Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Collectible of the Week: Buck Rogers Galactic Play Set (HG Toys; 1979)

By the time Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979 - 1981) aired on NBC, I suppose you could state I was primed to love the show.  I had "grown up" through Star Wars (1977) and Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979) and had seen The Black Hole (1979), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and Moonraker (1979).  

But the nice thing about Buck Rogers was that the series, unlike many of those other titles, didn't take itself too seriously.  The program, starring Gil Gerard and Erin Gray, boasted a great sense of humor, at least during the first season.

Mego released a good-sized line of Buck Rogers toys and vehicles back in the day, but HG Toys also got into the act, recycling and retro-fitting a pre-existing play set as the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Galactic Play Set.  It came complete with "over 35 pieces" and a nice diorama/backdrop.  

This HG Toy set included a "space station with movable ladder, 2 Draconian marauders, 2 starfighters, 8 space commandos, 10 aliens," and "fully detailed figures of Buck Rogers, Wilma Deering, Killer Kane, Dr. Huer, Tigerman, Draco, Twiki and Princess Ardala."

Also present: "a colorful diorama set-up and assembly instructions."

I have fond memories of playing with this particular play set, because I took it on a cross-country vacation with me.  My family traveled (in our new Ford van) from New Jersey to California and back over the span of six weeks.  Space was tight since we were traveling for such a duration and this one of the few toys I was allowed to bring along.  I set it up in camp sites from Lake Michigan to Lake Tahoe.   On days where we seemed to be endlessly driving through desert terrain, I also set up the Galactic Play Set in the back of the van and played with it, though the bumps in the road could occasionally wreak havoc.


  1. I think I may have had this playset myself as a kid. Although it seems really cheap to rely on the flat colored cardboard scenery that a lot of these types of sets used, for me that was a huge part of the toy. Looking back, some of my strongest memories of playing with things like this involved the box they came in, which frequently contained scenes that showcased the toys, or with the strange artistically rendered cardboard props.

    The Mego Enterprise is no exception. I loved the flat plastic walls of the bridge and the weird control panels and computers, as well as the flat interchangeable cardboard main screen images.

    Somehow I doubt that most kids today would get excited about toys whose main components include cardboard with pictures on them.

    Viva la 1970's!!

  2. Hi BigNick0,

    I am totally on board with your affection for these toys from the 1970s. They are by no means (TV) "Show Accurate" and yet they have some kind of crazy appeal just as they are. I love this Buck Rogers play set, even though it has very little to do with the actual show itself. It's a great little toy. And I will say this, my son Joel -- after initially saying that it didn't look like much fun to play with -- has warmed to it, in part because of the weird little gray robots that come with it...

    Great comment!