Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Collectible of the Week: Space 1999 Adventure Playset (Amsco/MB 1975)

I first featured the Amsco Cardboard Adventure Sets of the 1970s here on my blog way back on September 29, 2005.  But, every now and then -- especially if the toy is Space: 1999 related -- I enjoy hauling out a collectible a second time.

So today, I’m once again featuring the Space: 1999 Cardboard Adventure Playset, with some new photographs I just snapped.

A little background: In the early-to-mid 1970s, Amsco and Milton Bradley cooperated to produce four cardboard play-sets (for Marvel Comics, Planet of the Apes, The Waltons and Space:1999 ). These giant Amsco dioramas were packaged in large, attractive and colorful rectangular boxes, were produced from "durable" cardboard, and were advertised as "fun to assemble,"

The kit you see pictured comes from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's outer space epic, Space:1999 (1975 -1977) and is a diorama of the lunar installation, Moonbase Alpha. 

As you can see, there's a landing pad, a cross-section of Moonbase Alpha's interior, including Main Mission Tower, a yellow moon-buggy, and plenty of cardboard representations of characters and aliens.  Also, the set comes with two Eagle spacecraft and two nuclear charges, the latter for detonating asteroids.

The heroes in the Space:1999 set are made in the likenesses of Martin Landau's Commander John Koenig, Barbara Bain's Helena Russell, Barry Morse's Professor Victor Bergman and even Clifton Jones' David Kano.  Unfortunately, the set was produced pre-Maya, so there's no Catherine Schell figure here.

One thing I enjoy about this particular set is that some effort was made towards accuracy in terms of the figure personalities (if not the Moonbase interiors). For instance, three cardboard figures in the Space:1999 set are aliens directly from Year One episodes. 

Peter Cushing's Raan, from "Missing Link" is here with his daughter, Vanna. The popular and horrifying octopus-like monster from "Dragon's Domain" is featured as well (with a puddle of drool/goo...).  Even the scorched Zoref (Ian McShane) from the episode, "Force of Life" is included in the set.

The Alphan figures can inhabit the base, and even ride a working elevator from one level to the next.  One door in the interior leads right out to the docking port, where the docked Eagle is stationed. One figure is a blond astronaut, who I insist is actually Captain Alan Carter (Nick Tate), although his hair isn’t quite right.

When I turn fifty, I plan on selling a large range of my prized collectibles as part of my retirement investment  plan (since freelance writers don’t get 401Ks or pensions…), but I don’t know that I can bring myself to sell this Amsco toy -- it was an anniversary gift from my wife -- or the other Space: 1999 collectibles.  We shall see...


  1. I bought this set in the summer of 1976 with money I got for my 12th birthday. I was a little old to be playing with a playset like this, but it was a great puzzle to put together and the detail was incredible. I loved this set. I don't know what happened to it. Probably got sold off at a yard sale by my mom in the early 80s.

  2. Anonymous7:53 PM

    I got this for one of my Christmas 1975 gifts. As a boy in '75, this was both fun to assemble and play with. I still have it neatly unassembled and stored in it's original box since the'80s.