I recently picked up a reasonable example of a Louis Marx TSR - 2 battery operated toy plane.
It’s an attractive toy based on the ill-fated real aircraft built in the early sixties, with a futuristic design that wouldn’t look out of place in a Gerry Anderson series.
My toy is a light grey colour, although I believe some were available in yellow at the time. Pop the batteries in, flick the on switch and the front wheels drive the plane forward, a bulb at the rear illuminates the engine exhausts - marvellous!
The only downside is the tail fin which once the toy’s out of it’s box, this has to be clipped into the fuselage. Once it’s pushed in, there’s no way you’d get it out without breaking the locating lugs off. I’m not taking a chance so mine won’t be going back into its box.
The box has a nice airbrushed illustration of the plane and working instructions on the box side. There’s no date on the box but I believe it came out around 1964.
Following the real aircraft’s cancellation in 1965, Marx altered the toy’s title to ’Superjet’ and revamped the box artwork which showed two red TSR-2 aircraft flying over countryside. Some time later Marx converted their toy to a friction drive with a red and yellow colour scheme and repackaged it as a ’ Stratojet’. This time the box artwork showed a TSR-2 taking off. I understand this version continued to be produced up to the mid seventies.
The real TSR-2 was developed as a Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance aircraft with the capability of speeds up to Mach 2 . It was to incorporate some of the most advanced avionics and design techniques the British Aircraft Corporation had ever produced.
However, the American company General Dynamics were developing the swing wing F-111 aircraft which was designed to fill a similar role. In Britain a change of government meant the controversial cancellation of the TSR-2 and for General Dynamics no real competition for the F-111.
Out of the 23 built only one flew.- the XR219. Following the cancellation this historic aircraft was to end up at a test range as target practice along with two others, the XR221 and XR223.
All the other remaining aircraft along with jigs and tooling were ordered to be destroyed by the powers that be ensuring that the project could never be revived.
However, two did survive. The XR220 and the XR222. Both are sadly incomplete and will never fly.
The controversy and conspiracy theories still surround the TSR-2, but whatever the truth, I reckon if this sleek advanced aircraft had it been given a chance it is certain it would have been a world beater.