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Tin Robots and Space Toys
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'AURORA' EXPEDITION CAR - YONEZAWA - JAPANA most unusual combination of two linked space exploration tanks. The boxed set comprises two light blue lithographed tin battery operated tanks. The lead tank has a small forward clear plastic dome with driver and has working tracks to provide movement. The second tank is similar in style but has tin litho tracks rather than working ones. It, too, has a small dome with pilot.

The name and box art suggest Arctic exploration but this is regarded as being a space toy. The box has botha a Yonezawa and a KDP logo.

See also the Mighty Explorer version of the vehicle.
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ATOM NEW SPACE TANK - YOSHIYA - JAPANThis space toy claims to be a space tank but looks much more like a space car with its charming rounded lines. The box name may actually be ATOM IN SPACE CAR. It uses some components from Yoshiya's friction tanks. The red lithographed tinplate vehicle has porthole detailing and a large atom symbol on the hood. Marked Atom New Space Tank. There's a large plastic dome on top containing a yellow tin astronaut working the controls. This 6" 15cm toy has a friction crank operated mystery action. KO Box? Date?

This toy is featured in the 1965 Yoshiya catalog as #1085 SPACE SCOOTER.
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BUMP N' GO SPACE EXPLORER TANK - YOSHIYA - JAPANRed tin friction space tank. Green tin pilot with X-8 logo under a large clear dome. Pilot's hand moves. Plastic spark window and large clear plastic pipes at the back. Inertia crank action bump and go mechanism. KO
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CRAGSTAN SPACE TANK MARS PATROL NO 17 - YANOMAN - JAPANOrange-red and white lithographed tin friction spaceship with astronaut and spinning / rotating ball cockpit. The tank has the familiar rounded lilo shape with two fins at the back. At the front is a unique tin sphere which spins around to reveal a cockpit with tin astronaut driver. A red plastic spark window is set into the top rear, along with a wire antenna. Friction action with spinning ball cockpit and sparks. Marked Mars Patrol on the sides.

YM logo, See also the S-15 prototype of this space vehicle.
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FRICTION POWERED TANK aka SUPER SONIC SPACE TANK X-60 - NOMURA - JAPANBlue lithographed tin friction space tank with a small rear control room and a large half-cylinder shaped forward turret. This turret is fitted with a rotating three-barrel gun assembly with spark windows set in the sides. Marked "Super Sonic Space Tank" The box shows a tank with X-60 lettering on the side.

There is a second version of the box which has Nomura and AHI logos. It shows a tank without the X-60 lettering. The tank has grey litho.

Friction action with rotating guns and spark. This uses the low profile pressing that was used for the Space Tank X-4 and the M-101 Tank. A military version of this, the X-60, was also made by Nomura.
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FRICTION SPACE TANK - ICHIMURA LUCKY TOY - JAPANSmall (10cm) blue lithographed tin friction tank. Lithographed tracks. A red tin astronaut, the same on as on the other Ichimura tank, sits behind a square box structure with a yellow plastic disk on top. Spark window. Indian head logo. Generic box shows a bulldozer. Marked Space Patrol on the sides.

Also sold packaged in plastic bag with a generic Lucky Toy header card and a double pack with the other tank.
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FRICTION SPACE TANK - ICHIMURA LUCKY TOY - JAPANSmall Small (10cm) silver and red lithographed tin friction tank. Red tin astronaut driver under a clear bubble dome. Two fins at the back, Indian head logo. Marked Space Patrol on the sides. The boxed version of this tank appears to have been released in a box with artwork designed for the other Ichimura tank.

Also sold packaged in plastic bag with a generic Lucky Toy header card and a double pack with the other tank.
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FRICTION SPACE TANK WITH SPARKING V-7 - OKP - JAPANBlue lithographed tinplate friction space tank - very simple lines. The unique feature of this space tank is the hollow red plastic tailfin that acts as a spark window. V-7 printed on the rear. Green tin pilot with articulated arms. Previously attributed to Marusan this is the product of a largely unknown manufacturer OKP.
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FRICTION SPACE TANK X-20 - YONEZAWA - JAPANA blue lithographed tin friction space tank. Litho tack detailing. The tank has a clear plastic dome at the front containing a yellow tin astronaut driver. At the back are is a swivelling bracket containing red barrel structure. This red barrel is marked WIND UP and contains a spring that allows plastic spinners to be fired in any direction. A blue knob allows for height adjustment. Marked Space Tank on the sides and X-20 on the spinner housing. The box has a Frankonia QT distributor's logo. 15cm long.

Also seen in a version with a blue barrel to the spinner mechanism. "With Satellite Launcher".
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KOSMICY SPACE TANK - IGRAPlastic battery op space tank with bubble dome. Two long antennas with balls at the end. Light at he front. Tracks. Eastern European - Czechoslovakia. Jiscrici
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L-101 SPACE TANK - LTI - INDIARed lithographed tinplate friction space tank. Green tin pilot with L-101 on his chest under a large clear dome. Angled blue tin fins at the back. Dome shaped red plastic spark window at rear. Simple friction action. Tin friction tank with cartoon animal litho. Marked LTI at the front. Inspired by the Yoshiya design. This is probably related to the VTI Indian space tank.
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LIGHTED SPACE VEHICLE - MASUDAYA - JAPANA box shaped metallic blue space tank. The tank has a red tin astronaut pilot under a clear plastic dome at the front. Behind is a chimney like structure with a wire rim that holds the floating ball. The styrofoam ball is supported by a column of air from an internal fan. At the back are two colored lights inside protective coiled metal springs. Battery operated bump and go action with lights and floating satellite. Marked 28905. Date?
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LOOPING SPACE TANK - DAIYA - JAPANBlue lithographed tin battery operated space tank. The tank has a green tinted ribbed plastic dome containing lights and a spiral color wheel. At the front are two small black tin guns. Behind the turret is a thick metal antenna which doubles as a device for allowing the tank to return to an upright position. Litho tack details. Battery operated tumbling action with flashing lights in the dome. The box art has distinctive artwork which includes a gorilla.
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M-101 SPACE TANK WITH HELICOPTER - NOMURA - JAPANA lilac-pink tin battery operated space tank. The unusual tank has an oval turret on a low profile body. The turret has circular porthole windows at the front and a larger opening at the back with a clear plastic cover. Pilot and machinery details can be seen inside. Uniquely, an X-217 helicopter attached to a bar moves over the tank. Battery operated with moving helicopter, spinning rotor and flashing lights. Name? Box?

This uses the low profile pressing that was used for the Super Sonic Tank, the Space Tank X-4, and the M-101 Tank. See also the similar turret design of Space Export tank.

Image Smith House Auctions
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M-29 SPACE TANK - MAKER?Simple small blue tin friction space tank. The tank has a square turret with a clear blue plastic spark window in the top. Four very short guns are set in the front. Litho track detailing. Marked M.29 on the sides and 29 on the turret. Friction action with spark.
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M-41 SPACE TANK - MASUDAYA - JAPANThis was a very successful space toy, judging by the large number that have survived. It is a green lithographed tinplate battery operated tank. Clear plastic dome at the front with a tin astronaut pilot. Large plastic dish antenna. Coiled springs at rear with lights. Similar in design to the M-28. Bump and go action with rotating antenna and flashing lights.

Two versions shown: the more common one with spring coils and a red headed astronaut. Below is a presumably later simplified version with red and green plastic light covers and a yellow vinyl astronaut.

The M-41 dates at least to 1970 when it appears in the Masudaya catalog for that year. It is not listed as a new item, so may be a little earlier.
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M-41 SPACE TANK - TAIWAN VERSIONA Taiwanese version of the original Masudaya M-41 tank. Maker?
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MIGHTY EXPLORER SPACE TANK - YONEZAWA - JAPANThis is a most unusual space vehicle. Light blue lithographed tin. The tank has a small forward dome containing the head of an astronaut pilot. Behind is a large ten cylinder visible plastic engine with a clear plastic cover.
17cm long. A large metal antenna is positioned on one side.

Battery operated bump and go action. The tank has wheels but has simulated tracks. Flashing lights and moving cylinders.

Marked N-58 at the front. N58 The tank was sold separately and also sold as part of the large boxed Aurora Expedition set.
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MISSILE TANK - LINEMARThis is a fairly simple offering from Linemar, but it has a unique look that makes it a popular acquisition. The missile tank has a blue friction base with a pyramid like turret in the middle. A white three-finned missile is attached to a red gantry on the top of this turret. The rocket has distinctive pink celluloid fins. Sitting at the back, right under the rocket's engine, is an odd blue tinplate robot driver with no arms and just an electronic circuit for a face.

The number 2 is marked on the rocket and the on the octagonal turret.

Regrettably the function is basic: a friction tank with an elevating missile. The missile attaches to launch ramp with a pin, but the rocket is static.

The box carries the serial number J-2647
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MOON PATROL VEHICLE X-5 - SANKEI - JAPANThis is a rare and very impressive space tank from Sankei. They did not produce many space toys but what they lacked in quantity they made up for in quality.

This is a blue and red lithographed tin battery operated space tank with real rubber tracks. On top of the chassis is a platform containing a huge lighted raygun controlled by a tin astronaut. The gun has a light on top and a little wire antenna. There are side fins on the platform and two odd coiled springs sticking out from the turret, each with a black ball at the end. Finally this toy has the best antenna of them all: it's a huge metal dish structure that spins around.

Battery operated mystery action. The turret turns and the red panel in the gun lights to reveal a lightning-like effect. . The antenna spins and lights flash. This tank may also exist with a Yonezawa maker's mark.

K logo. Cragstan logo on box.
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MYSTERY SPACE EXPLORER TANK - AHI - JAPANThis is a rare and impressive space tank from Asahi. The rather flat blue lithographed tank has elaborate track detailing on the sides. On top of the body are a number of interesting features: there's a tin astronaut head behind a tin windshield with plastic glazing. A central lithographed panel has instruments printed on it and there's a large rectangular metal antenna set in the middle. A fuel tank at he back and a rotating lighted gun at the top complete the toy. 20cm. The battery operated space tank moves forward, the astronaut's head turns, the antenna spins and the gun starts firing.
"With moving lighted space gun, Moving figure, Revolving radar" The box art is, by the way, beautiful. Asahi Toy Company. Date?

See the Linemar three pilot Explorer Space Tank version of this toy.
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OUTER SPACE PATROL TANK - MIHASHI- JAPANThe circular symbol on the side of this vehicle reveals the motivation behind Mihasi's unusual space vehicle. This is a Gerry Anderson Captain Scarlet and the Mysteron knock-off with a Spectrum logo. It is possibly meant to resemble the SPV Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle. This is a very boxy silver lithographed tin friction vehicle with a long row of visible gears acting as pretend track wheels.
OSP lettering. Plastic dish antenna on wire. M in Triangle logo. Date? Captain Scarlet first aired in 1967.

(The same company produced another Outer Space Patrol vehicle)
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PETIT CAR SPATIAL - MONT BLANC JOUETS - FRANCEThe French produced quite a number of space tanks. This Little Space Car is typical of many. It is a blue tin wind up space tank with orange pilot under clear dome. Metallic blue with a red spark window at front. The design is simple and the dome is positioned at the back rather than the front. Three levers, right top side, the center top, and on the bottom control the direction. French. 1960s.
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PLANET EXPLORER X-1 SPACE TANK - ALPS - JAPANLight blue lithographed tin battery operated space tank. This is a substantial boxy shaped tank with a small turret capped with a shallow clear plastic dome. There are two black guns emerging from the turret, tipped with red metal. Large rotating plastic mesh antenna. Bump and go action with lighting turret and firing pom pom double barrel guns. Date?
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PLANET TANK - MASUDAYA - JAPANJudging by the number that have survived this was a popular space toy. It is a dark blue lithographed tin battery operated non fall tank with green dome and large rotating plastic antenna. Also produced with a blue dome. The tank is most impressive when switched on: bump and go non-fall action with a rotating antenna and a light show inside the dome.

There are two know versions:

1 Marked "Planet Tank" on the side (Top)
2 A less common one (Bottom) marked "Space Patrol".

Both appear to have been released in the same Planet Tank box. The domes can be blue or green.
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POM POM TANK - ROSKO - JAPANThis is a large, noisy space toy. It perhaps lacks the refinement of many toys and the military side of the vehicle tends to dominate. It is a metallic blue tin battery operated four barrelled pom-pom anti-aircraft gun set on a remote controlled base. The guns have red tips and operate with a fierce movement, noise and light. There's a plastic dish antenna rotating on the top. A prominent feature of the toy is the large red remote control handset with space litho. It controls movement and the firing action.
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RADAR TANK - MASUDAYA - JAPANThis is not the most impressive of Masudaya's space tanks. The base is the familiar metallic blue lithographed tin with track detailing. There's litho track and oxygen tank detailing. Apart from that there's not too much to inspire. There's a orange plastic lighted dome at the front and a large plastic dish antenna is mounted on top. The main appeal lies in the non-fall action which allows the tank to move precariously around a table top.

Battery operated non fall action with rotating antenna and flashing light. Date? nonfall
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REX MARS PLANET PATROL SPARKLING SPACE TANK - MARX1950s large tinplate wind up tank. (1951?) Driver emerges from inside. The pressing is a reworking of an earlier military toy (a series of "doughboy" tanks with a similar action) - shown below. The addition of a space litho makeover turns an old style toy into something more futuristic. USA X-1. Rex Mars is the in house (license free) space hero created by the Louis Marx company.
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ROBOTANK-Z - VERSION B - Nomura - JAPANTin battery op Circa 1970. Advances with mystery action as the arms move, lights flash and guns make a firing sound. TN The robot carries the Robotank Z wording. Green plastic eyes, talks.

There are at least three versions, all of which appear in the Robotank Z box:

VERSION A: ROBOTANK Z : Tin eyes, affixed guns, red semi-spherical dome under the square transparent one, triangular tin litho part over the eyes. Non talking.

VERSION B: ROBOTANK Z : green transparent eyes, affixed guns, orange/pink plastic "crown", spring wire eyebrows. Talking

Phreases: "Robotank z to Mars control: enemy flying sauce-rs sighted in area B. They are preparing to attack you. "
"Mars control to Robotank z: we located the enemy intercept at once. Roger I am attacking with atomic rays 1 and 2."

VERSION C: R-1 : red/orange transparent eyes, moving guns, orange/pink plastic "crown", spring wire eyebrows. Non talking.

VERSION D: R-1 : red/orange transparent eyes, moving guns, orange/pink plastic "crown", spring wire eyebrows. Talking.

Image Smith House Auctions
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S-15 SPACE TANK PROTOTYPE - YANOMAN - JAPANThis is a copper prototype lithographed friction spaceship with astronaut and spinning / rotating ball cockpit. The metallic blue tank with silver and red detailing has the familiar rounded lilo shape with two fins at the back. At the front is a unique tin sphere which spins around to reveal a cockpit with tin astronaut driver. A ribbed plastic spark window is set into the top rear, along with a wire antenna. Friction action with spinning ball cockpit and sparks. Marked S-15 on the sides.

See the production version, the CRAGSTAN SPACE TANK, MARS PATROL NO 17.
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SPACE 94 DRAXEL - ELLEGI - ITALY Brightly lithographed tinplate and plastic battery operated space tank-like vehicle. 29 cms. Tracked with a clear plastic dome containing a silver astronaut driver. Small gun at the front. A canopy is hinged at the back at the back with additional litho detailing of pilots. The canopy covers red lights and a chrome silver antenna. 94 MU.H wording. Date
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SPACE EXPLORER TANK - TOMURO - JAPANI can find no other space toys by this mystery Japanese company, Tomuro. Their logo is TMR in a diamond. This space tank is, in just about every respect, a distinctive and impressive piece. The low profile silver and red tin tank has plenty of detail including imitation tracks. There's SP lettering on the sides and Space Explorer across the front. At the front is a ball shaped cockpit containing a yellow tin astronaut. The cockpit dome is designed to spin around the stationary astronaut, unlike the Yanoman design which spins everything, astronaut and all. Behind the cockpit is a tin box with a rotating dish antenna fitted in the center. Friction action with rotating cockpit and antenna.

The box art has an impressive if rather serious space scene.

Date?

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SPACE EXPORT - MIHASHI? - JAPANA most unusual design space tank. Blue lithographed tin friction space tank "with moving engine". The conventional base with litho track details has an oval tin turret. This turret has two triangular windows at the front revealing pilot and cockpit details. At the back of the turret is a clear plastic window with engine detailing inside. On either side of the body are red plastic spark windows. There is a small metal antenna. Red tin oil tanks are also fitted on each side. Marked SPACE EXPORT. Friction action with moving engine and spark.

It is likely that the word Export is a mistranslation; perhaps Explorer was intended. The oval turret is similar to the Nomura M-101 design. Maker unconfirmed. Date?
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SPACE GUARD MS-61 - MASUDAYA - JAPANThere is considerable play value in this formidable space toy. The silver lithographed tin battery operated tank has real rubber tracks, anad a large rotating turret fitted with two plastic rocket missiles. The tank is operated by a blue tin remote control unit that allows for movement of the tank, the turret and the firing action. Date?
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SPACE MISSILE TANK - DAITO - JAPANRed and silver lithographed tin friction space tank. The tank has a central turret topped with a clear plastic dome that contains a Japanese character vinyl head. The most unusual feature of this tank is the large transparent green rocket shaped plastic gun attached to the turret. Japanese character under clear bubble dome. Variations of the driver head exist: the black as shown and a white one.
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SPACE PATROL TANK - KANTORarer red version. Tin friction vehicle. Wrong antenna. One of two vehicles sharing the pressing. This version has an open cockpit, wheels (not tracks) and rotating rear antenna.
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SPACE PATROL TANK - KANTOTin battery op vehicle with tracks. Pilot under dome with large gun. Rotating dish antenna with lighted rear panel. Blue version. There is a similar Space Patrol tank based on the same pressing.
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SPACE PATROL TANK SP45 - HOPE - JAPANLooking at this friction space tank you would have to say that Hope, a little known manufacturer, either didn't have a decent designer or they were trying to save on production costs. This is a very traditional army tank, metal turret, gun, army green etc. They have added the wording SPACE PATROL and S.P.45 but there the space theme ends. Friction action with siren.

The box art is much better, the artist has managed to make the tank look blue and its travelling across a well drawn space landscape. SP-45 Date?
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SPACE PATROL TANK X-11 BLUE VERSION - YONEZAWA - JAPANTin battery operated tank. Large antenna. Non fall action, a loud clicking space sound and a cockpit covered by 2 shields with flexibel antennas. In action, the two shields fold open and the mystery lighted cockpit rises up. As the tank moves a loud clicking sound is also emitted and the radar dish rotates. Simultaneously the two halves of the shell "roof" open up and split apart. The cockpit itself then rises out of the interior. It flashes in green and red lights, lowers back into the tank, and the roof sections snap closed The tank has a non-fall action.

See also the green litho version of this tank.

Litho variations shown: dark blue and olive green.
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SPACE PIONEER N-0721 - BANDAI - JAPANA rare little oddity from Bandai, a company that didn't create many space tanks. This is a small orange-red lithogrpahed tin friction tank with blue and white track detailing. The distinguishing feature is the relatively large bubble cockpit canopy that covers most of the top of the tank. Inside is a simple vinyl astronaut head and a steering wheel. Behind the astronaut is a small red plastic spark insert. Two angled wire antennas at the side. Versions are known with white head and orange heads. Date? Friction action with noise and spark.
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SPACE SURVEY X-25 - MASUDAYA - JAPANA boxy light blue lithographed tin battery operated space tank. The tank has an oval tin turret at the front with a short black gun protruding from the front. On top of the turret is a short clear blue plastic column which directs a jet of air at the floating styrofoam ball. Marked Space Survey on the sides and X-25 on the turret. Bump and go action with floating satellite - styrofoam ball. Date?
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SPACE TANK - K IN CIRCLE - JAPANAn unusual design of space tank. This metallic blue tinplate lithographed vehicle has a tracked platform on which are mounted a control panel, a seat without a driver and a large frotating cannon with a green tinted plastic barrel. Tin friction tank with large spring loaded gun that shoots small red balls. Saturn litho detail on the control panel.
Date?

K in Circle logo differs from similar Kanto, Ohta and Sankei logo. Possibly Ohki?
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SPACE TANK - MAKER? Red tin friction space tank. Mustard yellow tin pilot under a large clear dome. Pilot's hands fixed. Atomic logo lithographed at the front. Angled tin fins at the back. Dome shaped red plastic spark window at rear. Simple friction action. Name? Box? The Indian VTI space tank uses this pressing. L-101?
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SPACE TANK - UNION - JAPANThis is a no-nonsense alien blaster from Union, a little known space toy manufacturer. The blue lithographed tin tank has two enormous black guns mounted on a large rotating turret. At a smiling tin robot is sitting on top, with a satellite dish next to him. This is a rarely seen toy with a design reminiscent of the Aoshin Flying Saucer. Date? Friction. Action?
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SPACE TANK - VTI VOHRA TOYS - INDIARed lithographed tinplate friction space tank. Green and yellow tin pilot under a large clear dome. Pilot's hands fixed. Tin fins at the back. Dome shaped red plastic spark window at rear. Simple friction action. A green version also exists. Based on the Yoshiya design though the fins are more upright. Marked VTI at the front.

The tank is also available in a cartoon animal litho versions. One has a blue spark window and a very odd driver. Asia
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SPACE TANK 9940 SILVER - GAMA - W GERMANYSilver lithographed tin battery op space tank. Three-wheeled bump and go action. The single front wheel is the drive wheel. Large clear plastic dome at the front with two plastic astronaut drivers. The dashboard in front of the 2 plastic astronauts has a red light. Behind them 3 lights in different colors blink. The radar antenna is turned by elastic band.
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SPACE TANK BY-352 - YOSHIYA? - JAPANThis is a rarely seen space toy. The blue tinplate friction space tank is covered with masses of lithographed detail including tracks. There's a clear plastic dome at the front with a green tin astronaut inside. There's an unusual feature at the back: three red plastic strips extend backward from three round spark windows. The serial number on this tank, BY-352, is also odd. This looks like a Yoshiya tank. Box? Better photo? Date?
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Space Tank ChinaSpace tank is a tin friction bump and go piece with plenty of action. Robby's arms pump back and forth as he 'drives' the tank, head has flashing light behind red gel. Wild light show under lens at the rear section with mult-coloured patterns flashing. Very loud 'space noise' included.
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SPACE TANK M-18 - MASUDAYA - JAPANA metallic blue lithographed battery operated space tank. Lightning stripe on sides. A clear plastic dome at the front contains a red astronaut driver. Large round blue plastic dish antenna. Red lights inside coiled springs are mounted at the rear. No guns. Bump and go action with rotating antenna and flashing lights. Litho variations exist. Date?
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SPACE TANK ME-091 - CHINA1970s tin battery op space tank with Robby driver. China. Several color variations.
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