First sighting: Toy Fair 1952-1953 Planet Toyfair catalog "Shoots Sparks as it Speeds Along"
ROCKET X-200 - MASUDAYA - JAPANThis is a rarely seen version of the wheeled tin friction rocket from Masudaya. A silver, red and yellow rocket with three porthole windows in each side. An astronaut can be seen in the first window and equipment in the other two.
Three long red fins with a distinctive notch in the tail fin. Box? Date? 1950s

Image: Smith House Auctions
ROCKET X-6 - MASUDAYA - JAPANEarly tin friction rocket. 9cm Litho details. The box carries elaborate patent details and a "Registration of Association". The same body is used for the Sparkling Rocket with the longer tail fins. The oval design on the side is a reference back to the wing panels of the old rocket design.

The Registration of Association No 350 may have been an early attempt to protect the design. The box has a formidable number of patents, possibly fictitious.

First sighted in an August 1952 Masudaya Trade ad, and in a 1953 ad.
ROCKET XB-115 - HORIKAWATin and plastic friction rocket. Friction action with spark. Two similar rockets were produced by Horikawa, Japan in the 1960s. While the body design is similar, detailing is different and one was battery while the other was friction. This is the friction version 11.5" tall tin litho/hard plastic. Toy is marked "XB-115" with space insignia whereas the battery version is marked "Apollo-1000" with US flag. The body has a crimped construction making repair difficult.
ROCKET XL9 SPACESHIP - JR 21White plastic friction rocket with siren. A copy of the Project Sword Space Probe No 3. Also released as the NASA Probe Force No 3. A virtually identical toy was released by Hover/Hoover, only the box logo differs.
ROUND RACE NO-1 JET ROCKET - ASAHITOY KDP - JAPANAn early rocket travels along rubber tubing - front wheel is grooved. Lacks battery op switch of Winner 23. Wind up. Marked Asahitoy and KDP. Compare with Winner 23 Rocket.
S S SPACE ROCKET FRICTION VERSION - YOSHIYA - JAPANDark blue lithographed friction tinplate space rocket with two large rocket engines with tailfins mounted on either side of a central fuselage. The litho shows copious star detailing. There is a large red plastic engine at the back of the body and smaller green plastic covers on the engines. A pilot head is mounted inside a central tin canopy with clear windscreen. Marked S-301 on the fins. Friction action with noise and spark. S S SPACE ROCKET SUPER SONIC SPACE ROCKET S301 See also the battery operated version of this rocket. Date?

Litho variations shown.
SATELLITE LAUNCHER ROCKET - MASUDAYA - JAPANSilver and red lithographed tin friction rocket. Marked Satellite Launcher. Three red tailfins. Two wheels with a friction action that launches a spinner prop disk. Patent 60449. See Atomic Rocket. Long tailfins with notch.
SCOUTING ROCKET X-20 - MASUDAYA - JAPANThis is a most eccentric rocket. It resembles a plane that has lost its wings. Light blue, white and yellow lithographed tin friction rocket. The vehicle has a tail fin and a large yellow tailplane with the lettering X-20. Unusually a substantial red spark window is set into the fin. Two pilots sit in a forward tin cockpit with a clear plastic windscreen. USAF logo on the side. MT

Friction action with noise and sparks in the tail window. Box? Date?
SKY EXPRESS ROCKET - USAGAIYA - JAPANThis is an elegant early space rocket that offers a realistic interpretation of mass space travel, a sort of space Boeing. The tin friction wheeled rocket with three fins resembles a jet plane. The red and blue litho has realitic window detailing. There are rectangular spark windows near the rear. Marked SKY EXPRESS. Box?

There is also a version of this pressing called SPACESHIP.
SKYMASTER ROCKET - HEC? - INDIAA novelty rocket from India. Designed for the young child is this tin friction rocket. If you look hard enough you can see traces of its origin in the Yoshiya Commander Rocket. This is a very brightly decorated rocket with the cartoon lithography popular on many Indian toys. Cylindrical plastic nose. Spinning structure on top of body. Same body and litho as the ORIENTAL AIR ROCKET by HEC. Made by OMI Oriental Metal Industries, Delhi. Asia
Small Flying Boat MF813 - ChinaRed tin lithographed spaceship with pilot under tall plastic dome. Small wings on either side. Friction action with sound. MF 813. The design is a sort of parody of the Masudaya Rocket Racer.
SMALL MOONSHIP MF-883 - CHINAThis is a delightfully original space rocket from China. This red, white and green tin friction spaceship has curved wings encompassing an oval body. The wings sweep right back and are tipped with red plastic engines. It's a sort of curved delta wing style. A pilot sits under cockpit dome at the front. There are red plastic light domes on top of each wing. Marked MF 883 on the wings. This is also the factory serial number for the toy. Friction action with noise and spark.
SOLAR-X ROCKET 7 - NOMURA - JAPANSilver and red lithographed tin and plastic battery operated rocket with opening wings. The SPACE ROCKET SOLAR-X is battery powered and features lighted nosecone with stop and go lifting action and automatic retracting wings. Marked 7 on the base. 15" long.

Lights flash, circular movement, wings open then rocket rises to vertical position. TN Japan

This is a Gerry Anderson Thunderbird 1 knock-off.
See Wonder-L and Solar-X 8.
SONICON ROCKET - MASUDAYA - JAPANTin battery op Circa 1961. Remote control rocket advances as antenna turns. Direction controlled by whistle. Complete with two boxed whistles and spare antenna. MT. Two litho versions of this rocket exist: blue/light blue version (top) and the blue/silver patterned version. (bottom)

The mechanism works as follows: an air chamber with an opening and a diaphram above the opening with a conductor across two contacts. When the whistle blows the air in the chamber resonates causing the diaphram to vibrate and open the connection between the contacts which switches a relay causing the wheel assembly to spin in circles until the whistle stops and the ship heads off in whatever new direction the wheels are heading.
SONICON WHISTLE AND ANTENNABoxed set of spares provided with Sonicon rockets.
Space Boat MF 895 - ChinaBlue lithographed tin and plastic friction rocket boat. Tin body with litho star detailing, red plastic wings with yellow mudgards. Black textured base with two drive wheels and a small nose wheel. Pilot under canopy. Boat is the translation of ship, as in space ship.

Two box versions shown.
SPACE BOAT No 3 - CHINAThe styling of this rare Space Boat is quite unique for a Chinese toy and is reminiscent of Japanese vehicles. This silver tinplate friction space ship with a red upper section. There's a rounded front with a clear plastic dome containing an astronaut pilot. There are two fins at the back. It is marked Space Boat with a No 3 at the back. Friction action with spark. MF?? Date?

SPACE BOAT ROCKET 3 ME-078 - CHINAA white lithographed tin battery operated space rocket with red, blue and gold trim. Bump and go action with flashing lights. Vinyl pilot head behind windscreen. A variation of the Masudaya Rocket 9 Space Boat. Unusually this rocket has a small pair of spoked wheels at the rear. Bump and go action with noise and flashing lights. ME 078 Size 13" 32cm Box?

Masudaya Rocket Racer design.
SPACE CADET- TOM CORBETT SPARKLING SPACE SHIP - MARX 19521950s tin wind up rocket ship. Marked Polaris. First seen in the Sears Christmas Book for 1952. The ad wording reads:

Tom Corbett Space Ship. Authentic reproduction of "Polaris," rocket space ship of Tom Corbett, popular TV personality. Made of sturdy steel. All-over lithographed design shows Tom Corbett at the controls with other space cadets. Cadet insignias on rocket. Sparks shoot from tail exhaust when space ship scoots along floor. Long running keywind motor. Has front and rear side fins, rudder. Raised dummy observation domes. Two large side wheels, 1 small rear wheel.
49 N 5669 - 12 inches long. Shipping weight 1 pound................$1.69
SPACE CAPTAIN ROCKET - DAIYA - JAPANThe box art gives the impression that this is going to be a realistic NASA rocket but actual toy is not. The stubby silver cylindrical rocket has a clear red plasic nose and a yellow plastic rotating engine at the rear. In the middle of the rocket is a hole containing a vinyl astronaut head. Battery operated bump and go action with a lighted spinning tail and space noise. 27cm.
SPACE CRUISER X-300 - TELEX - FINLANDA version of Pyro's X-300 Space Cruiser. Called RYMD RAKET on the box. Silver colored hard plastic with red wheels. SPACE CRUISER molded on the sides. This example is missing its pilot. 10 ins long with a distinctive needle on the end of the nose cone. It has a shorter upper and lower rear tail fin than the Pyro version, parts that are susceptible to damage. Marked Telex on the underside. Wittrock has been identified as the actual maker. Also sold in Denmark as Rumskib
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