Ever since I had my SpaceX toys as a kid I've loved LP astronauts. When I saw that the Project SWORD Moon Base would most likely have them in too I was hooked. Over the years I've followed the little spacemen on their virtual journey across cyberspace, popping up on distant sites and boldly going where no cake topper has gone before.
I say cake topper because the fate of many LP astronauts were the fondant peaks of iced Victorias, standing tall between the melting candles of countless childrens' birthday cakes.
Yes, our friend lead a double life. One was nestling next to gorgeous plastic space toys on beautiful bacing cards, dreaming of the glory to follow in epic space battles between SpaceX Hawks and Golden Astronaut Nuclear Pulses.
The other was huddled in cake shops' dusty trays, piled unceremoniously next to bundles of plastic ballerinas and bow-legged cowboys, whose destiny lay in the dough-covered fingers of bakers.
If they were lucky, some LP's they were rescued from the tray, dusted off and given that Cadillac of marketing tools, a clear plastic bag. If they were really lucky, they were joined in the bag by rockets, domes and crawlers, everything you need to get off a perilous fondant world.
These bagged LP spacemen started simple. They came in, well, simple bags. Some even made it into cereal packets, although I've no real evidence of this particular culinary adventure other than these three LP chums, which were listed as such on Ebay.
Sometimes shopkeepers who liked to live on the edge grabbed a whole stack of loose LP astronauts and shoved the lot in a bag, finishing the whole thing off with a simple header card. Here's such a one I saw on Ebay topped off with a scene of children playing and emanating from France. LP's were certainly a worldwide phenomenon.
For the chosen few a life among the hardware of space travel beckoned as the more adventurous, far-sighted craft shop owners bagged up a small flotilla of toys from the LP fleet. This simply-stapled bag below is typical of the five toys often found in these cake topping sets: astronaut, space capsule, dome car, moon crawler and rocket.
Occasionally things got really professional and craft shop magnates would brand the fearless five as their own. A good example of this is this bag from Californian craft suppliers of choice, Moskatel's. At 59c it was must have been a snip for the bargain hunting cake decorator.
As with most of these bagged sets, Moskatel's gave you a real LP spaceman too, which you can see from the logo on the base.
The rear of the Moskatel's header is equally fascinating. Although the craft shop was located in sunny LA, the toys are clearly marked as hailing from Hong Kong. LP spacemen, silver, grey or whatever, are nothing if not multicultural.
Judging by the activity outside the old LA store business at Moskatels was brisk to say the least! Nice car too! [picture: www.jewishjournal.com]. Moskatel's is still going in LA.
I suspect that Culpitt of the UK made up similar astronautical bags for their wholesale clients but I cannot find any evidence of this. They certainly bagged up British cavalry, who no doubt performed the changing of the guard admirably on many an iced peak. Culpitt's too is still going strong.
With such a global phenomenon it was inevitable that the Moonbase Central team would feel moved to place some LP spacemen into cellophane bags. A few years ago we fashioned the Project SWORD MOONBASE SUPPLY PACK, one of our favourite blogsclusives ever.
The above simple prototype set the scene.
The finished products were loads of fun to do and flew off the Moonbase shelves like hot cake decorations! We hope that they formed a fitting tribute to the bagged LP's of old we love so much.
Do you have any knowledge, stories, pictures, catalogue listings or examples of bagged LP sets you could share with us readers?