A while ago I posted a link to a US Saturn V toy on Ebay. I didn't think much more about it until the thought popped into my head - what if that toy was the basis of the Century 21 Cape Kennedy Set? The US toy [possibley a model kit] was by 'Countdown Inc.' and allegedley from 1966, placing it a good year before the 1967 release of the Century 21 toy. We've seen before here that Century 21 most likely used the Sears Apollo rocket design/moulding for their own SWORD Apollo [blogged 2008], so is it concievable that they did the same here. From what I've read Countdown Inc were set up specifically to sell models and toys at Cape Kennedy in 1966, so might someone in the Century 21 toy camp have been there and returned with the kit? Who knows but I sorta like the sound of it. Anyways here are the two toys side by side - Countdown Inc on the left and Century 21 the right [not to scale]. Further comparisons of size and baseplate detailing may shed further light on this. Their is clearly a crane missing from the top of the Countdown gantry. Wonder what the box was like?
Above, Rockets comparison: C21 left, Countdown right [not to scale].
Below is the baseplate detail on the Countdown Inc toy:
And another example of Countdown Inc merchandise with a box. Was this plain box style the one that the Countdown Gantry and Apollo came in too? Anyone got one boxed?
Countdown Inc didn't just do space toys. Here's on of their 1969 space plaques [Ebay US]. Their story is fascinating and covered in various places on the web. They appear often to be the cause of much debate on modellers fora and you can still trade with them today albeit in a different name of Award Shoppe!