Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Under Pressure

Well, it probably looked like a great idea on paper and the artwork for the box is pretty dynamic and interesting, but the Jetspace Pulsair Base really doesnt blow my skirt up.

Ever since I was a kid, i'd seen fabulous bases in space and on the moon with clear domes and travel tubes zipping astronauts around on monorails and in capsules and nearly every good space toy had an implausibly huge glass partition that you could peer into to see the inner workings or the pilots sat at the controls.

When I first came across this set, I imagined it to be full of clean tubes with small spacexy capsules zipping about while helicopters lifted off the landing pads and starcruisers orbited overhead. I'd long been a fan of the Takara Micronauts line and had often coveted the fantastic Rocket Tubes set, which encased a 3 inch figure in a special capsule and then shot him around four feet of perspex tube to the main base. The Pulsair set turned out to be more like one of James Dysons bad trips and could have been just as easily created from a batch of Tupperware bowls and some old vacuum parts. It includes lots of pipes, each about as thick as your average index finger, a big clear dome and several modular 'base' units to clip the whole thing together. Once the laborious duty of plugging it all together and hoping it stands upright, was complete - two simple pumps are attached and a quick thump sent a one inch 'bullet' shooting down a pipe at speeds too fast to actually see. If the connections werent secure at this point, the whole thing would pop apart and the capsule would be liberated into the far corner of the room.

Originally made by a company called Ceji , the licence was picked up by Revell and small box of accessory vehicles were released. These included large cruisers very reminiscent of the swan-necked spaceships of Angus McKie and which were designed to sail along a cotton thread. Also there were small buggies, each made of individual vinyl plastic parts and one piece copters. The capsules came in three sections and would only work with a small collar of transparent film attached at either end to preserve a tight seal. The central body popped open and allowed the insertion of possibly the tiniest figures I have ever come across - barely 3mm high! A standard Golden Astronaut towers over them in comparison. Possibly, such microscopic parts meant the end for the series as they were so small they represented not so much a swallowing hazard as the probability of being inhaled if you bent too close to watch the 'action'!


  1. Ah, The Hooded Swan; one of the loveliest designs ever. I bought all six novels back in the seventies purely for the cover artwork. When I actually got around to reading them, it was a bonus to find the stories were just as excellent as the covers.

  2. Thats funny - came acros it in the Terran Trade Authority series of books by Stewart Cowley. damn fine design though!

  3. In the In the Terran Trade Authority books the ship is called The Interstellar Queen. But I always think of it as The Hooded Swan because of the Brian Stableford series of novels, which was where I first saw it.

  4. hi!
    i'd like to know how much you paid for that jetspace program set, as i own one and would like to sell it.
    if you don't remember the exact price, maybe an average one will help.
    by the way i'm french so i apologize for all the mistakes i've probably made at 2 a.m. =)
    thanks anyway!

    for the answer mail at:


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