As a postscript and expansion on Woodsy's earllier post on the Blue Box set, heres a little further info on the range. Click on the above image to go to the earlier blog post about this and click on the lower image for detailed background on the Apollo Moon Exploring version below, courtesy of Paul Vreede's excellent Spacex site.
I first came across this toy and the other two element from the set, each sold separately, in the early 1970's. I can date this accurately, as I recall buying them when I was about 9 or 10. At the time, I was unaware of the LP / Apollo version with the radar scanners and would not see this for many years later.
Until the late 90's, I still had the majority of the Rocket Transporter from the series, albeit battered and parts of the Atlas Gantry too, but the original Secret Missile Base had long gone. Pictured above, is a very important photograph, one of three I sent to Woodsy when I first got email and access to the internet, prompting a search for Spacex and Project SWORD. It shows the original Rocket Transporter, the Hover Moon Rover (repaired with a small wooden base to secure the fragile wheels), the Hover Space Glider (still in the collection), a pvc rocket and wooden gantry made by my dad and the few remaining LP Matt Mason vehicles from the little window boxed sets.
Next up, a photo of items from an ebay auction I didn't manage to win, showing the Blue Box Atlas Gantry with the top of a plastic Titan rocket shoved on and and better example of the Rocket Transporter. Some months later, kind collector Tony H sent me this almost pristine example of the Atlas Gantry (below) I would have shown an actual photo of the toy, but im currently exiled from the attic due to renovations in that part of the house, so can't reach it! Heres Tony's original photo.
Next up is a Multiple Toymakers bagged set showing a larger scale model of the odd Thor rocket which appears in the Topper set, this time named 'Titan'. Also included are Giant style astronauts and two soft plastic LP moon Crawlers.
The original Topper Cape Canveral Rocket Base can be seen below and its plain to see where LP / Apollo Moon Exploring and Blue Box took their inspiration from!
Topper were not the only toy maker to be pirated however, as Remco made a large Rocket Base (below) which was quickly copied and reproduced in small scale by Delaware (bottom)
Check out Paul Vreede's excellent Spacex toy site for more specific toy history here: http://www.triangspacextoys.info/
Or look back on earlier posts in this series here: