Anyone who collects Spacex, Apollo Moon Exploring or LP space toys will be familiar with the small range of space tractors shown here. They turn up in a multitude of sets, on card, boxed, in blister packs and in the larger gift packs. I first came across these vehicles in the mid sixties in the individual card boxes. The orange body shown on the second photo is all that remains of this first encounter. Recently, I found the yellow version on ebay US advertised as a 'snow tractor', and have previously managed to buy the green set of three vehicles on ebay too. The crane body is a sixties original from the second series, which included a tipper body and a bulldozer version of the bubble canopied tractor.
Apart from their attraction as interesting space vehicles on their own, these little vehicles which were made by Hong Kong based company LP, also have an interesting heritage. The crane and the rocket launcher also found their way onto an LP Rocket Base, but the rocket launcher itself is lifted directly from a contemporary die-cast toy by Lone Star, the Modern Army series of vehicles. This series of trailer based weapons also included a twin machine gun, mortar cannon and radar dish, which were in turn plagiarised for the Hong Kong plastic soldier market.
Continuing the army theme, the tracks on all of the LP tractors are copied from the Roco Minitanks Panzer IV series of models. Shown here is a dilapidated Pz IV Whirlwind anti-aircraft tank. The last photograph shows the catalogue pages for the PzIv and Wirbelwind variants. Its plain to see where the designers at LP got their inspiration from!