A few blogs ago I looked at the Nuclear Ferry. Taking WOTAN's lead I've had a look at a few more SWORD craft and possible box art beginnings. First up is the fabulous Dyna Soar. The box illustration always impressed me - pictured below.
I first came across this NASA picture of the Dyna Soar in Darth's excellent book about the craft. The angle and look seemed familiar. I now believe it is the source of the Dyna Soar box art.
Amazingly Darth also managed to, specifically for the blog, discover the artist's name, McCallister, which you can just make out in the top left corner of this non-liveried version below.
Placing the McCallister and SWORD illustrations together makes the comparison much easier and the similarities clear: the angle of flight, the rear engine aperture, the tailfin jetstreams and the overall look.
Below is a close-up of the artist McCallister's signature, whom unfortunately, despite searching, I know nothing about.
I have however found some footage lasting 6 minutes on You Tube, which contains an animation that looks exactly like his painting (at the 37 second point) and explains the amber colouring - it's burning up as it enters the atmosphere! It could almost be an ad for the toy!
Second up is the awesome Century 21 Booster Rocket below, which has been a fourite of mine ever since my Parent's placed one on the Christmas settee way back in '67! All those plastic fuel tanks and that cool silver jetlet! It lent itself to a tremendous box illustration zooming into deep space.
And let's not forget the exciting Hover version recently discovered by Arto, which has exactly the same box art. So where did it come from originally?
In an earlier post by Paul Vreede the origin of the actual toy design was pinpointed to the painting below by the late Ed Valigursky, which appeared in the 1964 TimeLife book Man and Space.
Here's a close-up of the Artist's signature on the bottom right of the picture.
If you flip the painting around the planet appears on the bottom left as shown below. I would like to suggest that at this angle we have the source of the Century 21 box art - below.
Seeing the two illustrations together as in the above highlights the clear similarities in the overall rocket look and basic pale body colouiring. However it is the copycat jetstreaming and the distant planet, which are the most compelling pieces of evidence for me. I contacted the artist's family during the summer but tragically Ed Valigursky had recently passed away.
For now, I finish with a non-SWORD toy but one more akin to Spacex, the obscure Nova-esque COHETE LUNAR from Argentina pictured below. On the backing card is a NOVA rocket. To the left is a small view of a page from the previously mentioned 1964 Man and Space book.
The book illustration is again by the late great Ed Valigusrsky and from the comparison of both rockets below - toy at the top, Valigursky bottom - we can see, except for a little colour difference, they are virtually twins and particularly clearly with almost identical exhaust plumes!
Despite none of the above actually identifying a Project SWORD box artist (I live in hope), finding the artistic source is both interesting and fun. The journey continues tomorrow along slightly different lines with Probe Force 1 and the crowdstopping JR21 Stingray Submarine Aircraft Carrier!
All pictures courtesy of Darth, Arto, Ebay and Woodsy.