Wednesday, August 10, 2011

RETRO TOY FLASHBACK #95: Shoot Out in Space (Tomy; 1978)

Everyone remembers how Star Wars ended in 1977.  A little precision shooting from Luke Skywalker (with some help from The Force...) and the Death Star was history.  

This 1978 toy from Tomy (No. 2509) , Shoot Out in Space offered imaginative kids of the disco decade the opportunity to undertake a similar sort of mission, only this time taking out enemy spaceships launched from another evil space station.

According to the box, Shoot Out in Space was a "real test of marksmanship."  The goal of the game was to "disable enemy rockets with a mysterious beam of light."  

In broad terms, the toy involved "cosmic combat with a ray gun, revolving station and enemy rockets." 

You could even modify your laser weapon to your liking, making the "ray gun hand-size by separating it from the stock." 

The light beam from the ray gun worked "on a transistorized target at distances over 30 feet," and you could also "change the target to make it harder and harder to hit."

Designed for ages 6 and up, this Tomy toy required four "AA" batteries to operate, and was quite a popular item when I was a kid, as I recall. 

My best friend who lived next door to me in Glen Ridge owned Shoot Out in Space, and often invited me up to his third-floor playroom to shoot down the enemy rockets.   We would spend a while playing the game, and then inevitably take the (soft) rockets and peg each other with them, pretending they were space grenades.  Now that was really fun.

I finally got my hands on one of these toys recently (as part of my ongoing effort to recapture my lost youth...) and it's still a pretty cool game all these years later.  I've played it with my son, Joel, and -- wouldn't you know -- the soft rockets are his favorite part of the game as well.  Only he uses them to knock down and "destroy" Gobots, and occasionally, to terrorize our cats...


  1. Another item that bypassed me in my youth. Looks like it would have been very fun. My sons would both love the shooting aspect, and they'd probably use the space ships to throw at each other or various toys as you did when young and your son does now.

    The design on the space ships is pretty cool. They actually look like the classic Japanese tin space and/or robot toys of the 1950s and 1960s.

    I don't really like the looks of the target, but I REALLY like the logo on the stock. Very neat, very 70s-looking.

    About the stock: in the second picture, focusing on the rifle form, it seems to me as if you were to remove the stock, the rest of the gun would bear a fairly strong resemblance to a Klingon disruptor pistol, from the red dot over the handgrip forward.

    I, too, have an ongoing effort to recapture my lost youth, although many times I say--and BELIEVE--that I never really left my youth, I am still adolescent in my outlook. Which explains my desire to not only have hundreds of Trek books but hundreds of juvenile series books and lots of my old toys; and ones I didn't have but wanted.

    I am, truly, an overgrown adolescent in a man's body. that a geek? LOL.

    Gordon Long

  2. lloydsmappjr@yahoo.com7:46 PM

    I bought this toy ray gun from a now defunct toy store in Park slope, Brooklyn, New York. I believe it was named HARVEY's on 7th Avenue somewhere in the late 1970's.I originally was buying it for my son who was about 8 years old, however,I decided to keep it for myself in the hopes that it would someday be a collector's item. I was pleasantly surprised to see it on the internet again.I still have the original box, thespace station carousel, four of the five plastic rockets and the space pistol which converted to a space rifle.Although the long barrel was eventually broken off by my son (sigh), the gun still operates! If you know anyone wanting to sell one,please email me at And thank you for the memories. I also have the EAGLE 1 from the late tv show Space 1999.

  3. Hello everyone!

    PDXWiz: The toy is definitely a lot of fun, even if it doesn't seem to have the high name recognition of many toys of the era.

    Funny, but I think it probably could pass for a Klingon weapon! Nice observation, there! That's very cool that you remember the wheres and whens of how you purchased this toy. I wish you good luck in getting one without a broken barrel! Definitely check out E-Bay, sometimes this toy goes for as cheaply as 15.00 dollars!

    All my best,