Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Collectible of the Week: Space Place (Jestoy; 1985)

Okay, so the box is heavy on pink, and this 1985 toy from Jestoy is technically called "Space Place for 11 1/2 Fashion Doll" (meaning Barbie), but this is one outer space play set I am nonetheless happy to keep in my collection.

The "Space Place" is the cockpit or control deck of a spaceship, and comes with "swivel chair," "control panel with moving screen," "jetison [sic] pack," "air lock transfer chamber," "simulated space capsule diarama [sic]," "space communicator," "video camera" and even "space play food."

Although the makers of the toy (in Hong Kong, apparently) couldn't spell worth a damn, they nonetheless created a very cool space deck, and one that actually fits the Mego Star Trek figures of the 1970s, or the Space: 1999 figures from Mattel in the same time period.  

The control panel may be the coolest part of the toy.  It boasts knobs on both sides which can change the space image "so you can follow flight."  I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I suspect it has something to do with plotting a trajectory.  The jettison pack has an elastic belt that can fit around most Meo-like figures, so they can go out on spacewalks.  And the air lock transfer chamber is "necessary" if your action figures must "exit the chamber."  The instructions offer detailed directions for equalizing air pressure for your astronaut (sold separately...).

I've written frequently in the past how I enjoy the generic or knock-off toys of the 1970s and 1980s, because they provide either alien locales for your franchise toys, or can become the hubs of new, imaginative play in a fresh universe.  Despite being pretty in pink, the "Space Place" from Jestoy Ltd. fits the bill.

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