In the world of space toys names interchange like Lego. SWORD and it's variations are no exception. We'll kick off with SWORD's cousin the Century 21 Lunar Climber [below]. The Spanish company PAYA renamed it the X-11000 [box and leaflet below].
Even earlier we have the Japanese Astro Car and Super Beetle [for a full Crawler history go here]
Speaking of Beetles here's another one, the SWORD version. In it's unshielded state, as pictured below [left] by Eric Eden it's called the Snowtrain. With it's heat shields up it becomes the Beetle shown here on the right, a bit like the ship in the film 'The Core'!
....which also got re-named by Imai as Thunderbird 7 for their 1972 model kit!
Another example of name-changing comes with our friend the Moon Prospector. On the old card below it's named as the 'Orbiting Geophysical Observatory'! The card is from the US Space-Pak set dated 1962 [source: Ebay]
...and in the only two non-English titles I can find is the German prospector or 'Shlurfer' seen here in a book on the right and to the left the Argentinian 'Explorador Planetario XV8'.
The Prospector morphs again when miniaturised, which brings us to perhaps the most interchangeable of all the names, 'Explorer'.
In the US Golden Astronaut series the MEV becomes the Prospector and the Prospector the Explorer! [see SpaceXpert Paul Vreede's comment on this earlier post].
Similarly our friend is again the Explorer in the Roxy Moon Traffic range [right].
To shuffle things up a bit the MEV2 becomes the 'Explorer' in the cheapo Futuristic Space Vehicles series [left and right below].
The name 'Explorer' was also associated with the Moon Crawler as here in early toy researcher Bill Earle's description of Imai UFO Base model kits that appeared in the pioneering 1980's magazine S.I.G [example shown below left but not the one referred to by Bill]:
"Also on the surface are several craft unrelated to SHADO, though seen in the "UFO" series, and there are three vehicles from the Project SWORD story; the Moon Prospector, the Scramble Bug, and the Explorer "
and "A Lunar Module was lifting off, a Moonbase Interceptor and a SHADAIR Gyro were flying above as a Project SWORD Explorer was driving along in the foreground."
[You can read Bill's brilliant S.I.G article on Anderson Model kits in full online here].
To add to the confusion modern descriptions of the Aoshima 2002 re-release often miss out the vehicle's name entirely as I imagine it's simply not known as in this random example:
"....and 14 miniature vehicles including the Prospector, Moon Hopper, Radar Tractor, Sky 1, SHADOMobile, Interceptor 1, Interceptor 2 and Interceptor 3!"
It would be interesting to know what the Japanese characters translate as though in the close-up beneath. Anyone?
The final Dr.Who-like regenesis of the Explorer is an incarnation we already know about, the wonderful Surveyor of the Tri-ang Spacex range [card illustration below - anyone got an image of the whole card front and rear?] and finally we have the SWORD Crawler itself with it's dalek-like arms [just what did the Daleks do with that plunger of theirs?]
There are many more examples of name morphing in SWORD/ SpaceX fleets I'm sure - Moon Bus/ Mobile HQ has just sprung to mind.
The SpaceX/ Golden Astronaut continuum also gives us the Forklift 7/ Liftloader name change and the Tractor-T5/ Terrain Tiger.
What can you think of? Contributions welcomed!