In an attempt to distract myself from the economic woes filling the news I have rekindled my search for possible origins of SWORD art. As you know I was over the moon when found the Randy Rayder LP graced by none other than Probe Force 1. Exciting as it was it is just a copy of SWORD box art appearing after Century 21's line of toys.
So tonight whilst browsing Google Book's library of Popular Mechanics covers I came across this from September 1956 and thought, hmmmm, that's also a little like the Probe Force 1. It's actually a Convair B-58 lifting plane with piggy-backing jet bomber. Nice...
...but not as nice as this! It sent a frisson of joy up my back! [well I am excitable] - maybe, just maybe? - and it's from November 1959, a good 8 years before Project SWORD. Described as a 'pickaback plane', it's possibley by Britsih artist G.H. Davis based on designs of British aeronautical engineer Dr. R.R. Jamison.
The mini-gallery below makes comparison with the Probe Force 1 box art easier. There are some points if similarity: the finned wings, the small foreplane wings, the red nose-cone and the overall arrowhead shape. Is it possible that C21 box artists had old copies of Popular Mechanics around?
You can read the whole 'Coast to Coast in 90 minutes' article about the 'pickaback' concept in this issue of Popular Mechanics courtesy of Google Reader.