Being the progeny of Baby Boomers and brought up during the Sixties crazes for Military and Spy toys, I have always loved vintage toy rifles. Probably not at all PC these days, my pride and joy was the Johnny Seven One Man Army rifle, the pinnacle of the toy armoury and capable of stopping even the biggest of brothers at a hundred paces! About 10 years ago I was lucky enough to re-acquire a complete and boxed Johnny Seven at Birmingham's NEC. At £300 it remains the single most expensive collectable I've ever bought and was easily the most exciting purchase of my adult life!
Like many Anderson fans during the Sixties my parents supplied me with the small pistols emanating from the TV shows: the Thunderbirds cap and water pistols and the fantastic Joe 90 Brief Case [re-released by Vivid Imagination Toys in the 1990's] to name but a few.
CAPTAIN SCARLET RIFLE
It's only as an adult collector that I became aware of the toy rifles associated with Anderson's TV output. Few in number and all incredibly rare, I have only ever seen them in magazines or online. The first one I came across is the fantastic Captain Scarlet Anti-Mysteron Rifle by Lone Star. The stuff of legend, it was pictured on the cover of a cool mail order toy sales catalogue [below] I used to get in the mid-1990's from the pioneering TV Toy Zone company, whose proprietor was one Andy Foley of Caterham in Surrey. Needless to say the price for the rifle was the hugely impressive 'POA' or price on application, which I imagine had several noughts in it!
The rifle, which appears to be die-cast, incorporates the Lone Star pistol, which was sold separately. Amazingly there's a colour picture of the rifle on the forum of the superb Alphadrome site run by space toy supremo Brian Hayes http://danefield.com/alpha/forums/uploads/post-1392-0-48102200-1296531838.jpg Feast your eyes!
The second rifle of note is also the stuff of collectors' dreams, the Thunderbirds Rifle by Crescent Toys. I've only ever seen this as photographed on the Wants List on the excellent Vintage Thunderbirds Toys website http://www.thunderbirdsvintagetoys.co.uk/WantsList.htm. The rifle appears to be a much more traditional rifle shape with a large scope and came in a long box. Wow!
FIREBALL XL5 RIFLE
Third up is the equally scarce Fireball XL5 rifle, which I know very little about. Much more cosmic in design, it may have only been been issued in Spain under the name Capitan Marte, the Spanish Captain Mars/ Steve Zodiac. There is a boxed example pictured on the comprehensive Mark Bergin Toys sales list http://www.bergintoys.com/sp_guns/current/Capt%20Marte.jpg. There is also a loose example in the Sold section of the fabulous Metropolis Toys sales site, but it looks the same as the Spanish rifle http://www.bergintoys.com/sp_guns/current/Capt%20Marte.jpg. Alphadrome, the space toys database and forum, interestingly note that the rifle is the same as the Japanese Tommy Kick by Tada http://danefield.com/data/displayimage-search-0-3663.html#top_display_media.
Last but not least in this Anderson armoury is the wonderful Tommy Buster, pictured above and as advertised in the pages of TV21 no less. I covered this elsuive toy in some detail two years ago on the blog, containing further links, which you can read here http://projectswordtoys.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/agent-21-birthday-mystery-3-tommy.html.
It's ironic that, although Century 21 didn't manufacture any of the above rifles, there is a toy gun named, albeit coincidentally, the Century 21 Space Gun! Brought out as part of the official 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the sleek and futuristic rifle was made by US outfit Stalco. Wotan covered it way back in 2009 http://projectswordtoys.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/toyless-in-seattle.html.
So, Swordies, are there any other Anderson toy rifles?